Bridges, Sarah Ann, Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH - To aid research on 'Challenged Lives: The Experience of Disability in a Himalayan Buddhist and Muslim Community,' supervised by Dr. Charlotte Ikels
SARAH ANN BRIDGES, then a student at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Challenged Lives: The Experience of Disability in a Himalayan Buddhist and Muslim Community,' supervised by Dr. Charlotte Ikels. This study examines the subjective experience of disability, focusing on the interaction between the physical and social domains of experience and how they are shaped by local cultural constructions of disability. Research took place over a period of twelve months in Ladakh, India. The research consisted of three overlapping phases including an in-depth study of a local disability organization, a village study, and a series of interviews with a variety of other people about the topic of disability. Extensive participant observation and interviews were conducted during all phases. This research will explore how norms, values and customs interact with characteristics of the natural and man-made environment, to shape experiences of disability. Analysis of the role of religion in Ladakhi culture will serve as a way of demonstrating this interaction. Further aims of the study are to examine variations in experiences of disability, challenge contemporary thinking in disability studies and the anthropology of the body, and to explore how more holistic approaches can benefit both theoretical and applied approaches to disability issues.
Reisnour, Nicole Joanna, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Sounding the Immaterial: The Sonic Politics of Adat and Agama in Post-Authoritarian Bali,' supervised by Dr. Martin Fellows Hatch
NICOLE J. REISNOUR, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Sounding the Immaterial: The Sonic Politics of Adat and Agama in Post-Authoritarian Bali,' supervised by Dr. Martin F. Hatch. When the newly independent Republic of Indonesia made adherence to a monotheistic faith a requirement for all of its citizens, the Balinese were placed in the residual category 'peoples who do not yet have a religion' and were slated for missionization. Local reformers then set to work trying to convince the government that their people's worship practices conformed to authoritative representations of religion. Although Balinese Hinduism achieved state recognition in 1958, the larger effort to modernize Balinese religiosity has persisted to the present day. This research analyzes the ongoing reform movement in Bali as it is waged and grappled with through the medium of sound. By ringing bells, delivering sermons, orally interpreting texts, and setting up automated systems to play amplified prayers, Balinese Hindus use sound to represent and interact with invisible agents. At the same time, the entangled signifying and affective capacities of religious sounds and other sensuous things are resources that they draw upon in fashioning themselves as moral persons and imagining novel forms of ethical cultivation. The present study proposes ethnographic investigation of the aural semiotics of divine presence as a means of analyzing how religious reform intervenes and is lived at the level of the self.
Ghosh, Sahana, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Borderland Orders: The Gendered Economy of Mobility and Control in North Bengal,' supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
Preliminary abstract: How are borderlands produced in the intersection of disparate national regimes of control and transnational practices of border-crossings? This project investigates the constitution of the borderland between India and Bangladesh as a discrete spatial entity with a gendered socio-economic terrain, in the face of increasing militarization of the postcolonial border. India's initiative to fence and guard its 4,000 km long border with Bangladesh will produce, upon completion, the longest fenced international border in the world. However the border runs through a region that is historically and culturally linked, and densely inhabited by Hindu and Muslim Bengalis, with enduring economic and socio-familial ties and commercial and religious networks and routes. These ties are reconfigured and new economies generated through people's negotiations of the states' attempts to control the flow of people and goods between the two countries. Through sixteen months of ethnographic research I will study how Bengali men and women in both countries are differently involved in transborder movements in their everyday lives as a part of the political economy of the borderland. This involvement includes complex relations of power as residents contest and are also complicit with male security forces deployed by India and Bangladesh on their respective sides of the border. My study thus foregrounds the gendered relations, moralities and plural conceptions of law and economy that undergird the risky calculations that residents of this region make in their 'illegal' transborder activities within this borderland space. In this way, this project clarifies the relationship between regional networks of mobility and iterations of conflicting notions and scales of belonging and 'security'.
Weichselbraun, Anna Maria, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Regulating the Nuclear: The Textual Production of Technical Independence at the International Atomic Energy Agency,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Maco
Preliminary abstract: The proposed study is an ethnography of the communicative practices through which civil servants at the International Atomic Energy Agency seek to establish and maintain the organization's legitimacy as the sole arbiter in the regulation of global nuclear technology. This project asks how, against accusations of politicization and regulatory capture, various actors at the Agency work to display and communicate 'technical independence'--the unbiased technical competence and legal judgment by which the IAEA's missions can be made globally acceptable--to a vast international audience. The results of this study aim to expand anthropological knowledge in four domains: (1) the study of bureaucracy and documents, (2) historical and social scientific studies of knowledge and expertise, (3) analyses of legal and political language, and (4) understandings of a changing nuclear age. This project's careful attention to language as embedded in a range of other semiotic (sign) systems can offer a novel perspective on how the nuclear order with its laws and knowledge is constituted and contested. The research is based on 14 months of participant-observation, interviews, and archival work at the public information, legal, and training divisions of the IAEA and will be completed by rigorous linguistic anthropological analyses of the actors' interactional, ritual, and documentary practices.
