Dua, Jatin, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
JATIN DUA, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. Since 2008, a number of high profile incidents of piracy off the coast of East Africa have resulted in increased global attention to this region, including the deployment of a multi-national naval patrol and attempts to prosecute suspected pirates. Policy makers have attributed this phenomenon to the lack of a strong centralized government in Somalia and called for various forms of intervention on-shore to address piracy's root causes. However, this interpretation of the conflict obscures a longer history of regulation and transgression and piracy's long pedigree in the Western Indian Ocean. This research resituates piracy within histories of the Indian Ocean and longstanding attempts to redefine sovereignty and legality within this oceanic space. This work suggests that maritime piracy may be better understood as a form of capital-intensive armed entrepreneurship and an attempt to secure protection from global poaching, waste dumping, and from the surveillance of regulators. As such, piracy as a system of protection competes with a variety of state and non-state forms of protection in this area. This project investigates the encounters between these overlapping regimes of protection and regulation in the Western Indian Ocean.
Tookes, Jennifer L. S., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Rice and Peas in the Diaspora: Nutrition and Food Choice among Barbadian Immigrants in Atlanta,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown
JENNIFER L.S. TOOKES, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in April 2009 to aid research on 'Rice and Peas in the Diaspora: Nutrition and Food Choice among Barbadian Immigrants in Atlanta,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown. Dissertation research investigated how quantities and types of foods consumed, emic meanings of these choices, perceptions of physical activity, body image and body compositions differ between native-English speaking populations in Barbados and migrant Barbadians in the United States. This research ties ethnographic analysis of cultural meaning of food and food change in migration to quantitative research on the physical impacts of that shift, while challenging popular notions of acculturation to American lifestyles in a non-Latino migrant group. This project included the use of extensive participant observation in both the Atlanta area and the island of Barbados, semi- and unstructured interviews with Barbadians in the US and abroad, collection of cultural consensus and consonance data, along with food journals and anthropometric measurements. Ultimately, the data collected during the year's research in both Atlanta and Barbados will provide extensive information on how the topics of food, activity and body image interact to shape people's opinions and behaviors relating to food choice and health across migration.
Jernigan, Kevin A., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'A Study of Tree Identification among the Aguaruna Jivaro of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Brent Berlin
KEVIN A. JERNIGAN, then a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in January 2004 to aid research on 'A Study of Tree Identification among the Aguaruna Jivaro of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Brent Berlin. A year-long ethnobotanical study was carried out in several indigenous communities on the Nieva River, in the Peruvian Amazon, to determine how the Aguaruna Jivaro identify trees of their local environment. After eliciting freelists of tree names from community members, 65 trees were selected from the freelists for measuring identification methods. Interviews with eight key informants helped to determine how the identifications were made and voucher specimens were collected from the selected trees. This study made use of the Aguaruna concept of kumpaji, glossed as companion, which denotes species thought to be perceptually similar but not subsumed under a shared name. Questions designed to elicit identification methods included asking what distinguishes each tree from other trees informants consider to be its companions. Specimens collected in the study in combination with ethnobotanical data collected by Brent Berlin for the Aguaruna (1970) aided in obtaining accurate botanical determinations of the species in question and support the notion that these covert groupings correspond to tree species of the same botanical family. Results also indicate that the Aguaruna rely on both morphological and ecological clues to identify trees. Morphological clues appear to play a greater role than ecological ones.
Newberry, Derek Owen, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Sustainability in the Commodification of Brazilian Biofuels,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna
DEREK O. NEWBERRY, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Politics of Sustainability in the Commodification of Brazilian Biofuels,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna. This study sought to determine how sustainability is defined and regulated in the context of the Brazilian biofuel industry, where the social and environmental impacts of producing this energy are a subject of concern, but ill-defined. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted on negotiations to create sustainable production standards for biofuels in São Paulo and abroad, as well as on implementation of these standards in a rural biofuel expansion region. It was found that there are two distinct networks of regulation for biofuel production that not only entail different monitoring and enforcement practices, but different ethics of truth and risk as well. Transnational standards are driven by ethical concerns about maintaining acceptable levels of quantitative impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions at a global scale. Locally, residents in frontier regions are much more concerned with qualitatively defined standards of working conditions and reducing the volatility of change associated with new biofuel companies entering their towns. The results contribute to our understanding of how social networks and personal experiences with a commodity significantly affect how different actors define and measure ethical production of that commodity, even within purportedly objective systems of regulation.
