Amigo, Maria F., U. of Sydney, Sydney, Australia - To aid research on 'The Economic Roles of Children in Household Economies,' supervised by Dr. Paul Alexander
MARIA F. AMIGO, while a student at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on the roles of children in household economies on the island of Lombok, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Alexander. The primary aim was to add an anthropological perspective to the literature on child labor, which had been dominated by other disciplines. By trying to understand native notions of 'childhood' and 'work,' Amigo challenged what had often been seen as cultural universals. And by analyzing children's work through their own accounts, she was able to show that the ideas, wants, and expectations children have about their lives are critical to understanding their work and their motivations for it. In the rural area studied, children became economically active at a very early age. Regardless of their household's difficulties in meeting everyday needs, children were expected to be committed to the household's economy. Children had long been involved in unpaid tasks (household chores, agricultural work), but the relatively recent introduction of large-scale tobacco plantations dramatically increased their opportunities for paid work. Hierarchical structures of power based on seniority and gender channeled them into the least desirable and lowest-paid work, yet children clearly made economic decisions in relation to their work and the money they earned. Rather than being victims forced to work for the benefit of others-as child workers are commonly described-the evidence suggested that children worked for the well-being of their households and were conscious that this meant their own well-being, too.
Perry, George Herbert, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'The Evolutionary Significance of Copy-Number Variation on the Human and Chimpanzee Sex Chromosomes,' supervised by Dr. Anne Carol Stone
GEORGE H. PERRY, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded a grant in April, 2006, to aid research on 'The Evolutionary Significance of Copy Number Variation on the Human and Chimpanzee Sex Chromosomes,' supervised by Dr. Anne C. Stone. Copy number variants (CNVs) are duplications or deletions of large segments of DNA that are variably present among the genomes of normal individuals. We have recently learned that CNVs are far more prevalent in our genomes than previously believed, which has generated considerable excitement, in part because many copy number variants overlap genes and therefore may be of phenotypic and evolutionary significance. The purposes of this study were to compare levels and patterns of copy number variation in humans and chimpanzees and to contrast these patterns with those of copy number differences between our two genomes. One specific goal was to study the evolution of copy number variants on the X chromosome using a population genetics framework. The X chromosome is an excellent model for these studies because the single X chromosome of males can be isolated, circumventing many of the challenges of current CNV research. This study has resulted in the first comprehensive comparative species genome-wide map of copy number variation in humans and chimpanzees, with 465 and 387 CNVs identified among the genomes of 30 chimpanzees 30 humans, respectively. Interestingly, 162 genomic regions were observed to be copy number variable in both species, suggesting that certain genomic regions are particularly prone to structural instability. The evolutionary significances of particular CNVs are being examined as part of ongoing studies. A high-resolution analysis of the X chromosome led to the precise identification of 64 human and 54 chimpanzee CNVs. Population genetic analyses of these data have provided an important baseline for neutral expectations of CNV diversity patterns, and an initial understanding of how these patterns may be affected by natural selection.
Perry, George. 2008. Copy Number Variation and Evolution in Humans and Chimpanzees. Genome Research 18(11):1698-1710.
Dygert, Holly A., Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating the Indigenous Family in Mexico: Woman, Community, Region and Nation,' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina
HOLLY A. DYGERT, then a student at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, was awarded a grant in May 2003 to aid research on 'Negotiating the Indigenous Family in Mexico: Woman, Community, Region and Nation,' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina. Seventeen months of ethnographic research were conducted for this dissertation research project, with support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Fulbright International Institute of Education/Gracia Robles Program. The research examined ideas about indigenous culture and family among three groups in Mexico: government employees working to implement the National Opportunities Program; Mixtec activists working to revitalize their language and culture; and men and women in the small southern Mixtec village of San Mateo Peñasco. By examining ideas about indigenous culture and family among the three groups, the research aims to better understand how people create, rework, and contest linkages between culture and family in contemporary development practice. The researcher collected and reviewed Opportunities Program literature; conducted interviews with Program officials at national, state, regional and village levels; and participated in and observed Program activities and events at the regional and village levels. Similarly, she collected Mixtec cultural revitalization advocates' written literature; conducted interviews with leading activists; and observed events aimed at revitalizing the Mixtec language and culture. Then, the researcher conducted a year of ethnographic fieldwork in the Mixtec village of San Mateo Peñasco, examining how villagers perceive these ideas about Mixtec culture and families. Data collection methods in the village included: participant observation; a village census; semi-structured interviews with key individuals in the village (including the municipal President, the Catholic priest, and the local midwife); and semi-structured interviews with a stratified sample of adult villagers.
