Polat, Bican, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Assessing 'Attachment': A Multi-sited Ethnography of Psychological Conceptions of Emotional Bonding,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
BICAN POLAT, then a student at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Assessing Attachment: An Anthropological Analysis of the Changing Scientific Practices of Infant Attachment,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. This project explored the emergence and development of scientific conceptions, technologies, and practices used to study mother-infant relationship in early years of infancy. The research objective was to provide data and insight into the contextual character of scientific knowledge practices in attachment research, with an aim to laying bare the inbuilt frameworks and criteria upon which scientific judgments acquire traction. Through in-depth ethnographic research conducted over a year period, the grantee investigated the ways in which scientific ideas on infant attachment are operationalized in distinct scientific communities allowing their cross-disciplinary, cross-regional, and cross-species dissemination. The project followed the varied instantiations of the attachment construct through distinct field sites such as two neurobiology laboratories in New York City, which studied the biological determinants of attachment through animal models, and a psychology laboratory in Ankara, Turkey, which conducted research on cross-cultural variations of infant attachment. The ethnographic fieldwork considered the daily practices of scientists and researchers as they develop measures and protocols, conduct experiments, and generate criteria on aspects of what they defined as 'attachment.'
Fojas, Christina Laiz, U. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN - To aid research on 'Modeling Prehistoric Health in Middle Tennessee: Mississippian Populations on the Threshold of Depopulation,' supervised by Dr. Dawnie Wolfe Steadman
Preliminary abstract: This study aims to assess the sex- and age-specific risks of death potentially resulting from factors associated with impending depopulation processes during the Mississippian period (ca. 1000-1450 A.D.) in the Middle Cumberland Region (MCR) of Tennessee. If and how these risks of death co-varied with interpersonal violence, as well as drought episodes and crop failure marshaled by climate change, will be investigated on a regional scale. The original estimated age distribution of the population will be re-analyzed using a Bayesian statistical method to render a more realistic mortality profile. Rather than recount the prevalence of disease conditions, this project will use MCR skeletal samples to understand the biological, social, and ecological processes that put some individuals in the community at a greater risk of death than others. To this end, biological signals of childhood stress (linear enamel hypoplasias and porotic hyperostosis) and pathological conditions (dental caries, attrition, and abscesses), social indicators of interpersonal violence, and ecological markers of climate change, prolonged droughts, and proxies for crop failures will be analyzed as co-variates in a hazards model in an effort to more fully comprehend depopulation of the MCR in the Late Mississippian period.
Vaidya, Anand Prabhakar, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Origin of Forests, Private Property, and the State: The Life of India's Forest Rights Act,' supervised by Dr. Ajantha Subramanian
ANAND P. VAIDYA, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Origin of Forests, Private Property, and the State: The Life of India's Forest Rights Act,' supervised by Dr. Ajantha Subramanian. This project tracked the creation and implementation of India's 2006 Forest Rights Act, a landmark law that for the first time grants land rights to the millions who live without them in the roughly 23 percent of India's land area that is public forest land. This project followed the national movement for forest rights (which was critical in lobbying for and drafting the act) and the struggle led by a group affiliated with the movement to implement the law in a village in eastern Uttar Pradesh. This project asks how the ongoing contestations over the text and meaning of the law have shaped the claims to property and authority that are made through it, and found that the law is in fact deeply ambiguous and its meaning has yet to be established in practice. Conflicts over who should be entitled by the law in its lobbying and drafting were translated in the law's text into contradictory potential readings of the law. These contradictory potential readings have, in the Forest Rights Act's implementation, been taken up by caste and class groupings that have been in long violent conflict over forest land, turning a long violent conflict into a legal one.