Craig, Jacqueline A., U. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand - To aid research on 'Prehistoric Diet in the Cook Islands: Stable Isotope Analysis of Human Commensals from Aitutaki,' supervised by Dr. Melinda Allen and Dr. Judith Littleton
JACQUELINE A. CRAIG, while a student at the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand, was awarded a grant in December 2001 to aid research on the prehistoric diets of humans and commensal animals on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, under the supervision of Dr. Melinda Allen and Dr. Judith Littleton. The project had three main components: to investigate the diets of two key human commensals in the Cook Islands-pigs and dogs-using stable isotope analysis; to test for significant shifts in diet over a span of approximately 1000 years; and to evaluate whether bones from commensal animals might serve as indicators of prehistoric human diet on Aitutaki. Craig analyzed 92 archaeological samples of human, pig, and dog bone, as well as modern samples of plants and fish bones, for 15N, 13C, and 34S isotope values. Initial findings showed that marine protein made up large proportions of the diets of dogs (approximately 47 percent) and pigs (approximately 23 percent)-significantly higher than figures for modern populations of those species. The samples also showed a trend toward less marine protein over time in the diets fed to the commensals, which was consistent with Craig's initial hypothesis that fishing by humans declined in prehistory. This trend was less clear in the human samples, in which intra- and inter-individual variation may have masked changes through time. Stable isotope analysis of teeth and jawbone samples from same individuals revealed significant variation, reflecting changes in diet from childhood to adulthood. Isotope values for commensals showed consistent relationships with human isotope values, indicating that they may serve as useful proxies for human bone in future dietary analyses.
Sperlich, Tobias, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Germany and its 'Ethnographic Treasure Box': The Anthropology of Collecting in Colonial Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Chris Gosden
TOBIAS SPERLICH, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in March 2003 to aid research on 'Germany and its 'Ethnographic Treasure Box:' The Anthropology of Collecting in Colonial Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Chris Gosden. The fieldwork is part of a larger project that looks at the origin, dissemination, and reception of Samoan material culture in early 20th century Germany. It was carried out over a two-month period in Samoa and included research in archival collections, field interviews, and site observations. The aim of these activities was to reconstruct the socio-cultural milieu of colonial Samoa and to study the changing uses and perceptions of material culture over the last century. The research base was Apia, where research was conducted at the Nelson Memorial Library and the National University of Samoa. Interviews were held with Samoans whose ancestry included Germans or those who had mementoes documenting the German colonial presence. Both of these activities were retrospectively focused, whereas contemporary practices were the focus of interviews with museum officials, artists and producers, vendors and buyers of Samoan material culture. Discussions aimed to evaluate modern perceptions of the authenticity, value, and meanings of these objects in a Samoan and foreign context. This research thus complements research previously undertaken in Germany and allows for a fuller evaluation of colonial Samoa and its representation through collections of material culture in the West.
Henne, Adam Peters, U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Wood: Nature, Knowledge, and Commodity Fetishism in Chilean Forest Certification,' supervised by Dr. Peter Brosius
ADAM PETERS HENNE, then a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received a grant in April 2006, to aid research on 'The Social Life of Wood: Nature, Knowledge, and Commodity Fetishism in Chilean Forest Certification,' supervised by Dr. Peter Brosius. The Forest Stewardship Council provides the green seal of approval for 'good wood,' indicating a wood product that the conscientious consumer can feel good about buying. Like Fair Trade or organic food, FSC certification depends on a market premium on sustainably produced wood to push producers toward more sustainable practices. This dependency implies global connections between Northern consumers, Chilean producers, and the physical landscape of Chile itself. The value-based standards that attempt to constrain those global connections are the product of political contests not visible in the wood products at the end of the commodity chain. This project attempts to make these politics visible by documenting the process by which standards for good forestry are negotiated and defined. Standards and certification are particularly good objects for cultural study because they bring together in one site so many fields of contestation: techno-science and international trade; indigenous and environmental movements; consumers and ethical practice. By studying how the FSC and its knowledge practices work together to produce new subjectivities while re-inscribing existing structures of inequality, this project aims to raise some valuable questions about the role of forest certification and other ethical trade initiatives in creating sustainable, survivable global futures.
Meek, Laura Anne, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Curing Drugs: Pharmaceutical Capacities in the Context of Radical Uncertainty in Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. James H. Smith
Preliminary abstract: Powerful antibiotics are readily available for purchase throughout Tanzania, and Western policy makers regularly decry this situation as dangerous and disordered, as if no rules govern the use of antibiotics in Africa. While Western biomedicine perceives pharmaceuticals as cures for disease, in Tanzania, such medicines are understood to be volatile and potentially dangerous substances- one among many unpredictable, fluctuating, and highly contemporary forces from outside, whose potentials are at once positive and negative. In the prevailing Western understanding of antibiotic use in Africa, 'truth' lies in the science that goes into the making and proper prescription of drugs, and such deviations as 'overuse' result from the fact that locals misunderstand what these drugs are and how they should be used. My preliminary research suggests that Tanzanian practice is aimed at determining the 'true' nature of these drugs, at differentiating types of drugs, and at establishing control over their variable capacities, an orientation that defines many related practices in the region, from politics to religion. This project will use ethnographic methods to investigate the social dynamics and concerns that inform the use of antibiotics in Tanzania in an effort to understand and eventually demonstrate the logics of drug use in Iringa, a regional capital in the southern highlands of Tanzania. It will ask what capacities and potentialities antibiotics are understood to have, what role embodied epistemological practices play in the production of this knowledge, and how efforts to know/control these medicines may be a response to globalizing forces more generally.
Can, Basak, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Social Economy of Witnessing Violence: Enforced Disappearances in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois
BASAK CAN, then a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in July 2011 to aid research on 'Social Economy of Witnessing Violence: Enforced Disappearances in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois. Twelve months of research was conducted to study the continuum between political violence and its scientific bureaucratic inscriptions, and how the 'victims' of political violence, specifically families of the forcibly disappeared people, are influenced by and modify this continuum. The research was mainly conducted among the Saturday Mothers (an organization of the families of the enforcedly disappeared people) and at two human rights organizations (Human Rights Association and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) in order to have an ethnographic grasp of the social, political, and legal repercussions of political violence practiced by state security forces. Semi-structured interviews with lawyers, legal medicine experts, and doctors who are part of the reporting, documentation, and judging of political violence were carried out to understand meaning-making processes and practices of experts. Findings indicate that political discourses and practices of the victims of violence are increasingly influenced by the legalities of the state, be they forensic investigations, medical reportings or trial processes. On the other hand, families use these legal discourses and practices to question the legitimacy of the violence inflicted on them by re-politicizing the spaces, discourses, and relations that produce these legalities.
Scherer, Andrew K., Texas A&M U., College Station, TX - To aid 'Dental Analysis of Classic Maya Population Structure and History,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright
ANDREW K. SCHERER, while a student at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, received funding in April 2003 to aid 'Dental Analysis of Classic Maya Population Structure and History,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright. Scherer analyzed dental metric and nonmetric variability on a sample of 987 skeletons from 18 archaeological sites in the Maya region of modern-day Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. This data is being used to test two major hypotheses: 1) that biological distance between Classic period Maya site populations is correlated with geographic distances between sites; and 2) when gene flow occurred during the Classic period, it was primarily at the elite level of society. Preliminary multivariate statistical analysis of the data indicates that geographic distance is a poor indicator of biological distance in the Maya area. In some cases, regional isolation of biological variability is observed. In other instances major gene flow events occurred during the Classic period corresponding either to continual interaction between these sites, as well as possible large-scale episodes of migration. Further statistical testing will evaluate these original findings.
Scherer, Andrew K. 2007. Population Structure of the Classic Period Maya. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132(3):367-380.