Wienia, Martijn, Leiden U., Leiden, The Netherlands - To aid research on 'Ritual and the Construction of Konkomba Autochthony,' supervised by Dr. Peter Pels
MARTIJN WIENIA, while a student at Leiden University, the Netherlands, was awarded a grant in January 2006 to aid research on 'Ritual and the Construction of Konkomba Autochthony in Northern Ghana,' supervised by Prof. Dr. Peter Pels. Political liberalization often brings along a violent obsession with belonging. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this often correlates with the tension between democratization and 'traditional' authority. This project studies how and why the Konkomba people of Northern Ghana seek and use tradition (land rituals, chieftaincy) to claim autochthony in an area where they are migrants (i.e. the Nanumba districts). This is studied in the historical context of democratization and peace-building in Northern Ghana. The granted fieldwork of almost five months was the project's second research period and it included six weeks of archive studies in the National, Regional and District Archives. Other research methods were ethnographic to verify and complement previous data, follow the ritual cycle, document chieftaincy case studies and collect conflict narratives. While in the field, there were serious threats of renewed ethnic violence, and the researcher had the chance to observe and analyze local and national responses to the tensions, e.g. in security meetings. These data are very helpful for understanding autochthony claims in Nanun and for the dynamics of the peace process in Northern Ghana, as well as peace studies in general.
Wienia, Martijn. 2010. Ominous Calm: Autochthony and Sovereighnty in Konkomba/Nanumba Violence and Peace, Ghana. African Studies Collection, Volume 21. African Studies Centre: Leiden.
Scaffaldi, Cassandra K., Vanderbilt U., Nashville, TN - To aid research on "Networks of Violence: Bioarchaeology of Structural Violence and Imperial Articulation in Middle Horizon Arequipa, Peru," supervised by Dr. Tiffiny Tung,
Preliminary abstract: Imperial expansion often engenders and enables sweeping changes in the social structures and practices of communities in the imperial margins. Imperially-catalyzed changes in class hierarchies become institutionalized through local and imperial practices that structure and maintain inequalities in social status, health, and nutritional access (collectively referred to a structural violence). Because childhood health and development impacts adult health, structural inequalities are often maintained throughout life and reproduced in future generations.
Ambikaipaker, Mohan, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Antiracist Activism and the Decline of Multiculturalism in East London,' supervised by Dr. Joao Costa Vargas
MOHAN AMBIKAIPAKER, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Anti-racist Activism and the Decline of Multiculturalism in East London,' supervised by Dr. João Costa Vargas. Funding enabled extensive ethnographic research to be carried out on how Black and South Asian communities in East London struggle against different but interrelated forms of racism. The British state has consolidated a shift from the earlier anti-racist and anti-discriminatory objectives of multiculturalism by reformulating contemporary multicultural policy and practices as tools to ensure national security instead. The official focus has shifted the spotlight towards British Muslims, who are constructed as the likely and potential source of cultural clashes, religious extremism, and domestic terrorism. Anti-terror and national security policies and practices are generated through an emergent common sense that shifts the meaning of official multiculturalism away the struggle to accord recognition and rights for minorities and steers it towards a repressive notion of multiculturalism aimed at regulating ethnic identities in compliance primarily with counter-terrorism's logic. This change in multiculturalism forces the development of new forms of anti-racist social movements that have to negotiate a range of identities produced by defensive racial and ethnic responses to the new multicultural regime. There is a conceptual space for these movements that mediate between abstract universal goals of social justice and the necessarily defensive postures of identities subject to the processes of racialization and social exclusion engendered by repressive multiculturalism. The research findings argue against any form of settled position concerning the debate on the effectiveness of identity politics, preferring instead an ethnographic presentation that examines how an ideologically ambiguous terrain accomplishes much of the everyday work of antiracism in Britain.
