Paine, Oliver Charles Colvill, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Investigating the Nutritional and Mechanical Properties of Potential Hominin Plant Foods in African Savanna Microhabitats,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Sponheimer
Preliminary abstract: Diet is considered a prime mover in human evolution, but recent studies suggest that some of our ideas about early hominin diets require significant revision. For instance, it has become likely that Paranthropus boisei, the 'hyper-robust' australopith, consumed primarily tropical grasses and/or sedges (plants using the C4 photosynthetic pathway). Grasses and sedges are believed to offer little nutritional benefit to most primates, yet we now find ourselves confronting the likelihood that they made up more than 70% of the diets of some early hominins and contributed to the evolutionary trend towards robust cranial architecture and increased molar size seen in australopiths. To date, there have been no systematic efforts to determine the costs and benefits of C4 plants for hominin consumption. This project will begin addressing this gap by performing nutritional and mechanical analyses of C4 and other plants (and their constituent parts) in savanna microhabitats (e.g., woodland, grassland, and wetland) across seasons. This work will be carried out in the Cradle Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa. An international research team has already mapped the vegetation in transects to be used for this study and will continue to work with the PhD candidate for the duration of this project. Nutritional analyses will be conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and mechanical properties analyses will be performed in the field with a portable tester kit. Since diet has long played a central role in discussions of human evolution, we believe that this project aligns well with the Wenner-Gren Foundation's mission to support anthropological research.
Dygert, Holly A., Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating the Indigenous Family in Mexico: Woman, Community, Region and Nation,' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina
HOLLY A. DYGERT, then a student at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, was awarded a grant in May 2003 to aid research on 'Negotiating the Indigenous Family in Mexico: Woman, Community, Region and Nation,' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina. Seventeen months of ethnographic research were conducted for this dissertation research project, with support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Fulbright International Institute of Education/Gracia Robles Program. The research examined ideas about indigenous culture and family among three groups in Mexico: government employees working to implement the National Opportunities Program; Mixtec activists working to revitalize their language and culture; and men and women in the small southern Mixtec village of San Mateo Peñasco. By examining ideas about indigenous culture and family among the three groups, the research aims to better understand how people create, rework, and contest linkages between culture and family in contemporary development practice. The researcher collected and reviewed Opportunities Program literature; conducted interviews with Program officials at national, state, regional and village levels; and participated in and observed Program activities and events at the regional and village levels. Similarly, she collected Mixtec cultural revitalization advocates' written literature; conducted interviews with leading activists; and observed events aimed at revitalizing the Mixtec language and culture. Then, the researcher conducted a year of ethnographic fieldwork in the Mixtec village of San Mateo Peñasco, examining how villagers perceive these ideas about Mixtec culture and families. Data collection methods in the village included: participant observation; a village census; semi-structured interviews with key individuals in the village (including the municipal President, the Catholic priest, and the local midwife); and semi-structured interviews with a stratified sample of adult villagers.
Sweetapple, Christopher Michael, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Convergence and Cleavae: Queer Muslims at the Instersectin of Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary Europe,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline Urla
CHRISTOPHER SWEETAPPLE, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on :Convergence and Cleavage: Queer Muslims at the Intersection of Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary Europe,: supervised by Dr. Jacqueline Urla. The project sought to explore the ways in which the ongoing political inclusion of sexual minorities and racialized exclusion of Muslims in Germany were challenged, negotiated, and experienced by queer Muslimidentified people. The fieldwork investigated political, gender, and sexual, as well as
ethnoracial subjectivity of activists, cultural producers, and non-political actors whose identities as both non-heterosexual and non-white-German call for a deeper understanding of social division and solidarity beyond the regnant but superficial cultural logic, which pits homosexual citizens against homophobic immigrants. This project chronicled how people jointly and individually navigate this political terrain by combining participant observation at diverse sites of activism and political organizing, and among relaxed spaces of leisure and everyday life, along with semi-structured and informal interviews with participants enlisted at these sites. The research revealed that anti-racist discourse and forms of selfunderstanding
as non-white appear to be the primary strategies participants utilized in order to confront the exclusionary character of mainstream gay and lesbian politics and to link this effort to other struggles. This research promises to provide a nuanced account of mutating social divisions and proliferating solidarities in Germany and Western Europe.
