Love, Mark William, U. of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia - To aid research on 'The Hubris of Conservation and Development in Vanuatu and Beyond' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler
MARK W. LOVE, then a student at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, received a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'The Hubris of Conservation and Development in Vanuatu and Beyond,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler. Primary fieldwork was conducted in southwest Malekula and northwest Efate, Vanuatu, over a twelve-month period. Using multiple research methods, fieldwork activities were designed to elucidate the historical and contemporary contingencies affecting human-environment relations and marine resource use, governance, and change in each location. Main topical case-studies include a community Marine Protected Area (MPA) and eco-tourism project, customary tabu-areas and marine tenure arrangements, a Turtle monitoring program, and a large donor-funded, co-managed marine livelihood and resource management project. These varied approaches offer an instructive lens into debates about 'local' and 'extra-local' methodologies of protected area conservation. The differing perspectives held by variously situated actors and organizations regarding what constitutes 'proper' management also provide insights into local-level responses to development and change more widely. Preliminary results highlight the saliency of what's been called the 'shifting baseline syndrome' and the many vexed issues associated with the codification and (re)institutionalization of customary processes. The notion of 'self-reliance' reveals itself to be a powerful local discourse which, like kastom, is a highly reified and mutable concept. Whether it is in support of tabu areas, kastom ekonomi, or something else, the subtle rearticulation of self-reliance through time reflects changing -- external and internal -- social referents.
Berthin, Michael Edwin, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'An Ethnographic Examination of Social Robots in Japan,' supervised by Dr. Rita Astuti
MICHAEL BERTHIN, then a student at London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'An Ethnographic Examination of Social Robots in Japan,' supervised by Dr. Rita Astuti. This research project examined social robots in Japan. The question for this project was simply to ask, 'Can a robot be social?' This question is intended to be not only about robots themselves but also about the fundamental meaning of 'social.' First, fieldwork at robotics research laboratories showed that the motivations for roboticists usually fit into three broad categories: science for those who want to do basic research about topics such as human cognition or emotions; engineering for those who are interested in directly making practical and useful devices; and the 'cool factor' for those who are simply fascinated by robots or technology in and of themselves. Second, ethnographic research was done with people in wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are not like social robots in that people don't have dialogues with them, but they are also intimate machines in the sense that people rely on them and spend all their time in them. Further, people at the center rely heavily on helpers who assist in most daily tasks. This is a role roboticists envision for high-end social robots. The result of this research shows the relation between abstract reasoning in the lab and day-to-day life for people in wheelchairs.
Renfrew, Daniel E., State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Lead Contamination, Grassroots Environmentalism, and State Interventions in Uruguay,' supervised by Dr. Carmen A. Ferradas
DANIEL E. RENFREW, while a student at the State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, was awarded funding in January 2005 to aid research on 'Lead Contamination, Grassroots Environmentalism, and State Interventions in Uruguay,' supervised by Dr. Carmen A. Ferradas. The grant supported the final six months of a seventeen-month field research project on the socio-political responses to the recent discovery of widespread lead contamination in Montevideo, Uruguay. Research included interviews with grassroots, state, and intermediate level social and political actors; direct observation and participant observation along these three levels; and the collection of primary and secondary documents and texts. Other activities included public speaking engagements, media outreach, student advising, and participation in a bio-ethics workshop. Research addressed the strategies and responses of a grassroots environmental justice movement against lead, as well as NGO, scientific, and academic engagements with the problem, and local and state-level official interventions. Findings reveal differences in environmental ideologies along the different sociopolitical levels of analysis, with differing strategies, methodologies, practices, and framings of the problem and its perceived victims. There were variations within these levels as well, with place identity, class character, and history playing a primary role in stimulating activism in one working-class neighborhood, while in some squatter settlements, municipal and NGO actors took the initiative. The state largely attempted to minimize the problem and associate it exclusively with poverty, while selectively appropriating international scientific norms and expertise, which in turn were contested by grassroots 'counter-expertise.' The coming to power of the center-left Frente Amplio nationally did not significantly alter state interventions or the terms of the debate, with factors such as class, social distance, and methods of engagement playing a primary role in distancing the state from the grassroots.
