Motta, Rossio, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Psychiatric Technology Under Neo-Liberal Restructuring: The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy and Psychotropic Drugs in Peruvian Hospitals,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
ROSSIO MOTTA, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Psychiatric Technology Under Neo-Liberal Restructuring: The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy and Psychotropic Drugs in Peruvian Hospitals,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena. This research examined the use of the most common technologies for the treatment of mental disorders in Peru: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and psychotropic drugs (PD). ECT has been used during economic crises and consequent shortages of State-provided drugs. Since the 1990s, ECT has become one of the most reliable technologies in public hospitals. Neo-liberal restructuring of the drug market led to an increased supply of copies of name-brand drugs with more accessible prices, but doubtful efficacy. In public hospitals, under constant budget cuts, these are the only available drugs and, for many actors, ECT is a more trustworthy alternative. Nevertheless, ECT is a polemic technology due to growing concern about the ethics of its use and practice. To understand how doctors and patients interact with both treatments, the grantee conducted 16 months of fieldwork in the Hospital Víctor Larco Herrera (HVLH), Peru's main psychiatric public hospital and surrounding institutions. In the HVLH, research was conducted using participant observation and interviews focusing on three wards associated with the use of ECT or PD. The grantee also interviewed representatives of the Peruvian Ministry of Health, performed voluntary work with the patient advocacy group, Alamo, and carried out archival research on both technologies, their regulation, and their interaction with 'softer' treatments such as art therapy.
Coyle, Lauren Nicole, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Dual Sovereignties in the Golden Twilight: Law, Land, and Labor in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff
LAUREN COYLE, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Dual Sovereignties in the Golden Twilight: Law, Land, and Sacrificial Labor in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff. This study examines the often hidden or unremarked cultural, economic, and social effects of Ghana's mining industry, which is widely lauded as a great economic success in one of Africa's most celebrated democracies. The research focuses on Obuasi, a legendary ethno-cosmopolitan mining center in Asante, long home to an underground gold mine and, recently, to a bitter controversy over surface extraction. Obuasi played a central role in British colonialism and is now a key pillar of the country's economy. In many ways a company town, Obuasi is run by a transnational mining corporation. It is currently the site of Ghana's most acute mining-related conflicts, following the dispossession and destruction of many indigenous farmlands and streams, the declining political and spiritual legitimacy of traditional rulers, the casualization of mine labor, soaring youth unemployment, and the rise of an increasingly organized and militarized shadow labor force of small-scale miners ('galamseys'), among them ever more foreigners, especially Chinese. The grantee argues that, in this theater of struggle, novel forms of shadow authority operate, ambivalently, as forces of beneficence and terror-at once biopolitical and exceptional, earthly and other-worldly-and exercise sovereign-like rule over territories and populations in the shadows of the formal legal system.
Shankar, Shobana, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Wards and Workers: Christianity, Agency, and Social Mobility in Muslim, Hausa Society, 1899 to Present,' supervised by Dr. Edward A. Alpers
Hayden, Tiana Bakic, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Urban Undergrounds: Informal Commerce, Illegality, and the Gentrification of the Mexico City Subway,' supervised by Dr. Sally E. Merry
Preliminary abstract: In Mexico City, over 500,000 people work as unpermitted street vendors in conditions of tolerated illegality--formally illegal, but widespread and visible. Although street commerce is a long-standing social practice in Mexico, in recent years city authorities have begun implementing 'zero tolerance' policing strategies in order to remove vendors, who are increasingly linked to organized crime and criminality in political and media discourses, from downtown areas. My project asks how previously accepted illegal practices become reinterpreted as criminal and dangerous, and what the social consequences of these shifts are. I locate my study in Mexico City, focusing on the current gentrification of the subway system, which is a site where informal vending is undergoing a shift from tolerated to criminalized illegality. Using methodologies including participant-observation, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, and life history interviews, I ask how vendors, residents, media, and authorities make sense of the changing management and meaning of illegality, and what kinds of identities, practices, and hierarchies emerge in the process.
Matera, Jamie, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Determining the Role of Social Networks in Marine Conservation: A Case Study of Providencia, Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Shankar Aswani
JAMIE MATERA, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Determining the Role of Social Networks in Marine Conservation: A Case Study of Providencia, Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Shankar Aswani. This research study analyzes the application of Social Network Analysis (SNA) in fisheries management in the island of Providencia, Colombia. The study seeks to determine the efficacy of using existing social networks within artisanal fishing communities to increase representation and participation in marine conservation. During fourteen months of fieldwork, the researcher participated in daily community activities, conducted formal and informal interviews with artisanal fishermen about their social networks and socioeconomic conditions, and carried out life history interviews with key community members to acquire a historical account of social and environmental changes. In addition, interviews were performed with members of governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to determine their involvement in the creation and management of Marine Protected Areas. Preliminary findings underscore the importance of focusing on the relationships between resource users, resource managers, and the resources themselves in multi-level, multi-jurisdictional conservation initiatives. These findings suggest that for marine conservation to be effective, it must take into account biological and political phenomena and, most importantly, the social realities of the communities. It also illustrates how SNA offers a fresh approach to evaluating the social dimension of conservation.
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.
