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.
Fujita, Masako, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid 'An Evolutionary Perspective on Mother-Offspring Vitamin A Transfer,' supervised by Dr. Bettina Shell Duncan
MASAKO FUJITA, then a student at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'An Evolutionary Perspective on Mother-Offspring Vitamin A Transfer,' supervised by Dr. Bettina Shell-Duncan. This project investigated the perplexing decline in breastmilk vitamin A (VA) concentrations across the postpartum months. Applying the concept of life-history tradeoffs, this decline was hypothesized to be an evolved maternal reproductive strategy optimizing physiological reallocation of VA between competing needs of current and future reproduction depending on postpartum time and reproductive status. The hypotheses were tested using breastmilk VA and maternal hepatic VA data, collected among 250 lactating Ariaal mothers in northern Kenya, as indices for maternal investment respectively on current reproduction and future reproduction. Data indicated maternal hepatic VA is in a trade-off relationship with milk VA postpartum. Breastmilk VA does not track hepatic VA but instead declines despite increasing hepatic stores in the late postpartum period. Results shed light on the evolutionary ecological heritage of human micronutrient metabolism and human reproduction, and further illuminate policy directions for currently recommended public health strategy of high-dose postpartum maternal VA supplementation.
Fujita, Masako, Eric Roth, Yun-Kia Lo, Carolyn Hurst, Jennifer Vollner, and Ashley Kendell. 2012. In Poor Families, Mothers' Milk is Richer for Daughters than Sons: A Test of Trivers-Willard Hypothesis in Agropastoral Settlements in Northern Kenya. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 149(1):52-59.
Wikberg, Eva Carolina, U. of Calgary, Calgary, Canada - To aid research on 'Facultative Female Dispersal in Female Colobus vellerosus and Other Primates,' supervised by Dr. Pascale Sicotte
EVA C. WIKBERG, then a student at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Facultative Female Dispersal in Female Colobus vellerosus and Other Primates,' supervised by Dr. Pascale Sicotte. An increasing body of evidence suggests that there is significant within-population variation in dispersal, both in human and non-human primate societies. The aim of this study is to investigate dispersal in a population of black-and-white colobus (Colobus vellerosus) residing at Boabeng-Fiema, Ghana. Based on a combination of demographic and genetic data, approximately half of the females in this population were immigrant females while the other half resided in their natal group. Regardless of the group composition of immigrant and natal females, all groups showed strong female-female bonds. Females formed stronger grooming relationships with familiar female kin, and these females showed co-participation in between-group encounters more often. As females defend the core area of their home range during between-group encounters, strong grooming relationships may facilitate cooperative home range defense. Despite these possible benefits of remaining with familiar kin, many females left large groups residing in areas with high local population density. These females may have dispersed to reduce feeding competition. These findings indicate that a combination of costs and benefits associated with dispersal shape individual female's dispersal decisions. This observed variation cannot be explained by the traditional models of social structure, and future models will need to address this plasticity.
Kortright, Christopher Michael, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Experimental Fields and Biotech Futures: The Politics and Histories of Scientific Rice Research,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit
CHRISTOPHER M. KORTRIGHT, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Experimental Fields and Biotech Futures: The Politics and Histories of Scientific Rice Research,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit. Through ethnographic fieldwork at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), this research focuses on how scientific research on rice has been motivated by scientists' assumptions about population growth and consumption, and how these motivations have changed with the advent of genetically modified (GM) rice. This research illustrates the ways in which experimental practices are shaped by scientists' 'visions of the future'-specifically overpopulation and agricultural underproduction. These future visions are historically located within the political economy and agricultural science. This research is a product of the archival collection of oral histories and scientific papers of researchers working on rice research and the production of 'new plant types' at IRRI. Alongside these oral histories, research focused on the study of one specific GM rice project called C4 Rice. The ethnographic research on the C4 Rice Project was conducted both in the laboratory and the experimental fields at IRRI while two large-scale experiments were under way, and the ethnographer accompanied C4 Rice researchers to scientific conferences, funding meetings, and presentations introducing GM science to the general public. Tracing out this specific scientific network of GM rice researchers, this project sheds light on an international science collaboration as it is manifested and articulated at a historically and politically controversial research locality. This research adds to the anthropological literatures on agriculture, science, political economy and futures. Alongside these contributions to the anthropological literature, this research opens up larger discourses on food and food security, specifically in the domain of genetically modified crops.
Kortright, Chris. 2013. On Labor and Creative Transformations in the Experimental Fields of the Philippines. East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 7(4):557-578.
Amigo, Maria F., U. of Sydney, Sydney, Australia - To aid research on 'The Economic Roles of Children in Household Economies,' supervised by Dr. Paul Alexander
MARIA F. AMIGO, while a student at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on the roles of children in household economies on the island of Lombok, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Alexander. The primary aim was to add an anthropological perspective to the literature on child labor, which had been dominated by other disciplines. By trying to understand native notions of 'childhood' and 'work,' Amigo challenged what had often been seen as cultural universals. And by analyzing children's work through their own accounts, she was able to show that the ideas, wants, and expectations children have about their lives are critical to understanding their work and their motivations for it. In the rural area studied, children became economically active at a very early age. Regardless of their household's difficulties in meeting everyday needs, children were expected to be committed to the household's economy. Children had long been involved in unpaid tasks (household chores, agricultural work), but the relatively recent introduction of large-scale tobacco plantations dramatically increased their opportunities for paid work. Hierarchical structures of power based on seniority and gender channeled them into the least desirable and lowest-paid work, yet children clearly made economic decisions in relation to their work and the money they earned. Rather than being victims forced to work for the benefit of others-as child workers are commonly described-the evidence suggested that children worked for the well-being of their households and were conscious that this meant their own well-being, too.
