Nonaka, Angela M., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on ''Pasa Bai': Language Socialization of an Indigenous Sign Language in a Northeastern Thai Village,' supervised by Dr. Elinor R. Ochs
ANGELA M. NONAKA, while a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in December 2002 to aid research on '`Pasa Bai:' Language Socialization of an Indigenous Sign Language in a Northeastern Thai Village,' supervised by Dr. Elinor R. Ochs. Ban Khor is a rural Thai village with an unusually large deaf population and an indigenous sign language, pasa bai (language deaf/mute), which spontaneously arose in the community 60 to 80 years ago. Although it once thrived - developing rapidly, spreading widely among both hearing and deaf villagers, and socio-communicatively managing deafness in the community - Ban Khor Sign Language and the delicate sociolinguistic ecology surrounding it are now threatened by demographic shift, socioeconomic change, and language contact with the national sign language. This is unfortunate for many reasons. For example, pasa bai exhibits rare linguistic features that enhance understanding of language typologies and language universals. Moreover, villagers' response to widespread hereditary deafness expands anthropological understanding of subjects ranging from the definition of a ''speech' community' to the social construction of disability. Language endangerment and its extended implications for sociocultural diversity are growing concerns for anthropologists. Despite increasing awareness of the problem, indigenous sign languages and their attendant speech communities remain among the world's least studied and most vulnerable languages and cultures. The project was conducted during calendar year 2003 with three concurrent goals: 1) to document the existence of Ban Khor Sign Language and the Ban Khor speech community; 2) to trace the ethnographic particulars of the emergence, spread, and decline of the local sign language; and 3) to develop a case study examining indigenous sign language endangerment in relation to language socialization practices, language ideologies, and cultural ecology.
Nonaka, Angela. 2004. The Forgotten Endangered Languages: Lessons on the Importance of Remembering from Thailand’s Ban Khor Sign Language. Language in Society 33(5):737-767.
Dennison, Jean, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Reforming a Nation: Citizenship, Government and the Osage People,' supervised by Dr. Peter R. Schmidt
JEAN DENNISON, then a student at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, was awarded funding in November 2005, to aid research on ''Reforming a Nation: Citizenship, Government and the Osage People,' supervised by Dr. Peter R. Schmidt. This research examined the mapping of Osage identity within the context of their 2004-2006 citizenship and government reform process. It investigated three primary areas: first, how the colonial situation created certain limitations on and possibilities for Osage citizenship and governmental formation; second, the ways in which the desires surrounding 'Osageness' were created and changed through the reform process; and third, how the writers of the 2006 Osage Constitution navigated the conflicts arising from these histories and desires in order to create this governing document. In order to investigate these concerns a wide range of evidence was collected, including archival documents, interviews, recorded community and business meetings, and informal conversations. Using this evidence, this dissertation will investigate how colonial policies, local histories, authorized and unauthorized stories about the reform process, biological 'facts,' desires, fears and personal experiences were all hardened into the 2006 Osage constitution.
Sood, Anubha, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Women's Help-Seeking Pathways: Global Policy, the State and Mental Health Practices in India,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca J. Lester
ANUBHA SOOD, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Women's Help-Seeking Pathways: Global Policy, the State and Mental Health Practices in India,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca J. Lester. This research project investigated the help-seeking pathways of women experiencing mental distress in urban North India. In India's medically plural landscape (which includes myriad treatment options), mystical-spiritual healing practices based on ideas of supernatural affliction are believed to hold special expertise for treating mental disorders, and are especially popular among women. However, the Indian state endorses biomedical psychiatry, a less commonly sought option among women, as the only legitimate mental health system for the country and denounces magico-religious healing as superstitious and inimical to the women seeking such treatment. The study investigated what distinct appeal these two systems of mental health care held for women and what might women's engagements with these systems reveal about how state discourses shape women's health concerns. The research was conducted among women, their families and the psychiatrists/healers in a public health psychiatric facility in Delhi and a popular Hindu healing temple in the neighboring state of Rajasthan. The two field settings were carefully chosen based on an overlapping population of attendees similar in socio-demographic and socioeconomic profile visiting the two sites. The project was carried out over the period of July-December 2009 and involved participant observation and person-centered interviewing, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing as the primary methods of research.