Kett, Robert John, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Subterranean Science: Oil, Archaeology and the Making of Southern Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Mei Zhan
ROBERT J. KETT, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Subterranean Science: Oil, Archaeology and the Making of Southern Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Mei Zhan. From atop Complex C, an overgrown pyramid at the center of the Olmec archaeological site of La Venta, the visitor can see the pipes and towers of the Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) processing plant that sits next to the archaeological zone. Such natural and cultural resource projects have dramatically transfigured the town of Villa la Venta and the Mexican state of Tabasco. This research examines how intellectual inquiry on the Mexican Gulf Coast has contributed to the region's dramatic transformation through projects of natural and cultural resource development in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It demonstrates how various knowledge-making projects-which identified natural and cultural resources including Olmec archaeological centers and petroleum reserves-were necessary precursors to the subsequent transformation of the region from an infamous 'backwater' into a center of heritage tourism and oil extraction. The research then offers an intellectual history that points to the active role of such projects in processes of region- and resource-making, arguing for an increased attention to the ways in which intellectual projects interact in the context of field research and to the connections between such interdisciplinary inquiry and broader regional development.
Amigo, Maria F., U. of Sydney, Sydney, Australia - To aid research on 'The Economic Roles of Children in Household Economies,' supervised by Dr. Paul Alexander
MARIA F. AMIGO, while a student at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on the roles of children in household economies on the island of Lombok, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Alexander. The primary aim was to add an anthropological perspective to the literature on child labor, which had been dominated by other disciplines. By trying to understand native notions of 'childhood' and 'work,' Amigo challenged what had often been seen as cultural universals. And by analyzing children's work through their own accounts, she was able to show that the ideas, wants, and expectations children have about their lives are critical to understanding their work and their motivations for it. In the rural area studied, children became economically active at a very early age. Regardless of their household's difficulties in meeting everyday needs, children were expected to be committed to the household's economy. Children had long been involved in unpaid tasks (household chores, agricultural work), but the relatively recent introduction of large-scale tobacco plantations dramatically increased their opportunities for paid work. Hierarchical structures of power based on seniority and gender channeled them into the least desirable and lowest-paid work, yet children clearly made economic decisions in relation to their work and the money they earned. Rather than being victims forced to work for the benefit of others-as child workers are commonly described-the evidence suggested that children worked for the well-being of their households and were conscious that this meant their own well-being, too.
Osborne, Dana Marie, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Negotiating the Hierarchy of Languages in Ilocandia,' supervised by Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton
DANA M. OSBORNE, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Negotiating the Hierarchy of Languages in Ilocandia,' supervised by Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton. Situated in contemporary Philippines, this project explores the social, linguistic, and cognitive impacts that changing language policies have had on speakers of one of the most spoken minority languages in the country, Ilocano. In the massively multilingual milieu of the Philippines, language policies have defined languages appropriate for school (and citizens)-in 1974, the Bilingual Education Policy (BEP) declared Filipino and English to be the national and official languages respectively and all minority languages to be auxiliary or 'transitional.' The Department of Education finally determined the BEP to be a failure and began to selectively reintroduce the mother tongue in schools to bridge growing gaps between speakers of minority languages and those with native command of Filipino. In this way, language is a salient sign of enduring national struggle and it is the foremost stage on which the complexities of social participation, belonging and identity are negotiated. This project examines the ways that young Ilocanos negotiate languages with a special focus on the social semiotic practice of spatial language among speakers to determine the strength and directionality of any language change undergirding contemporary language practices.
Dorval, Arianne, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on ''Marseilles, Door to the Souths': The Politics of Métissage at the Border of the Nation,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
ARIANNE DORVAL, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on ''Marseilles, Door to the Souths:' The Politics of Métissage at the Border of the Nation,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. This research was initially aimed at exploring the politics of métissage, or intercultural and interracial mixing in the French border-city of Marseilles. A combination of archival research, participant observation, and semi-structured interviews enabled the researcher to trace: 1) how the postcolonial presence in Marseilles has been represented by both local residents and postcolonial migrants; 2) the entry, circulation, and spatialization of legal or illegal migrants in the city after decolonization; 3) the conflicts surrounding the recent development of a large-scale urban renewal project that is contributing to the gentrification of the downtown area; 4) the prevalence of rich practices of cultural métissage among impoverished youth living in different neighborhoods of the city; and 5) how mixed couples in Marseilles construe their métisse love as a subversive political act. Overall, the research uncovered the remarkable fluidity of migrant circulation in Marseilles, and showed that multiple solidarities have formed across the racial and cultural boundaries partitioning the city. Yet it also indicated that different forms of the cosmopolitan - elite-based vs. vernacular - have come to clash in Marseilles today. Thus, the Marseilles-style métissage being promoted by city elites is at once exoticizing and normalizing, while the métisse practices encountered daily among the 'dangerous classes' constitute a form of ethico-political subjectivation that calls into question the very boundaries of French nationhood. With a view to exploring further how these boundaries are being contested, the research eventually turned to investigating the predicament of the sans papiers (illegal alien) population currently living in Marseilles. The data collected through participant observation and interviews allowed the researcher to begin addressing key questions concerning the contradictions of citizenship, the invisibility/visibility of (laboring) subjects in urban/national space, and the temporality of emancipatory events.
