Culbertson, Jacob Hiram, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Assembling Maori Architecture: Indigenous Knowledge and Expert Collaboration in an Emerging Science,' supervised by Dr. Alan M. Klima
JACOB HIRAM CULBERTSON, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Assembling Maori Architecture: Indigenous Knowledge and Expert Collaboration in an Emerging Science,' supervised by Dr. Alan M. Klima. From October 2010 to October 2011, research was conducted in the field of Maori architecture. The study focused on how traditional Maori building practices and global architectural movements influence this field and the scientific and non-scientific techniques that Maori architects use when these diverse influences are not readily compatible. The research was conducted in two periods, in Opotiki -- a rural, predominantly Maori town -- and Auckland, New Zealand. The first period centered on apprenticing with a group of Maori woodcarvers; participating in a series of projects using traditional technologies and facilitated in part by government job-creation schemes; and interviewing local Maori elders about the construction and use of meetinghouses. The Auckland component focused on the institutionalized aspects of Maori architecture, including: interviews with Maori and non-Maori architects and urban planners; archival research on the participation of Maori voices and concepts in drafting resource management laws and in planning Auckland's public spaces; and conferences on indigenous environmental planning. Research findings indicate that Maori architects distinguish their field from others by highlighting the importance of relationships, both through collaborative design processes and in using the resultant narratives to situate their buildings in local histories and landscapes.
Starr, Julie Elisabeth, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Cultivating the Ideal Body in China: Race, Suzhi, and Beauty in Contemporary Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. John R. Shepherd
Preliminary Abstract: Over the last decade China has seen sales of skin whitening products and cosmetic surgical procedures mushroom into billion dollar businesses. Thousands of upwardly mobile young Chinese women have sought to change their bodies in the pursuit of career and personal advancement. This ethnographic research project examines cultural practices of cosmetic body modification and improvement in China's largest and most cosmopolitan city, Shanghai. I am interested in two interrelated topics for understanding contemporary Chinese society: the ways the categories of 'China' and the 'West' may be mobilized in racial ways and the ways state projects of improving the quality of the population in China are interpreted and negotiated by women in daily practices of bodily improvement. My project focuses specifically on the social processes of everyday body culture and the local production of racial categories. This research builds on and contributes to anthropological literatures of race and embodiment in China, and beauty and body modification. I propose to conduct a twelve-month ethnographic project in Shanghai, where I will focus on the social space of beauty salons, an ideal site for my research because of the plethora of body treatments salons offer, from haircuts and facials to minor cosmetic surgeries (e.g., double eye-lid surgery). My project will contribute to anthropological interests in the social construction of race and how culturally constructed ideas of the body, including distinctions between the 'natural' body and the modified body, incorporate racial categories.
Hewlett, Christopher Erik, U. of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Mobility, Sociality, and Perceptions of Time among the Amahuaca of Lowland Peru,' supervised by Dr. Peter Gow
CHRISTOPHER ERIK HEWLETT, then a student at the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Mobility, Sociality, and Perceptions of Time among the Amahuaca of Lowland Peru,' supervised by Dr. Peter Gow. This project focuses on how movement produces particular forms of social life and informs perceptions of time among the Amahuaca of lowland Peru. Prior to the establishment of large permanent communities, Amahuaca lived in small mobile clusters comprised of closely related family members spread out along small rivers. Thus, Amahuaca kinship and how it relates to changing socio-political forms are central to research aims. Research findings indicate that social and spatial distance from centers of state or centralized power is related to how kinship relations are understood and realized. This relation is not, however, a simple matter of acculturation. The influence or idea of centralized power as one social force is at odds with Amahuaca notions of personal autonomy and close kinship. Amahuaca view socio-political cohesion as necessary for 'advancing,' but deny the centralization of power out of fear of its potential to threaten their autonomy. The varying understandings of kinship, social life, and mobility currently found among the Amahuaca are primarily a result of the struggle to reconcile these dichotomous forms of power. Furthermore, both forms of power have their own rhythms and create different temporal realities. These temporal forms crosscut one another in complex and sometimes contradictory ways.
