Nsabimana, Natacha, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Violence, Subject Formation and Humanitarian Discourse in Post-Gacaca Rwanda,' supervised by Dr. Mahmood Mamdani
Preliminary abstract: My project takes the Gacaca trials in Rwanda as a point of entry and asks three main sets of questions: 1) how can we understand the processes and implications of interpellating people as perpetrators and survivors? What are the legal, political, and social dimensions of this subject formation? What new possibilities and barriers do these different subjectivities produce and foreclose? 2) How can we understand the everyday afterlife of violence? And finally 3) how does this 'local' Rwandan project that deploys a particular understanding of genocide articulate within a larger metanarrative on universal human rights and 'humanitarian reason'? The first set of questions examines the consequences of the legal and political institutionalization of Rwandans into the categories of perpetrators and survivors brought forth by the Gacaca trials and the kinds of political communities and lived social realities and subject positions such a process creates on the ground. That is, this project also interrogates how Rwandans inhabit these legal categorizations. What kinds of sensibilities and lived experiences are being produced in the process? The second question centers on the afterlife of violence. I will explore the specter of violence in the everyday life of post-genocide Rwanda. In other words, the project is an exploration of the affective afterlife of violence and of subject formation in the aftermath of the Gacaca trials. Finally, the third question looks specifically at the Gacaca courts in relation to specific tropes of humanitarian reason.
Rendle, Katharine Alice Sheets, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Uncertainty: Risk, Responsibility, and the Unsettled Facts of the HPV Vaccine,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts
KATHERINE A.S. RENDLE, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Negotiating Uncertainty: Risk, Responsibility, and the Unsettled Facts of the HPV Vaccine,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts. Using the promotion and uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a lens, this dissertation project explored how temporality and risk are at work in everyday life. Drawing from ethnographic field research in the San Francisco Bay Area, it explored how different actors including parents and health professionals in the United States are defining the 'right time' for children to be vaccinated. At the core of these temporal debates are contested claims over when -- and through what specific encounters -- the individual body becomes at risk for HPV exposure. In order to identify a target age for HPV vaccination, medical guidelines translate this individual moment into a collective moment. However, for many of the parents interviewed, the right time to vaccinate is perceived to be much later than the recommended age. To defend their desire to delay vaccination, parents often invoke claims to experiential evidence validated by a sense of knowing their child and his or her sexual and emotional development. Entangled within these claims are temporal assessments of risk, whereby parents weigh their child's (perceived) present risk of HPV exposure against the unknown risks of the vaccine itself.
Girard- Buttoz, Cedric, German Primate Centre, Goettingen, Germany - To aid research on 'Costs of Mate-Guarding in Wild Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis),' supervised by Dr. Antje Engelhardt
CEDRIC GIRARD-BUTTOZ, then a student at the German Primate Centre, Goettingen, Germany, was awarded a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Costs of Mate-Guarding in Wild Tong-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis),' supervised by Dr. Antje Engelhardt. Little is known so far about how primate males cope with the costs arising from mate-guarding females in multi-male groups. The aim of the project therefore was to quantify these costs using long-tailed macaques as a model species. The study was carried out during two reproductive seasons on three groups living in the Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia. Research combined behavioral observations and non-invasive measurements of c-peptides as an indicator of male energetic status. Results indicate that males counterbalance reduced energy intake deriving from decreased feeding time and fruit consumption by decreasing their vertical locomotion and thus energy expenditure. Accordingly, no effect of mate-guarding on energetic status was found in the males studied. Results thus far are surprising in that they show alpha male long-tailed macaques do not monopolize all available females even when it may be possible. One explanation may be that results include rare empirical evidence of the concession model in primates. The constraints shaping the evolution of male reproductive strategy in primates might strongly differ between non-strictly seasonal species (such as long-tailed macaques) and strictly seasonal species and further studies on both ends of the spectrum are needed.
Hatch, Mallorie Ann, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Investigating Warfare and Physical Violence during the Mississippian Period (ca. AD 1000-1350) of Illinois,' supervised by Dr. Jane Ellen Buikstra
MALLORIE A. HATCH, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Investigating Warfare and Physical Violence during the Mississippian Period (ca. AD 1000-1350) of Illinois,' supervised by Dr. Jane E. Buikstra. The funded research examined if a positive correlation exists between intergroup violence and intragroup violence during the Mississippian period (ca. AD 1000-1350) in the Central Illinois Valley (CIV). Ethnographic research has identified links between increases in warfare with increases in various forms of intragroup violence, including domestic violence, assaults, homicides, and violent sports. Yet, it remains unclear whether or not this association holds within archaeological cultures uninfluenced by western states. To test these observations, skeletal trauma was analyzed in conjunction with age and sex variables to assess intragroup and intergroup violence frequencies. These results were refined through analysis of discrete and continuous phenotypic traits to estimate the biological kinship of those who exhibit skeletal trauma compared to the other members of the cemetery sample. Burial location and artifacts associations were also examined to test for differences in treatment at death. Initial results support the hypothesis that as intergroup violence increased during the Mississippian period in the CIV, intragroup violence increased concomitantly. While warfare and intragroup violence appeared in low frequencies early in the Mississippian period, after AD 1300, both intragroup and intergroup violence appear endemic. This project adds to the literature examining the cross-cultural consequences of violence socialization for warfare participation.
