Tidwell, Tawni Lynn, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Transmitting Diagnostic Skills in Tibetan Medicine: Embodied Practices for Indigenous Categories of Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Carol Worthman
Preliminary abstract: Tibetan medical diagnostics for indigenous categories of cancer provide a lens for understanding embodied expertise among Tibetan physicians. This diagnostic repertoire is comprised of pulse diagnosis, urinalysis and other embodied practices of illness recognition trained in tactile and sensory capacities of the physician. This investigation of Tibetan medical diagnosis as it is formally transmitted, cultivated, and clinically deployed, will track the system in action and open a gateway to understanding the epistemological underpinnings of Tibetan conceptions of pathology and treatment. The focus on cancer is strategic: as the nosological categories in which Tibetan medical and western biomedical systems most closely overlap, it opens a space for analyzing features of the two systems for diagnosis and care. As the first western student in the premier Tibetan medical school, this investigator will work with students, faculty and expert physicians to document how diagnostic skills are transmitted, cultivated and applied, with particular regard to cancer. This project is poised to contribute substantive insights into distinctive ways of 'reading' and caring for the body, the place for embodied practices in medical expertise, the significance of knowledge transmission processes for embodied skill, and the role of such skills in translating formal knowledge domains into application.
Janssen, Brandi Jo, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Producing Local Food and Local Knowledge: The Experience of Iowa Farmer,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Chibnik
BRANDI JO JANSSEN, then a student at University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Producing Local Food and Local Knowledge: The Experience of Iowa Farmers,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Chibnik. The growing demand for local food can be seen in national increases in farmers markets attendance and Community Supported Agriculture memberships. The local food movement, often framed in terms of consumers, has implications for agricultural production in the US, particularly in states like Iowa with strong connections to large-scale, industrialized agriculture. Local food production is significantly different than most conventional, industrialized farming in that it requires producers to grow, market, and distribute a variety of products. Because producers of local food engage in different activities than conventional farmers, they also need different kinds of knowledge to be successful. This project examined how producers of local food in eastern Iowa use and apply the various sources of knowledge available to them. Iowa's long agricultural history contributes to many sources of agricultural knowledge including scientific based extension services, farming organizations, and historic family knowledge. Applying a variety of ethnographic methods, including in-depth interviews and participant observation, this project viewed the local food system in Iowa from the producers' perspective. In particular, this study examined the process of 'scaling-up' to meet larger, institutional markets, the challenges associated with obtaining adequate labor, and the relationships that local food farmers have with their industrial neighbors.
Nave, Carmen Asha, U. of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada - To aid research on 'Kinship and the State in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. Sandra Carol Bamford
CARMEN NAVE, then a student at University of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada, was awarded funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Kinship and the State in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. Sandra Carol Bamford. This research looks at changes in matrilineal kinship among the Asante of Ghana by asking how debates and polices over inheritance have affected family structure, roles, and practices. It found that matrilineal kinship has undergone a number of changes and continues to do so. Perceptions around how inheritance should be managed are changing, but a variety of economic and social pressures contribute to a situation in which abstract ideas of what is good for one's society may not translate into immediate ideas of what is good for one's self and one's family. Not only do disputes over kinship remain, but 'customs' are changing in response to efforts to provide for widows and children such that they are now subject to far greater responsibilities to the father in life and in death. Yet, people continue to find meaning and importance in the relationships defined by matrilineal kinship, and kinship is commonly used metaphorically to invoke and strengthen relationships. In the urban setting, people use the metaphor of kinship to help resolve disputes between neighbors and to link broad social networks through kin-based relationships.
