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.
Seshia Galvin, Shaila, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'State of Nature: Agriculture, Development and the Making of Organic Uttarakhand,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove
SHAILA SESHIA GALVIN, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'State of Nature: Agriculture, Development and the Making of Organic Uttarakhand,' supervised by Dr. Michael Dove. On 9 November 2000, Uttarakhand became the newest state of the Indian Union. Shortly after its formation, the government of this Himalayan state actively strategized to develop organic agriculture as a key component of rural development. The promotion of organic agriculture in Uttarakhand expresses an agrarian utopianism that initially appears counter-intuitive in relation to the modernist projects of India's Green and 'gene' revolutions. Yet, as architects of the policy claim that agriculture in Uttarakhand is 'organic by default' and emphasize the persistence of indigenous traditions and seed varieties, systems of contract farming, agricultural extension, and organic certification are put in place to integrate the region's mountain farmers into domestic and global supply chains. This project examines changes wrought in the agrarian landscape of Uttarakhand by exploring the bureaucratic, regulatory and agrarian practices called into being in the process of becoming organic. By asking why organic agriculture has become important for Uttarakhand, it aims to unravel the tensions and paradoxes forged at the juncture of locally situated yet globally ambitious processes of place-making and agrarian practice.
Hatmaker, Melissa Sue, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Flooded in Sludge, Fueling the Nation: Generating Power, Waste, and Change in East Tennessee,' supervised by Dr. Hoon Song
MELISSA S. HATMAKER, then a student at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Flooded in Sludge, Fueling the Nation: Generating Power, Waste, and Change in East Tennessee,' supervised by Dr. Hoon Song. This ethnographic study investigates the ways the changing East Tennessee landscape directly and indirectly shapes, and is shaped by, ideas of progress and technological development. By drawing on science and technology studies, in particular actor-network theory, this project investigates the human and nonhuman forces productive of the 2008 TVA coal ash spill -- a disastrous event that flooded the town of Kingston in accumulated waste from a coal burning power plant. This event serves as an analytical focal point for understanding how processes of landscape transformation, from the early 20th century to the present, coalesce in this environmental disaster. Interviews with residents, participant observation, and archival research all focus on understanding how and in what ways the landscape changed to accommodate this massive waste pond. This includes investigation of cultural assumptions about Appalachia, national development goals in science and energy, conceptions of landscape and nature, and social and cultural values that enable flows of electric power and waste. By examining the coal ash flood, and asking how it emerged through cultural tensions within the nation-state and techno-scientific development, this project contributes to anthropological literatures on place-making, science and technology studies, modernization, and national and global development.
Mata, Karim, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Investigating the Material Dimensions of Rural Lifeways in Transition Along the Roman Lower Rhineland Frontier,' supervised by Dr. Michael Dietler
KARIM MATA, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Investigating the Material Dimensions of Rural Lifeways in Transition along the Roman Lower Rhineland Frontier,' supervised by Dr. Michael Dietler. This dissertation project involves an archaeological investigation of rural lifeways in transition within the Lower Rhineland region during the Early and Middle Roman imperial period (c. 15 BC - AD 270). Quantitative and qualitative approaches are used to examine three domains of social practice -- dressing (appearance and body care), dining (diet and commensality) and dwelling (built environment) -- in order to understand changes in social practice within rural communities following Roman colonialism and globalization. The chosen theoretical framework engages with recent anthropological studies on colonial encounters, which have been highly successful in conceptualizing the complexity of local entanglements. Further insights are drawn from social theory and economic anthropology, in order to understand how historical, socioeconomic and cultural forces structure, and are structured by, local agency through everyday practices. The chosen approach promises to yield insights into the diverging ways rural populations forged a place for themselves under colonial and globalizing circumstances, and can elucidate how tensions between the local and the global were resolved by members of the largest social segment in the Roman world as they actively explored the limits of the possible.