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.
Mykytyn, Courtney E., U. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Executing Aging: An Ethnography of Anti-Aging Medicine,' supervised by Dr. Cheryl Mattingly
COURTNEY E. MYKYTYN, while a student at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Executing Aging: An Ethnography of Anti-Aging Medicine,' supervised by Dr. Cheryl Mattingly. The project examines the growth and development of the anti-aging medicine movement in the United States. Focusing on questions of the movement's rationale and consequences, this study attends to the reframing of aging in light of new biotechnological advances and shifts in scientific objectives that speak to goals of optimization of health and bodily experience. Studying anti-aging medicine has involved ethnographic interviews with medical practitioners of anti-aging, scientists of aging, activists, and opponents. Another integral facet of this research entailed observations in anti-aging clinics and attendance at conferences hosted by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the Gerontological Society of America and locally sponsored seminars and focus groups. The project involved studying the scores of publications - both popular and scientific - and analyzing websites and list-serves devoted to anti-aging medicine. As the President's
Council on Bioethics involved itself with this topic, this research paid particular attention to the ways in which aging and anti-aging medicines were framed in federal discourse. Additionally, a professional genealogy database was designed to track individuals, publications, companies, conferences, websites, organizations and clinics and their interrelations. Analyzing how these varying 'actors' in the anti-aging medicine movement are connected, this genealogy refines traditional anthropological kinship work to apply it to complex socio-scientific movements. Shaping the way life and humanity are understood and experienced, an anti-aging medicine challenges the framework of nature and scientific objectives and 'Executing Aging ' has explored the nuances and contours of this movement at a particularly controversial and foundational moment.
Mykytyn, Courtney Everts. 2005. Anti-Aging Medicine: A Patient/Practitioner Movement to Redefine Aging. Social
Science & Medicine 62:643-653.
Mykytyn, Courtney Everts. 2006. Anti-Aging Medicine: Predictions, Moral Obligations, and Biomedical
Intervention. Anthropological Quarterly 79(11): 5-31.
Mykytyn, Courtney Everts. 2006. Contentious Terminology and Complicated Cartography of Anti-Aging Medicine.
D'Arcy, Michael Joseph, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Uncertain Adherence: Psychosis, Anti-Psychosis, and Medicated Subjectivity in the Republic of Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Stefania Pandolfo
Preliminary abstract: The majority of current anthropological research on psychopharmaceuticals focuses on the political economy of pharmaceutical production, prescription, and distribution. This research is invaluable, but it obscures the entanglement of the lived experience of psychotic mental illness with the social context of adherence. This project explores how the practice of antipsychotic adherence by psychiatric patients in Dublin, Ireland can be understood in relation to psychotic experience. I argue that adherence, or the extent to which a patient complies with a prescribed treatment plan, is troubled by the same ambiguities and ambivalences as psychotic subjectivity itself--characterized by delusions and hallucinations disrupting the relationship between the psychotic individual and their sociocultural milieu--and it is therefore problematic for the discipline of anthropology to engage solely with the 'logic' of psychopharmaceutical adherence, excluding the meaningful relationship that develops between patients and their medications. The place of madness and its relationship to curative substance within Irish myth and colonial history, as well as within the disciplinary history of medical and psychological anthropology, is well known. Privileging the ambiguity of this relationship is particularly important because of recent changes in Irish psychiatric care. The increasing complexity of community mental health in the aftermath of Ireland's psychiatric deinstitutionalization, as well as the massive influx of immigrants in the 1990s and early 2000s, have radically changed the social and institutional context of Irish mental health. Through the analytic lens of antipsychotic adherence, new understandings of psychotic subjectivity and its engagement with collective history take shape.