Costa, Luiz A., Federal U., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - To aid research on 'The Production of Kinship and its Correlaries Among the Kanamari of Western Amazonia,' supervised by Dr. Carlos Fausto
LUIZ COSTA, while a student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, received funding to conduct ethnographic research on the production of kinship and sociality among the Kanamari (Katukina-speaking) Amerindians of western Amazonia, under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Fausto. Costa focused on the methods and processes through which the Kanamari made themselves similar to each other and ways in which these either collapsed or were actively resisted at certain times. All methods the Kanamari use to produce kinship - sharing food and manioc drink, living and working together, visiting each other's communities - were inherently ambivalent, capable of generating kin but also of going astray and resulting in people who were other. He focused mainly, but not exclusively, on Kanamari named sub-groups, which delimited groups of 'true kin' in opposition to 'distant kin' and the effects that this imposition had on the processual, daily production of kin. The results have allowed Costa to question certain regional ethnographical assumptions concerning the relationship between identity and the interior, on the one hand, and alterity and the exterior, on the other.
Solomon, Marisa Elizabeth, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Letting Trash Talk: Garbage in the Order of People,' supervised by Dr. Miriam Ticktin
Preliminary abstract: New York City produces trash at an astounding rate of 36,200 tons per day. Forty percent of it is diverted to mega-landfills in the southeastern quadrant of Virginia, making this region one of the nation's largest importers of trash, with over 5 million tons of solid waste received annually. While trash permeates all neighborhoods, it seems to signify something endemic about certain places and people. At the same time, trash moves; gathering a set of material, economic, political, and affective relations, the relations that this ethnographic work seeks to explore. This project makes garbage a central informant in an ethnography of inequality, space and a hierarchical ordering of people and things. From the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a historically black and immigrant Brooklyn community now in the midst of rapid gentrification, to the distant landfills of southeast Virginia, this project tracks garbage as a symbolic and material agent that moves through states of 'use' and 'disuse', 'problem' and 'profit' and investigates how it exists in both locations as a nuisance to be cleaned and as a generative force shaping spatial transformation and logics of race and class.
Heimsath, Kabir Mansingh, Oxford U., Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'Lhasa Contemporary: Urban Spaces and Tibetan Practices,' supervised by Dr. Marcus Banks
KABIR MANSINGH HEIMSATH, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Lhasa Contemporary: Urban Spaces and Tibetan Practices,' supervised by Dr. Marcus Banks. The tangible modernization of Lhasa, Tibet, has accelerated dramatically in the past decade. This research attempts to use the theoretical construction of space as a method for understanding Tibetan lives in a continually shifting urban landscape. Building on previous experiences residing and working in Lhasa, this fieldwork focused on people's interaction with the material and visual environment of the city. The project attempts to bring together ethnographic research methods with more geographic and architectural concerns of space, buildings, and the city. Fieldwork time was divided between different areas of the city as well as different modes of work, leisure, commerce, and home; while research questions focused on the inter-dependence of material, lived, and representative spaces in the city as they relate to the lives of individual Tibetans. The growing diversification of economies, homes, and professions leads to multifarious spaces in Lhasa, but this project also seeks to discover whether it is possible to discuss the city itself as a coherent place/space. Unexpected riots and crackdowns during fieldwork both complicate and emphasize the peculiar nature of urban topography and its significance for Tibetans today.
McShane, Patrice McCrann, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Ethnic Insult as Conflict Prevention in Burkina Faso,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
Preliminary abstract: In this dissertation project, I will explore cultural beliefs about dakire, the exchange of ethnic insults in Burkina Faso. Dakire is highly theorized by Burkinabè people, who attribute many societal boons to it: the facilitation of candor in a deferential society; the minimization of inter-ethnic power differential; the catharsis of ethnic tension. Many Burkinabè people believe that dakire is key to the smooth functioning of society, and that it serves to prevent violence between ethnic groups. For these reasons, dakire is a point of local pride and salience. I suggest that ethnic jokers ideologically and semiotically reify concepts of 'ethnicity' and 'nation,' through interactional, linguistic practice. I will examine how different political movements have influenced modern beliefs about dakire. Although dakire has existed in Burkina since pre-colonial times, I hypothesize that its heightened salience is a new phenomenon. Dakire, in its modern conception, serves to unite ethnic groups into a network delineated by national boundaries, making it an attractive nation-building tool for the Burkinabè state. I also explore how dakire is motivated by an iconic relationship to kinship-based joking. This metaphorical extension of familial behavioral norms onto inter-ethnic behavioral norms reinforces the 'naturalness' of modern ethnic categories and inter-ethnic affiliation.
