Hillewaert, Sarah Marleen, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Language, Space, and Identity: Linguistic Practices among Youth in Lamu, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
SARAH M. HILLEWAERT, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Language, Space, and Identity: Linguistic Practices among Youth in Lamu, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. Investigating linguistic practices among youth of Lamu Island (Kenya), this research set out to provide new understandings of the complex relation between language and agency, exploring how everyday linguistic and semiotic practices can be constitutive in redefinitions of identities. A two-year research period on Lamu Island revealed how youth actively exploit and redefine the linkage between stylistic variation and social identities, statuses, and value systems to monitor social relations in a context of rapid change. Data collection revealed a linguistic complexity on Lamu Island, inextricably tied up with the island's historical social stratification. Over six Swahili dialects spoken by different ethnic groups reflect social identities that coincide with spatial divisions on the island. As economic, political and social changes come to undermine these historical social structures, linguistic practices become crucial in monitoring social relations. While spatial divisions remain, youth actively exploit changes in mobility (i.e. movement through the town, across spatial divides) as well as linguistic and semiotic practices to defy ascribed social identities. Switching and mixing of dialects, combined with changes in occupation of social space demonstrate how youth endeavor to challenge historically established ideologies. As changes in mobility proved to play a crucial role in this challenging of social identities, the researcher was forced to investigate the impact of different notions of mobility (i.e. the actual movement through space but also use of cell phone, satellite tv) on notions of identity and language practices. Analysis also indicates that an important gender aspect needs to be included in the research's theoretical considerations, as the cultural restrictions in mobility have forced women, more so than man, to exploit linguistic practices in their attempts to redefine their position in Lamu Society.
Zia, Ather, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal
ATHER ZIA, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal. Since 1989 Kashmir has been engulfed in an anti-India armed militancy. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men have disappeared in the Indian counter-insurgency actions. Kashmiri women have assumed the task of caring for families in the absence of men. They have organized to search for those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance after being arrested by the Indian army. The research explores why some Kashmiri women become activists, what factors sustain their political struggle, and how their work as women redefines notions of activism, and public engagement in a primarily Islamic social context. The resulting dissertation focuses on understanding the questions of agency, affect, ethics, and emotion, memorialization, and mourning, in this kin-based activism.
McConnachie, Kirsten, Queen's U., Belfast, UK - To aid research on 'Governing Exiles: Competing Sites of Law, Justice, and Memory in a Karen Refugee Camp,' supervised by Dr. Kieran McEvoy
KIRSTEN McCONNACHIE, then a student at Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in May 2008, to aid research on 'Governing Exiles: Competing Sites of Law, Justice, and Memory in a Karen Refugee Camp,' supervised by Dr. Kieran McEvoy. Refugee camps are often described as sites of 'warehousing', absent jurisdictional oversight and political participation. Such descriptions assume passivity and dependence, though in reality refugees display considerable agency in shaping their lives and society. This research profiles refugee agency by documenting systems of governance within a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, focusing on the administration of justice. The refugee camp is not a legal vacuum but a densely pluralistic jurisdictional site where multiple actors claim a role in governance including the Royal Thai Government, refugee committees, military groupings, religious leaders and international humanitarian agencies. Importantly, refugees themselves play an active role in camp management. This research examines the practice of refugee justice workers, and the intersection between these structures and other authorities, including non-governmental organizations seeking to enhance access to justice for refugees on the Thai-Burma border. Theoretical frameworks of legal pluralism, governance and sovereignty are used to analyse the distinct society which exists inside the camp boundaries, its norms and beliefs and the institutional and individual messages which contribute to their construction.
Cleghorn, Naomi E., State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid a 'Zooarchaeological Analysis of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Mezmaiskaya Cave, Northwestern Caucasus, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Curtis Marean
NAOMI E. CLEGHORN, while a student at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, New York, received funding in April 2001 to aid an analysis of faunal material from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic strata of Mezmaiskaya Cave in Russia's northwestern Caucasus Mountains, under the supervision of Dr. Curtis Marean. The stratigraphy of Mezmaiskaya Cave preserves a record of frequent hominid occupation over a relatively long span of the Paleolithic-from more than 45,000 years ago to 28,000 years ago-covering the transition from a Neanderthal-dominated to a Homo sapiens-dominated landscape. Faunal skeletal remains are abundant and well preserved throughout the site. Cleghorn collected a broad range of data from specimens from the Middle Paleolithic levels of the site, especially from the 1995 and 1997 assemblages, which came from contexts of relatively fine stratification. She also collected data for the entire sample of Upper Paleolithic faunal material available at the time. Altogether, data from nearly seventeen thousand bone fragments and teeth enabled her to analyze pre- and post-depositional processes of destruction as well as evidence of hominid prey choice, transport, and butchery decisions. Cleghorn's goal was to use a taphonomic approach to test the idea that Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominids responded in significantly different ways to subsistence challenges. Preliminary analysis showed some evidence of change in faunal accumulation between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. Interestingly, the more dramatic shifts may have occurred within the late Middle Paleolithic. Ultimately, Cleghorn planned to test current models of the subsistence behavior of Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominids.