Can, Sule, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The State and the City: Ethno-Religious Conflict and Political Change at the Turkish-Syrian Border,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
Preliminary abstract: The Syrian Civil War has displaced millions of Syrian citizens since March 2011 and has drastically changed the lives of those in the Turkish-Syrian borderlands. Hatay, which was annexed by the Republic of Turkey from Syria under the French Mandate in 1939, is a border province that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees today. Although the province has long been renowned for its ethnic, religious diversity, the influx of the Syrian refugees and Turkey's Syria policy have created new ethno-religious conflicts and have shifted the dynamics of everyday life in Hatay. Drawing on micro-historical approaches to boundary-making and state formation, this ethnographic study focuses on first, the emergence of ethno-religious conflict in the city in response to Turkish state practices in Turkish-Syrian borderlands between local residents of Hatay and the displaced Syrians. Second, it explores political opposition and their impacts on claiming a 'right to the city' by looking at how the refugees and ethno-religious minorities grapple with the transformation of the city since the Syrian Civil War. This research will be conducted through a historical and ethnographic investigation of the local populations and the Syrian refugees in Hatay and the tense relations between Turkey and Syria. This project suggests that in international conflicts between neighboring states, the spatial, political and social divisions in border cities will increase as ethnic and religious identities become more politicized.
Rothschild, Amy Caroline, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Suffering in Post-Conflict East Timor: Memory, Nationalism and Human Rights,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Postero
AMY C. ROTHSCHILD, then a student at University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Suffering in Post-Conflict East Timor: Memory, Nationalism and Human Rights,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Postero. The grantee conducted approximately one and one half years of ethnographic dissertation research in East Timor. The research examined how Timorese -- the State, different non-State groups (including human rights NGOs) and individuals -- are publically 'remembering' the brutal Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which lasted from 1975 to 1999 and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of East Timorese. The research took place both inside the capital, Dili, as well as in more rural areas, particularly around the village of Kraras, where a series of massacres occurred in 1983. Primary methodologies included participant observation as well unstructured and semi-structured interviews with victims, veterans, human rights workers, 'memory activists,' and state officials. A primary analytic focus was on how a nationalist understanding or framework of the past, with its vocabulary of heroes and martyrs and its future-oriented focus on nation-state building, overlapped with or clashed against a more internationalist/human rights understanding or framework of the past, with its vocabulary of victims and perpetrators and its more backwards looking calls for justice.
Grace, Samantha Lois, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Becoming Citizens: Schooling the Life Course in Ecuador and the U.S.,' supervised by Dr. Susan J. Shaw
Preliminary abstract: Over the last few years, Ecuador has undergone an 'educational revolution' explicitly aimed at reducing citizen inequality. Underlying these new laws and practices is an understanding, also found in U.S. educational discourses, that students are still in the process of becoming citizens and that this process will reach completion as they achieve adulthood. Both Andean anthropology and U.S. citizenship studies have highlighted the importance of schools as sites for the production of citizens, and political theorists have called for increased attention to the private sphere in the study of citizenship. By investigating how age shapes Ecuadorian and U.S. citizenship through changing rights and responsibilities of high school students and their families, this cross-cultural comparative study demonstrates how Ecuadorian citizenship and U.S. citizenship are constituted in institutional and familial relationships that change over the life course. Taking the life course as the principal variable in examining citizenship both reorients understandings of citizenship towards dynamic national subjectivities and reveals inequalities of race, class, and gender that have been popularly explained away as problems of age (e.g. child labor, teen pregnancy). This project builds on those literatures and others in conducting participant observation in secondary schools and homes and conducting intergenerational interviews with families both in Ecuador and the U.S. By focusing on daily practices in both the public and private sphere, this project reveals how growing up becomes a site for creating and concealing the differentiation of citizenship.
Li, Janny, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Spectral Science: Into the Experimental World of Ghost Hunters,' supervised by Dr. George Marcus
JANNY LI, then a graduate student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Spectral Science: Into the Experimental World of Ghost Hunters,' supervised by Dr. George Marcus. In a 2004 National Science Foundation survey measuring public attitudes and understandings of science, 60 percent of Americans reported beliefs in the paranormal alongside a professed respect for science. This dissertation explicitly addresses the current skepticism of the American public toward explanations provided by the scientific community to the perennial question: Is there an afterlife? This dissertation engages with longstanding religion-science debates through an ethnographic study of paranormal researchers, popularly known as 'ghost hunters,' in New York City and Southern California. In particular, this dissertation connects paranormal research to growing moral and intellectual anxieties concerning the empirical status of religion and more broadly, ambivalence toward scientific explanations amongst larger societal uncertainties (e.g., global warming, vaccines, Darwinian evolution) in America. This dissertation is particularly relevant for understanding the wider US religion-science context because it illuminates the role of scientific explanation, not in scholarly practice, but in everyday lives and popular movements. Thus, it provides a grounded account of abstract religion-science debates and has the potential to shed insight upon other controversies deemed 'anti-scientific' or hostile to science, such as Intelligent Design and Creation Science, currently gaining traction within the United States.