Sopranzetti, Claudio, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Constituting Mobilities: Ice-cubes, Newspapers, and Motor-taxis in Bangkok's CBD,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld
CLAUDIO SOPRANZETTI, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Constituting Mobilities: Ice-cubes, Newspapers, and Motor-taxis in Bangkok's CBD,' supervised by Dr. Michael F. Herzfeld. Driven by the on-going political turmoil in Thailand, this research focused on understanding the local organization of the motor-taxis' drivers and its political relevance, both inside networks of migrants workers and for the city as a whole. Sharing the sidewalks with street-vendors, police officers, illegal lottery providers, and costumers from a variety of classes, as well as regional and geographical proveniences, the drivers negotiate their presence and roles in the city through spatial and social mobility that proliferates in the interstitial spaces between cars, classes, urban and rural life. In these spaces the motor-taxi drivers function as connectors -- both physically and metaphorically -- between different networks and in so doing collaborate in constituting the city as an entity and in spreading its images and discourses to rural areas.
Meek, Laura Anne, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Curing Drugs: Pharmaceutical Capacities in the Context of Radical Uncertainty in Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. James H. Smith
Preliminary abstract: Powerful antibiotics are readily available for purchase throughout Tanzania, and Western policy makers regularly decry this situation as dangerous and disordered, as if no rules govern the use of antibiotics in Africa. While Western biomedicine perceives pharmaceuticals as cures for disease, in Tanzania, such medicines are understood to be volatile and potentially dangerous substances- one among many unpredictable, fluctuating, and highly contemporary forces from outside, whose potentials are at once positive and negative. In the prevailing Western understanding of antibiotic use in Africa, 'truth' lies in the science that goes into the making and proper prescription of drugs, and such deviations as 'overuse' result from the fact that locals misunderstand what these drugs are and how they should be used. My preliminary research suggests that Tanzanian practice is aimed at determining the 'true' nature of these drugs, at differentiating types of drugs, and at establishing control over their variable capacities, an orientation that defines many related practices in the region, from politics to religion. This project will use ethnographic methods to investigate the social dynamics and concerns that inform the use of antibiotics in Tanzania in an effort to understand and eventually demonstrate the logics of drug use in Iringa, a regional capital in the southern highlands of Tanzania. It will ask what capacities and potentialities antibiotics are understood to have, what role embodied epistemological practices play in the production of this knowledge, and how efforts to know/control these medicines may be a response to globalizing forces more generally.
Huffman, Michaela, Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'The Peopling of South America: Analysis of Dental Non-metric Traits to Evalutate Migration Scenarios,' supervised by Dr. Debra Guatelli-Steinberg
Preliminary abstract: The population history of the Americas has been the focus of much genetic and bioarchaeological research, yet the number and patterns of migrations that settled the Americas are still debated. Much of this work has concentrated on North American data, with less attention to South America. The goal of this research is to examine the peopling of South America through the analysis of non-metric dental traits. This study will examine the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS) dental trait evidence from three geographic regions: Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and South America, spanning the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Two hypotheses will be tested regarding the peopling of South America during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Documenting the morphological diversity among Paleoamerican and Amerindian populations using an independent line of evidence, teeth, in conjunction with models combining both geographic range and the element of time is an important approach. This research aims to understand how people actually dispersed into the Americas and help native peoples understand their ancestry.
Scheinfeldt, Laura B., Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Y Chromosome Variation in the Bismarck Archipelago: Disentangling Genetic Relationships among AN and NAN Populations,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan S. Friedlaender
LAURA B. SCHEINFELDT, while a student at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in February 2003 to aid research on 'Y Chromosome Variation in the Bismarck Archipelago: Disentangling Genetic Relationships among AN and NAN Populations,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan S. Friedlaender. Melanesia has been shown to be an area of high cultural and biological variability. The current study undertakes intensive Y chromosome analysis in the Bismarck Archipelago. This analysis addresses three questions: What is the relationship among Y chromosome variation, linguistic variation, and geographic variation in the Bismarck, Archipelago? How does the pattern of Y chromosome variation in the region relate to regional mitochondrial DNA variation? How does the distribution of Y chromosome variation in the region relate to models of past population history? The current analysis includes a panel of 552 unrelated males residing in the Bismarck Archipelago and Eastern New Guinea and includes over 20 language groups and dialects. 7 microsatellite and 25 biallelic markers have been analyzed. The results address all three research questions. First, the data show patterns of both language and geography. Second, regionally restricted Y chromosome haplogroups show similarity in distribution and variability to regional mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. And last, the data are consistent with a long human occupation time in combination with more recent population dynamics. More specifically, the data support a model of primary Melanesian paternal influence on the expansion into Polynesia in combination with strong founder effects.