Perrino, Sabina M., U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Senegalese Ethnomedicine: A Linguistic and Ethnographic Study of Transnational Exchange Between Senegal and Italy,' supervised by Dr. Sandra T. Barnes
SABINA M. PERRINO, while a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received an award in April 2002 to aid research in Senegal and Italy on doctor-patient communication, language ideology, and the modernization of ethnomedicine. Under the supervision of Dr. Asif Agha and Dr. Sandra T. Barnes, Perrino conducted fourteen months of research in Senegal and Italy. She focused on a Senegalese ethnomedical center near Dakar, and on an Italian nongovernmental organization (in Dakar and in Milan), which has attempted to promote ethnomedicine in Senegal. Her project examines how efforts to promote Senegalese 'traditional medicine' have ironically begun to modernize it. Beginning in 1980, foreign-funded ethnomedical centers have arisen, whose practices differ from those of non-associated healers. These centers, which are funded largely by European nongovernmental organizations, have tried to secularize ethnomedicine by removing its Islamic underpinnings, and scientize it by creating laboratory-style facilities where herbal medicine is well 'tested.' These centers appropriate biomedical modernity, yet they bemoan the lack of 'human contact' between biomedical physicians and patients. Intimacy, which is said to typify Senegalese healer-patient interaction, is pitted against the dehumanizing character of Western biomedical care. While creating an alternative medical modernity in Senegal, these ethnomedical centers differentiate themselves from 'Western' biomedical modernity on interactional grounds. Perrino's multi-sited, linguistic and ethnographic project thus examined the semiotic devices in healer-patient communication that project 'intimacy,' and how intimacy has been ideologically seized upon by ethnomedical centers in Senegal that wish to be modern, but not 'Western.'
Dvorakova, Tereza, Charles U., Prague, Czech Republic - To aid research on 'Between Practice and Purpose: The Money of Unemployed Roma and the Czech Welfare System,' supervised by Dr. Yasar Abu Ghosh
TEREZA DVORAKOVA, then a student at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Between Practice and Purpose: The Money of Unemployed Roma and the Czech Welfare System,' supervised by Dr. Yasar Abu Ghosh. This project examined the ways welfare providers established relations of inequality among the poor and ways Romani women defended these relations in context of Czech welfare politics. Its focus was an ethnographic research based on participant observation of the morally loaded field of welfare policy. The grantee examined the politics of welfare from different settings and conducted a long-term observation of welfare providers' decision-making on 'deserving poor' in the context of welfare changes toward moral individualism. Research documented the current experience and economic practices of Romani women and the ways by which they challenged the individualist understanding of poverty. The project explored the intricate positions of women and their kinship networks -- as well as welfare providers -- take with the aim of understanding their positions and 'earmarking' (Zelizer) for benefit money. The findings indicate how welfare providers frame a category of 'deserving' poor by using social relations of claimants, visibility of material hardship consumption strategies, homelessness, and nationality in order not to 'spend money on the undeserving' and 'save states' money.' The findings show how Roma women symbolically perform their moral position as 'deserving' and distinguish themselves from white (homeless) people devalued as 'undeserving' but for all that still get benefits.
Tuttle, Brendan Rand, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Lives Apart: Diasporan Return, Youth, and Intergenerational Transformation in South Sudan,' supervised by Dr. Jessica R. Winegar
BRENDAN RAND TUTTLE, then a student at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Lives Apart: Diasporan Return, Youth, and Interfenerational Transformation in South Sudan, supervised by Dr. Jessica R. Winegar. Setting out from the experiences of young returnees from North America, Europe, and Australia, to places they called 'home' in Southern Sudan, this research explored endeavors to create networks of accountability among people living in multi-local (transnational and urban-rural) settings. This project began by exploring the particular dilemmas of returnees who, after long absences, struggled to create and activate localized ties to the places they considered home. It became a study of the particular ethical questions faced by a range of people considered partial outsiders -- particularly, migrants, soldiers, the educated, young people -- who were grappling with questions about their relations to their places of origin, what they owed to them, and what moral stakes were at play. During a period of relative calm in the region, the grantee conducted twelve months of ethnographic research in South Sudan, in Bor and the surrounding countryside, in order to understand the interrelations between contemporary ethical debates about authority and coercive power, migration, and the past.
Johnson, Amanda Caroline, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Twitter and the Body Parodic: Global Circulation of a Speech Genre,' supervised by Dr. Graham Jones
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the global circulation of Twitter parody accounts as a genre of social critique, asking how parody and the parodic voice are collaboratively created by the users and architects of Twitter. For while parodists animate accounts and, with interlocutors, co-create characters, the platform's architects shape expressive parameters through policies, affordances, and ideologies. As the Twitter platform expands, it increasingly comes into contact with a variety of legal regimes, censorship apparatuses, and cultural expectations that challenge the Twitter corporation's core values. No expressive form epitomizes such conflict more strongly than Twitter parody accounts, particularly those that 'animate' (Goffman 1981) the voices of political figures. Parody accounts serve as a flash point for legal issues of author's rights, impersonation, and defamation, with national and international dimensions. This project thus also examines shifting concepts of political participation and sovereignty. How do new communication resources spark negotiation of community affiliation and social power, and how do media actors navigate within and beyond traditional legal frameworks? To investigate these questions, this project combines organizational ethnography within Twitter itself--spanning the company's domestic and international operations--with comparative linguistic anthropological research on Twitter parodists and parody accounts that target regional politics in the United States, the Arab world, and Japan. It thus offers an alternative approach to both the media producer/consumer dyad and the online/offline binary, instead considering the Twitter participation ecology as a whole.