Tzib, Fernando Maximino, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Land Tenure Discourses and Mayan Identity in Belize,' supervised by Dr. Frank Salomon
FERNANDO M. TZIB, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Land Tenure Discourses and Mayan Identity in Belize,' supervised by Dr. Frank Saomon. The study examined the discursive relationship between Maya customary land tenure and Belizean national statutory land tenure systems among the Mopan and Kekchi Maya in southern Belize. Study of Maya claims of rights to lands that Mayas have traditionally occupied and managed through customary land tenure systems demonstrates strong relationships between land tenure and Maya political and socio-economic structures and daily relations with the land and annual events such as ceremonies and festivals. These relationships with the land, the spirit world, the Government of Belize, and the Development Agencies also shape the construction of Maya identity. During conflicts over land use with the Belizean state, it was clear that Maya customary law is also constituted through broader networks of interactions with the state and the spiritual wor1fi. Tuulak in Kekchi and pulyah in Mopan are terms for a form of punishment that befalls a wrongdoer, a construct that reinforces the proscriptions of customary law. This construct is given weight by its perceived links with the ancient Maya, credited by both Mayas and non-Maya. Its temporally transcendent nature strengthens contemporary Mayan identity albeit at the cost of fomenting some social fears.
Johnson, Caley Anne Szewczak, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Baboon Diet in the Forest and Savanna: An Intraspecific Comparison of Nutritional Goals,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman
Preliminary abstract: As early hominins left the forest and forged life on the savanna, they fed in increasingly open habitats and their diets diversified, especially in the Pleistocene. Pressures from foraging in this new environment are linked with a suite of changes since our last common ancestor with apes, including bipedalism and increased brain size. Available foods were different than those in the forest with less woody and herbaceous foods and more grass resources. It is hypothesized that early humans had little fat and carbohydrates in their diet and more protein. These changes in nutrition for Plio-Pleistocene hominins may have been necessary for physiological transformations such as a decrease in gut size and increase in brain size. It is also hypothesized that from our evolution on the savanna, modern humans express the propensity to maintain (or prioritize) the intake of protein as opposed to other nutrients. 'Protein leverage' in modern humans may contribute to the obesity crisis - with little evolutionary experience of foods rich in fats and sugars, we tend to overconsume energy and maintain protein intake. In order to test how environment shapes patterns of nutrient prioritization, I will use another living primate, which like humans is known for its ecological and dietary flexibility -- the baboon. The objective of this study is to determine how habitat shapes diet and nutrient priorities of an omnivorous primate. To address this, I will conduct observations of wild baboon feeding, collect foods for nutrient analyses, and employ the Geometric Framework of Nutrition to determine their nutritional priorities in Kibale National Park, Uganda (forest) and Laikipia, Kenya (savanna). This study may shed light on changes in diet and behavior in early human ancestors and the evolution of macronutrient management.
Noback, Marlijn Lisanne, Eberhard Karls U., Tubingen, Germany - To aid research on 'Climate- and Diet-related Variation in Human Functional Cranial Components,' supervised by Dr. Katerina Harvati
MARLIJN NOBACK, then a student at Eberhard Karls University, Tubingen, Germany, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Climate- and Diet-Related Variation in Human Functional Cranial Components,' supervised by Dr. Katerina Harvati. This study seeks to elucidate the physiological basis of craniofacial variation and the selective forces driving modern human cranial geographic diversity. Funding enabled the CT scanning of 45 individual crania from three different collections based in Paris, London, and Tübingen. These scans form part of a larger database of over 330 CT scans, representing populations from different climatic and dietary regimes. With the use of the software package AVIZO and a high performance laptop, 3D models of functional facial components are developed from the CT scans. Analyses are currently undertaken and include studies of variation and co-variation of the cranial components and their relation to diet and climate. This project will enhance understanding of the biological processes underlying the evolution of modern human anatomy, adaptation and geographic diversity.
