Nesvet, Matthew W., U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on ''Zama Zama': The Hustle and Flow of Criminalized Gold Production in Gauteng Province, South Africa,' supervised by Dr. James Smith
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation investigates 'illegal' gold production in Gauteng, South Africa. My research explores how the materiality of gold and criminalization of some groups of artisanal and informal gold miners are related. Gold's material capacities to be isolated, melted, combined with gold originating at other places and times, and transported at low cost, due to its density, malleability and inertness has disrupted efforts to certify some gold as produced legally and other as 'illegal'. Unlike conflict diamonds that are traced to mines and times that classify them as having been produced by 'conflict' actors, gold's liquidity renders its history illegible. This enables gold to flow between 'illegal' and 'legal' bodies, markets, and spaces of production and trade, transgressing boundaries between these. Thus gold's materiality troubles criminal and anthropological practice - and motivates this research on how 'illegal' bodies and materials are demarcated from 'legal' ones, in a world where such a distinction is continuously contested in mining, crushing, smelting and trading. I will trace the practices that link criminalized forms of gold production and trade to both large-scale industrial and small-scale 'customary' mining. I hypothesize that, just as gold's material flows enable its circulation between 'legal' and 'illegal' worlds, criminalized gold miners also have illegible histories that disrupt their ability to make property claims to the gold they unearth. Unlike 'customary' miners, 'illegal' miners do not articulate historical memories of mining or belonging to pre-colonial mining communities. This explains how they are imagined as 'foreign' and 'criminal' in a context where the practices that underlie 'criminal', 'law-abiding, 'foreign', or 'citizen' are imbricated. This research thus constitutes an early attempt to place criminality within the ontological turn.
de la Torre III, Pedro Eduardo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY - To aid research on 'Future Imaginaries, Environmental Stewardship, and the Politics of the Longue Durée at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation,' supervised by Dr. Kim Fortun
Preliminary abstract: The Hanford Nuclear Reservation hosted plutonium production facilities for the U.S.'s nuclear weapons arsenal from 1943 until 1988. It is now the site of one of the largest environmental remediation efforts in the world, which involves the 'public' primarily through a long-standing stakeholder advisory board that issues advice to federal agencies on issues ranging from final land use plans to the pace and extent of cleanup. Some communities, however, are engaged in intergenerational efforts to build the kinds of institutions, expertise, technologies, and politics that can ensure that the site is safe for ten thousand years or more. This intergenerational advocacy, as well as the broader politics of the site, involves negotiating ethical obligations to future generations and diverse populations in the present, as well as 'imagining' the future of this site. Through an ethnographic engagement with stakeholders and others involved in the Hanford clean up, this project will explore the future imaginaries implicated in the practices, knowledges, and advocacy shaping the longue durée of contaminated landscapes. Finally, it will argue that the inheritance of dangerous landscapes is an active and contested process--beset by discursive hazards and double binds--that is shaped by history, collective memory, and anticipation.
Hodge, Christina J., Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Middling Identities in Colonial New England: Class, Taste, and Material Culture in Newport, RI,' supervised by Dr. Mary C. Beaudry
CHRISTINA J. HODGE, then a student at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Middling Identities in Colonial New England: Class, Taste, and Material Culture in Newport, Rhode Island,' supervised by Dr. Mary C. Beaudry. This project was an archaeological study of the Wood Lot at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard site, Newport, Rhode Island. The Wood Lot has early to mid-18th-century domestic components. The project traced the material practices of Newport's middling sorts. It also provided historical context for the development of an incipient middle class in colonial America. Funding supported expert analysis of over 3,000 fragmentary faunal remains from Wood Lot privies and other filled features. Faunal remains, combined with artifactual evidence, provided a more thorough picture of middling lives. In the traditional English manner, most New Englander city dwellers prized the meat of young animals. Wood Lot households occasionally invested in these esteemed and expensive foods, particularly veal and suckling pig. Yet, residents were not wealthy and apparently supplemented their store-bought meats with caught fish and wildfowl. Fashionable 'Georgian' culture was, thus, demonstrably fragmentary and idiosyncratic. Different categories of material culture tell different stories of status, taste, and desire. Middling individuals participated in social transformations of 18th-century New England through their most intimate spaces-their bodies and homes. This study revealed which refined behaviors non-elite Newporters accepted, rejected, and altered to create their own versions of gentility.
Mendoza Rockwell, Elsa Natalia, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The State of Eloquence: Parliaments and Democratic Discourse in Mali,' supervised by Dr. Claudio Lomnitz
ELSA N. MENDOZA-ROCKWELL, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'The State of Eloquence: Parliaments and Democratic Discourse in Mali,' supervised by Dr. Claudio Lomnitz. In the last twenty years electoral multi-party forms of democracy have gained universal validity relegating all other political systems to illegitimacy. During the 1990s many African countries moved from 'authoritarian' regimes to 'democratic' ones. Mali was renowned as one of the most successful African cases of democratization until the 2012 military coup. This research explores the actual political practices that such democratization processes triggered and attempts to take seriously explicit and implicit reactions to electoral democracy. It is centered on the discursive aspects of politics, more specifically on the status of debate and deliberation in so called 'pluralist' regimes. It is empirically grounded in the observation of a large number of different political meetings -- ranging from the National Assembly to youth political debates -- in Mali in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Those recordings provide the evidence needed to explore the following questions: Has electoral democracy allowed for the expression of a more diverse spectrum of political means and ends? What are the ways in which electoral democracy disciplines and uniforms political movements and demands while promoting pluralism and dissent? How does the limit between democracy and anti-democracy gets discursively established before and after the military coup?
