Thiels, John F., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Linguistic Repertoire Expansion and Ideologies of Multilingualism in Eastern Paraguay,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
JOHN F. THIELS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded funding in April 2005 to aid research on 'Linguistic Repertoire Expansion and Ideologies of Multilingualism in Eastern Paraguay,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. Ethnographic fieldwork in the multilingual frontier town of Nueva Esperanza, Paraguay, revealed a complex social field in which ideologies of linguistic difference and appropriate practice entered into everyday social relations between Brazilians and Paraguayans. While upper-status Brazilians commonly expressed ideologies of social dominance, other Brazilians expressed a variety of alignments towards and against Paraguay with various kinds of uptake by their Paraguayan interlocutors. Whereas many Paraguayans aligned themselves towards officialist ideologies of language and nation, transient workers often countered these notions with alternative histories and explicitly syncretic notions of language use. Ethnography of community radio and other media in this area approaches the question of multilingual publics in linguistic anthropology and notions of temporality and political change that are enacted in the relations of these media with municipal government. Community and commercial radio mediate between different publics and produce the notion of a multilingual public, performing multilingualism for a public that identifies itself with the language contact prevalent in the area.
Lowrie, Ian Patrick Macleod, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Building an Information Economy: Artificial Intelligence as Infrastructure in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer
Preliminary abstract: This project focuses on the ongoing attempts by Russian political and economic elites to enlist Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers in building a new, information-based economy. Despite the historically strong barrier between industry and academy in Russia, elites view AI researchers' academic expertise with data mining, natural language processing, and complex systems management as a unique foundation upon which to build the infrastructure required for this economy. As a consequence, these researchers have found themselves in the limelight of contemporary Russian statecraft, despite considering themselves as apolitical, fundamental researchers. Through participant observation, interviews, and archival research at three critical sites where elites are experimenting with new, hybrid forms of work and training, my research aims to develop an ethnographic understanding of how this large-scale elite project makes itself felt in the quotidian experiences of AI researchers. Engaging recent anthropological conversations about information, infrastructure, and education, my ultimate aim is to produce a theoretical framework adequate to the articulations of science, state, and market emerging in contemporary Russia.
Howard, Maureen Penelope, U. of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK - To aid research on 'Seascapes: Voyaging Through the Movements of Experience, Histories, and Ecology,' supervised by Dr. Arnar Arnason
MAUREEN MCCALL, then a student at University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Seascapes: Voyaging through the Movements of Experience, Histories, and Ecology,' supervised by Dr. Arnar Amason. The research project set out to address the question of whether existing theories of landscape could be applied to the sea, and what contributions an understanding of seascape could bring to anthropological landscape research. Fieldwork took place while living on a boat located in the northwest of Scotland between 2006 and 2008, and involved long-term participant observation on several boats as well as in five coastal communities. The research found that the seascape is a place of human habitation, filled with significant places and histories created through processes of work and social interactions at sea. The dissertation will emphasize how working processes bring people, places, and machines into intimate relation with one another -- relations that are always tensioned, have histories, and are constantly unfolding as new places and new techniques. The primary contribution of this research to existing landscape research will be to bring to the fore processes that may be active in all landscapes, specifically, the role of working interactions in forming significant places and experiences of place, the role of technologies in mediating interactions with sea/landscape, and the significant tensions that people must contend with in this process.
Snellinger, Amanda Therese, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'The Transfiguration of Political Imaginary: Nepali Student Activism on the National and Transnational Level,' supervised by Dr. David Hines Holmberg
AMANDA SNELLINGER, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2006 to aid research on 'The Transfiguration of Political Imaginary: Nepali Student Activism on the National and Transnational Level,' supervised by Dr. David Holmberg. This grant allowed the grantee to complete dissertation fieldwork researching Nepali student activists and student political organizations as a way to understand socialization in Nepali politics. The grantee traveled throughout Nepal attending student organizations' programs and conventions, meeting with students in the south who were agitating for Madheshi rights, and visiting active students outside the capital in order to understand the students' participation within the political landscape nationwide. In Delhi, India research was conducted at the National Archives and Jawalarhal Nehru University, as well as in Varanasi at Banaras Hindu University in order to understand the underground Nepali democratic struggle during the Rana and Panchayat eras (1940-1990) and the 2005 royal takeover. Targeted and informal interviews, archival research, and ethnographic observation focused on the following themes: political elite culture; cultural conceptions of youth and how they are deployed in Nepali politics; generational interaction through the view of mother organizations' (political parties) and sister (student) organizations' relationships; how the history of underground and educational experience in India has impacted activists' and politicians' approach to Nepali politics; how history is politically deployed; conceptual forms of democracy; internal institutional culture; and organizational theory, coalition building and factionalism.
