Edwards, Ian Bryant, U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on 'Negotiated Wildlife in Mali, West Africa: Global Forces and Local Logics,' supervised by Dr. Stephen R. Wooten
IAN B. EDWARDS, then a student at University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Negotiated Wildlife in Mali, West Africa: Global Forces and Local Logics,' supervised by Dr. Stephen R. Wooten. Two markets located in Bamako, Mali, West Africa specialize in the co-modification of wildlife, and in so doing contest Western-centric notions of globalization. Founded in traditional medicine, the Marabaga Yoro sells wildlife to serve the needs of the local community, while the Artisana, a state sponsored institution, manufactures fashion accoutrements from wildlife and is oriented towards meeting the demands of tourists. Actors in both markets effectively curb the impact of national and international forces and demonstrate the necessity of putting local-global relations at the heart of transnational studies. Malians are not weak and reactive, but potent and proactive. They become so by engaging in networks that move out from the two markets and that intersect to a degree. Through these networks, local actors negotiate and/or manipulate national and international forces for personal benefit (for example, using wildlife for profit) despite national and international sanctions. As such, these markets are sites of articulation where local resource users actively engage myriad values as well as the world at large, and mediate political and economic pressures. Investigating these networks helps us understand the actual, empirical complexities of globalization while allowing for the agency of local actors.
Emery, Melissa A., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Ovarian Function and Dietary Composition in Wild Chimpanzees (*Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii*),' supervised by Dr. Richard A. Wrangham
MELISSA A. EMERY THOMPSON, while a student at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in May 2001 to aid research on diet and ovarian function in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), under the supervision of Dr. Richard A. Wrangham. Thompson analyzed reproductive endocrinology in wild female chimpanzees in three East African populations-those at Kibale National Park and Budongo Forest Reserve in Uganda and at Gombe National Park in Tanzania. In addition to data on diet, aggression, and sexual behavior, fieldwork up to December 2002 yielded more than 1,900 fecal and 2,500 urine samples from more than 75 female chimpanzees as a means of studying general patterns and variation in ovarian steroid levels within and among communities. Enzyme-immunoassay procedures were validated for the measurement of estrone conjugates and pregnanediol glucuronide. These data provided important information on three research questions. First, patterns of hormonal activity were examined for important reproductive events such as pregnancy and adolescence. Second, relatively little variation in steroid activity was observed between wild populations, with consistent relationships between reproductive states at each site. Finally, significant variation emerged within populations with regard to reproductive state, female status, and ripe fruit consumption. These results indicated that chimpanzee ovarian function, while following predictable patterns over the life course, shows marked variability within and between females, indicative of sensitivity to local ecology.
Emery Thompson, Melissa, and Richard W. Wrangham. 2008. Diet and Reproductive Function in Wild Female Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Kibale National Park, Uganda. American Journal of Physical
Jones, Tristan Daniel, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Embodied Sovereignties: Indigenous Resistance and Tar Sands Development in Alberta, Canada,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Goldstein
Preliminary abstract: Alberta's oil or tar sands developments suggest tremendous wealth to some, and 'a slow industrial genocide' to others. Although a major driver of the Canadian economy, local Indigenous activists attribute changes in the health of the land to development-related pollution and contest further development on these grounds. Yet this conflict is about more than pollution: is is also understood by Indigenous activists an erosion of Indigenous sovereignty, which is claimed to exist prior to, and outside of, any North American political order. Thus, this conflict is about nebulous forms of sovereignty. In resistance to tar sands development, Indigenous activists draw upon traditional spiritual and subsistence practices as a form of political contestation - an assertion to an Indigenous sovereignty. I argue that these forms of traditional spiritual practice and land use are best understood through the lens of embodied practices. Thus, this research is a critical investigation into the ways Indigenous sovereignty is 'lived' through embodied practices in the arena of tar sands development. Through Indigenous methodologies, participant-observation, and critical analysis, this research is poised to enrich anthropological understandings of sovereignty as it is lived by Indigenous activists facing the potential disappearance of their communities and ways of life.