Rodrigues, Michelle Amanda, Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'Stress and Sociality in a Patrilocal Primate: Do Female Spider Monkeys Tend-and-Befriend?,' supervised by Dr. Dawn M. Kitchen
MICHELLE A. RODRIGUES, then a student at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, received funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'Stress and Sociality in a Patrilocal Primate: Do Female Spider Monkeys Tend-and-Befriend?,' supervised by Dr. Dawn M. Kitchen. Chronic stress has negative consequences. The 'tend-and-befriend' strategy is hypothesized to be a coping mechanism in which females affiliate with other females in order to reduce stress. This mechanism is proposed to be a widespread strategy throughout the primate order, and one that underlies patterns of female bonding in humans. Although this strategy has been documented in matrilineal primates, there is little evidence for it in patrilocal primates. Since our hominid ancestors are presumed to be male-philopatric, examining if this strategy applies to unrelated females is crucial. Here, the grantee examined the evolutionary context of this coping mechanism in a species characterized by fission-fusion social organization and female dispersal. Research examined patterns of female-female social relationships, and ecological variables on cortisol concentrations, a measure of physiological stress, among female black-handed spider monkeys. Behavioral, hormonal, and ecological data were collected in wild, habituated females. It was found that when females have spikes in cortisol, they affiliate more with other females. This research has direct implications for understanding the evolution of the stress-response and coping mechanism.
Halili, Rigels, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland - To aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel
RIGELS HALILI, then a student at Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel. This research project realized from July 2006 to February 2007, aimed to inquire into the presence, function and role that oral epic poetry plays nowadays in the regions of Sandžak and Kosovo. Several singers have learned their songs from other members of their families or neighbors; in other words through an oral transmission. But others admitted that they have learned songs from different songbooks or tapes of other singers. Textual analysis of recorded songs showed that only among Kosovo singers is there still a strong presence of formulaic character of singing. The traditional way of singing is becoming more and more a professional and commercial activity. In Sanžak, but increasingly in Kosovo as well, epic songs rarely appear in public places that are not in connection with commercial activities. But they are still present in many spheres of private life, especially weddings. Moreover, the number of active singers is decreasing. All singers emphasized that the young generation is not interested in learning old songs, while they prefer newly composed popular songs, especially those broadcasted in the media or distributed on the internet. However, oral forms did not disappear entirely, but were transformed, while functioning in new communicative conditions.
Weiss, Joseph Julian Ziems, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Unsettled Co-Existence: Political Community and Everyday Life on Canada's Northwest Coast,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff
JOSEPH WEISS, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Unsettled Co-Existence: Political Community and Everyday Life on Canada's Northwest Coast,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff. This research investigates the consequences of political transformation in the Haida community of Old Massett on the islands of Haida Gwaii. In particular, it asks what the effects are on the day to day lives of Haida people and their non-Aboriginal neighbors of a recent treaty-alternative 'Reconciliation Process' that is being implemented between the Council of the Haida Nation, British Columbia, and Canada. As fieldwork has made clear, the people of Haida Gwaii encounter the consequences of this moment of political transformation in a multiplicity of ways. They encounter them directly, for instance, in their questions over what jobs will be created and benefits brought to their communities by their governments and their concerns over what proper Haida and Canadian leadership should entail. And yet the challenges posed by political change also implicitly imbue a range of concerns that Haida people deal with over the course of their lives, from the ways in which they figure Haida Gwaii as a distinctly Haida 'home' to their protests against potentially dangerous new oil pipelines. This research has explored their responses and the ways in which they, in turn, allow us insight into global questions about the nature of sovereignty, nationhood, and indigeneity.
Butler, Ella Patricia, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Producing Taste: Expertise and the Senses in the US Processed Food Industry,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates scientific concepts of taste and sensory experience in the processed food industry in the United States. It examines how scientists develop research into the senses in order to find ways to make 'health and wellness' products palatable to the tastes of American consumers. In this context of innovation in both commodities and scientific knowledge, the project asks how scientific concepts of the senses are being transformed at the same moment that new commodities are made possible. To explore this question, the project is an ethnographic study of the work of three kinds of professionals most concerned with the sensory experience of processed food products: food scientists, flavor scientists and sensory evaluation scientists.
Potts, Rowena Hildreth, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Mediating Difference: Televisual Sovereignty and the Politics of Documentary Production for National Indigenous Television (NITV) in Australia,' supervised by Dr. Faye Ginsburg
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation examines documentary production for National Indigenous Television (NITV), the only national television network devoted exclusively to broadcasting media content made by, for, and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I focus on Indigenous documentary production at NITV as a media practice implicated in the production of social categories, relations, and persons. At a time of critical shifts in cultural policy, my project investigates whether the political climate of the contemporary Australian state - increasingly hostile to expressions of Indigenous self-determination and difference - might be informing the work of an emerging generation of Indigenous cultural producers as they negotiate local and institutional regimes of value to participate in a dispersed field of Indigenous cultural production. How are claims for Indigenous televisual sovereignty and expressions of a distinctive Indigenous aesthetic reflected and reformulated in the social, discursive, and practical work of documentary filmmaking for broadcast on NITV? I locate my st