Duke, Guy Stephen, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Consuming Identities: Culinary Practice in the Late Moche Jequetepeque Valley, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Edward Rueben Swenson
Preliminary abstract: More than just a means of subsistence, food and its accoutrements are integral to both the practices of everyday life and the spectacles of public ritual events. The archaeological study of culinary practices, including the preparation, serving, consumption, and disposal of food, provides an excellent point of entry to investigate everything from status and ethnicity to group and individual identity. Archaeologists are in a unique position to interpret the material remains of food production and consumption (e.g. cooking/storage vessels, plant/animal remains, and food processing/preparation implements) in everyday domestic life and larger political-economic dependencies in order to investigate processes of identity formation and maintenance. This project will explore whether, and what, interconnections exist between identity and culinary practice through the examination of food production and consumption at two sites in the politically unstable Jequetepeque Valley of Peru during the Late Moche Period (AD 600-850). The sites targeted for investigation include the large ceremonial centre of Huaca Colorada and a smaller rural site with ceremonial components (JE-335). My research design is geared to shed light on the cultural politics of food preparation and consumption in order to explore how, and if, the preparation and consumption of food created and maintained social distinctions within the specific context of sociopolitical and environmental transformations distinguishing the Late Moche Period.
Truitt, Allison, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Open Doors: The Appearance of Money in Urban Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. John Borneman
ALLISON TRUIT, while a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in April 2001 to aid research on 'Open Doors: The Appearance of Money in Urban Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. John Borneman. Like currencies in other socialist countries, the Vietnamese dong has suffered numerous crises of confidence from inflation in the 1980s and then its devaluation in the 1990s. Although people prefer to hold U.S. dollars or gold in reserve, they insisted that the dong be used in everyday exchanges. How reforms of Vietnam's economy may be engendering new ways of thinking about money and its place in society, especially in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi, was the basis of this project. This project drew upon ethnographic inquiry and semi-structured interviews. It investigated how people construct money's mediums -- Vietnamese dong, gold, and U.S. dollars and even spirit offerings -- as vehicles for meanings and associations other than mere market valuation. It then documented individual and social efforts to master what Simmel called the negative trait of money in different functions such as everyday exchanges, ritual practices, and gift exchanges. Through interviews with government officials, bankers, employees in overseas remittance companies, and petty traders, it then examined transformations in institutional techniques that seek to govern money. Finally, it sought to understand how money mediates the imaginary and symbolic integration of Vietnam into the 'world at large.'
Johari, Radhika, York U, Toronto, Canada -To aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani
RADHIKA JOHARI, then a student at York University, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani. This doctoral research critically examined how environmental perceptions and practices have been shaped at the interface of past and current paradigms of conservation and resource-based livelihoods development within the recently concluded Indo-German Changar Eco-Development Project in Himachal, India. Adopting a multi-sited ethnographic approach, it has contextualized these articulations of environment and enterprise building within a wider framework of historical and current resource rights and property regimes. It has demonstrated how an increasingly influential paradigm of neoliberal market-centered development has structured project interventions, and how in turn these interventions have been refracted by a deeply entrenched and intersecting politics of knowledge, identity and place. The research identified and explored these points of refraction, for example, within project discourses and practices of knowledge production and valuation and in plantation and livelihoods development strategies. In doing so, it revealed how environmental and entrepreneurial knowledges and practices have intersected with existing social, economic, and political relations, as well as property relations, in ways that have significantly shaped perceptions, norms, and practices around environmental resources. In sum, the research provides a grounded critique of prevailing efforts to converge conservation and resource-based livelihoods and the reasons for their disjunctures in practice.
