Desjardins, Sean Paul Alcide, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The Only Means of Survival: The Ethnoarchaeology of Inuit Sea-Mammal Hunting, Foxe Basin, Nunavut,' supervised by Dr. James Michael Savelle
SEAN P.A. DESJARDINS, then a student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'The Only Means of Survival: The Ethnoarchaeology of Inuit Sea-Mammal Hunting, Foxe Basin, Nunavut,' supervised by Dr. James M. Savelle. The goal of this ethnoarchaeological project was to examine the long-term development of seal and walrus hunting practices among Inuit and their ancestors in the resource-rich Foxe Basin region of central Nunavut, Canada. Archaeological fieldwork was conducted at the large precontact winter village, Pingiqqalik, a detailed survey of which revealed 55 Paleoeskimo Late Dorset houses (ca. AD 1000), 120 Neoeskimo Thule and historic Inuit houses (ca. AD 1200 to 1900), and roughly 600 emptied Neoeskimo gravel caches for storing sea mammal meat. Excavation of a Thule Inuit house and more than two dozen midden tests across the site produced an abundance of Thule and historic Inuit artifacts and animal bones, which will shed light on the general subsistence economy of the site. As hunting continues to play a major role in the social and economic lives of local Inuit, ethnographic work in the form of participant observation of a sea-mammal hunting crew was also undertaken. Methods for contemporary hunting, butchery, and sea mammal caching will be considered alongside data on the fauna and hunting technology recovered from Pingiqqalik. Together, these complimentary lines of information will help build a fuller understanding of the long, rich history of Inuit hunting, a politically charged and often misunderstood topic.
Sosa, Joseph Jay, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Sao Paulo Has Never Been Pinker: Dilemmas in Representing LGBT People in the Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. William Mazzarella
JOSEPH J. SOSA, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'São Paulo Has Never Been Pinker: Dilemmas in Representing LGBT People in the Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. William Mazzarella. This research examines the aesthetic and public modes by which Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) activists demand justice and equality within larger society. The activists and state actors considered in São Paulo, Brazil, faced particular dilemmas and contradictions, which shaped the claims that could be made both on the state and within the public sphere. In the past fifteen years, media representations of LGBT people have multiplied significantly, while violent assaults against LGBT people remained the same or, by some accounts, have increased. This ethnographic study questions an assumption endemic to liberal thought: increased media attention and recognition of minorities within a society leads to greater tolerance. On the contrary, one interlocutor described the period of fieldwork (2011-2012) as when 'homophobia came out of the closet.' After contentious presidential elections in 2010 took an unexpected 'culture wars' turn, debates over the legalization of abortion and the criminalization of homophobia dominated the political public sphere. Through participant observation and interviews with LGBT activists and pro-LGBT advocates within the municipal, state, and federal governments, the study examined how different actors utilized this fairly unique historical moment to enact change inside and outside of the state.
Hothi, Randeep S., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Sikhism Will Be Televised: Recognition and Religion-Making amongst British Sikhs,' supervised by Dr. Arvind-Pal Mandair
Preliminary abstract: The Sikh diaspora is currently undergoing rapid cultural transformation, which some scholars have likened to a 'renaissance'. Over the last fifteen years, various unexpected and creative forms of Sikh art and politics have proliferated, particularly in the UK. British Sikh television networks have been at the forefront of this movement. These community-sponsored, non-profit television networks are sites in which Sikh cultural producers come together and produce diverse programming that makes sense of the world while creatively engaging with Sikhism. I examine how British Sikh cultural producers make complicated decisions about how Sikhism should be publicly presented, which representations of Sikhism should be disseminated, and how they will address their audiences--Sikh and non-Sikh. This project uncovers the living debates, interests, and aspirations that shape British Sikh cultural production and the complicated ways that the notion of religion frames discourses about Sikhism. This research provides an opportunity to examine the wider ramifications of minority cultural production in secular societies, and the ways that minority groups articulate their own identities and socially situate themselves by addressing others.