Curley, Andrew Paul, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'The Changing Nature of Navajo Tribal Sovereignty in an Era of Climate Change,' supervised by Dr. Wendy Wolford
Preliminary abstract: This dissertation examines how tribal sovereignty is practiced and understood on the Navajo Nation (northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southern Utah) with respect to continued coalmining, contested water rights, and other forms of development in this time of climate change.
Steele, Ian Emmet, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Gifts with the State: Reciprocity, Solidarity and Corruption in Egypt's Province of the Presidents,' supervised by Dr. Charles Hirschkind
Preliminary abstract: Since Egypt's 2011 revolution, scholars have noted the seeming paradox between revolt against state corruption and adulation of elements of Egypt's 'deep state' through slogans like, 'The people, the army, and the police are one hand.' Rather than assuming an opposition between revolution and panegyric, this research project will investigate the cultivation solidarity with the Egyptian state through the very corruptions criticized by revolutionaries. Situated in a rural Nile Delta province infamous for receiving patronage because of its close relationship to Egypt's deep state, this twelve month ethnographic project will ask how exchange of favors through connections, or 'wasta,' binds and subordinates Egyptians to state authorities, drawing on and advancing anthropological literatures on reciprocity and obligation, solidarity and authority, and corruption. Most recent ethnographies of Egypt have focused on Cairo to the detriment of rural provinces where most Egyptians live, but by focusing on micropractices of nepotism at a local level, this study will help reveal the affective infrastructures that support the Egyptian state.
High, Mette M., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid 'A Study of Gold Mining, Pastoralism, and Changing Working Lives in Rural Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Caroline Humphrey
METTE M. HIGH, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'A Study of Gold Mining, Pastoralism and Changing Working Lives in Rural Mongolia', supervised by Prof. Caroline Humphrey. The research objectives were to understand the practical and cosmological issues that arise for pastoralists when mining comes to occupy a visible social and physical space and presents them with new subsistence opportunities. Fieldwork consisted of 10 months' participant observation and interviews with people who are taking part in the current gold rush as well as herders who distance themselves from the environmentally damaging mining practices. By examining narratives about industrialization and collectivization in the socialist era as well as the recent advent of the gold rush, the research concerned how notions of collectivity, responsibility and individualism were related to transformational historical processes and changing subsistence economies. Focusing on how people reconcile cosmological concepts related to the landscape with working practices that transgress fundamental taboos about the underground and water resources, moral commentaries and discourses of fear and suspicion highlighted people's negotiation of status and social interaction. The research demonstrates that emerging subsistence economies may not only be fuelled by economic incentives but also by particular socio-cultural mechanisms.
High, Mette M. 2013. Polluted Money, Polluted Wealth: Emerging Regimes of Value in the Mongolian Gold Rush. American Ethnologist 40(4):676-688.
High, Mette M. 2013. Cosmologies of Freedom and Buddhist Self-Transformation in the Mongolian Gold Rush. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(4):753-770.
Michaels, Ben Justin, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Team Tibet: Soccer as the Performance of Human Rights in the Transnational Tibetan Exile Community,' supervised by Dr. Marvin Sterling
BEN J. MICHAELS, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Team Tibet: Soccer as the Performance of Human Rights in the Transnational Tibetan Exile Community,' supervised by Dr. Marvin Sterling. For this phase of research, ethnographic fieldwork was carried out in Dharamsala/Mcleod Ganj, India, which is the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile and the major hub of Tibetan exile life. 2011 became a historic year for the transnational Tibetan exile community as the Dalai Lama announced his retirement from political life and handed over leadership of the Tibetan Government in Exile to an elected prime minister. This marked the next major step in the materialization of his long-envisioned process of Tibetan democratization and emboldened a new generation of politically active Tibetans to embrace their democratic right to disagree with their leaders. Acknowledging dissent as an essential element of the democratic process, this study examines the social mechanisms by which dissenting opinions are either muted at the local level or propagated and allowed to evolve into transnational social movements able to transcend spatial and political boundaries. At the same time, this research highlights some of the generational gaps in social and political views as young Tibetans, raised and educated in exile, use the emergence of new and globally accessible communicative media to express and circulate new ideas throughout the Tibetan world.