Lai, Lili, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Beyond the Economic Peasant: Embodiment and Healthcare in Rural Henan,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar
LILI LAI, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in June 2005 to aid research on 'Beyond the Economic Peasant: Embodiment and Healthcare in Rural Henan,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. This dissertation project seeks to provide a better understanding of 'rural' realities in today's mobile Chinese society, through an ethnographic interrogation of daily practice, attitudes (at household, community, and county government levels), policy history, and local memory in Henan, China. It aims to demonstrate that the rural-urban distinction is a mobile, relative dyad and shows how at every point a person's (or place's, or practice's) 'ruralness' or urban sophistication is an intimate, local quality. This research project focuses on everyday social practice in order to gain insight into forms of embodiment and local cultural worlds, bringing together questions concerning everyday life, the body, and peasant status. The phase of the research funded by Wenner-Gren was conducted at two sites: a migrant community in northwestern Beijing from October to November 2006, and the village in Henan Province in December of 2006. The major concern at the Beijing site was how preparation for the 2008 Olympics affected the life of migrant laborers from Henan. The major questions were centered on the rural-urban (dis)interaction and more importantly, discourses about the peasants. And the major task at the village was to complete the village gazetteer project in collaboration with the village committee and concrete historical data on local production, education, consumption, transportation and construction to this gazetter were added through the archival research in the county seat and interviews with senior villagers.
Bates, Lynsey Ann, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Spatial Appropriation and Market Participation by Enslaved Laborers on Colonial Jamaican Plantations,' supervised by Dr. Robert L. Schuyler
LYNSEY ANN BATES, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Spatial Appropriation and Market Participation by Enslaved Laborers on Colonial Jamaican Plantations,' supervised by Dr. Robert L. Schuyler. This research project explores the dynamic interplay between space, agency. and power in plantation contexts by focusing on the way enslaved people utilized space and material culture on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Jamaican plantations. The provision ground system, which required enslaved laborers to cultivate their own foodstuffs, was an integral part of labor management, profit maximization, and market formation in the British colonial Caribbean. Within this system, enslaved people's independent cultivation, transport, and sale of surplus production facilitated their participation in local markets. Regional variability and diachronic change in these interrelated activities are examined through the identification of the environmental, spatial, and social control conditions that shaped patterns in the market goods acquired by enslaved people. Quantitative analysis of historic cartographic data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques suggests the factors that limited independent food cultivation on large-scale, profit-driven sugar plantations. Archaeological evidence from slave villages within those estates indicates the frequency and types of goods produced and purchased by enslaved laborers. Preliminary findings suggest that differences in the conditions related to internal organization and topography of individual estates influenced enslaved people's consumption of imported and locally made goods. This comparative approach integrates information from planter-imposed spatial order and slave-related artifact discard to understand the role of provisioning in plantation slavery.
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.
Fernando, Wiroshana Nuwanpriya Oshan, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'The Effects of Evangelical Christianity on State Formation in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock
OSHAN FERNANDO, then a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California, was awarded a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'The Effects of Evangelical Christianity on State Formation in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock. Funding supported twelve months of research in Sri Lanka with the objective of studying the effect of evangelical Christianity on the formation of the developmentalist, post-colonial state. Ethnographic research was carried out in Tissamaharama, a town in southern Sri Lanka central to hegemonic formations of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, the power base of a Marxist political party, and also the location of a burgeoning evangelical Christian church. Data were collected through participant observation, the collection of life-history narratives, and archival research. Initial analysis of the data shows that people's everyday practices are infused with religious meaning in the context of their conversion to evangelical Christianity, a process which also greatly influenced their political decision making. Furthermore, the cultural framework acquired by people as they accommodated an evangelical Christian discourse conflicted with the role they were expected to play as animators of the state's Sinhala-Buddhist agrarian vision of modernity, showing that state-formation and political agency need to be understood in the context of locally-situated cultural processes.
Thurston, Alexander John, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Relations between Arab-Educated Elites and the Political Establishment in Kano, Nigeria,' supervised by Dr. Muhammed Sani Umar
ALEXANDER J. THURSTON, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Relations between Arab-Educated Elites and the Political Establishment in Kano, Nigeria,' supervised by Dr. Muhammed Sani Umar. This research project focuses on Nigerian graduates of Arab universities and their intellectual production at home and abroad. During the research period, the grantee spent five months in Kano, Nigeria (including time at archives in Kaduna, Nigeria), five weeks in London, England, three weeks in Princeton, New Jersey, and five weeks in Washington, DC. In Kano, interviews with more than twenty students and scholars were conducted along with informal interaction with research subjects and scholars on a daily basis, including participant observation in an evening discussion and prayer circle attended by university professors, businessmen, and other community members. Archival research in London and Princeton provided access to rare primary sources in English, Hausa, and Arabic, as well as a wide array of sources (including Arab authors' histories of sub-Saharan Africa and primary documents by Nigerian authors) at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Additional support from an Osmunsen Initiative supplement allowed the grantee to conduct additional research and attend numerous policy-oriented events in Washington during summer 2012.
Kappeler, Aaron Eugene, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Sowing the State: Land Reform and Hegemony in Rural Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Tania Murray Li
AARON E. KAPPELER, then a student at the Universtiy of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Sowing the State: Land Reform and Hegemony in Rural Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Tania Murray Li. This research provides an ethnographic account of the restructuring of agriculture and nation-state in the Bolivarian Revolution. Since 2001, the populist government of Hugo Chavez has embarked on an ambitious agrarian reform program aimed at establishing food sovereignty. With the highest import dependency of any Latin American country, the government aims is to increase domestic production and ensure affordable access to food for the Venezuelan population. Recent investigations of the sta