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?
Cardenas Gonzalez, Roosbelinda, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Remaking the Black Pacific: Place, Race, and Afro-Colombian Territoriality,' supervised by Dr. Mark David Anderson
ROOSBELINDA CARDENAS GONZALEZ, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Remaking the Black Pacific: Place, Race, and Afro-Colombian Territoriality,' supervised by Dr. Mark David Anderson. This research project examines the political articulations of blackness and territoriality in Colombia by looking ethnographically at two processes of deterritorialization: forced displacement and confinement of black communities. The project takes the current moment of exacerbated violence as a critical conjuncture in which the articulation of blackness and territoriality is both unmade and remade. The research looks at the history of this articulation, how it came under fire in the late 1990s, and how it is currently being remade into a hybrid notion of blackness that incorporates a uniquely Colombian-ethnicized link to territory, and diasporic notions of racial discrimination. The research findings gleaned from a year of fieldwork suggest that displacement has presented an unexpected opportunity to re-craft ethno-territorial blackness into an identity that refuses to choose between ethnic rights and racial redress. While denouncing the human rights violations that displaced and confined Afro-Colombians suffer, the project focuses not on what has been lost, but on exploring the real and imagined landscapes of belonging that are constructed while in displacement and under fire. Thus, this work approaches urban settlements of Afro-Colombian internally displaced persons and black collective territories under dispute as rich contact zones where black identities are resurrected, invented, and rearticulated in the unexpected encounters with new others and new places.
Cárdenas, Roosbelinda. 2012. Green Multiculturalism: Articulations of Ethnic and Environmental Politics in a Colombian 'Black Community'. Journal of Peasant Studies 39(2):309-333.
Cardenas, Roosbelinda. 2012. Multicultural Politics for Afro-Colombians: An Articulation 'Without Guarantees'. In Black Social Movements in Latin America: From Monoculture Mestizaje to Multiculturalism. Jean Muteba Rahier Palgrave, ed. Macmillan: New York
Schulthies, Becky L., U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Media Scripts and Interpretive Processes in Arab Domestic Discourse,' supervised by Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton
BECKY L. SCHULTHIES, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a grant in July 2004 to aid research on 'Media Scripts and Interpretive Processes in Arab Domestic Discourse,' supervised by Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton. The objective of this study is to investigate how media scripts and language ideologies contribute to Moroccan and Lebanese domestic dialogues and interpretations of current transnational events. Media scripts refer to television and radio input or information circulated through entextualization processes (embedded direct and indirect quotations and references framed by a particular discussion). These media scripts include stories, statistics, historical dates, anecdotes and projections that Moroccan and Lebanese families utilize and manage in interpretive discussions. Given the array of multilingual and Arabic dialect programming available in Morocco and Lebanon, language ideologies play a significant role in which media scripts are appropriated and how they are managed in family settings. This research merges the ethnography of media reception with careful linguistic analysis of domestic discourse in order to understand the social life of media scripts within domestic conversations and family collaborative interpretive processes as they relate to viewing practices. Video and audio-recordings of fifteen families in Morocco and eight in Lebanon were made while they watched television several times a week over a period of three months. Informal interviews were conducted with family members to background the media sources and specific social, historical, and economic factors shaping the landscape in which these families assemble interpretive frameworks. Conversation and discourse analysis techniques were applied to selected transcripts to show how participants are orienting to media, assuming linguistic stances in relation to transnational identities, and evaluating truth-value of information through deixis, intonation, gesture and topic control.