Call, Tristan Philip, Vanderbilt U., Nashville, TN - To aid research on 'Migration, Precarious Labor, and Class Formation Among Southern U.S. Farm Workers,' supervised by Dr. Lesley Gill
Preliminary abstract: The expansion of insecure, low-wage labor, termed 'precarious' labor by scholars, has been most dramatic among immigrant workers who leave home to fill the least desirable jobs in the United States. Immigrant workers labor alongside co-workers from distinct linguistic, national, religious, and political backgrounds, which poses a problem for the perennial attempts to create understandings and political alliances across 'difference' and to challenge the continuing degradation of working conditions. Considerable scholarly controversy exists in both the labor and migration literatures about whether migrant workers are 'unorganizable,' or whether their common experiences of migration and dispossession can help spur a new wave of labor organizing. The proposed research will explore this debate. Using ethnographic methods, it will investigate how Latino farmworkers experience the disruption of moving for work between the Tennessee tomato and tobacco industries and the Florida tomato industry over the course of an agricultural season and the extent to which they are able to build alliances among themselves and with other civil society networks that seek to improve working and living conditions.
Scarry, Clara JoAnn, Stony Brooke U., Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Functions and Consequences of Intergroup Aggression in Argentine Tufted Capuchins,' supervised by Dr. Andres Koening
CLARA SCARRY, then a student Stony Brooke University, Stony Brook, New York, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Functions and Consequences of Intergroup Aggression in Argentine Tufted Capuchins,' supervised by Dr. Andres Koening. Between-group competition over mates and resources is a pivotal factor in models of the evolution of primate behavior, including the evolution of social living, female social relationships, and male reproductive strategies. Similarly, human behavioral ecologists have drawn upon between-group competition for limiting resources in developing models for the formation of hierarchical societies and human reproductive decisions. This study examined between-group competition in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) in Iguazú National Park, Argentina, focusing specifically on: 1) mechanisms of intergroup dominance; 2) functions of aggressive encounters; and 3) energetic consequences of intergroup dominance. Behavioral data were collected for multiple groups to assess the relative strength of between-group competition and to identify patterns of individual participation in intergroup encounters. Playback experiments from artificially controlled resources were conducted to assess the function of intergroup aggressive interactions. Results suggest that both males and females respond more aggressively in the presence of high-quality resources, while aggression by the dominant male is reduced in the presence of a receptive female. On-going analyses will determine whether intergroup dominance increases individual energy gain. These data provide a dataset for comparison to previous studies in Peru to examine how varying resource distribution affects the competitive regime experienced by individuals.
Greenleaf, Maron Estelle, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Making More Than a Market: Carbon Credits and Distributive Politics in Acre, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Curran
Preliminary abstract: The carbon stored in forests has new monetary value, created in the effort to mitigate climate change. The Brazilian state of Acre--renowned for its social movement against deforestation and related social dislocation--is developing what is considered the world's most advanced effort to activate this value. There, environmentalists in the state government and their partners are creating 'carbon credits': commodities representing carbon emissions avoided by reducing the state's projected deforestation rate, which are sold to outside polluters. They want to distribute revenues from these sales as forest protection 'incentives' to support rural producers, who are celebrated as central to Acre's forest-based identity. This project investigates how the production of these 'credits' might reshape the distributive practices of the Acriano state and its partners and, simultaneously, configure both credit developers and 'beneficiaries' as political subjects. I seek to reveal the political practices that marketizing carbon emissions may engender, such as claims for carbon ownership or compensation for forgoing deforestation. I ask: 1) what visions and rationales do officials and their private partners employ to produce credits? 2) how does credit production shape distributive practices of the Acriano state and its partners? and 3) what kinds of political subjects emerge through credit production? Through ethnographic research with officials, project developers, and credit 'beneficiaries,' this project aims to investigate whether and how, contrary to conventional expectations, the marketization of carbon is buttressing social welfare programs and redistributive politics in Acre.