Horner Brackett, Rachel Anne, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on ''Eat it to Save it': Risk and the Slow Food Movement,' supervised by Dr. Erica Stephanie Prussing
RACHEL A. HORNER BRACKETT, then a student at University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on ''Eat It to Save It:' Risk and the Slow Food Movement,' supervised by Dr. Erica Prussing. The Slow Food Movement outlines the risks of 'fast' food and living, targeting issues such as sustainability, loss of culinary traditions, unethical rural development, and vanishing biodiversity. How are the discourses of risks described by this movement translated by and through a milieu of diverse local histories and locally defined values surrounding food? To answer this question, research was conducted with Slow Food groups in Tuscany and Iowa from September 2008 to September 2009. This research was comprised of two related but distinct efforts: 1) a critical discourse analysis of Slow Food's stated missions, through evaluations of the media, public relations efforts, publications, and Slow Food events; and 2) the ethnographic study of local efforts to address food risks by Slow Food chapters and related organizations. Risk to place and tradition is emphasized in Italy, where breeds like the Cinta Senese pig are highlighted by Slow Food because they are symbolic of disappearing cultural landscapes and cultural knowledge. In the U.S., where the bureaucratization of a corporate food chain is seen as a major threat, Slow Food groups engage in overtly political contexts. Actors in both countries hold values that promote local activism aiming to redress 'external' threats.
Minks, Amanda, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox
AMANDA MINKS, while a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in June 2002 to aid research on 'Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children,' supervised by Dr. Aaron A. Fox. In the past thirty years, Miskitu Indians have migrated in increasing numbers from mainland Nicaragua to Com Island, off the Caribbean coast. This migration has transformed the social and political landscape of the island, which, since the nineteenth century, has been populated primarily by English-speaking Creole people. Also transformed are the expressive and socializing practices of Miskitu islanders. The aim of the research supported by Wenner-Gren was to document the repertoires of Miskitu children's expressive practices across a range of contexts, providing a lens on shifting processes of socialization among peers and across generations. The term expressive practices encompasses a range of interrelated communicative activities (musical, linguistic, and kinetic) approached from the perspectives of style, performance, and poetics. The imagination is key not only in terms of children's play activities, but also in terms of developing social imaginaries that construct ties among people across time and space. Children were observed in formal socializing contexts, such as the school and the church, as well as the informal contexts of home and outdoor play spaces. Audio recordings of children's interaction were transcribed in collaboration with Miskitu consultants, and interviews were conducted with adults dealing with topics such as migration histories, gender roles, socialization practices, religion, and labor. This research attempts to make connections between the large-scale political and economic forces that are radically changing Com Island's social structure, and the small-scale interactions in which children are socialized - and socialize one another - in a multilingual, culturally diverse environment.
Chudakova, Tatiana, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Institutionalization of Tibetan Medicine in Post-Soviet Buryatia,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar
TATIANA CHUDAKOVA, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'The Institutionalization of Tibetan Medicine in Post-Soviet Buryatia,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. This research focused on efforts to institutionalize, scientize, and commercialize the practices of Tibetan medicine in Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation located in southeastern Siberia. In so doing, it interrogates the emergence in Russia's state--sponsored and private health care institutions of what appears to be a kind of 'biocosmopolitan' imaginary -- a set of rhetorics and practices that attempt to combine and blend together disparate therapeutic cosmologies, diagnostic techniques, and possible ways of managing bodies and subjectivities under a single logic of 'optimizing' and 'revitalizing' health through the 'integration' (integratzia) of 'Eastern' and 'Western' medical knowledge. This project looks at the ways in which Tibetan medicine in Buryatia has been closely entangled with local scientific and biomedical practices, entanglements that both predate strictly post-Soviet logics of cultural and religious revival, and give rise to new kinds of knowledge practices, forms of expertise, and modes of care and health management. In this sense, this research focuses on the ways in which Tibetan medicine in Buryatia is both transformative of the efforts to 'rationalize' it, and constantly informed by them.
Schauer, Matthew Philip, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Warfare on the Inca Frontier: Fortification, Imperialism, and Interaction on the Frontier in Northern Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Harold Keeley
MATTHEW SCHAUER, then a student at University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in April 2009 to aid research on 'Warfare on the Inca Frontier: Fortification, Imperialism, and Interaction on the Frontier in Northern Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Keeley. In the northern Ecuadorian highlands, the Inca constructed fourteen fortifications at Pambamarca to subjugate a local chiefdom called the Cayambe. These sites are clustered together yet vary in the number of walls, structures, defensives, and size. The purpose of this dissertation project was to explain the variability and clustering of these sites and determine the types of activities that took place. This study was carried out in three phases. The first phase was survey using a combination of methods to establish a typology identifying a three-tier hierarchy of fortress sites. The next phase of research involved a systematic test sampling program from the three types. The purpose of this phase was to determine the density and distribution of occupation across a site. The final phase involved larger excavation units to expose what type of activities were happening at these sites, the sequence of occupation and who exactly was occupying these sites. Preliminary results suggest that different types fulfilled different roles. The imperial strategy of the Pambamarca complex of fortifications appears to have functioned as a complex network of imperial garrisons meant to prevent incursions from across the frontier with smaller sites serving as watchtowers for mutual support and defense.