Mitchell, Judith D., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The Role of Gender in Property Rights and Natural Resource Management in a Pastoral Community, Northern Kenya', supervised by Dr. John G. Galaty
JUDITH D. MITCHELL, while a student at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, received funding in September 2002 to aid research on the role of gender in property rights and natural resource management in a pastoral community in northern Kenya, under the supervision of Dr. John G. Galaty. Over seven months in 2002-3, Mitchell carried out field research with pastoral women in three locations in northern Kenya (East Uaso Division in Samburu District and Karare and Songa Locations in Marsabit District). Her goal was to generate further understanding of the role of Samburu and Ariaal Rendille women in four primary realms: knowledge and management of natural resources, access to or ownership of land and other resources, access to cash income and the 'market,' and involvement in the genesis and mediation of conflict. Another objective was to investigate the extent of women's continuing relationships with in-laws and natal kin. Research methods included census surveys, mapping, participant observation, unstructured interviews with district and community leaders, semistructured interviews with women and men regarding household and natural resource management, focus groups with women and men to discuss household disputes and local conflict, and oral life histories with female and male elders. Preliminary findings indicated that in all three sites, the majority of women held a great deal of influential power within the political and socioeconomic spheres of pastoral household and community life. Women believed that with greater organization, they could play a stronger role in influencing family members and community and political leaders to eliminate pervasive livestock raiding and armed banditry in northern Kenya.
Clark, Gabrielle Elise, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Apples to Engineering: American Guestworkers and the Law in Three Northeast Labor Markets,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
GABRIELLE CLARK, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'From Apples to Engineering: American Guestworkers and the Law in Three Northeast Labor Markets,' supervised by Dr. Sally Merry. The research investigates what it means to be a non-resident 'alien' worker, as well as what kinds of legal forms are produced through non-resident workers' rights mobilizations. This research is important because, since the 1970s, several million temporary 'alien' workers enter and exit US labor markets annually across sectors, while more state law has emerged to govern their relations with their employers. Through fifteen months of fieldwork, the grantee undertook a legal ethnography following legal professionals as they served non-resident workers, engaged in administrative court-observation, interviewed workers and state bureaucrats (investigators and judges), and gathered hundreds of unpublished case-files from agencies hearing worker claims. When placed in comparison to historical research on past worker claims (1942-1990), this ethnography reveals that workers have lost power in the workplace over time. In the past, the state took a more interventionist role in managing foreign temporary employment relations. Today, as this structure has re-trenched, workers across sectors: 1) often do not consider themselves rights-bearing subjects; 2) do not challenge employers in significant areas of law and work, such as employment termination; 3) encounter a greater range of problems with labor contractors operating in the new privatized framework; and 4) generally lose in court.
Scherer, Andrew K., Texas A&M U., College Station, TX - To aid 'Dental Analysis of Classic Maya Population Structure and History,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright
ANDREW K. SCHERER, while a student at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, received funding in April 2003 to aid 'Dental Analysis of Classic Maya Population Structure and History,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright. Scherer analyzed dental metric and nonmetric variability on a sample of 987 skeletons from 18 archaeological sites in the Maya region of modern-day Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. This data is being used to test two major hypotheses: 1) that biological distance between Classic period Maya site populations is correlated with geographic distances between sites; and 2) when gene flow occurred during the Classic period, it was primarily at the elite level of society. Preliminary multivariate statistical analysis of the data indicates that geographic distance is a poor indicator of biological distance in the Maya area. In some cases, regional isolation of biological variability is observed. In other instances major gene flow events occurred during the Classic period corresponding either to continual interaction between these sites, as well as possible large-scale episodes of migration. Further statistical testing will evaluate these original findings.
Scherer, Andrew K. 2007. Population Structure of the Classic Period Maya. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132(3):367-380.
Hardin, Jessica Anne, Brandeis U., Waltham, MA - To aid research on 'Exchange and Health: Negotiating the Meaning of Food and Body among Evangelical Christians in Independent Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Richard J. Parmentier
JESSICA A. HARDIN, then a student at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Exchange and Health: Negotiating the Meaning of Food and Body among Evangelical Christians in Independent Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Richard J. Parmentier. In a 'traditional' Samoan idiom, large body size indexed deep social networks and prosperity. Today, as rates of weight-related diseases and obesity increase, meanings of the large body are in flux. Exchange is increasingly critiqued by public health and evangelical Christians as a source of financial, social, and emotional hardship that causes weight-related disorders. This research explores how weight-related disorders are constructed as a problem of inequality and social change related to global influences on everyday life. This analysis draws from fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork that included participant observation, semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis in two evangelical churches and public health domains in the urban and peri-urban areas of Apia. These diverse data sets enabled an investigation of how: weight-related disorders are linked to exchange; spiritualized etiologies encourage social and embodied change; and global public health discourses are articulated in complex and surprising ways. This research into responses to the rise of weight-related disorders illuminates the social and spiritual dimensions shaping disease management in contemporary Samoa; this suggests a focus on well-being, as opposed to health, in prevention and policy is necessary.