Scheinfeldt, Laura. 2006. Unexpected NRY Chromosome Variation in Northern Island Melanesia.Molecular Biology and Evolution 23(8):1628-1641
Scheinfeldt, Laura. 2007. Y Chromosome Variation in Northern Island Melanesia. In The History of Genes, Language, and Culture in the Southwest Pacific: A Synthesis. (Johnathan Friedlaender, ed.) Oxford Press: New York
Luehrmann, Sonja, U.of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Secular Transformations and Interreligious Relations in Postsoviet Marli El, Russian Federation,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon
SONJA LUEHRMANN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in June 2005 to aid research on 'Secular Transformations and Interreligious Relations in Postsoviet Marli El, Russian Federation,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Lemon. Through ethnographic fieldwork in religious organizations in the Republic of Marii EI (an autonomous republic in the Volga region) and archival research with the records of Soviet organizations involved in atheist propaganda from the 1950s to the 1970s, this research aimed at answering the questions: What material and human resources from Soviet secular culture do postsoviet religious activists draw on, how do they transform these resources for religious purposes, and what impact does this have on public life in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious region? Findings showed that part of the Soviet legacy is a large part of the population trained in doing ideological work aiming at making people engage with doctrinal principles through pedagogical forms which are still in use in the service of religious organizations today. Soviet efforts to create a mosaic of secular ethnic cultures also contributed to the currently widespread idea that there should be a match between ethnic and religious affiliation, which is used as an organizing and legitimizing principle by different religious organizations and government institutions. Similarities between Soviet-era communist and post-Soviet religious propaganda are in part due to biographical and institutional continuities, in part to common responses to the problem of making doctrine a part of people's lives.
Flood, David Nottoli, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Old-Time Values:Classed and Raced Cultural Practice as Activist Politics,' supervised by Dr. Ira Bashkow
Preliminary abstract: Based on research in southern Appalachia, I describe a situation in which middle-class leftists seek out and learn from working-class 'Locals' in North Carolina. Through participation and apprenticeship with Locals in a variety of areas like traditional music, farming, and handicrafts, leftist in-migrants seek to cultivate a distinctly working-class set of cultural attitudes and skill sets. Preliminary fieldwork suggests this is part of a broader political project: the search for viable cultural alternatives to what they describe as the exploitative, hierarchical, and consumerist sociality that characterizes late capitalism. In pursuit of this project, they focus on class-based notions of cultural alternatives to capitalism, and are therefore seeking to emulate, in some ways, white, rural working-class people as a kind of left political praxis. However, the encounter of nominally middle-class in-migrants in long-term contact with nominally working-class Locals in a historically-poor region is fraught, particularly because Locals have historic experience with outside culture workers like folklorists and revivalists. I ask, how do both groups conceive of and evaluate class in this situation? I draw on notions of 'boundary work' as an ongoing, semiotic process that maintains and legitimizes categories like race, class, and gender to frame my research question. My project recognizes that movement between classes is fraught; I recognize that while class is an intellectual model, it is one which shows significant overlap between academic and lay usage. In this sense, like race, it comes to have profound effects in the real world. Most observers recognize that people can move upwards in class status partly by 'acting right,' but the situation I describe focuses attention on two questions: what does it mean to pursue voluntary downward mobility as part of a political project; and what can the encounter between these groups of people reveal about lived experiences of class in late capitalism?