Fukuda, Chisato, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Breathing Uncertainty: Risk, Exposure and the Politics of Air Pollution Controls in Mongolia's Capital City,' supervised by Dr. Claire Wendland
Preliminary abstract: In 2012, the World Health Organization ranked Ulaanbaatar the second most-air polluted city in the world. Epidemiologists attribute one in ten deaths to air pollution in this city of 1.5 million people. Unlike other Asian capitals like New Delhi and Beijing where industrial power plants and vehicles are the primary culprits, the largest single source of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar is the widespread use of coal-burning domestic stoves among residents of urban slums. Mongolia became a national partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private initiative with aims to create a global market for energy-efficient stoves in the name of global health. How do urban residents develop and deploy knowledge about risk in interaction with air pollution controls? This project will ethnographically examine how local scientists, state officials, private company managers and slum dwellers engage with the stove-replacement program in Ulaanbaatar. This ethnographic study will 1) enhance medical anthropology literature on global health by analyzing how stove technologies render public health a household responsibility; 2) expand social science literature on risk by investigating how quantification facilitates expert and lay citizen understandings of risk; 3) contribute to the anthropology of urban infrastructure by highlighting the production of the citizen-consumer.
Wilbur, Alicia K., U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'Genetics of Susceptibility to Tuberculosis in Native South Americans,' supervised by Dr. Anne C. Stone
ALICIA K. WILBUR, then a student at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, was awarded a grant in June 2003 to aid research on 'Genetics of Susceptibility to Tuberculosis in Native South Americans,' supervised by Dr. Anne C. Stone. Tuberculosis is a significant health problem for the majority of the world's populations. Evidence indicates that host genetics play an important role in determining susceptibility to tuberculosis, and research in various populations worldwide indicates that multiple loci are usually involved, and that these loci differ by population. Although incidence in Native American populations since European contact has been high, little research into the genetics of susceptibility has been undertaken in these groups. Here, the role of host genetics in tuberculosis susceptibility was examined the Ache and Ava of Paraguay. Three candidate genes (the vitamin D receptor, SLC11A1, and mannose binding lectin) were analyzed for association with three measures of tuberculosis status. For both the Ache and Ava, strong evidence for host involvement in tuberculosis susceptibility was found at all three candidate genes. Discordant results between the three measures of TB status indicate that future research should concentrate immune history at both the population and individual level, nutritional status, and exposure and disease status of household members. Finally, patterns of nucleotide variation at each of the loci studied point to reduced genetic variation at these immune loci, and point the way toward future studies in population history and natural selection.
Kowalewski, Miguel M., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Subgrouping Patterns and Cooperative Strategies in Howler Monkeys in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Paul A. Garber
MIGUEL M. KOWALEWSK, then a student at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received funding in July 2003, to aid research on 'Subgrouping Patterns and Cooperative Strategies in Howler Monkeys in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Paul A. Garber. This research addressed questions concerning the evolution of primate sociality and factors that determine and constrain the size, composition, cohesiveness, and interactions among primates living in a social group. A detailed 24-month field study of subgrouping patterns, social affiliation and ecology in two neighboring groups of Alouatta caraya was conducted (7-15 individuals) on Isla Brasilera, 290 ha, 27º 20' S and 58º 40' W in northern Argentina.. A series of hypotheses concerning how factors such as social dominance, individual spacing, feeding competition, changes in food availability, partner preferences, and the development of nonkin social bonds was tested. Vegetation studies included the construction of 226 quadrants (20 x 20 m), in which 8371 individual trees were registered (2160 were marked and mapped) and 79 vine-patches were studied. The phenology of 28 plant species was analyzed in order to build an availability index for food patches. The two groups were followed five days a month, totaling 4450 individual focal hours and 8890 scan samples for each group across seasons. Home ranges were 5.6 ha and 4.3 ha, with an 85% of overlapping with other groups. Preliminary analysis of this research show evidence of weak within-group competition, and mild levels of between-group competitions mainly related to the protection of estrous females. The grantee also found more time invested in social affiliative interactions such as grooming, huddling, cooperative defense, within group tolerance of copulation, between-group playing interactions mainly by infants, juveniles, and subadult individuals, than expected based on previous studies of howlers.