Rowe, Elizabeth Jane, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'The Role of the Progesterone Receptor in the Menstrual Cycle,' supervised by Dr. L. Christie Rockwell
ELIZABETH JANE ROWE, then a student at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in May 2008, to aid research on 'The Role of the Progesterone Receptor in the Menstrual Cycle,' supervised by Dr. L. Christie Rockwell. Much of the work in Physical Anthropology related to variation in women's reproductive function has been heavily focused on evolutionary models to explain the responsiveness of ovarian steroid production to ecological conditions. Underlying functionally significant, genetic variation that also likely impacts reproductive phenotypes has seldom been investigated. This project addressed this problem by investigating the impact of a common, functionally significant variant of the progesterone receptor gene on uterine function and the menstrual cycle among women in the Philadelphia area. Women who carried the variant differed from women who did not with regard to menstrual cycle characteristics. Furthermore, the variant was found to modify the impact of life history and ecological variables on both uterine function and the menstrual cycle. These findings indicate that genetic variation should be considered in future models for women's reproduction in Physical Anthropology. Additionally, uterine function and menstrual cycle characteristics did not reflect ovarian hormone levels, but instead were significantly predicted by ecological variables that indicated energetic status. These findings, coupled with results of other work, indicate that the uterus responds directly to environmental cues, and therefore suggest that it plays an active role in the maternal decision to commit resources to gestation.
Grant, Jenna Meredith, U.of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Seeing and Believing: The Cultural Politics of Medical Imaging in Cambodia,' supervised by Dr. Erica Stephanie Prussing
JENNA M. GRANT, then a student at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Seeing and Believing: The Cultural Politics of Medical Imaging in Cambodia,' supervised by Dr. Erica Stephanie Prussing. This research project examined the cultural politics of ultrasound in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Wenner-Gren Foundation supported the second year of research, from January to October 2010. Fieldwork in diagnostic imaging wards and non-clinical settings sought to understand how ultrasound is valued by different actors, as well as economic, aesthetic, and social contexts of its use. Archival research in Phnom Penh and France examined histories of imaging technologies and modes of visualizing medical knowledge in late colonial and postcolonial times. As a visualizing technology, ultrasound appeals to notions of medical expertise -- within both biomedicine and traditional Cambodian medicine -- as the ability to 'see clearly.' In contemporary practice, ultrasound materializes a range of struggles: patients hoping to find modern, trustworthy care encountered doctors trying to make more money; doctors trying to provide skilled care encountered patients wanting a particular kind of clear and pleasing image; family members used ultrasound images to critique a pregnant woman's self-care; hospital administrators lobbied health ministers and foreign corporations for donations of imaging equipment; monks identified wronged ancestors as the reason a scan failed to reveal a problem. As a prominent clinical commodity in a pluralistic and privatizing health system, ultrasound is retracing and redefining social relations of medicine in Phnom Penh.
Worthington, Nancy Hayden, Barnard College., New York, NY - To aid research on ''Healing Hearts and Training Minds': Pediatric Heart Surgery Missions and Globally Circulating Biotechnologies,' supervised by Dr. Lesley Sharp
NANCY H. WORTHINGTON, then a student at Barnard College, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on ''Healing Hearts and Training Minds in Honduras': Pediatric Heart Surgery Missions and Globally Circulating Biotechnologies,' supervised by Dr. Lesley Sharp. In poor countries, children with heart defects either go untreated, which can result in an early death, or are transferred overseas for surgical intervention. Now these children are treated in country by traveling cardiovascular teams. This study involved thirteen months of ethnographic field research in Honduras to examine the practices, meanings, and effects associated with this contemporary form of medical technology transfer. Cardiovascular teams develop innovations to address challenging situations they encounter globally, which supports the idea that biomedicine is not universally the same. Access to leading-edge treatments in a poor country also refines current thinking about medical migration, since a superior form of pediatric heart care is being made available to not medical migrants but those from whom medical travel is impossible. Honduran parents consent to even the riskiest procedures. Giving the difficulties associated with managing a chronic illness in a poor country, they view surgery as a means to a better future. Such desires, however, do not always come to fruition, thus extending the idea within anthropology that humanitarian efforts may restore only minimalist survival-a limitation must be seen as not the fault of humanitarian actors but a function of the wider contexts in which they work.
Liebert, Melissa Ann, U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on 'Psychosocial Stress and Culture Change among Indigenous Amazonian Shuar: Integrating Developmental, Biological, and Cognitive Perspectives,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence S. Sugiyama
Preliminary abstract: Recent studies among indigenous populations suggest that psychosocial stress is an important pathway through which socioecological changes associated with market integration (MI) shape human biology. Surprisingly, however, little research has systematically investigated this topic. In particular, few studies have examined how factors associated with MI influence children's perceptions of the shifting cultural milieu and how these experiences become biologically embodied to impact stress, life history trade-offs, and health. Given that early life stress can induce enduring physiological dysregulation across multiple systems, research is greatly needed to capture the nuances of MI that affect developmental stress and long-term health. To address these issues, this project will integrate methods from biological and cognitive anthropology with rich ethnographic data on culture change and perceptions of lifestyle success in order to elucidate how MI affects stress physiology and life history patterns among Indigenous Shuar children of Amazonian Ecuador. This study will examine these relationships among 200 children and adolescents from two communities experiencing varying degrees of MI by measuring two biomarker indices of psychosocial stress [diurnal cortisol profiles and allostatic load (including measures of cortisol, Epstein-Barr virus antibodies, C-reactive protein, and growth)], cognitive models of lifestyle success, and lifestyle data indicative of MI exposure.