Gardner, Andrew M., U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Cities of Strangers: Transnational Labor and 'De-Nationalization' in the Persian Gulf,' supervised by Dr. Michael Bonine
ANDREW M. GARDNER, while a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on transnational labor and 'de-nationalization' in the Persian Gulf, under the supervision of Dr. Michael Bonine. Gardner explored the relationship between host and laborer in contemporary Bahrain, which, like the other petroleum-rich nations of the Arabian Gulf, hosts a large and diverse workforce from around the globe. Gardner focused on the largest and oldest of those laboring contingents, the Indian population. Using ethnographic methods, he examined the diversity of the Indian population, the social institutions that reiterated Indian identity in the foreign context, and the kinds of strategies utilized by Indians and other foreigners to deal with the hardships of life in the region. As a case study, the project was designed to contribute to the collective knowledge of transnational migration flows outside western Europe and North America.
Gardner, Andrew M. 2008. Strategic Transnationalism: The Indian Diasporic Elite in Contemporary Bahrain. City & Society 20(1):54-78
Wobber, Victoria Elizabeth, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Novel Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Cognition,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham
VICTORIA E. WOBBER, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'Cognitive Development in Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Novel Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Cognition,' supervised by Dr. Richard W. Wrangham. Human cognition is central to our species' uniqueness, determining our cultural sensibilities and facilitating our ability to use language. Understanding the developmental origins of cognitive abilities provides further insight into how human cognition differs from that of other animals. The development of numerous human traits has been altered relative to other primates, such as the advent of adolescent growth spurts in height and of menopause. However, little comparative work has determined how humans' cognitive development is distinct. This project assessed cognitive development in humans' two closest living relatives, bonobos (Pan paniscus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Bonobos have been suggested to be paedomorphic, or 'juvenilized,' in the development of their skeletal features in comparison to chimpanzees. This project tested the hypothesis that bonobos are also cognitively paedomorphic relative to chimpanzees. Bonobos were found to exhibit delayed development in their skills of physical cognition, or knowledge of the physical world, though their social cognitive skills developed comparably to those of chimpanzees. These results suggest that developmental patterns were under selection in recent ape evolution. Similar shifts in human development may have resulted from convergent selection pressures in bonobos and humans, for example in the reduction of aggression in both species.
LaHatte, Kristin Margaret, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on ''Don't Hand Your Stomach Over to Just Anyone:' Development Aid and Personal Social Relations in Haiti,' supervised by Dr. Ira Bashkow
Preliminary Abstract: Development aid advocates a normative ethos of professionalism that foregrounds equality between providers and recipients while discouraging personal relationships that could lead to accusations of corruption, nepotism and dependency. These personal relationships are understood to undermine the inculcation of values such as transparency and accountability that are encouraged by development aid providers. And yet, in many of the places that development aid operates, recipients consider personal relationships--gift exchange, food sharing, and long-term commitments--not only appropriate, but also obligatory. Haiti is a particularly rich site to examine this dissonance as the social relations that Haitians most value directly conflict with the relational model promoted by development. While Haitian appraisals of development aid are overwhelmingly negative, one exception I found during my preliminary fieldwork was 'twinning:' parish-to-parish development projects between Catholic churches in the US and Haiti, which emphasize the creation of personal relationships. Given this contrast between the ethos of professionalism and the ethos of 'twinning,' I hypothesize that Haitians evaluate development aid through the very creation of the personal relationships that the ethos of professionalism in development discourages, rather than merely through the criteria of project goals and effectiveness. Through a twelve month ethnographic exploration of two food aid projects in Haiti, this research will examine how aid recipients evaluate and compare development organizations and their projects and what broader meanings such evaluations hold.