An, Linh My, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Mental Illness among Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Douglas Wood Hollan
LINH MY AN, then a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, too aid research on 'Mental Illness among Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Douglas Wood Hollan. This study investigated the responses to mental illness in Chinese immigrant families in New York City. More specifically, it examined how cultural notions of self, emotional experience, behavioral rules, mental illness, kinship structure, and morality of caring interact with economic and social processes to influence the way females caregivers deal with relatives who are schizophrenic. The overwhelming majority of previous studies of families and mental illnesses focus only on negative aspects of caregiving or the subjective experience of the patient. This previous work has underemphasized and underexplored how families interact to construct shared perspectives of mental illness, normalcy, and recovery. In contrast, this research utilized ethnographic observations and interviews to understand how meaning is constructed in everyday family interactions. It is hoped that study results will complement and extend current understanding of mental illness among immigrant groups who experienced renegotiation of familial and gender roles in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Peters, Alicia Wood, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Interpretation, Mediation, and Implementation of U.S. Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy: Women, NGOs, and the State,' supervised by Dr. Carole Susan Vance
ALICIA W. PETERS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in November 2006 to aid research on 'Interpretation, Mediation and Implementation of U.S. Anti-trafficking Law and Policy: Women, NGOs and the State,' supervised by Dr. Carole S. Vance. The project is an ethnographic study of the implementation of U.S. anti-trafficking policy in the New York metropolitan area. This study uses ethnographic methods to analyze the implementation of anti-trafficking law and policy on the ground, utilizing multi-sited methods and recognizing that state policy is enacted by a variety of officials with diverse interpretive systems about sexuality, gender, and national purity. Specifically, this study focuses on the diverse meanings and implications of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and its reauthorizations by exploring a series of simultaneous narratives and discourses on trafficking: the official and dominant discourse produced via federal law, policy, reports, and speeches; the interpretations of federal and local officials; the experiential narratives of trafficked persons; and the accounts produced by NGOs serving as interpreters, advocates, liaisons, and mediators between trafficked persons and the state. The primary methods employed in the research were participant observation at an NGO providing services to victims of trafficking; in-depth interviews with service providers, law enforcement and government officials, and survivors of trafficking; and archival and policy analysis of legislative action, speeches, and reports related to trafficking.
Dzenovska, Dace, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'From Multi-Ethnic Socialism to Multicultural Europe: Difference and European Integration in Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak
DACE DZENOVSKA, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, Califonia, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'From Multi-Ethnic Socialism to Multicultural Europe: Difference and European Integration in Latvia,' supervised by Dr. Alexei Yurchak. The research set out to examine how the European present and the Soviet past constitute contemporary forms of liberalism and multiculturalism in Latvia. It suggested that rather than arriving in Latvia fully formed, it is in Latvia that Europe, liberalism, and multiculturalism are made. Ethnographic research focused on discourses and practices of tolerance and immigration control, while the former aim to incite individuals to reflect on the boundaries they draw between themselves and others and to cultivate a particular ethical disposition towards difference, the latter police the borders of the territory and the national body. Research findings suggest that Europe, multiculturalism, and liberalism are highly contested and heterogeneous sets of practices. While exhibiting liberal inclinations, dicourses and practices of tolerance and multiculturalism are also shaped by the influential articulation of state legitimacy with the integrity and sovereignty of the cultural nation and understandings of good life grounded in a particular way of life. Further analysis will consider how liberal practices, both state and non-state, are enabled by and themselves enable particular ways of life. How does one engage with nationalism as a particular way of life without either rendering it as fundamentally problematic or becoming complicit in its troubling renditions of difference?
Dzenovska, Dace, 2010. Making 'The People' Political Imaginaries and the Materiality of Barricades in Mexico and Latvia. Laboratorium (3):5-16.
Dzenovska, Dace. 2010. Public Reason and the Limits of Liberal Anti-Racism in Latvia. Ethnos 75(4):425-454.
Dzenovska, Dace, and Ivan Arenas. 2012. Don't Fence Me In: Barricade Sociality and Political Struggles in Mexico and Latvia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 54(3):644-678.
U. of California, Irvine, CA, Mireshghi, Elham, PI - To aid research on 'Regulating the Kidney Market: An Ethnographic Investigation of the 'Iranian Model' for Paid Unrelated Kidney Donation,' supervised by Dr. Michael Montoya
ELHAM MIRESHGHI, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Regulating the Kidney Market: An Ethnographic Investigation of the 'Iranian Model' for Paid Unrelated Kidney Donation,' supervised by Dr. Michael Montoya. This research investigates the 'Iranian Model for Paid Non-related Kidney Donation,' the world's only religiously sanctioned and bureaucratically routinized policy for kidney sales. This project is about how despite broad moral uncertainty the policy has been developed and made to endure for over fifteen years. The results build on ethnographic research in hospitals and the Kidney Patient Foundation (KPF) that developed and implements the policy, as well as a diachronic analysis of the making of the policy, including interviews of kidney donors and patients, policy-makers, patient advocates, bureaucrats, urologists - and Shi'a jurists that have decreed permissive fatwas on organ sales. The first phase of this project consisted of extensive observation and interviewing at the KPF. By following the bureaucratic dynamics, the managerial tactics, and the movement (and stasis) of knowledge within the organization, it reveals the everyday processes that help kidney selling endure, despite the policy's conflict with the moral sensibilities of the many people involved. Furthermore, by ethnographically documenting encounters between kidney sellers, recipients, and staff, it reveals the ways in which each of these actors constructs an evolving fragmented ethics on kidney selling.