Norton, Heather L., Pennsylvania State U., University Park, PA - To aid research on 'Genetics of Skin Pigmentation in Island Melanesia: Divergent Genotypes for a Convergent Phenotype,' supervised by Dr. Mark D. Shriver
HEATHER LYNNE NORTON, then a student at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in March 2004 to aid research on 'Genetics of Skin Pigmentation in Island Melanesia: Divergent Genotypes for a Convergent Phenotype,' supervised by Dr. Mark D. Shriver. This research project identified genetic variants that potentially underlie normal variation in skin pigmentation among Island Melanesians, and used a measure of population divergence, locus-specific pairwise FST (lspFST), to identify signals of selection in pigmentation candidate genes. Two of the six genes examined in the Island Melanesian genotype-phenotype study, ASIP and OCA2, showed evidence of association with normal pigmentation variation. However, these associations are likely influenced by strong population stratification in Island Melanesia, suggesting that these results should be interpreted with some caution. Current efforts are underway to develop a panel of markers to control for this stratification that would make it possible to test for genotype-phenotype associations while taking population substructure in the region into account. The second phase of this project used lspFST to detect signals of selection in six pigmentation candidate genes in six geographically diverse populations. Two genes, ASIP and OCA2, show significantly high lspFST values between populations notably different in pigmentation phenotype. Two others, TYR and MATP, show significantly high values between Europeans and all other populations, including another relatively lightly pigmented population, East Asians. This suggests an independent evolution of light skin in Europeans and East Asians. ASIP, OCA2, and TYR had been previously associated with pigmentation variation, and the effect of MATP on normal pigmentation variation was confirmed in an admixed sample of African Americans and African Caribbeans. SNPs in these genes were also typed in the CEPH Diversity panel, confirming that East Asians and Europeans are highly divergent at TYR and MATP.
Norton, Heather L., Jonathan S. Friedlaender, D. Andrew Merriwether, et al. 2006. Skin and Hair Pigmentation Variation in Island Melanesia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 130(2):254-268.
D'Arcy, Michael Joseph, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Uncertain Adherence: Psychosis, Anti-Psychosis, and Medicated Subjectivity in the Republic of Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Stefania Pandolfo
Preliminary abstract: The majority of current anthropological research on psychopharmaceuticals focuses on the political economy of pharmaceutical production, prescription, and distribution. This research is invaluable, but it obscures the entanglement of the lived experience of psychotic mental illness with the social context of adherence. This project explores how the practice of antipsychotic adherence by psychiatric patients in Dublin, Ireland can be understood in relation to psychotic experience. I argue that adherence, or the extent to which a patient complies with a prescribed treatment plan, is troubled by the same ambiguities and ambivalences as psychotic subjectivity itself--characterized by delusions and hallucinations disrupting the relationship between the psychotic individual and their sociocultural milieu--and it is therefore problematic for the discipline of anthropology to engage solely with the 'logic' of psychopharmaceutical adherence, excluding the meaningful relationship that develops between patients and their medications. The place of madness and its relationship to curative substance within Irish myth and colonial history, as well as within the disciplinary history of medical and psychological anthropology, is well known. Privileging the ambiguity of this relationship is particularly important because of recent changes in Irish psychiatric care. The increasing complexity of community mental health in the aftermath of Ireland's psychiatric deinstitutionalization, as well as the massive influx of immigrants in the 1990s and early 2000s, have radically changed the social and institutional context of Irish mental health. Through the analytic lens of antipsychotic adherence, new understandings of psychotic subjectivity and its engagement with collective history take shape.
Stevens, Hallam, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Stringing Life Together: Bioinformatics in the Post-Genomic Age,' supervised by Dr. Peter Galison
HALLAM STEVENS, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Stringing Life Together: Bioinformatics in the Post-Denomic Age,' supervised by Dr. Peter Galison. This project involved participant observation at laboratories in the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, United Kingdom. This work has been supplemented by over seventy-five interviews at twenty-one different institutions as well as visits to archives at Stanford University, the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, and the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. The research aims to show the ways in which biological knowledge and biological practice are increasingly dominated by computers and computation. Computers are used for data analysis, hypothesis testing, simulation, information management, instrument control, data sharing, and laboratory management. In order to understand the impact of contemporary genetics and genomics on society, the project focuses on the role of information technology in biology. After all, it is through computers that regimes of data privacy or large-scale genome-wide searches (for instance, looking for breast cancer-causing genes) are actually implemented. The resulting dissertation will be one of the first detailed ethnographic studies of bioinformatics, providing an account of how contemporary biology has become entangled with computing and information-communications technology and what effect this entanglement has had on the production of knowledge about life.