Haro, Angelia, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Developing Utopias: An Ethnography of Millennium Villages,' supervised by Dr. Charlie Plot
Preliminary Abstract: I examine how future-oriented social phenomena operate in new global development practices and cultures organized by the Millennium Development Goals and the promise of the end of global poverty by 2015. I take the Millennium Villages Project, as the most visible Millennium Development initiative, for my research domain. The twelve rural communities in Africa, chosen by the UN and its partners, are intended to demonstrate the feasibility of the Millennium Development promise of the global eradication of poverty. The present proposal will support two phases of ethnographic research: A case study of the Sauri MVP in Kenya and an examination of the translocal dimensions of actors in the MVP-associated institutions in New York. My research objective is to observe the specific practices, ways of thinking and social formations through which different actors attempt to transform present conditions to fit or transform the Millennium Development vision. As simultaneously locally-situated and also translocal constructions, the Villages provide ideal ethnographic sites in which I might discern how a global utopian visions are imported and exported in actual development contexts; how local communities and individuals struggle over the situated coordinates of present possibility as they attempt to actualize it in the contingent, power-saturated present; and how social identities form along axes of competing possibilities and hopes.
Reynolds, Cerisa Renee, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Faunal Use and Resource Pressure at the Origins of Agriculture in the Northern U.S. Southwest,' supervised by Dr. James Enloe
CERISA R. REYNOLDS, then a student at University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Faunal Use and Resource Pressure at the Origins of Agriculture in the Northern U.S. Southwest,' supervised by Dr. James Enloe. In the northern U.S. Southwest, the Basketmaker II (BM II) period (1500 BC - AD 500) marks the entrance of corn-based agriculture into the region. As this system included no domesticated animals, most attention regarding the BM II diet has focused on the use of domesticated plant resources. Unfortunately, the economic importance of wild animals has been less systematically studied. In response to this imbalance, the faunal data from 31 BM II sites were collected and analyzed to investigate how different BM II communities utilized wild animal resources. The results generally suggest that sedentism and a lack of domesticated sources of protein during the BM II period resulted in the overharvesting of high-ranking wild fauna and a subsequent reliance upon smaller, lower-ranking fauna. When the results were correlated with both preexisting chronological data and six newly acquired radiocarbon dates, it becomes clear that the BM II diet did not systematically change over time, and there are no distinct 'early BM II diet' and 'late BM II diet' trends. Instead, most BM II communities were consistently stressed due to an early overuse of the region's large game. Furthermore, the BM II diet was also periodically impacted by drought and population packing.
Wiley, Katherine Ann, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'From Slavery to Success: Gendered Economic Strategies in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,' supervised by Dr. Beth Anne Buggenhagen
KATHERINE ANN WILEY, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'From Slavery to Success: Gendered Economic Strategies in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,' supervised by Dr. Beth Anne Buggenhagen. This project examined women's market work and economic activities including their participation in exchange circuits in Kankossa, a town in southern Mauritania. In recent decades increasing numbers of Mauritanian women have been joining the workforce, a situation that has been exacerbated by the global economic crisis, male migration, and high divorce rates. Given that in people's memories historically women ged (sat, stayed) in their tents and did not work outside of the home, this project asked how their increasing participation 'sitting and standing' (nged wa nguum, a term used for work) in the workplace is affecting what it means to be a woman and a man in Mauritania. It explored how women's increasing participation in work is shifting their roles in their families and society, examining how conceptions about gender and ethnicity are created, reinforced, and challenged through work in this context. It particularly focused on the Haratine (ex-slaves or descendants of slaves) to consider how increased access to work may be altering their social statuses. Ultimately, then, this project explored how women are made in Mauritania, particularly through the sphere of work.
Doberne, Jennie Carmel, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Technologically-Assisted Later Motherhood in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon
JENNIE DOBERNE, then a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'Technologically-Assisted Later Motherhood in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon. This research queries the reproductive practices and politics of extending motherhood into the fifth and sixth decades of life among Israeli women. Through the lens of later motherhood, both the limits and horizons of Israeli pronatalism become visible. The grantee conducted participant observation in a high risk pregnancy unit, interviewed later mothers and health care professionals, attended medical conferences on fertility and pregnancy, followed online communities of later mothers, and analyzed media representations of assisted reproduction. By listening to professional and personal narratives and by investigating the routes and risks Israeli women take to become mothers later in life, the stakes of belonging through family in Israel come to the fore. As citizenship is increasingly formulated in genetic terms and the future Jewishness of the state is uncertain, understanding the cultural preoccupation with assisting the nation's reproduction is of the essence.