Aporta, Claudio, U. of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada - To aid research on 'Inuit Navigation and Technological Change in the Eastern Canadian Arctic,' supervised by Dr. Eric S. Higgs
CLAUDIO APORTA, while a student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, received an award in August 2001 to aid research on Inuit navigation and technological change in the eastern Canadian Arctic, under the supervision of Dr. Eric S. Higgs. Field research conducted in Igloolik, territory of Nunavut, Arctic Canada, in the summer of 2002 provided significant data about Inuit wayfinding methods during boat travel on the open sea. During the crossing of a large extent of sea known in Igloolik as Ikiq (Fury and Hecla Strait on official topographic maps of Canada), Inuit hunters set courses and made spatial decisions by making precise readings of the horizon and employing thorough knowledge of the relationships among tidal action, prevailing winds, and waves. Aporta conducted several interviews with Inuit elders on topics related to spatial orientation, knowledge and use of routes and trails, and use of new technologies for travel and orientation. Through interviews with knowledgeable hunters and analysis of data about search-and-rescue operations, he established patterns regarding age groups and situations involving Inuit hunters getting lost in the Igloolik area. The extensive geographic data collected in Igloolik during four years of research were analyzed and represented through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Place-names, traditional routes, and recurrent features of the sea ice were plotted on maps as layers of a database that permitted an appreciation of these complex aspects of Inuit knowledge and of different patterns of land use over generations.
Phillippi, Bradley Dean, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'A Diachronic Investigation of Labor Relations on a Plural Farmstead, Long Island, 1700-1885,' supervised by Dr. Mark W. Hauser
Preliminary abstract: This dissertation research explores the way diverse people working in different systems of labor created, altered, and occupied plural spaces in the past. The setting of my project is eighteenth- and nineteenth-century rural Northeast North America, a time when capitalist practices and free labor gradually supplanted the subsistence-first farming practices dividing work between family members and slaves. A plural, slave-owning farm in New York will provide the context. The continuously occupied house (ca. 1700-1885) transcends contexts of slavery and freedom, thereby providing a unique opportunity to conduct a diachronic analysis of the plural spaces created by two systems of labor on a single site. Evidence related to the organization of space, household activities, and consumption will be collected using anthropological and archaeological methods to determine how the system of free labor altered plural space and impacted the daily lives of farmers and laborers of African descent. This project will build on archaeologies of plural sites and communities by adapting and applying concepts developed in anthropological archaeologies of labor and households. In so doing, this project will make broad yet substantive contributions to ideas of plurality and identity in anthropological and archaeological theory. By applying rigorous methods and analyses, this dissertation research will supply a concrete framework for seeing and analyzing activities and associated deposits in plural space as practices of diverse people entangled in relations of work.
Embuldeniya, Gayathri Eugenie, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Producing the Homeland from Elsewhere: The Changing Place-making Practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock
GAYA EMBULDENIYA, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Producing the Homeland from Elsewhere: The Changing Place-Making Practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto,' supervised by Dr. Mary E. Hancock. The research investigated how immigrants remember, recreate, and transform place, by producing it in a new locale. In particular, this research investigated the place-making practices of Sri Lankan Tamils in Toronto, and how these commitments to both village and desired nation-state (uur and Tamil Eelam) have changed over time. The concept of 'place' structures Tamil identities in multiple ways: village associations reproduce old village networks in Toronto; place as the desired nation-state of Tamil Eelam is of importance to many; and Tamil settlement has itself coalesced around certain neighborhoods of Toronto and Scarborough. However, place-making practices have also changed over time and across generations, the most recent shift being heralded by the Tamil protests that took place over six months in Toronto, as the end of Sri Lanka's 25-year old civil war drew near. The significance of this research lies in the ethnographic data it provides on how place may be transported and reproduced in a new socio-political and geographic locale. It contributes to scholarship on space, place, and memory, by suggesting that place-making practices must also be localized in time, and understood as inflected by temporal socio-political events.
Van Allen, Adrian Dana, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Crafting Nature: Museums, Biotechnology and the Future of Collecting,' supervised by Dr. Mariane Ferme
Preliminary abstract: My research examines the mining of natural history collections for the creation of genetic databanks and de-extinctioning species, with case studies of the Global Genome Initiative at the Smithsonian and the proposed resurrection of the extinct passenger pigeon by Revive and Restore.
O'Neill, Kevin Lewis, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Producing Christian Citizenship: Evangelical Mega-Churches in Postwar Guatemala City,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson
KEVIN LEWIS O'NEILL, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Producing Christian Citizenship: Evangelical Mega-Churches in Postwar Guatemala City,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson. Democracy and neo-Pentecostal Christianity are expanding worldwide. From 1972 to 1996, the number of electoral democracies jumped from 52 to 118, while from 1970 to 1997, the number of nondenominational Christians rose from 185 million to 645 million. Postwar Guatemala City offered a dramatic example of where these two developments have become entangled. Guatemala's slow transition from military rule to a formal democracy has coincided with the rapid evangelization of a once overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population. Over 90 percent Roman Catholic in the 1980s, Guatemala City is now an estimated 60 percent Pentecostal and charismatic Christian. While anthropologists have tended to keep the study of democracy and evangelical Christianity separate, this project explores their cultural coincidence and complex relationship through an ethnographic study of 'Christian citizenship.' The central question is: How do neo-Pentecostals in Guatemala City use their religion to produce different forms of Christian citizenship in an ethnically diverse, class-divided, and democratizing urban context? The primary field site is a prominent neo-Pentecostal mega-church in Guatemala City.
O'Neill, Kevin Lewis. 2010. I Want More of You: The Politicsw of Christian Eroticism in Postwar Guatemala.Comparative Studies in Society and History 52(1):131-156.
