Hume, Yanique M., Emory U., Atlanta, Georgia - To aid research on ''Haytien Nouye' Celebrating Cubanidad: Performing and Reconfiguring a National Cultural Identity,' supervised by Dr. Ivan Karp
YANIQUE M. HUME, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2003 to aid research on Haitian cultural identity in Cuba, under the supervision of Dr. Ivan Karp. The project was designed to explore the sociohistorical transformations that prompted the inclusion of previously denigrated Haitian cultural forms in recent folk tourism projects in Santiago de Cuba. Hume considered the debates surrounding the definition, use, public representation, and interpretation of 'Haitian' cultural performances presented in national, regional, and local settings. These new and more public venues for self-representation afforded Cubans of Haitian descent a space in which to (re)construct their identities, articulate their diasporic identification, and (re)shape long-standing cultural forms while becoming actively involved in the shaping of new conceptions of national identity, particularly the ideology of cubanidad, or Cubanness. Hume documented national and regional festivals, feast-day celebrations, domestic rituals, and daily life in rural Haitian-Cuban communities and later supplemented the resulting video databank with archival materials. Interviews were conducted with members of the public, performance troupes, community leaders, cultural officials, and members of Cuba's Association of Caribbean Culture and other local associations. A regional emphasis on eastern Cuba allowed Hume to articulate how, amid a broader occidental imagination of Cuban society, grassroots groups continued to trouble the dominant definitions of Cuba's national cultural identity.
Millhauser, John Kenneth, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Salt of the Earth: Craft and Community at Postclassic and Colonial San Bartolome Salinas, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Brumfiel
JOHN K. MILLHAUSER, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Salt of the Earth: Craft and Community at Postclassic and Colonial San Bartolome Salinas, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Brumfiel. This research asks how the changing demand for salt under the Aztec and Spanish empires stimulated, challenged, and sustained communities in the Basin of Mexico. This archaeological and ethnohistoric investigation of San Bartolome Salinas, a salt-making site occupied from about AD 1350 to 1650, explores how material patterns in the organization, intensity, and scale of salt-making reflect the independence and interdependence of producers and the social, economic, and political integration of the community. Excavations of salt-making and domestic contexts revealed that Aztec-period salt-making anchored and supported groups larger and more complex than individual households. In fact, salt-making was the foundation of many contemporary communities, a finding documented through systematic surface collections at four nearby salt-making sites. The abandonment of these sites during the first centuries of Spanish control, at a time when the state sought to control the circulation of salt, reminds us that the political context of salt consumption was as fundamental to the nature and viability of these communities as was the scale and consistency of demand. More broadly, this research shows how work became an organizing principal for social groups, one that overlapped with kinship, gender, race, and class, in the context of pre-capitalist states and empires.
Cutright, Robyn E., U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Cuisine and Empire: A Domestic View of Chimu Expansion from the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru, 'supervised by Dr. Marc P. Bermann
ROBYN E. CUTRIGHT,then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Cuisine and Empire: A Domestic View of Chimu Expansion from the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Marc P. Bermann. Archaeological field excavations were carried out at Pedregal, a Late Intermediate Period (AD 1000-1460) village in the Jequetepeque Valley, Peru. The excavations targeted the domestic occupation of the site in order to reconstruct the range of domestic activities at the site and identify the ways in which domestic and culinary practice may have shifted during the valley's conquest by the Chimú state in AD 1350. Materials recovered during excavation and examined during subsequent laboratory analysis suggest that the site's residents were heavily engaged in agricultural production, as well as animal husbandry, textile production, and the processing and preparation of food. Though the site's occupational sequence was more complex than originally believed, dramatic changes do not seem to have occurred during the Late Intermediate Period. Instead, continuity at the domestic level may have characterized the Chimú conquest of the valley.
Cutright, Robyn E. 2015. Eating Empire in the Jequetepeque: A Local View of Chimú Expansion on the North Coast of Peru. Latin American Antiquity 26(1):64-86.
