Sekine, Emily Laura, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Unsteady Earth: Predicting Nature's Uncertainties in Post 3.11 Japan,' supervised by Dr. Hugh Raffles
Preliminary abstract: The Japanese archipelago stretches across four major tectonic plates, making it one of the most earthquake-prone areas of the world. But even in a place where tremors are commonplace, the massive 9.0 quake that struck the Tohoku region in March 2011 -- stirring a tsunami and unleashing a nuclear meltdown -- came as a stark reminder of the tremendous capabilities of earthquakes to surprise, to undo previous assumptions, and to destroy and remake worlds. The failure of seismologists to predict this devastating quake has added fuel to long-standing international debates over the possibilities and limits of seismological knowledge. This ethnographic and historical study explores how the uncertainty surrounding earthquakes has made seismology into a field that is remarkably -- if at times begrudgingly -- open to unconventional explanations, methods, and types of evidence. Furthermore, the study considers how people understand earthquakes not only through science, but also through folklore, history, spirituality, public education, popular culture, and observations of strange weather and animal behavior. By asking how earthquake science accommodates everyday knowledge, as well as how non-scientists draw upon various knowledge traditions to make sense of a volatile and inscrutable earth, this research sheds light on how people in Japan actually live with and interpret nature’s uncertainties. Centrally, the project inquires into how the physical instability of the earth might compel and reconfigure practices of observing, sensing, and knowing 'nature' itself. This effort will significantly contribute to anthropological studies of the environment/human-nature relations, as well as studies of Japan, which rarely attend closely to geophysical activity and how it permeates everyday life.
Harvard U., Cambridge, MA, Mohammadi-Doostdar, Alireza, PI - To aid research on 'Sciences of the Strange and the Sociality of Science in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Steven Charles Caton
ALIREZA MOHAMMADI-DOOSTDAR, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Sciences of the Strange and the Sociality of Science in Iran,' supervised by Dr. Steven C. Caton. The dissertation research examines the emergence of the category of the 'supernatural' (mavara or metajizik) in Iran as a domain of potential knowledge (speculative, visionary, or empirical) and practical manipulation (through mystical experience or technical procedure). It focuses on the articulation of various discourses -- philosophical, theological, jurisprudential, mystical, occult, and modern scientific -- in middle class Iranians' encounters with the supernatural. Specifically, it examines these encounters as marked by various forms of doubt, uncertainty, and hesitation, which individuals attempt to bridge or resolve by drawing on multiple discourses and forms of reasoning in an ad-hoc fashion. Such uncertainties appear in a range of encounters with the supernatural -- such as attempts to explain apparent communications with souls, make sense of supposed spirit possession, and sift true magic from charlatanism. The different ways in which people resolve their hesitations -- or continue to dwell within them -- are animated by divergent social and political stakes that precipitate realignments among science, religion, and the supernatural.
Martin, Sarah Abigail, Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'Expression of Fluctuating Asymmetry in Primate Dentition: Analyzing the Role of Growth Duration,' supervised by Dr. Debra Guatelli-Steinberg
SARAH A. MARTIN, then a student at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Expression of Fluctuating Asymmetry in Primate Dentition: Analyzing the Role of Growth Duration,' supervised by Dr. Debra Guatelli-Steinberg. In comparison to other mammalian species, primates exhibit prolonged growth periods. Within the primate order, growth periods lengthen from prosimans to apes and humans. Although prolonged growth periods can be advantageous, extended development may provide more time for developing body structures to be affected by sources of stress. Extended periods of growth are therefore predicted to be associated with greater developmental noise, measured by fluctuating asymmetry (FA). This study tested if and to extent growth duration influenced the expression of FA in primate dentition. Dental dimensions, collected from 26 primate species, were used to calculate FA. Crown formation times of the primate first molar and canine served as the basis for making comparisons between and within species. To date, FA has been calculated for the dentition of Hominidae and Hylobatidae. Results obtained so far demonstrate that growth duration does influence the expression of FA in primate first molars. FA of Hylobatidae mandibular and maxillary first molars is lower than FA estimations of Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo. Gorilla males exhibited greater canine FA relative to gorilla females while gibbon males and females exhibited similar canine FA, further suggesting the hypothesis that growth duration is a factor in canine FA expression.