Maitra, Saikat, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Labouring to Create Magic: New Worker-subjectivity, State and Capital in Kolkata,' supervised by Dr. Kaushik Ghosh
SAIKAT MAITRA, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Laboring to Create Magic: New Worker-Subjectivity, State and Capital in Kolkata,' supervised by Dr. Kaushik Ghosh. The project investigates the formation of a new worker-subjectivity among youth populations employed in upscale retail spaces in Kolkata, India. Under the liberalizing effects of a formerly socialist government in Kolkata and private investments flowing into the organized retail sector of the city, a large number of jobs are being created in this sector. Most of the employees in the lower segments of this sector are from socially under-privileged backgrounds for whom jobs in such spaces offer them the thrills of participating in a global lifestyle of high-end consumption, otherwise unavailable to them. However, with the reluctance of the state to intervene in the protection of labor rights in private retail institutions, these young workers have to negotiate with increasingly precarious work environments demanding constant flexibility, pressures to maintain sales targets and the ever-present threat of job loss. The dissertation fieldwork focuses on the ways in which the subjectivity of these workers are being molded through negotiations between the institutional forces of the state and corporate capital trying to produce malleable and self-regulated workers and the employees' subjective desires for class mobility and better ways of inhabiting the urban space.
Bunce, John A., U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Behavioral Genetics of Color Vision for a Wild Neotropical Monkey,' supervised by Dr. Lynne A. Isbell
JOHN A. BUNCE, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, received funding in May 2005 to aid research on 'Behavioral Genetics of Color Vision for a Wild Neotropical Monkey,' supervised by Dr. Lynne A. Isbell. Under what ecological circumstances does trichromatic color vision (affording the capacity to distinguish red from green) provide an advantage over dichromatic vision ('red-green' colorblindness) for primates in natural forest environments? To answer this question, the foraging and predator avoidance behaviors of wild dichromatic and trichromatic individuals of the Neotropical monkey Callicebus brunneus were compared. Genetic samples were collected from the members of five C. brunneus monogamous groups for the determination of each individual's vision type (di- or trichromatic). Each group was followed for an average of 25 days over a nine-month period in 2006. Simultaneous continuous behavioral observations were collected from the adult female (usually trichromatic) and adult male (invariably dichromatic) in each group, with special attention to foraging events and the use of risky (high/exposed) microenvironments. Of the 1409 observed foraging events for the five monkey groups, trichromatic vision was potentially advantageous in about half of the events (696), namely, those involving yellow, orange, or red food items. These data will be used to determine if trichromatic females differ from their dichromatic male mates in terms of the types and colors of foods eaten, the propensity to lead foraging forays, and the use of risky microenvironments.
Rivera-Collazo, Isabel C., U. College London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Between Land and Sea in Puerto Rico: Climate, Coastal Landscapes, and Human Occupations in the Mid-Holocene Caribbean,' supervised by Dr. Jose Oliver
ISABEL RIVERA-COLLAZO, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Between Land and Sea in Puerto Rico: Climate, Coastal Landscapes, and Human Occupations in the Mid-Holocene Caribbean,' supervised by Dr. Jose Oliver. The global effect of human-induced climate change is one of the most important issues governments worldwide have to address. This issue is especially serious for coastal communities due to the threat posed by rising sea levels. This project studies the effect that Early to Mid-Holocene climate change had on tropical coastal landscapes and the distribution of habitats within them, in order to understand the range of foraging decisions observed in archaeological contexts, and to study human resilience to changing conditions. Fieldwork was used to gather primary environmental data from Puerto Rico in order to document landscape change and contextualize human behaviour. Five sediment cores were taken from strategic positions along the Manatí River, north of the site of Angostura. The sediment stratigraphy of these cores suggests that the coastal plain in the past was dominated by aquatic environments of active sedimentary deposition then filled in slowly as sea levels rose. People responded to changes in the distribution of ecological niches by adapting their diet, maintaining its sustainability over the long run. A deep-time perspective of human-environment interaction facilitates a better understanding of the scope of human strategies that lead to resilient or fragile socioeconomic systems when facing crises.