Perry, George Herbert, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'The Evolutionary Significance of Copy-Number Variation on the Human and Chimpanzee Sex Chromosomes,' supervised by Dr. Anne Carol Stone
GEORGE H. PERRY, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded a grant in April, 2006, to aid research on 'The Evolutionary Significance of Copy Number Variation on the Human and Chimpanzee Sex Chromosomes,' supervised by Dr. Anne C. Stone. Copy number variants (CNVs) are duplications or deletions of large segments of DNA that are variably present among the genomes of normal individuals. We have recently learned that CNVs are far more prevalent in our genomes than previously believed, which has generated considerable excitement, in part because many copy number variants overlap genes and therefore may be of phenotypic and evolutionary significance. The purposes of this study were to compare levels and patterns of copy number variation in humans and chimpanzees and to contrast these patterns with those of copy number differences between our two genomes. One specific goal was to study the evolution of copy number variants on the X chromosome using a population genetics framework. The X chromosome is an excellent model for these studies because the single X chromosome of males can be isolated, circumventing many of the challenges of current CNV research. This study has resulted in the first comprehensive comparative species genome-wide map of copy number variation in humans and chimpanzees, with 465 and 387 CNVs identified among the genomes of 30 chimpanzees 30 humans, respectively. Interestingly, 162 genomic regions were observed to be copy number variable in both species, suggesting that certain genomic regions are particularly prone to structural instability. The evolutionary significances of particular CNVs are being examined as part of ongoing studies. A high-resolution analysis of the X chromosome led to the precise identification of 64 human and 54 chimpanzee CNVs. Population genetic analyses of these data have provided an important baseline for neutral expectations of CNV diversity patterns, and an initial understanding of how these patterns may be affected by natural selection.
Perry, George. 2008. Copy Number Variation and Evolution in Humans and Chimpanzees. Genome Research 18(11):1698-1710.
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.
Tzib, Fernando Maximino, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Land Tenure Discourses and Mayan Identity in Belize,' supervised by Dr. Frank Salomon
FERNANDO M. TZIB, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Land Tenure Discourses and Mayan Identity in Belize,' supervised by Dr. Frank Saomon. The study examined the discursive relationship between Maya customary land tenure and Belizean national statutory land tenure systems among the Mopan and Kekchi Maya in southern Belize. Study of Maya claims of rights to lands that Mayas have traditionally occupied and managed through customary land tenure systems demonstrates strong relationships between land tenure and Maya political and socio-economic structures and daily relations with the land and annual events such as ceremonies and festivals. These relationships with the land, the spirit world, the Government of Belize, and the Development Agencies also shape the construction of Maya identity. During conflicts over land use with the Belizean state, it was clear that Maya customary law is also constituted through broader networks of interactions with the state and the spiritual wor1fi. Tuulak in Kekchi and pulyah in Mopan are terms for a form of punishment that befalls a wrongdoer, a construct that reinforces the proscriptions of customary law. This construct is given weight by its perceived links with the ancient Maya, credited by both Mayas and non-Maya. Its temporally transcendent nature strengthens contemporary Mayan identity albeit at the cost of fomenting some social fears.
Johnson, Caley Anne Szewczak, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Baboon Diet in the Forest and Savanna: An Intraspecific Comparison of Nutritional Goals,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman
Preliminary abstract: As early hominins left the forest and forged life on the savanna, they fed in increasingly open habitats and their diets diversified, especially in the Pleistocene. Pressures from foraging in this new environment are linked with a suite of changes since our last common ancestor with apes, including bipedalism and increased brain size. Available foods were different than those in the forest with less woody and herbaceous foods and more grass resources. It is hypothesized that early humans had little fat and carbohydrates in their diet and more protein. These changes in nutrition for Plio-Pleistocene hominins may have been necessary for physiological transformations such as a decrease in gut size and increase in brain size. It is also hypothesized that from our evolution on the savanna, modern humans express the propensity to maintain (or prioritize) the intake of protein as opposed to other nutrients. 'Protein leverage' in modern humans may contribute to the obesity crisis - with little evolutionary experience of foods rich in fats and sugars, we tend to overconsume energy and maintain protein intake. In order to test how environment shapes patterns of nutrient prioritization, I will use another living primate, which like humans is known for its ecological and dietary flexibility -- the baboon. The objective of this study is to determine how habitat shapes diet and nutrient priorities of an omnivorous primate. To address this, I will conduct observations of wild baboon feeding, collect foods for nutrient analyses, and employ the Geometric Framework of Nutrition to determine their nutritional priorities in Kibale National Park, Uganda (forest) and Laikipia, Kenya (savanna). This study may shed light on changes in diet and behavior in early human ancestors and the evolution of macronutrient management.