Nicewonger, Todd Evans, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Intellectuals, Material Culture, & Flemish Fashion Design as an Economy of Innovation,' supervised by Dr. Lambros Comitas
TODD E. NICEWONGER, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in July 2007 to support research on 'Intellectuals, Material Culture & Flemish Fashion as an Economy of Innovation,' supervised by Dr. Lambros Comitas. The project was conducted at a Fashion Design Academy where the grantee examined the social organization of the institution and the communicative practices used among student designers. Building on contemporary research into the cultural production of aesthetics, embodiment, and apprenticeship, this study investigated how certain virtues associated with an avant-garde movement in fashion converged into what eventually became recognized as the Flemish fashion aesthetic. This effort was characterized by novel modes of production and ideas about what it means to be a 'good and creative' fashion designer. Fundamental to these beliefs were social ideals arguing that fashion mediates the re-orientation of knowledge and stimulates new ways of imagining lived reality. As such, artisans are believed to embody an intellectual responsibility: one that can craft embodied notions of doubt, joy, and-central to this investigation-possibility. By illuminating how notions of the future are imagined, translated into design concepts, and then technically produced, this study conceptualizes the creative practice of design as hope.
Cuffe, Jennifer Lynn, McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'Configuring Commensurability: Number and Cultural Diversity in the Evaluation of Traditional Herbal Medicines, Ottawa, Canada,' supervised by Dr. Allan Young
JENNIFER CUFFE, then a student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, was awarded a grant to aid research on 'Configuring Commensurability: Number and Cultural Diversity in the Evaluation of Traditional Herbal Medicines, Ottawa, Canada,' supervised by Dr. Allan Young. The grantee used methods of social anthropology to investigate the measures - the statistics, standards, and numbers - used in the regulatory evaluation of traditional, herbal medicines in Canada. Fieldwork was conducted from August 2006 to September 2007 in a science-based, government directorate mandated to evaluate medicines for safety, efficacy, and quality, while 'respecting ? philosophical and cultural diversity.' Participant-observation was centered on working as scientific staff in various capacities for a year. The grantee also formally shadowed the work of a dozen staff, perused internal documents, and conducted 1-3 hour interviews with 40 current scientific staff and 10 other affiliates. Based on the fieldwork experience and preliminary analysis, the research found that, wherever possible, measures in scientific evaluation were made non-manipulable; opportunities for calculation were transformed into opportunities for comparison. Respect for 'philosophical and cultural diversity' was operationalized, in part, as a complex system of classification and standards. This system shaped how scientific staff interpreted the meaning of their own regulatory judgments regarding efficacy, and how they accounted for the incommensurability of medicines from various traditions. In addition the grantee investigated the history of Health Canada's evaluation of traditional medicines, and interviewed and observed members of pertinent industry and research associations.
Stankiewicz, Damien Edam, New York U., New York, NY- To aid research on 'The Negotiation of National and Trans-National Identities at the European Television Station 'ARTE',' supervised by Dr. Susan Carol Rogers
DAMIEN EDAM STANKIEWICZ, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'The Negotiation of National and Trans-National Identities at the European Television Station 'ARTE,'' supervised by Dr. Susan Carol Rogers. Fifteen months of fieldwork at the television channel ARTE -- one of the world's first examples of truly transnational media -- allowed for insight into the construction of transnational 'imagined communities,' elucidating the complex imbrications of national, cross-national, and global aesthetic sensibilities and identities that cut across transnational programming and daily production work. Television production work at ARTE is defined by several key tensions: ARTE has a mandate to produce transnational and European programming but is largely funded by French and German national governments; ARTE producers and programmers strive to challenge national sensibilities but find that audiences dislike subtitled programming and tend to think that programs explicitly about Europe are boring; and while ARTE's staff at its headquarters in Strasbourg claim that they alone truly understand French and German cultures well enough to program for both countries' audiences, ARTE's national offices disparage Strasbourg as too removed from national television production hubs. ARTE staff must thus negotiate and construct a programming line-up and editorial lines that draw upon, in often complex and self-conscious combinations, what they understand to be national, transnational, and supra-national or 'European' narratives and themes, employing production strategies that allow audiences to engage with familiar narratives and genres while also challenging or reframing these in subtle ways -- by focusing, for example, on the mutual devastation wrought by World War II. In ARTE's hallways and cafeterias, ARTE staff themselves must also, on a daily basis, negotiate multiple identities and loyalties. German staff complain about French staff's lack of willingness to speak German; French staff complain about Germans' overzealous adherence to meeting agendas and protocol; and each complains about the other as being 'too authoritarian.' Yet the trafficking of stereotype may render complex cultural negotiations more predictable, and many who work at ARTE identify as 'ARTE-siens' -- neither fully French nor German, but an amalgam of both, and as often, too, as European.