Shirley, Meghan, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Body Composition and the Brain: Investigating Life History Trade-offs in Living Humans,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Wells
Preliminary abstract: Energy resources in any given environment are finite. Life history theory examines trade-offs between competing functions such as maintenance and reproduction across an organism's life course. For early humans, the evolution of a metabolically expensive brain was likely associated with reorganized energy investment and/or alterations in life history strategy and behavior. Insight into how the human brain was afforded may be most readily achieved with attention directed to investment 'decisions' at the level of organs and tissues. For example, Aiello and Wheeler's (1995) 'expensive tissue' hypothesis proposed that a reduction in the size of the human gut enabled encephalization. Research has demonstrated tissue trade-offs in a range of animals, yet empirical studies of human investment strategies remain rare. With the collection of MRI and body composition data from healthy adults, this project will investigate trade-offs between the human brain and other 'expensive' tissues of the body, trade-offs between the brain and adipose tissue, and also positive brain-body phenotype associations. Further, the study will examine the effect of early life experience on phenotype. This data will add to knowledge of the variability with which modern humans 'strategically' manage energy investment and lead to more robust inferences concerning hominin life history evolution.
Hendy, Katherine Marie, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Drugs on Trial: Science, Bureaucracy and Activism in Clinical Trial Research with Psychedelic Drugs,' supervised by Dr. Corinne Hayden
KATHERINE HENDY, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in November 2010 to aid research on 'Drugs on Trial: Science, Bureaucracy and Activism in Clinical Trial Research with Psychedelic Drugs,' supervised by Dr. Corinne Hayden. The grantee undertook research with Northern California drug activists and researchers who have been working to legalize psychedelic drugs for use in psychotherapeutic settings. In contrast to other legalization efforts that have focused on state-based legislation or civil rights lawsuits, this movement organizes and funds clinical trials, which study the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics as a gateway to federal legalization as prescription pharmaceuticals. The research ethnographically tracked how the aspirations for the legalization of psychedelics combined with the on-the-ground practice of clinical trial research. The dissertation explores how the concerns of various regulatory agencies with issues of safety and drug diversion shape the form and practice of clinical trial research and consequently the kinds of pharmaceutical knowledge that emerge therefrom. Given that clinical trials are used to produce scientific research and to regulate the pharmaceutical industry, this dissertation will argue that they provide an important point of entry into the contemporary relationship between science and politics in the United States.
McDonald, Charles Alan, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Jewish Relations: Conversion, Inheritance, and the 'Return to Sepharad' in Spain,' supervised by Dr. Ann L. Stoler
Preliminary abstract: In 1492, nearly a millennium of Jewish civilization on the Iberian Peninsula was extinguished when Spain decreed that all unconverted Jews would be expelled from the land known in Hebrew as Sepharad. Five centuries later, immigrants, converts, and the state are dramatically reconfiguring the place of Jews and Judaism in Spain. Although Jewish conversion, cultural heritage, and immigration are commonly taken to be multiple manifestations of a single
phenomenon--the 'return to Sepharad'--my research investigates the divergent actors and objectives that animate these projects to understand how the enactment of such 'returns'--whether of contemporary neighborhoods to medieval landscapes, of Spaniards to Judaism, or of Sephardic Jews to Spain--reconfigure debates about the nature of Jewish personhood, history, and the pressing contemporary question of coexistence. My study is guided by questions in three domains where claims to the Jewish past and present are made: (1) Conversion: How and when is an individual's Jewishness recognized as a historical fact or a future possibility? (2) Inheritance: What concepts and materials make it possible to claim people, places, and objects as Jewish inheritance? (3) Coexistence: How do Jews figure in debates about the potential for the celebrated medieval convivencia of Jews, Christians, and Muslims to serve as a template for contemporary multicultural inclusion? Unlike scholarship that focuses on the exclusion of Europe's religious minorities, my project instead examines the inclusion--however uneven and contradictory--of Jewish people and history in Spain in an
effort to shed new light on the vexed conditions of European multiculturalism.