Arntzen, Kristen K., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Complex Hunter-Gatherers and Subsistence Intensification: The Middle and Late Archaic of the American Midwest,' supervised by Dr. Fiona Marshall and Dr. Patty Jo Watson
KRISTEN K. ARNTZEN, while a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in December 2001 to aid research on subsistence intensification among complex hunter-gatherers in the American Midwest during the Middle and Late Archaic periods, under the supervision of Dr. Fiona Marshall and Dr. Patty Jo Watson. Arntzen's interdisciplinary archaeological project at the Allscheid Rockshelter in southwestern Illinois was designed to examine long-term socioeconomic change among delayed-return Archaic hunter-gatherers. The project provided a new, upland perspective on continuing processes of settlement and subsistence intensification, a perspective critical for understanding transitions to sedentism and early agriculture in prehistory. Arntzen mapped deep excavation profiles for Middle and Late Archaic cultural layers (ca. 7000-4000 B.P.) and obtained a suite of radiocarbon dates, which together offered a picture of shifting regimes of sediment deposition and changing site use by humans. This work was supplemented by the creation of a topographic map of valley morphology surrounding the shelter, which made it possible to evaluate hypotheses about human influence on mid-Holocene landscape change. Additionally, the topographic data were used in an ecological survey of arboreal plant taxa around the shelter, which were to aid in evaluating plant procurement strategies indicated by material excavated at the site. The resulting temporal, geological, and geographical resolution for the site and its surroundings was necessary to accurately portray specific local configurations of socioeconomic complexity and strategies of intensification among prehistoric hunter-gatherers.
Erensu, Sinan, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MI - To aid research on 'Making of Green Energy: Cultural Politics of Nature in the Turkish Black Sea Coast,' supervised by Dr. Michael Goldman
Preliminary abstract: Renewable energy is growing worldwide, promising a more livable future and a sustainable environment. My dissertation examines how this contemporary global demand for renewable energy shifts the mutual constitution of society and nature in the post-carbon era, and transforms rural spaces into energy landscapes. Global renewable energy ideas and practices do not unfold uniformly across the board, transpiring, to the contrary, as a site-specific ensemble in each of their iterations. Through an investigation of the introduction and contestation of small hydropower plants (SHPs) in Eastern Black Sea Region (EBSR) of Turkey, I aim to understand how global renewable energy policies travel across borders, shaping and getting shaped by, national development priorities as well as the local uses, meanings and experiences of nature; how an emerging green capitalism appropriates lands and resources for environmental ends; and how these joint forces disrupt property relations, water use practices, and environmental imaginaries at the countryside. My multi-sited research stretches from the valleys and villages of the EBSR where more than 1,000 licensed SHP projects are located to the offices of State Hydraulic Works, from local SHP contractors to global renewable energy brokers, using of a spectrum of qualitative methods; ethnographic, interview-based, and archival.
van Vliet, Netta, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Israeli Security Corps: Citizenship, Population, and Militarism in Israeli National Identity Formation,' supervised by Dr. Diane Michelle Nelson
NETTA VAN VLIET, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received a grant in November 2006 to aid research on 'Israeli Security Corps: Citizenship, Population, and Militarism in Israeli National Identity Formation,' supervised by Dr. Diane Nelson. In 2002, Israel began constructing its controversial 'Security Fence.' More than 600 kilometers long, costing approximately 1.5 million dollars per kilometer, and complete with army patrols and watchtowers, the fence is an example of Israel's attempt to militarize and secure its borders while also consolidating its population as Jewish. The fence is emblematic of the two kinds of Israeli national security concerns -- demographic and militarized -- that are the focus of this research. This project examines security practices that link the production and defense of a specific collective to cultural and physical separation, incorporation, and reproduction of individuals. The research is based on three years (2006-2008) of ethnographic fieldwork focused on how Israeli state mechanisms aimed at producing a cohesive national Jewish-Israeli community shape the broader category of Israeli citizenship through social and biological reproductive processes framed in terms of securing a Jewish majority. This project examines how Jewish Israelis differently define and act on the values that inform their decisions to participate in, reproduce, and sometimes resist national security mechanisms, and how these definitions and practices shape their relations to and formations of wider socio-political contexts in terms of security, threat and war.
Kaehler, Laura E., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Market Translators in Kuala Lumpur: Social Practice in High Finance,' supervised by Dr. Jane C. Schneider
LAURA E. KAEHLER, while a student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in New York, New York, received funding in July 2001 to aid research on social practice in high finance in Kuala Lumpur, under the supervision of Dr. Jane C. Schneider. Kaehler's findings indicated that in Malaysia, the commodification of risk was a crucial cause of the financial crisis of 1997-98. Risk management practices were also implicated in the uneven distribution of the effects of the crisis across society. At the time of Kaehler's research, the political and financial elite were attempting to inculcate practices of risk management at the family, state, and national levels. However, the governmental calculus and rhetoric of risk aversion, as well as the state-controlled media's focus on manipulation of risk, had served to make the public not more risk averse but less so. 'Stock fever' continued at pre-crisis levels, and market participation had become a key marker of sociability, patronage, and prestige. