Sandesara, Utpal Niranjan, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Prenatal Kinship and Selective Reproduction: The Process of Sex Selection in an Indian Community,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois
Preliminary abstract: Over the past three decades, the selective abortion of female fetuses has emerged as a prominent form of gendered violence in northwestern India. While state institutions have attempted to combat the practice, the number of sex-selective abortions has remained constant or risen in most regions during the past twenty years. I propose to explore this situation by conducting twelve months of multi-sited ethnographic research on the process of sex selection in Mahesana, Gujarat. Tracing the process across household, clinical, and governmental settings will allow me to connect the views, experiences, and practices of reproductive-aged women with those of husbands, senior relatives, clinicians, brokers, and government officials, thereby elucidating the gendered power relations that sustain sex selection despite efforts to combat it. My project will empirically link gender-kinship norms with medicalized reproduction and state governance by exploring three key questions: What norms and practices underlie desires for sons over daughters in the present sociohistorical context? How do biomedical practitioners come to participate in sex selection, and how do different clinical actors manage the technical, economic, and moral ambiguities in the process? And how do state policies construct, engage, and impact sex selection as a social crisis? Through a focus on the simultaneous reproduction of individual bodies and the social order, and using the analytic of gendered violence, my project will generate a framework for exploring gender, kinship, and violence in the prenatal period. (This submission requests funding for the second phase [last six months] of the project.)
Hakyemez, Serra M., Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Double Side of Law: Minority Cultural Rights and Anti-Terror Laws in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
Preliminary abstract: Two sets of legal reforms enacted in the 2000s in Turkey have changed the way the state deals with Kurdish minorities significantly. The new legislation on minority rights allows Kurds to exercise some of their formerly prohibited linguistic and cultural rights. The enactment of the new anti-terror law, however, has simultaneously expanded the scope of prosecutable acts of terrorism and enhanced the state's capacity to control Kurdish political dissent. These two series of legal provisions have produced a paradoxical effect of rendering Kurdish subjects vulnerable to the charges of terrorism when they exercise their newly granted cultural rights. By conducting an ethnographic study of the open court trials of anti-terrorism cases and the circulation of stories about those very trials in the Kurdish community in Diyarbakir, I will examine how legal processes validate or unsettle the conceptual distinction between permissible cultural expressions and criminal acts of terrorism. This research aims to understand, first, how the law is used to both express the legitimacy of cultural rights for minorities and contain such expressions through the discourse of security; and second, how minority groups give voice to their own struggle with the law within the rubric of the Turkish state.
Zhang, Yinong, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Embodying Memory: Transforming Religious Practices of a Tibetan Village in Post-Reform China,' supervised by Dr. David H. Holmberg
YINONG ZHANG, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in June 2003 to aid research on 'Embodying Memory: Transforming Religious Practices of a Tibetan Village in Post-Reform China,' supervised by Dr. David H. Holmberg. This project was carried out primarily in a Tibetan village, Taktsang Lhamo, (Chinese: Langmusi) located on the contemporary provincial border of Gansu and Sichuan in western China between October 2003 and April 2005. After more than fifty years of incorporation into China, Tibetan society has experienced significant social transformations - from the overall attack on its culture and religion during the Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976) to the economic and social reform since the 1980s. Focusing on the revival of religious practices after the 1980s, when religious expression was again allowed by the Chinese government, this research was based on both the practical and emotional aspect of the everyday life in this village. In particular, the grantee observed religious and ritual events, festivals, language expressions, and ethnic interactions between Tibetan, Chinese, and Muslims. These practices constitute a significant body of social memories through which new ethnic identities have been reconstructed within the context of a rapidly changing Chinese state. Furthermore, by looking at the embodying process of social memories in these daily practices, the research also shows an internalization and negotiation between modern multi-ethnic nation state-building and local concerns about it.
Lynch, Jane Elizabeth, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Fashioning Value: Materiality, Cloth, and Political Economy in India,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane
JANE E. LYNCH, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Fashioning Value: Materiality, Cloth, and Political Economy in India,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane. This research examined the consequences and prospects of economic liberalization in contemporary India through a study of the handloom textile industry. Given its historical depth and institutional diversity -- ranging from cooperative societies and government corporations to private companies and self-help groups -- this industry and its politics offer unique perspectives on India's transition from state-led economic development to market liberalization. By focusing on the workings and institutional frictions of the commodity networks for cloth woven in the central Indian town of Chanderi, this study examined the social geographies, moral claims about production and consumption, and locally mediated conceptions of ownership and community that are navigated and produced in the commoditization of cloth. Ethnographic research undertaken in Chanderi as well as in the cities of Indore and Delhi, revealed a key effect of liberalization on this industry has been the heightened competition over intellectual property and rights to production, for example, in terms of branding. Extended fieldwork and document-based research showed that practices of branding are being defined not only in terms of consumer sentiment, but also through the efforts of institutions, collectivities, and individuals to delineated -- on moral grounds -- the ways in which cloth can be manufactured, valued, and owned.