Hanson, Kari Lynne, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Mosaic Evolution of Subcortical Structures and Neural Circuits in the Striatum,' supervised by Dr. Katerina Semendeferi
Preliminary abstract: Evidence from the fossil record has shown that the human brain has enlarged nearly three times in size since the separation of our lineage shared with the great apes. Relatively little is known regarding the effects that this enlargement has had on its internal organization, and how certain areas of the brain may or may not have differentially expanded over evolutionary time. This project aims to elucidate anatomical specializations of the human brain by examining the striatum, a subcortical structure involved in complex cognitive processes including language, decision-making, associative and social learning, in order to better understand the effects that the brain's gross volumetric increase has had on its organization at a cellular level. The proposed research will use advanced staining methods in a large sample of human and non-human primate brains to target and quantify distinct cell types within the striatum to better understand how neural circuitry may have been altered by the brain's expansion in hominoids and in humans. This data will help to clarify the pattern of mosaic evolution of brain structures at the level of neural circuits, whereby variable change in discrete regions of the brain may lead to differences in cognitive specialization across primate taxa.
Mahmud, Lilith, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Seeking Sisterhood: Elite Constructions of Gender in the Italian Freemasonry,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld
LILITH MAHMUD, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in June 2005 to aid research on 'Seeking Sisterhood: Elite Constructions of Gender in the Italian Freemasonry,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld. This project examined the making of gender in elite circles through the ethnographic study of Masonic Lodges in Italy. Through participant observation and in-depth interviews, the grantee studied the everyday lives of upper-class men and women members of four different Masonic Orders, providing an ethnographic account of this (in)famous esoteric organization -formerly a secret society for men only- that continues to operate in Italy among widespread conspiracy theories. Paying close attention to performances of intellectualism and 'high' culture, exclusionary politics, and both esoteric and social activities throughout the research, this study examined the role of secrecy in the establishment of relative power within an elite group, and the gendering of particular forms of femininities and masculinities among the upper classes of society. Findings emerging from research undertaken under this grant highlight the complexity and contingency of gender as a category, and the significance of cultural and social capital, in addition to financial resources, for the making of European elites.
Mahmud, Lilith. 2012. 'The World is a Forest of Symbols': Italian Freemasonry and the Practice of Discretion. American Ethnologist 39(2):425-438.
Budden, Ashwin, U. of California - San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Remaking Illness, Class, and Cultural Selves in Brazilian Ecstatic Religions,' supervised by Dr. Steven M. Parish
ASHWIN BUDDEN, then a student at University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California, was awarded funding in January 2005 to aid research on 'Remaking Illness, Class, and Cultural Selves in Brazilian Ecstatic Religions,' supervised by Dr. Steven M. Parish. This dissertation research investigates how Brazilians of different social classes participate in and use charismatic and spirit mediumship religions as therapeutic modalities and how, consequentially, moral knowing and moral selves are cultivated in the context of Brazil's medical and religious pluralism. Ethnographic fieldwork, using intensive participant-observation, semi-structured and person-centered interviews, and questionnaires, was carried out between February 2005 and July 2006 in the Amazonian city of Santarém. The primary venues for research were several Afro-spiritist terreiros, Kardec Spiritist centers, Pentecostal churches, and a community mental health clinic. The dissertation compares the cultural values and explanatory frames that are embedded in and intersect across these spiritual and secular institutions, their practices, and social class formations, which together comprise a medico-religious marketplace. It focuses specifically on how these values, in coordination with sensory and emotional experiences of distress, illness, and ritual, shape medical decision-making, social identities, and conceptions of moral selfhood. In these respects, this dissertation research will contribute to studies of religion, health, and modernity in Brazil, to an anthropology of urban Amazonia, and to theories of embodiment, suffering, and personhood within psychocultural and medical anthropology.