Sadruddin, Aalyia, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Late-Life Caregiving and Aging in Post-Genocide Rwanda,' supervised by Dr. Catherine Panter-Brick
Preliminary abstract: Rwanda is currently in the midst of a major demographic transition due to population aging. In terms of 'enabling environments' for older persons (aged 60 and over), Rwanda was ranked as thirteenth in the world, and first in Africa in 2014. At the same time, social and demographic shifts such as increased rates of parental mobility, urbanization, and orphanhood are catapulting older persons into becoming late-life caregivers to parentless grandchildren and unrelated orphans, as opposed to receivers of care in old age. Older persons (many of whom were in the prime of life during the 1994-genocide) are providing care while also grappling with notions of collectivity, conceptions of kinship outside biological ties and memories of violence as Rwanda moves forward from its complex past. The overarching goal of my research project is to analyze the ways older persons are 'keeping families together,' in the wake of rapid social change after the genocide. I will achieve my goal by conducting twelve months of ethnographic research in central (peri-urban) and eastern (rural) Rwanda by documenting the challenges of growing old in post-genocide Rwanda, the contributions older men and women are making to local society and the strategies older persons deploy in order to sustain family ties. By putting older Rwandans - an understudied demographic group - at the forefront of its analysis, this research enriches and bridges anthropological literatures on caregiving, aging, family-level resilience and healing in the aftermath of conflict.
Hartikainen, Elina Inkeri, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'From the Public Sphere to Spirit Speech: Negotiating Discourses of Africanness in Brazilian Candomblé,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
ELINA INKERI HARTIKAINEN, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in May 2008, to aid research on 'From the Public Sphere to Spirit Speech: Negotiating Discourses of Africanness in Brazilian Candomblé,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein. This project examines how Candomblé practitioners in Salvador, Brazil, come together as self-reflexive religious publics around particular discursive configurations of African religiosity, religious intolerance and race. The study traces how the hierarchical social settings of the Candomblé religion and Brazilian society order the construction, uptake, and negotiation of public discourses on race and religion among Afro-Brazilian adherents of Candomblé. Closely examining public conferences and marchpes organized by religious practitioners, the every-day and ritual practices of Candomblé temples, and media portrayals of the religion (main-stream as well as alternative media produced by practitioners), the project explores how Candomblé adherents imagine and perform a religious public in addressing public discourses on their religion, Africanness, and race. Significantly, the grantee demonstrates how the formation of Candomblé publics relies not only on a shared orientation towards specific texts, but also particular religious dispositions towards discourse circulation. Thus, rather than an egalitarian public where discourse flows freely, Candomblé practitioners envision themselves participating in and contributing to Brazilian society and politics according to the 'African' principles of Candomblé; most importantly, a rigid ritual hierarchy that determines who can say what, when, and to whom, and a reliance on personalized oral communications over text and other broadcast media forms.
Woldekiros, Helina S., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Archaeology of the Afar Salt Caravan Route of Northeastern Ethiopia,' supervised by Dr. Fiona Marshall
HELINA S. WOLDEKIROS, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Archaeology of the Afar Salt Caravan Route of Northeastern Ethiopia,' supervised by Dr. Fiona Marshall. In Africa, social, political, and economic structures have been shaped by salt production, distribution, and long-distance trade, in areas where salt is a critical resource. In Ethiopia, emphasis has been placed on Aksumite control of the Red Sea Trade (150 C.E.-C.E 700) and the trade in ivory, gold, perfume, and slaves rather than on local and regional trade in consumable commodities. Furthermore, scholars understand more about the geographic distribution of key resources than they do about other aspects of the archaeological record of ancient commodity flow -- such as procurement and transfer costs, or the material correlates of exchange activities -- that linked distribution centers. To address this issue, ethnoarchaeological research was carried out on the Afar salt caravan route in Northern Ethiopia, which focused on collection of information on the route and material traces of caravans to identify ancient use of the Afar trail. Major archaeological sites were identified on the salt route, and excavation of these sites revealed ancient bread-cooking stones similar to those characteristic of modern salt trader camps. Aksumite pottery and obsidian distinctive of the Afar were also identified, suggesting local or regional exchange in commodities from the Afar lowlands to the North Ethiopian plateau dating to as early as Aksumite (150 C.E-C.E 700) period.
Maldonado, Andrea, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Culture: The New Drug of Choice in Mexico City,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Gutmann
ANDREA MALDONADO, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Culture: The New Drug of Choice in Mexico City,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Gutmann. This dissertation explores new forms of state-sponsored care among low-income Mexicans in relation to the places where they surface and the interests fueling their support. Since 2002, an assortment of 'cultural therapies' (from yoga to tai chi) has emerged as Mexico's prescription of choice to prevent and treat what authorities identify as 'culturally transmitted diseases' (such as diabetes) among the urban poor. In Mexico City, these measures take shape in health institutes, cultural centers, parks, and streets. The growth of this campaign-which blames sickness on the culture of poor people and outsources their care to non-medical providers-raises questions about how states manage the production and circulation of knowledge in this nascent health arena, and why ordinary Mexicans subscribe to these policies. This study investigates the nuances and contradictions of this 'turn to culture,' suggesting that in spite of its appeal, it may be exacerbating aspects of inequality in public health. It reveals how the enactment of cultural healing in place encourages new techniques of self-care and new sites of social differentiation. Health services constituted outside clinical settings, but operating with institutional legitimacy, can generate new exchanges-even as they also engender novel practices of state and expert surveillance.