O'Neill, Kevin Lewis. 2012. There is No More Room: Cemeteries, Personhood, and Bare Death. Ethnography 13(4):510-530.
Daniels, Brian I., U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Preserving Native American Culture by Bureaucratic Means,' supervised by Dr. Robert Preucel
BRIAN I. DANIELS, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Preserving Native American Culture by Bureaucratic Means,' supervised by Dr. Robert Preucel. This doctoral dissertation research investigated the relationship between bureaucratic practices in neoliberal, multicultural democracy and the use of indigenous culture to assert rights-based claims. Through a fourteen-month ethnographic and archival study of Klamath River Native American tribes in northern California, this project examined how cultural evidence enables novel forms of political debate and strategic organization. By tracing the venues where indigenous people assert legal claims, it has documented the many ways in which cultural evidence becomes valued. With nine Native American communities, all of whom are engaged in heritage work with different government bureaucracies, the Klamath River watershed provided a field site that was diverse in its institutional and indigenous constituencies and significant for its history of legal challenges to cultural heritage policy. This research demonstrated the central importance of estate probate and land tenure to indigenous consciousness, and identified how documentary paperwork reshapes ways of knowing culture and history, and what it means to possess a specific identity. It also uncovered evidence that some Native Americans in the study area hold active rights to a defunct reservation, which, because of this investigation, has become a focus of future community development and revitalization.
Strayer, Chelsea Shields, Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Psycho Prophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Self-Regulation in Asante Indigenous Healing,' supervised by Dr. Parker Shipton
CHELSEA STRAYER, then a student at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Psycho Prophylaxis Applied: Education, Relaxation, and Self-Regulation in Asante Indigenous Healing,' supervised by Dr. James Pritchett. In Ghana, West Africa, despite economic and geographic access to biomedical hospitals, many patients continue to utilize Asante indigenous ritual healing ceremonies. Why? While the prevalence and efficacy of indigenous ritual healing is the subject of much debate in anthropological research, only a few studies have actually shown what the physiological effects of indigenous ritual healing ceremonies are and how these effects are elicited via the ritual healing process. Using a biocultural approach, this research argues that Asante indigenous rituals can be compared to the process of psycho prophylaxis -- which promotes preparation, prevention, and protection against an ailment through psychological input and seeks to mediate the negative health effects of stress by educating patients about expectations, eliciting relaxation responses, and promoting self-regulation in treatment. These responses are measured qualitatively via extended fieldwork, participant observation, and interviews. Also, these responses are measured quantitatively by taking patient heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate before, during, and after ritual ceremonies. The results of this research show that there is a significant relaxation response in patients who attend Asante ritual healing ceremonies. These positive results affirm the prevalence of witchcraft, cursing, family obligations, and spiritual ailments, which keep patients coming back for more.
Hoke, Morgan Kathleen, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Changing Economic Activity, Infant Feeding, and Early Growth among the Quechua of Nuñoa, Peru,' supervised by Dr. William Leonard
Preliminary abstract: This biocultural research project examines the changing practices of infant feeding and the emergence of early growth inequalities in Nuñoa, Peru in light of ongoing political and economic changes, specifically the emergence of a new dairy industry and an increasing reliance on wage labor. Infancy is a critical period in which environmental and social inputs can have a significant effect on both health and socioeconomic outcomes later in life. Early nutrition has been shown to be particularly important. Drawing on anthropological and health literature on infant feeding, scholarship on the developmental origins of health and disease, and biocultural anthropology to inform research questions, this study represents a work of 'ethnographic human biology' (Wiley 2004). Previous anthropological research in Nuñoa dating to the 1960's allows findings to be contextualized within the political-economic and biological history of the region. Research methods include both ethnographic and biological approaches such as participant observation, interviews, infant nutritional assessment, anthropometric measurements, and infant focal follows. Original data will be analyzed to compare infant nutrition and growth between contemporary communities participating in different economic activities. Additional comparisons will be made with data collected in previous waves of research to identify dietary changes and highlight key changes in the growth process in the face of fifty years of economic changes.
Mittermaier, Amira, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'A Poetics of the Imagination: Dreams and Dream Interpretation in Contemporary Egypt, ' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick
AMIRA MITTEMAIER, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in June 2002 to aid research on 'A Poetics of the Imagination: Dreams and Dream Interpretation in Contemporary Egypt,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick. The project examined modern religious dream-worlds of contemporary Egypt, and research proceeded from an understanding of the dream as a specific kind of experience, which is narrated, valued, and interpreted in historically specific ways. It traced the significance of dreams and visions in Muslims' everyday lives; analyzed modes and media of dream interpretation; and sought to unravel the epistemologies and subjectivities that shape and are shaped by dream-discourses. As Western psychology was imported to Egypt in the 1950s and met there a long tradition of Muslim dream interpretation, the grantee was particularly interested in how religious dream-concepts articulate with the seemingly incompatible epistemological and ontological assumptions of their psychological counterparts. Next to the disentanglement and mutual contestation of psychoanalytic and religious dream-models, the grantee also examined the role of mass media in the marginalization and simultaneous re-empowerment of religious dream interpretation traditions. The bulk of her research consisted of an ongoing engagement with Muslim dream interpreters; religious scholars; Sufis; psychologists; and 'lay dreamers' in Cairo. Based on her fieldwork and in dialogue with her Egyptian interlocutors, textual sources, and critical theory, the grantee considers the present-day predicament of the prophetic and describes a genealogy of the dream in modern Egypt. Dream-visions, while contested, continue to provide contemporary Muslims with an ethical guide to action and are considered a source of knowledge and inspiration. This research is intended to contribute to anthropological studies of Islamic modernities, as well as to an anthropology of the imagination.