Strayer, Chelsea Shields, Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Psycho Prophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Self-Regulation in Asante Indigenous Healing,' supervised by Dr. Parker Shipton
CHELSEA STRAYER, then a student at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Psycho Prophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Self-Regulation in Asante Indigenous Healing,' supervised by Dr. James Pritchett. In Ghana, West Africa, despite economic and geographic access to biomedical hospitals, many patients continue to utilize Asante indigenous ritual healing ceremonies. Why? While the prevalence and efficacy of indigenous ritual healing is the subject of much debate in anthropological research, only a few studies have actually shown what the physiological effects of indigenous ritual healing ceremonies are and how these effects are elicited via the ritual healing process. Using a biocultural approach, this research argues that Asante indigenous rituals can be compared to the process of psycho prophylaxis -- which promotes preparation, prevention, and protection against an ailment through psychological input and seeks to mediate the negative health effects of stress by educating patients about expectations, eliciting relaxation responses, and promoting self-regulation in treatment. These responses are measured qualitatively via extended fieldwork, participant observation, and interviews. Also, these responses are measured quantitatively by taking patient heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate before, during, and after ritual ceremonies. The results of this research show that there is a significant relaxation response in patients who attend Asante ritual healing ceremonies. These positive results affirm the prevalence of witchcraft, cursing, family obligations, and spiritual ailments, which keep patients coming back for more.
Idrus, Rusaslina, Harvard U., Cambridge MA - To aid research on 'Native State, Transnational Indigenes: Strategies in the Era of International Accountability,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho
RUSASLINA IDRUS, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2005 to aid research on 'Native State, Transnational Indigenes: Strategies in the Era of International Accountability,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho. At the international level, the legal realm is an emerging space of resistance for indigenous movements. There has been a significant increase in the number of court cases involving tribal communities successfully suing state governments for land and resource rights world wide. This project seeks to understand the larger implications of this strategy. How has this changed the relationship and dynamics between marginalized groups and the nation state? How has the state responded? How are transnational discourses such as 'human rights' and 'cultural rights' influencing these cases? How do ideas of international accountability and the global audience play into this? This project will examine the questions above by focusing on the relationship between the Malaysian State and the aboriginal people of Peninsular Malaysia, the Orang Asli.
Mortensen, Amy M., U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'The Margins of State-Making: Everyday Politics Among the Poor in Lima, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
AMY MORTENSEN, while a student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a grant in May 2002 to conduct ethnographic research on informal, everyday politics in a poor, urban neighborhood of Lima, Peru, under the supervision of Dr. Marisol de la Cadena. Mortensen's fieldwork focused on the personal political histories, opinions, and daily lives of several key families. She demonstrated that, in the context of widespread disenchantment with national and even local political authorities in Peru, the evaluations citizens made of political authorities and government were a key dimension of local and everyday politics. One of the central ways in which Mortensen framed these evaluations was through 'histories of votes,' which entailed both the ways individual evaluations of governments had changed over time and the ways election events and campaign promises continued to figure in local politics after election day had passed. For example, one problem in municipal elections was that many people did not vote in the community where they actually lived but in the district where they had resided when they first received their identity card. However, people often managed to have their opinion count politically in the community in other ways, by discussing the elections with neighbors or by backing particular candidates. The result of the research was an alternative history of the state, politics, and citizenship that explored the everyday, lived, and remembered aspects of government programs, elections, political campaigns, and policy changes.