Hepner, Tricia M. Redeker, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Of Eritrea and Exile: Trans/Nationalism in the Horn of Africa and the United States, ' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina
Georgiev, Alexander Ventsislavov, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA- To aid research on 'Dominance Rank, Mating Effort, and Energy Use in Male Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham
ALEXANDER V. GEORGIEV, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Dominance Rank, Matting Effort, and Energy Use in Male Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham. While differential energy intake is widely recognized as a key factor affecting inter-individual variance in fecundity and lifetime fitness among female mammals, including humans, the role that energetics play in shaping male reproductive strategies is less well understood. This study set out to examine the energetic costs of male mating effort in wild chimpanzees at Kanyawara, Kibale National Park, Uganda, by combining detailed observations of male activity with non-invasive sampling of urinary C-peptide of insulin (UCP). Male chimpanzees incurred important energetic shortfalls during periods of intense mating competition: they reduced their feeding time and had lower levels of UCP (a measure of energy balance). While high-ranking males had lower UCP levels overall, males of all ranks experience a similar reduction in their energy balance during periods of mate competition. Nevertheless, higher-ranking males obtained most copulations with more attractive females. The energy cost per copulation appeared to be lower for high-ranking than low-ranking males. This study extends our understanding of the energetics of male-male sexual competition and highlights the significant energetic costs of mating effort in a non-seasonally breeding primate.
Georgiev, A. V., et al. 2014. The Foraging Costs of Mating Effort in Male Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). International Journal of Primatology 35.3-4 (2014): 725-745.
Webb, Meghan Farley, U. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS - To aid research on 'Yojkanäj Wawe' (We Remain Here): Transnational Surveillance's Effect on the Wives of Kaqchikel Migrants,' supervised by Dr. Brent E. Metz
MEGHAN F. WEBB, then a graduate student at University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, received funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Yojkanäj Wawe' (We Remain Here): Transnational Surveillance's Effect on the Wives of Kaqchikel Migrants,' supervised by Dr. Brent E. Metz. Increasingly, indigenous communities are embracing transnational migration as a way to engage with the global market. In the past fifteen years Kaqchikel Maya men from the aldeas (hamlets) surrounding Tecpán have turned to transnational migration from Guatemala to the United States as a means of achieving economic security. In the absence of their migrant husbands, Kaqchikel women find themselves filling roles traditionally held by men. This, when combined with the increased economic power from remittances, should translate into greater autonomy for Kaqchikel women. However, ethnographic research suggests the opposite to be true. The wives of migrants become, upon their husbands' departures, subject to increased local and transnational surveillance, particularly at the hands of their suegras (mothers-in-law). By documentomg the micro-technologies of surveillance (e.g. social media, cell phones, transnational gossip, transnational videos, etc.) used in transnational households, this research demonstrates that migrants' wives are subject to familial surveillance of both care and control and questions how such monitoring impacts gender relations and family dynamics in sending communities. As such, it provides insights into the personal dilemmas of indigenous migrants and their families who remain in sending communities.
Labrador, Angela Marie, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton
ANGELA M. LABRADOR, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton. This research explored how a rural New England community has leveraged the legal instrument of the conservation easement to protect their cultural landscapes and associated cultural identities and values. The fieldwork documented the social impacts of conservation easements, framing their application as part of a wider social ethic, deeply embedded in local cultural heritage. Traditionally, the protection of heritage is conceptualized as a 'preservation' process enacted by experts using etic standards of cultural and material 'authenticity.' However, this approach has alienated communities from their heritage. This research contributes a dynamic framework of heritage as a creatively shared component of community life and its safeguarding as an ethos informed by emic values and enacted by a broader base of stakeholders. The resulting ethnography -- which combined archival research, participant observation, and Photovoice -- actively engaged with the social ethic that supports the landscape protection program. Two sets of findings resulted: one assessed the potential and shortcomings of the heritage commons created through the usage of conservation easements and the other proposed a methodology for facilitating community-based and deliberative reflection on the past and future in rural places struggling with the socio-economic transformations of modernity.
Baron, Joanne Parsley, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Patrons of La Corona: Deities and Power in a Classic Maya Community,' supervised by Dr. Richard M. Leventhal
Preliminary abstract: This research examines the role of patron deity veneration in the construction of power relationships among the Maya of the Classic period (ca. AD 250-900). The research combines archaeological and epigraphic approaches to investigate research questions pertaining to the relationship between the ruler and his patron deities and the way in which veneration rites contributed to the exercise of the ruler's political power. It also investigates the construction of political identity among members of the community. The research investigates the following questions: which veneration rituals were specific to 'patron deities,' the local deities of the community? Which members of the community participated in these rites and what was the nature of their participation? When did these rites occur, and with what frequency? Why were particular rites considered most appropriate for local deities and what was their religious significance? And how did patron deity veneration change through time as a result of the decisions and actions of ritual participants? Archaeological excavation at La Corona, Guatemala, will investigate these questions by examining construction histories, architectural features, and discarded remains of veneration rites at a series of patron deity temples. Epigraphic analysis will be incorporated in order to investigate the specific meaning of patron deity rites, as expressed by Classic Maya elites. Ultimately, this research seeks to understand the place of patron deity veneration, as opposed to other types of religious practice, in the social life of the Classic Maya.
Baron, Joanne. 2014. Metapragmatics in Archaeological Analysis: Interpreting Classic Maya Patron Deity Veneration. Signs and Society 2(2):249-283.