Widmer, Alexandra E., York U., Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Constituting 'Mental Health' in Vanuatu: Subjectivity, Knowledge and Development in a Pacific Post-Colonial Context,' supervised by Dr. Margaret C. Rodman
ALEXANDRA WIDMER, while a student at York University in Toronto, Canada, received funding in March 2003 to aid research on the constitution of health and subjectivity in Vanuatu, under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Rodman. Widmer looked at changing articulations of the nature of Vanuatu people (ni-Vanuatu) in biomedical, Christian, colonial, development, and kastom discourses regarding health, beginning in the 1850s. By making the health knowledge that circulated in Vanuatu and in global arenas a key object of her inquiry, along with accompanying assumptions about personhood, Widmer was able to contextualize as culturally and historically specific the otherwise universalizing aspects of notions of the rational individual and modernity typically associated with biomedicine. In Port Vila, Vanuatu, Widmer spoke with NGO health educators, biomedical doctors, and Christian healers and with people using their services. She attended public events held by health education development organizations and church services held explicitly to heal sick people. Looking at the history of biomedical health care in Vanuatu, she interviewed retired health professionals who had practiced during the colonial period and examined Presbyterian missionary and British colonial material in libraries and archives. She found that beginning in the 1850s, missionaries hoped that the 'rational' knowledge and practices of Western medicine would help bring about conversions from 'heathenism' to Christianity. By the twentieth century, colonial authorities saw medicine as a means to 'bring the uncontrolled bush tribes under control'; providing access to Western medicine was crucial for 'progress' toward 'modern civilization.' Widmer planned next to analyzie how ni-Vanuatu had adapted and resisted these discourses.
Minichillo, Thomas J., U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Middle Stone Age Lithic Study, South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Angela E. Close
THOMAS J. MINICHILLO, then a student at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on 'Middle Stone Age Lithic Study, South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Angela E. Close. The Middle Stone Age began around 300,000 years ago and continued to around 35,000 years ago in Africa. During this period anatomically modern humans emerged in Africa. Also during this period increasingly sophisticated technological innovations and the earliest evidence for symbolic thought entered into the archaeological record. All of these events are critical for our understanding of modern human origins. The research funded focused on the lithic technology of the Middle Stone Age from the Cape coast of southern Africa and presents new data from the region, helping to place this important period of our evolution in context. It was found, through the use of innovative methods and previously unreported curated assemblages that, during the Still Bay sub-stage, stylistic boundaries are apparent in the stone tools at the same time as the earliest recorded instances of worked ochre and shell beads. As this socially constructed bounding co-occurs with the earliest evidence for symbolic thought and personal adornment in the global archaeological record, it suggests that at least by this time, 74,000 BP, Homo sapiens in southern Africa were behaving in thoroughly modern ways. This overturns one of the widely held explanations for modern human origins, the Neural Advance Model.
Minichillo, Tom. 2006. Raw Material Use and Behavioral Modernity: Howiesons Poort Lithic Foraging Strategies. Journal of Human Evolution 50(3):359-364.
Minichillo, Tom. 2007. Early Marine Resources and Pigment in South Africa during the Middle Pleistocene. Nature 449:905-909
Bird, Catherine, Tom Minichillo, and Curtis W. Marean. 2007. Edge Damage Distribution at the Assemblage Level on Middle Stone Age Lithics: An Image-based GIS Approach. Journal of Archaeological Science 34:771-780.
Thompson, Erin, Hope M. Williams, and Tom Minichillo. 2010. Middle and La Pleistoncene Middle Stone Age Lithic Technology from Pinnacle Point 13B (Mossel Bay, Western Cape Province, South Africa). Journal of Human Evolution 59(3-4):358-377.