Chen, Peiyu, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Household Practice and Early Social Inequality: Huaca Negra, Virú Valley, Peru.,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Arkush
Preliminary abstract: This research aims to address the nature of the development of social complexity reflected in early permanent household inequality by excavating the Late Preceramic/ Initial Period site, Huaca Negra, Virú Valley, Peru. This time span witnessed the emergence of large-scale monument-building on Peru's northern and central coast. Instead of assuming that the emergence of institutionalized household inequality necessarily paralleled to early monument construction, this research examines the relationship between the two aspects and attempts to answer two questions: (1) did the same principle of social hierarchy function in both public and household realms? (2) through what kinds of domestic practices did potential leaders in the community differentiate themselves from others? Unequal access to subsistence resources, craft goods and exotic materials between different households will be analyzed as evidences of inequality in economic, cultural or social capital respectively. These forms of capital could have been manipulated by aggrandizer seeking social status or prestige. Taking household as analytic unit to evaluate these questions avoids the bias caused by age and gender inequality embedded in even the most 'egalitarian' society. The reflection of domestic life in the community enables a bottom-up perspective that is crucial for understanding the emergence of early social inequality.
Saria, Vaibhav, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
VAIBHAV SARIA, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The grantee conducted fieldwork in rural Orissa in the districts of Bhadrak and Kalahandi among the hijras, investigating the various ways in which same-sex intimacy and desire is imagined outside the city, and what were the freedom and restraints offered to this population now labeled as a sexual minority, by the globalizing of categories, narratives and desire through the AIDS International. The grantee collected narratives not only of desire, love, sex, intimacy, seduction, and flirtation to see how actions, aspirations and failures of the hijra are organized, but also collected data related to their work -- which involves, begging, prostitution, dancing and singing -- to see how the relationship between poverty and sexual desire are configured and how the carnality of both gain expression in the hijra body. These questions were studied by conducting fieldwork on different various sites -- a local NGO, mosques, the natal family in which some hijra reside, and in trains and train stations. The grantee participated in religious festivals and accompanied hijras as they performed on the occasions of birth and marriage and also as they were recruited to act in music videos and films. The grantee collected narratives about fields where sexual relations occur for pleasure and money, outside the ordered domains of family and village, and was thus able to systematically investigate the relationship between poverty and sexual desire. Given the agenda of a global program to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has brought anal sex into such scrutiny while also trying to legitimize its existence, this research addresses the contradictions that redraw the erogenous zones of the hijra through the traffic between global categories and locally embedded practices.
Halvaksz, Jamon A., U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Global Desires, Local Debates: Evaluating Conservation and Development in the Wau-Bulolo Valley, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Kathleen Barlow
Halvaksz, Jamon. 2006. Cannibalistic Imaginaries: Mining the Natural and Social Body in Papua New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 18(2):335-359.
Halvaksz, Jamon. 2010. The Photographic Assemblage: Duration, History and Photography in Papua New Guinea. Anthropology and History 21(4):411-429.
Zia, Ather, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal
ATHER ZIA, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal. Since 1989 Kashmir has been engulfed in an anti-India armed militancy. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men have disappeared in the Indian counter-insurgency actions. Kashmiri women have assumed the task of caring for families in the absence of men. They have organized to search for those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance after being arrested by the Indian army. The research explores why some Kashmiri women become activists, what factors sustain their political struggle, and how their work as women redefines notions of activism, and public engagement in a primarily Islamic social context. The resulting dissertation focuses on understanding the questions of agency, affect, ethics, and emotion, memorialization, and mourning, in this kin-based activism.
Machicek, Michelle Lynn, U. of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK - To aid research on 'Elucidating Complexity in Mobile-Pastoralist Societies: A Study in Subsistence Strategies, Environmental Adaptation and Social Practice,' supervised by Dr. Andrew T. Chamberlain
MICHELLE LYNN MACHICEK, then a student at University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'Elucidating Complexity in Mobile-Pastoralist Societies: A Study in Subsistence Strategies, Environmental Adaptation and Social Practice,' supervised by Dr. Andrew T. Chamberlain. In the distant past until the present day, communities practicing various forms of mobile-pastoralism have come to characterize the vast steppe lands of Inner Asia. However, the details and complexities of this occurrence remain poorly understood. This research utilized data -- analyzed and recorded from samples of human skeletal material -- to address variation and similarities in dietary regimes of discrete communities inhabiting this region. The samples utilized for this research are derived from archaeological contexts, ranging in date from ca. 2500 BCE to CE 1300. Evidence relating to dietary regimes was obtained through a comprehensive study of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic analyses of human and faunal bone collagen. Further evidence was obtained from a detailed recording of dental pathological conditions and dental wear patterns. Dietary change and continuity over time was addressed through a program of radiocarbon dating in correlation with the results from the stable isotope and dental analyses. The results of this project have shed light on the degree of variation in dietary regimes of mobile-pastoralist groups which inhabited distinct ecological zones throughout the study region from differing time periods. The results have provided a measure for assessing dietary regimes of these groups with more informed and contextualized interpretations.