Callahan-Kapoor, Celina Elizabeth, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Reshaping Expert Knowledge and/in Everyday Life: Type-2 Diabetes in McAllen, Texas,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Wolf-Meyer
CELINA E. CALLAHAN-KAPOOR, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Reshaping Expert Knowledge and/in Everyday Life: Type-2 Diabetes in McAllen, Texas,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Wolf-Meyer. This project, based on fifteen months of ethnographic research, examined the social, economic, and political relationships surrounding diabetes in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, a U.S./Mexico borderlands region where diabetes has been diagnosed in 30-50 percent of the population. The grantee conducted interviews and participant observation with patients and their families, healthcare providers, and others, and analyzed the mediatization of diabetes in news, films, and educational pamphlets. Rather than situate diabetes as originally biological, this project historicizes the illness as a key node in the contemporary organization of sociopolitical and economic relationships based in capitalist ideologies of excess, abandonment, and desire. As such, this project argues that diabetes has multiple valences: it is a site for biomedical intervention, a complicated form of regional identification, and enacted in intimate forms of labor. These valences in turn produce and maintain diabetes-based publics embedded in longstanding socioeconomic and political segregation. The grantee argues that these publics are maintained through the ritualized, day-to-day cultivation of certain bodies as diabetic and spatially and temporally chaotic; others as diabetic and 'well-controlled;' and others as educated, different, and elite. Thus, rather than forming one public joined in conversation about diabetes, the research found the formation of multiple diabetes-based publics.
Rosenbaum, Stacy Lynn, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Male/Immature Relationships in the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei),' supervised by Dr. Joan B. Silk
STACY L. ROSENBAUM, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Male/Immature Relationships in the Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei),' supervised by Dr. Joan B. Silk. The focus of this research is relationships between adult male gorillas and the immature animals in their groups. More specifically, this study evaluates: 1) what benefits males offer to young in their groups; 2) whether males and their offspring can discriminate between each other and unrelated animals; 3) if, and how, relationships with males influence physiological stress levels in immature animals and their mothers; and, 4) if male 'interest' in immatures correlates with certain hormonal profiles. These questions integrate behavioral observation, non-invasive collection of hormones, and evaluation of genetic relatedness between males and immatures. All work was done at the Karisoke Research Center in Musanze, Rwanda. During this phase of the project, there were 1019 hours of behavioral data collected, 6500 fecal samples for testosterone and corticosteroid analysis, and 600 urine samples for prolactin analysis. Paternity data (via fecal samples) on infants in the gorilla population was also obtained. Summary and analyses of all three types of data are ongoing. Initial results, presented at the International Primatological Society Congress in August 2012, indicate that maturing animals sustain long-term relationships with adult males they prefer as infants. Complete results will be forthcoming in scientific publications over the next 1-2 years.
Goodwin, Marc Andrew, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'A Comparative Ethnographic Inquiry into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the United States,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Marc Cohen
MARC A. GOODWIN, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'A Comparative Ethnographic Inquiry into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the United States,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Cohen. This project provides an ethnographic analysis of the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the United States. Fieldwork was carried out over a period of 13 months (July 2008 to August 2009) with children with ADHD and their parents as well as doctors, teachers, and school administrators in the San Francisco Bay Area. In particular the project sought to trace the specific pathways of diagnosis and treatment for children with ADHD. In doing so the project gave ethnographic attention to many of the problems raised in the fields of education, public health, and public policy. For example, what explains the racial disparities for the treatment of ADHD, what social and cultural factors (broadly defined) help explain these disparities, and how do children first get introduced into the diagnostic and treatment apparatus of ADHD? The project combines this in-depth multi-sited ethnography -- consisting of interviews and participant observation -- with a close symptomatic reading of the medical and parenting literature on hyperactivity to explore how ADHD as a complex technology links together in its operation the domains of school, home, and clinic in the post-welfare United States.