Field, Amy Leigh, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Capital, Creatures, and Care: Farm Animal Protection Law and Human-Animal Relationships in Eastern Germany,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
Preliminary abstract: Animal protection regulations have produced tremendous change in practices of farm animal care in Germany. Since the nineteenth century, urbanization has created a base of consumers who are distant from the work of animal care, yet desire its reform. Farmers are the targets of this pressure, and local agricultural officials must oversee the implementation of these reforms. Eastern Germany, unlike Western Germany, has only had these laws since the Berlin Wall fell. This project investigates how the introduction of animal protection law shapes human relationships with farm animals in eastern Germany. It will be conducted in Thuringia, an eastern German state which is the site of an intense new focus on reforming animal farming. With methodologies including participant-observation, life history interviews, document analysis, and analysis of discourse practices in both formal and informal sites of interaction between farmers, consumers, officials, and animals, I ask how farmers and officials understand the new laws, mobilizing their understandings of animals' needs, and those of the consuming public. My analysis takes neither humans nor animals for granted as categories, but instead investigates the mechanisms by which participants talk about and imagine the contradictory nature of animals as both commodities and living beings.
Gouez, Aziliz, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'Dwelling in Debt: Mortgage Debt and the Making of the Future in Contemporary Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov
Preliminary abstract: This research proposes to study the hold of financial debt on domestic time frames in contemporary Ireland by focusing attention on the role of debt in configuring the future, a domain of human life which remains underexplored in anthropology. The objective is to investigate the characteristics of the particular temporal regime fostered by a financial instrument which the Irish version of late capitalism made available to the many -- that of the mortgage loan. Taking my cue from Jane Guyer's notion of 'punctuated time', I shall examine how the domestic future is assembled and rendered intelligible (or perhaps, on the contrary, obscured) through the projection of dates that encapsulate distinct horizons and categories of obligations. This will entail looking at various temporal devices related to household budgeting strategies, such as wall calendars, family account books and mortgage repayment schedules, as a site from which to grasp the nesting of conflicting obligations as well as temporal disjunctures, when the round of monthly mortgage payments disrupts the unfolding of anticipated personal and intergenerational trajectories, or when it intersects with provisions made for a child's communion or one's own funeral. I shall also delve into the moral discussions arising from the weighing up of mortgage debt against other types of debt, including those binding citizens to the state, and those obligating the Irish government towards its international creditors.
Tuttle, Brendan Rand, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Lives Apart: Diasporan Return, Youth, and Intergenerational Transformation in South Sudan,' supervised by Dr. Jessica R. Winegar
BRENDAN RAND TUTTLE, then a student at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Lives Apart: Diasporan Return, Youth, and Interfenerational Transformation in South Sudan, supervised by Dr. Jessica R. Winegar. Setting out from the experiences of young returnees from North America, Europe, and Australia, to places they called 'home' in Southern Sudan, this research explored endeavors to create networks of accountability among people living in multi-local (transnational and urban-rural) settings. This project began by exploring the particular dilemmas of returnees who, after long absences, struggled to create and activate localized ties to the places they considered home. It became a study of the particular ethical questions faced by a range of people considered partial outsiders -- particularly, migrants, soldiers, the educated, young people -- who were grappling with questions about their relations to their places of origin, what they owed to them, and what moral stakes were at play. During a period of relative calm in the region, the grantee conducted twelve months of ethnographic research in South Sudan, in Bor and the surrounding countryside, in order to understand the interrelations between contemporary ethical debates about authority and coercive power, migration, and the past.
Mahadev, Neena, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Buddhist and Christian Ethical Endeavors: Charitable Works, Conversions, and Unstable Religious Commitments in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
NEENA MAHADEV, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded funding in October 2008, to aid research on 'Buddhist and Christian Ethical Endeavors: Charitable Works, Conversions, and Unstable Religious Commitments in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The rise in global Pentecostal Christianity has begun to affect Sri Lanka over recent decades, inciting Buddhist nationalists to revive their efforts to protect against the possibility that Christianity will supplant Buddhism as the majority religion of the country. This research attended to the discourses and practices involved in protecting Theravada Buddhism, as well as to new practices of evangelism and charismatic Christianity in Sri Lanka. The fieldwork considered sub/urban religious landscapes where conversions to charismatic Christianity have been relatively concentrated within certain socioeconomic demographic groups, in contrast to predominantly Buddhist tsunami-affected areas where conversions have been gradual, limited, and dispersed across southern districts. In the crosscut between Buddhist nationalism and Pentecostal evangelism in Sri Lanka, this project took up the following ethnographic tasks: 1) to study the events that have caused a resurgence of exclusivist religious doctrines and practices, exacerbating Buddhist-Christian discord in Sri Lanka; 2) to study the impacts of heightened tensions on Buddhist and Christian institutions and individuals; 3) to gain knowledge about the workings of both harmonious and discordant inter-religious relationships; and 4) to understand how experiences of belonging within families and within village communities did or did not match ideologies of exclusivity promoted by religious authorities.