Hlubik, Sarah Kathleen, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Finding Prometheus: A Multi-pronged Approach to the Search for Fire in the Early Pleistocene at FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Craig Feibel
Preliminary abstract: The search for the first use of fire in the archaeological record has been a topic of contention since the discovery of reddened consolidated sediments at the sites of FxJj20 East and FxJj20 Main at Koobi Fora, Kenya in 1973. Since then work at other contemporaneous sites in East and South Africa have added to the debate over the earliest use of fire by human ancestors, but none have unequivocally answered the question of whether ancient human ancestors controlled fire. Evidence for fire in the region is abundant in the natural record, but association of that fire with human behavior, particularly in open-air settings, has been problematic. The current study proposes to combine chemical, spectral, spatial and magnetic analysis with new excavations at site FxJj20 AB and experimental work to determine whether a signal of fire is present on the site and whether or not it can be associated with human activity. The project will conduct excavation at the FxJj20 AB site, as well as conduct experiments in the signature of fire on open landscapes. During excavation, all cultural material will be collected, as well as samples for micromorphology, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and magnetic intensity. Similar samples will be collected for experiments to create a reference collection of the signature of fire on an open arid landscape and how that signature degrades over time. This project will contribute a significant amount of knowledge to the study of the origins of fire.
Mikdashi, Maya, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Conversion, the Politics of Secularism, and the Personal Status System in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Preliminary abstract: Conversion is usually understood as an act of faith. In Lebanon, the right to 'change religions' is protected by the state, and citizens can and do convert their personal status in order to change the rights pertaining to their 'private lives.' For example, in particular circumstances, citizens will 'convert' in order to fall under the purview of a different divorce or inheritance law. Secular activists often read this practice of conversion as an injury to religious subjectivity, even though it might not always be experienced as such by 'converts.' Through twelve months of ethnographic and archival research in Beirut I will study the Lebanese personal status system in two contexts: this mechanism of conversion, and a political movement that seeks to add a 'secular' personal status law. By studying these Lebanese 'conversions,' the religious and secular legal discourses addressing them, and the institutional terrains of the personal status system, I will enrich theoretical debates on secularism, religion and their Lebanese articulation, political sectarianism.
Cartelli, Philip Aaron, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Marseille-J4: The (Re)production of Space in a French Mediterranean Port City,' supervised by Dr. Mary Steedly
Preliminary abstract: This project analyzes the transformation of an urban space, the J4 (a former boat pier), from a non-purposed common space to one housing two cultural institutions directed towards a largely middle-class public. The French Mediterranean city of Marseille has recently become home to the largest urban development project in southern Europe, Euroméditerranée. Within this context, the opening of new institutions on the J4 both symbolizes and actualizes interlinked processes of cultural revitalization and social control in a working-class port town. Beginning in 2013, a year when Marseille has assumed the title of European Capital of Culture, my dissertation research unravels competing exigencies of the J4's changing users and its newly imposed and institutionalized appropriate uses. My methodologies include interviews, mapping, archival research, and sustained observation, including through audio-visual recording. Drawing on previous work and theories of urban development, spatial practice and commoditization I consider the (re)production of urban space as a contemporary phenomenon predicated on distinct spatial uses and urban development discourse and practice. Specifically, I examine how the commoditization of urban space in cities like Marseille is linked to efforts to push working-class residents aside and re-convert public space for touristic purposes under the banner of 'culture.'
Seale-Feldman, Aidan Sara, U. of California, Los Angleles, CA - To aid research on 'Adolescent 'Mass Hysteria' in Rural Nepal: Subjectivity, Experience, and Social Change,' supervised by Dr. C. Jason Throop
Preliminary abstract: In the wake of economic and political instability, high rates of unemployment and outmigration and the decade-long violence of the 'People's War,' increasing cases of 'mass hysteria,' also known as 'chhopne rog,' among adolescents have been reported in government schools throughout Nepal. Investigating the phenomenon of mass 'chhopne rog,' which affects mainly female adolescents in rural Nepal, this study traces connections between new forces of social change which have taken shape in the post-conflict period, and the psychocultural dimensions of people's lives. Why are adolescent girls disproportionally afflicted by 'chhopne rog' and how might this be connected to relations of power? What is the public discourse on 'mass hysteria' in Nepal, and how do families, healers, and psychiatrists understand, explain, and treat this illness? What is the nature of the experience of 'chhopne rog' for people themselves, and how does it relate to the sociocultural and economic conditions in which they live their lives? Through a phenomenological, person-centered approach to ethnographic research, this study contributes towards understanding the ways in which subjectivity, an individual's intimate, affective, emotional life-- thoughts, desires, hopes, fears or dreams-- takes form in particular historical, political, economic, and sociocultural contexts.