Kroot, Matthew Vinciguerra, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Early Villages of the Dead Sea Basin: Transitions in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Social Organization,' supervised by Dr. Henry Tutwiler Wright III
MATTHEW V. KROOT, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in October 2009 to aid research on 'Early Villages of the Dead Sea Basin: Transitions in Pre-Pottery Neolithic Social Organization,' supervised by Dr. Henry Tutwiler Wright III. The goal of 'Assal-Dhra' Archaeological Project (ADAP) -- an excavation and survey project focused on the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN: 9,750-6,300 BCE) site of al-Khayran in west-central Jordan -- is to produce a diachronic regional model of the earliest development of village farming communities in the area. ADAP uses a combination of excavation and survey data from al-Khayran and other PPN projects within the area, along with paleo-resource reconstructions and ethnological modeling of small-scale foraging and farming communities to move beyond a cultural-historical sequence of social formations through time by modeling the socio-cultural forces that produced these social formations. Excavations at al-Khayran uncovered a single structure from the PPN. Associated with this structure is a collection of lithics, groundstone, fauna, shell ornaments, and various scientific samples that will be invaluable for analyzing socio-cultural practices through spatial-patterning, technological and use-wear analyses, resource procurement and utilization strategies, inter-community and inter-regional relationships, paleo-environmental reconstructions, and radiocarbon dating.
Sarie', Issa J., Hebrew U., Jerusalem, Israel - To aid research on 'Patterns of Paleodiet and Bio-Cultural Practices of Neolithic Ain Ghazal Inhabitants in Jordan,' supervised by Dr. Patricia Smith
ISSA J. SARIE, while a student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, was awarded a grant in May 2001 to aid reseach on patterns of paleodiet and biocultural practices at the Neolithic village of Ain Ghazal, Jordan, under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Smith. Chemical analyses of dental calculus, attrition, microwear, radiology, and periodontal diseases were carried out on 994 teeth from 146 individuals from Ain Ghazal in order to study the effects of changes in subsistence patterns on biophysical activities and health. Evidence from the dental analyses showed that the population practiced a mixed mode of subsistence, including agriculture, which predominated, game hunting, and gathering of wild fruits and seeds. Dental attrition and microwear, in association with periodontal disease, suggested heavy mastication of an abrasive diet of fruits and seeds, both gathered and cultivated. The enormous prevelance of dental enamel hypoplasia, associated with infectious and noninfectious diseases such as tuberculosis, porotic hyperostosis, and cribra orbitalia and with high child mortality rates, reflected environmental and nutritional stresses that led to a gradual deterioration in the health of the Ain Ghazal population. Through such results, the study promised to yield insights into the relationship between humans and their environment at Ain Ghazal and contribute to explanations of the abandonment of Neolithic sites in the Levant after the late PPNB.
Hansford, Frances G., Oxford U., Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Bias and Discrimination in Intra-Household Food Allocation: Case Study of a Rural Brazilian Population,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White
FRANCES G. HANSFORD, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, England, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'Bias and Discrimination in Intra-Household Food Allocation: Case Study of a Rural Brazilian Population,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White. Dissertation fieldwork was undertaken in the municipality of Gameleira, in the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. The work involved collecting anthropometric, dietary recall, and socio-demographic, economic and health survey data in 39 households, situated in two adjacent locations populated by unskilled and semi-skilled seasonal and permanent sugar workers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with women in most households, exploring food-related norms and behaviours, gender roles, and intra-household relations. At a later stage, intensive observation was undertaken in a sub-sample of six households, selected for their intra-household nutritional outcomes. The data reveal the co-existence of under- and over-nutrition within the population and within some households, conditions characteristic of the 'nutrition transition'. It is not clear whether divergences in intra-household nutrition are partly explained by biases in intra-household food allocation; no glaring evidence of biases was uncovered, but more subtle differences in dietary diversity may emerge from the dietary data. Anti-female discrimination, present in many aspects of life in an essentially patriarchal society, does not seem to 'spill over' to food allocation. Food allocation may constitute one of the few arenas of domestic life over which women have control and therefore use to redress perceived gendered injustices in other domestic spheres.