Hetherington, Craig, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'On the Verge of a Transparent Peasantry: The Politics of Property Reform in Paraguay,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
CRAIG HETHERINGTON, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'On the Verge of a Transparent Peasantry: The Politics of Property Reform in Paraguay,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena. The project looked at the changing world of Paraguayan peasants, and asked how they viewed recent property reforms, pressures for legal and bureaucratic transparency, and the institutional frameworks facilitating the rapid expansion of industrial soybean production in their communities. The research lasted nine months and followed developments in six complicated legal battles over land following peasant activists into meetings, courtrooms, archives and government offices. In the process, it uncovered a novel form of political organizers whom the author dubbed 'guerrilla auditors,' peasant activists who constructed complex legal arguments from their own archival research. Their tactics were entirely legal, but threatening to established bureaucrats, who vilified and persecuted these self-fashioned auditors. The study suggests that these leaders straddle a contradiction of the Paraguayan transition. On the one hand, they respond to an international ideology of good governance and transparency, and use these ideas to their own ends. On the other hand, they show just how exclusive Paraguay's new democracy really is, and point to the implicit limitations of programs of good governance which are not built around a radical project of social inclusion.
Hetherington, Kregg. 2013. Beans before the Law: Knowledge Practices, Responsibility, and the Paraguayan Soy Boom. Cultural Anthropology 28(1):65-85.
Melnick, Amiel Bize, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on ''Black Spots': Roads, Accidents, and Uncertainty in Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Brian Larkin
Preliminary abstract: Traffic accidents have made roads in many parts of Africa into sites of frequent, violent death. In Kenya, road crashes are third only to AIDS and malaria as a cause of death, and mediate an intense debate among citizens on the vicissitudes of government and society in the post-structural adjustment state. Focused on potholes, traffic jams, blood, and worn-out auto parts, this debate foregrounds the material and temporal uncertainty within which everyday life takes place, as well as the failures of state- and self-regulation. In the context of an international push for infrastructural modernization in Africa, accidents and the uncertainty they inspire appear as both a consequence of and an affront to modernity. My dissertation research will consider the unintended consequences of infrastructural modernization by examining the 'expert' calculation and bureaucratic management of traffic accidents, as well as moral and practical responses on the part of accident victims and their families, religious leaders, and Kenyan 'wananchi' (citizenry). Building on emergent anthropological interest in infrastructure, as well as classic anthropological questions about uncertainty, injury, and the everyday, this project examines how traffic accidents both shape and reveal ethical and political dispositions--ways of thinking, feeling, and acting--in Kenya's uncertain present. In so doing, my research questions the contradictory links between infrastructure, mobility, and modernity.
Caple, Zachary Adam, U.of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'The Unmaking and Remaking of Central Florida's Phosphate Fertilizer Landscapes,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing
Preliminary abstract: This research studies the waste landscapes generated by the phosphate fertilizer industry in Central Florida. In this region, phosphate rock is mined and converted into fertilizer, and its waste outputs are disposed in the footprint of exhausted mines. Agricultural use of phosphate fertilizers in Florida, through runoff, has polluted aquatic ecosystems throughout the peninsula. In both mining and agricultural zones, scientists and managers are grappling with waste legacies and their impacts on other species through projects of reclamation and restoration. My work examines such projects in the situated contexts of Bone Valley (Florida's extensive phosphate region between Orlando and Tampa) and Lake Apopka (a large hypereutrophic lake undergoing restoration in west Orlando). My research is organized along three lines of inquiry that together might lead to new understandings of waste landscapes in a North American context: 1) cultural and environmental histories of industrial waste; 2) knowledge practices of waste-landscape scientists and managers; and 3) multispecies interactions as they relate to both waste impacts and managerial designs. At the intersection of these three components of study, I argue, landscape emerges as a revitalized object of study.