Njau, Jackson K., Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ -
To aid research on 'Vertebrate Taphonomy and Paleoecology of Lake-Margin Wetlands during Oldowan Times in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Robert J. Blumenschine
JACKSON K. NJAU, while a student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, received an award December 2001 to aid research on the vertebrate taphonomy and paleoecology of lake-margin wetlands during Oldowan times in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, under the supervision of Dr. Robert J. Blumenschine. Njau's objective was to develop ecological models of landscape facets as they pertained to early hominids and large wetland vertebrate fauna during the Plio-Pleistocene at Olduvai Gorge. The ultimate goal was to understand the ecological contexts in which the behaviors of stone-tool-using human ancestors evolved. Studying the feeding behavior of captive crocodiles and their consumption of large mammalian carcasses, Njau developed basic taphonomic guidelines for distinguishing the effects of crocodilians from those of large terrestrial carnivores in bone accumulations. He also studied large-vertebrate bone assemblages on modern wetland land surfaces in Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lakes Manyara and Eyasi. Systematic and intensive bone surveys were carried out at a very fine landscape scale in order to match environmental settings that might have existed in ancient Olduvai lake deposits, where unusually rich paleontological and archaeological material has been collected. Modern analog studies provided a useful tool in developing techniques for identifying the taphonomic characteristics of landscape sub-environments for application to prehistoric landscapes.
Njau, Jackson K., and Leslea J. Hlusko. 2010. Fine-Tuning Paleoanthropological Reconnaissance with High-Resolution Satellite Imager: The Discovery of 28 New Sites in Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 59(6):680-684.
Njau, Jackson K., and Robert J. Blumenschine. 2006. A diagnosis of crocodile feeding traces on larger mammal bone, with fossil examples from the Plio-Pleistocene Olduvai Basin, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution 50 (2006): 142-162
Cunningham, Jerimy J., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Ceramic Consumption in the Inland Niger Delta: An Ethnoarchaeological Study,' supervised by Dr. Bruce G. Trigger
JERIMY J. CUNNINGHAM, while a student a McGill University in Montreal, Canada, received an award in February 2002 to aid ethnoarchaeological research on ceramic consumption in the inland Niger delta of Mali, under the supervision of Dr. Bruce G. Trigger. Cunningham investigated the exchange of ceramic vessels in the Djenne region both as a function of economic processes and as a reflection of consumption. In the first phase of the project, 124 potters located within a thirty-kilometer radius of the town of Djenne were interviewed about the economic and social contexts of their production and marketing strategies. In the second phase, one hundred consumer households were randomly selected from a region twenty kilometers in radius, centered on Djenne. The primary buyers of ceramic, plastic, aluminum, and enameled vessels were interviewed regarding their 'tastes' for specific objects, and a census was taken of all household containers. Census data were recorded for 1,829 vessels, including type of vessel, where it was purchased, the identity of the purchaser, the vessel's age, the type of exchange, and the object's location in the house. Cunningham's findings underscored the complex processes that affected the movement of household vessels on a regional scale. In particular, the data showed the complex ways in which ceramic production and marketing, and women's consumption of ceramic, plastic, aluminum, and enameled containers, related to gendered systems of exploitation among the region's patrilineal households.
Cunningham, Jerimy J. 2003. Rethinking Style in Archaeology' pp. in Essential Tensions in Archaeological Method and Theory (Eds. Todd L. VanPool and Christine S. VanPool), University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Cunningham, Jerimy, J. 2003. Transcending the ?Obnoxious Spectator?: A Case for Prossesual Pluralism in Ethnoarchaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22:389-410.
Cunningham, Jerimy J., 2009. Pots and Political Economy: Enamel-Wealth, Gender, and Patriarchy in Mali. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15(2):276-294.