Castor, Nicole M., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Invoking the Spirit: Religion and the Politics of Nationhood in Trinidad,' supervised by Dr. Andrew H. Apter
NICOLE CASTOR, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in November 2002 to aid research on 'Invoking the Spirit: Religion and the Politics of Nationhood in Trinidad,' supervised by Dr. Andrew H. Apter. The project analyzed public culture, the performance of identity, and the role of race and diversity in relation to national identity in contemporary Trinidad through three consecutive years of field-based research on Afro-Trinidadian public ritual and festival events. Through case studies that followed festivals and rituals through an annual cycle of public culture, over a period from November 2002 to August 2005, Castor studied Orisha public ritual, Carnival fetes, and Emancipation celebrations as an investigation of the dynamics between culture, ritual, nation building and the construction of identity. Performative moments within festivals and rituals revealed complexities of race and ethnicity, destabilizing fixed notions of the Afro-Trinidadian. She also conducted numerous interviews, documented speeches, public ceremonies, and rituals through audio-visual media. This project generated an 'alternative' model of the public sphere that explores how the cultural production of identities takes place in public spaces, and how festival and ritual moments contribute to the building of the nation. In particular, Castor's research shows how in Trinidad race and class are mutually defining, lived, and embodied categories that are frequently performed, contested, and redefined.
Rathee, Vineet, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Caste Panchayats of India: A Contemporary Study of Caste, Gender and the State in Rural India,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Lemons
Preliminary abstract: My project will study the role of extra-legal village caste councils (known as caste panchayats) in the formation of inter-caste and gender relations in Haryana, northern India. Typically controlled by powerful, territorially segmented, agrarian castes e.g. the Jats, Rajputs, and Ahirs, caste panchayats have recently come under intense scrutiny for orchestrating 'crimes of honor' and violence against low-caste members. Simplistically perceived as mere vestiges of 'traditional' caste sociality, caste panchayats are frequently characterized as products of hermetically closed-off, unchanging, endogenous caste forms. In contrast, I will study panchayats as modern socio-political organizations by situating them in the wider rural context of contemporary India, a context constituted by radical transformations of conditions of rural life, which have in turn profoundly reconfigured caste and gender relations. I inquire how caste panchayats have responded to such transformations of rural life and how these transformations affect their caste power and authority. In this regard, I aim to bring into sharp relief an expanding field of practices where caste panchayats' strategies of domination are being regularly challenged by low-caste groups. Further, by drawing upon the anthropological claim, which regards regulation of female sexuality and marriage as critical to reproduction of caste privilege, I will study how panchayats' violent enforcement of caste marriage norms--resulting in 'crimes of honor'--is an instance of performance of their caste authority over low-caste groups.
Gould, Sarah A., U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid 'An Ethnographic Study of Child Fosterage in Madagascar,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
SARAH A. GOULD, while a student at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, received funding in May 2001 to aid an ethnographic study of child fosterage in northwestern Madagascar, under the supervision of Dr. Michael Lambek. Gould conducted her fieldwork during a period of political conflict following the presidential elections of 2001, during which two competing models of nationalism drew upon and reified the ideas of kinship, culture, ethnicity, and class underlying identity politics. Drawing on two themes-the fluidity of kinship and personhood in life and the fixity of descent among the dead in Madagascar-Gould focused on child fosterage as a means of elucidating the process of kinship and the flexibility and boundedness of identity. She investigated networks of kinship that reached from rural and urban areas in the province of Mahajanga to the capital city and overseas, focusing on children's roles within households and kinship networks and exploring how children's movements between households fit into wider patterns of exchange, reciprocity, and hierarchy. She also explored the innovative ways in which individuals enacted, negotiated, and transformed kinship ties in response to the socioeconomic demands of life in the region and considered the ways in which kinship, as moral practice, reflected and reproduced the principles of community. To answer questions of identity, she addressed patterns of child rearing, residence, and burial in relation to the meanings, uses, and practices of kinship and focused on the processes of incorporation and exclusion that created ties to kin and ancestors over a lifetime. Living with a Sakalava ruler, Gould also explored the ways in which metaphors of kinship in royal politics structured relations between subjects, rulers, and royal ancestors in a polyethnic setting.