Peterson, David L., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid the 'Samara Bronze Age Metals Project: Changing Technologies and Transformation of Value in the Eurasian Steppes,' supervised by Dr. Michael Dietler
DAVID L. PETERSON, while a student at University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in June 2001 to aid research on changing technologies of metalworking in the Eurasian steppes during the Bronze Age, under the supervision of Dr. Michael Dietler. The project was designed to investigate the links between the production and uses of metal and developments in the technology and value of metalwork over the course of the Bronze Age (ca. 3500-1000 B.C.E.). Through an archaeological field survey, Peterson investigated the contribution of local copper production to the consumption of metal in the forest-steppes of northeastern Samara, Russia. He identified six habitation sites and three mine works and recorded evidence for the economy, structure, and environment of human occupation in the middle to late Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1500 B.C.E.). In addition, he removed samples from 106 metal artifacts collected during previous investigations in Samara for subsequent analysis of metalworking materials and techniques. The results of the research and subsequent analysis promised to yield insights into the role of metalwork in burial rites and other realms of social practice and into the broader relationship between metal production and mobile pastoralism.
Jordan, Jillian Michelle, U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'Investigating Intracommunity Interaction at the Ancient Maya Sites of Baking Pot and Uxbenka, Belize,' supervised by Dr. Keith M. Prufer
Preliminary abstract: I aim to identify communities of practice and evaluate the nature and extent of shared knowledge in ceramic production during the Late Classic Period (AD 600-800) at the Lowland Maya sites of Baking Pot and Uxbenká, Belize. I address two primary questions: (1). Do communities of practice correspond to spatial zones commonly interpreted as neighborhoods? and (2). Does location (densely populated versus insular rural region) affect patterns of intracommunity information sharing? Operating within the communities of practice and peripheral learning theoretical framework, I will identify modes of learning and production by examining both high visibility (shared knowledge at a broad scale) and low visibility (shared knowledge at the personal level) attributes on utilitarian ceramics from previously excavated domestic contexts. I will use these data, in concert with GIS spatial evaluations, to determine if there are multiple, interacting communities of practice operating simultaneously within Late Classic Maya polities. The comparative nature of the study affords the opportunity to consider information sharing in two discrete regions and assess the effects of social environment on intracommunity practice in the Maya Lowlands.
Glaser, Alana Lee, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Francophone African Women's Domestic Labor: Migration, Workplace Politics, and Cross-ethnic Alliances in New York,' supervised by Dr. Micaela di Leonardo
ALANA LEE GLASER, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Francophone African Women's Domestic Labor: Migration, Workplace Politics, and Cross-Ethnic Alliances in New York,' supervised by Dr. Micaela de Leonardo. Building on political-economic and feminist scholarship on the positioning of migrant domestic labor in the contemporary global neoliberal era, this dissertation research provides an ethnographic study of the routine and often invisible labor market participation of West African women in New York City's low-income service and caregiving sectors in positions such as childcare, home healthcare, and hair braiding. It simultaneously attends to the New York City domestic worker movement at a critical moment in its history, as New York State passed the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, the nation's first-ever legislation granting basic workplace protection to home-based workers. The findings are based on more than two years of deep immersion participant-observation in New York and short-term research trips alongside interlocutors to Mali and Senegal, as well as in-depth, institutional ethnography within labor, activist, cultural, and religious organizations throughout New York City. Drawing upon roughly 100 oral history interviews, this ethnography demonstrates the ways in which domestic work both constrains and empowers women workers, while exigencies of migration status, poverty, racism, and gender oppression complicate both their daily lives and activist inclinations.