Winchell, Mareike, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Ayllu Justice: Translations of Tradition and Law among Quechua Activists in Cochabamba, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Charles Hirschkind
MAREIKE WINCHELL, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Politics of Ayllu Justice: Translations of Tradition and Law among Quechua Activists in Cochabamba, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Charles Hirschkind. Research focused on the ways recent legal reforms reshape existing practices of historical consciousness and ethical subjectivity in Bolivia, with emphasis on the frictions between the Bolivian state's vision of revolutionary change, on the one hand, and rural experiences of state reform among Quechua and Spanish-speaking descendents of landowners, and servants in ex-hacienda regions on the other. Through research with land reform officials and rural Quechua-speakers, the study shed light on: 1) how emergent ideals of revolutionary citizenship and temporal change become institutionalized; and 2) the ways institutional efforts coexist uneasily with a set of vertical relational practices that rural residents imbue with ethical significance.
Levin, Erik Lee, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Knowledge Practices, Authority, and Uses of Grammaticized Epistemology Amongst the Río Inuya Amawaka,' supervised by Dr. Michael Silverstein
Preliminary abstract: Sixty of the Amawaka (also 'Amahuaca') language's 250 to 300 remaining speakers reside in San Juan de Inuya, Peru. Members of this indignenous Western Amazonian community serendipitously juxtapose (1) a reified system of culturally normative knowledge practices, and (2) the Amawaka language, whose contingent grammatical features arbitrarily require speakers to index their judgments about both the quality and the sources of referential information that they present through speech acts. Thus, whether speakers of Amawaka engage in epistemological or linguistic practices, they overtly index either practice of the pair in performing the other. Linguistic anthropologists have established that speakers of a given language can utilize semiotic indexes of its contingent morphosyntactic elements to entail the very states of affairs that such indexes more generally signify in cultural context. The San Juan Amawaka, then, present multiply and overtly connected evidence to underlie research into an as-yet uninvestigated theoretical question: How, in the very process of verbally disseminating knowledge in cultural context, can people creatively employ semiotic indexes of their language's arbitrary, yet grammatically mandatory epistemological forms to invoke discursive spaces of social authority and, relatedly, to entail that publicly circulated knowledge is established as relatively more, or relatively less factual in a small-scale society? At stake are issues concerning socially situated productions, discourses, and uses of knowledge, institutionalized and informal authority, and cultural semiotics of language use in context.
Bhattacharya, Himika, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Globalization and Medicine: Women's Experiences of Violence in Lahaul-Spiti, India,' supervised by Dr. Paula A. Treichler
HIMIKA BHATTACHARYA, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois was awarded a grant in August 2004 to aid research on 'Globalization and Medicine: Women's Experiences of Violence in Lahaul-Spiti, India,' supervised by Dr. Paula A. Treichler. Drawing upon a hybrid body of work in the social sciences and the humanities, this project seeks to analyze experiences of violence and medical practice in women of Lahaul; a phenomenon, which has to be situated in the context of current and historical global politics in India. The particular form of violence focussed on is, marriage by abduction. Through ethnographic life-history interviews this research examines the unique cultural and historical circumstances of Lahaul, India where 'violence against women' includes the relatively uncommon phenomenon (in other parts of India and the world) of 'marriage by abduction,' and where 'violence' may be understood and defined differently by tribal customs, colonial institutions, traditional and modern health care systems, men of differing ages and economic circumstances, and the women who experience it. A major task of this dissertation is to sort out different interpretations of these meanings and definitions and identify their place in the larger body of scholarly work on violence against women, medical practice and globalization. Put differently, this project seeks to bridge the gap between official and/or traditional discourse and community understandings, in their gendered and globalized contexts. It seeks, further, to include and privilege, in these discourses the