Gursel, Zeynep D., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Image Industry: The Work of International News Photographs in the Age of Digital Reproduction,' supervised by Dr. Nelson H.H. Graburn
ZEYNEP D. GURSEL, while a student at University of California in Berkeley, California, received funding in June 2003 to aid research on international news photographs in the age of digital reproduction, under the supervision of Dr. Nelson H. H. Graburn. Gursel conducted seven months of research on the international photojournalism industry, which was in the midst of a major transformation, due partly to a transition from film to digital images and partly to new institutions that had been able to enter the market as distribution mechanisms changed. Digitalization of production and particularly of distribution had radically increased the number of images available. Gursel carried out extensive fieldwork in the news and editorial division of Corbis, a major visual content provider seen by many as a major force in shaping the future of the industry. Research was also conducted at news publications, in order to determine the processes by which key decision makers negotiated which images were used and how those images were sourced. Interviews were conducted with photographers, editors, owners of major photo agencies, and archivists, in order to understand how images were marketed and what determined whose visions got put into circulation. At a time when historical narratives are becoming increasingly communicated through visuals, which types of images get produced, distributed, published, and archived in the present correlate with which versions of history will be narrated in the future.
Gürsel,Zeynep Devrim. 2012. The Politics of Wire Service Photography: Infrastructures of Representation in a Digital Newsroom. American Ethnologist 39(1):71-89.
MacCarthy, Michelle Dawn, U. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand - To aid research on 'Contextualizing Authenticity: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands,' supervised by Dr. Mark William Busse
MICHELLE MacCARTHY, then a student at University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Contextualizing Authenticity: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Mark W. Busse. This project entailed eighteen months of fieldwork on the island of Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Ethnographic research with both Trobriand Islanders and tourists facilitated an examination of how both parties understand and manipulate notions of tradition and authenticity in the milieu of cultural tourism. This research explored, on the one hand, how Trobrianders enact 'Trobriandness' to tourists, and their own ideas about the importance of tradition for Trobriand life and for presentation to tourists. It also examined the ways in which tourists exoticize persistent notions of 'the primitive' and narrate their experiences in terms of cultural tourism as a lens into a more 'traditional, authentic' way of life. By considering various aspects of life that have been commoditized for tourist consumption, including material culture, dance and performance, and village life, this project analyzes the discourses of both tourists and Trobrianders as a way of understanding the intercultural encounter as it is seen by both parties, with a particular focus on how ideas of authenticity are constructed and are essential to both Trobriand and touristic notions of 'culture.'
MacCarthy, Michelle. 2012. Playing Politics with Yams: Food Security in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment: The Journal of Culture & Agriculture 34(2):136-147.
MacCarthy, Michelle. 2013. 'More than Grass Skirts and Feathers': Negotiating Culture in the Trobriand Islands. International Journal of Heritage Studies 19(1):62-77.
Bjork, Stephanie R., U. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI - To aid research on 'Clan as Social Capital among Somalis in Finland,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Malaby
STEPHANIE R. BJORK, while a student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was awarded a grant in July 2003 to aid research on clan affiliation as social capital among Somalis in Finland, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas M. Malaby. Bjork's goal was to understand the changing dynamics of the Somali clan system and the way traditional kinship networks are remade in diaspora. During 16 months of fieldwork among Somalis living in Helsinki and the neighboring cities of Espoo and Vantaa, she collected data through participant observation, sociodemographic surveys of 200 Somali men and women representing the major clan families and two minority groups, and in-depth interviews. Challenging the traditional assumption that clan-based societies are egalitarian, Bjork documented the hierarchical structure of the Somali clan system through clan discourse, including everyday talk, stereotypes, and performance. She also investigated the ways in which Somalis gained access to work in both the Finnish formal economy and the Somali informal economy. She found that clan identity played a stratifying role for Somalis in everyday life and that clan affiliation shaped social networks and affected participation in the Somali informal economy. New networks formed in diaspora among Somalis from different clans (and to a lesser degree including Finns) through work, school, neighborhoods, and friendships helped shaped the informal economy as well as clan affiliation in everyday use and practice.
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Modernity Meets Clan: Cultural Intimacy in the Somali Diaspora. In From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context. (A. Kusow and S. Bjork, eds.) Red Sea Press:Trenton, NJ
Bjork, Stephanie. 2007. Clan Identities in Practice: The Somali Diaspora in Finland. In Somalia: Diaspora and State Reconstitution In The Horn Of Africa. (A. Osman Farah M. Muchie, and J. Gundel eds.) Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd.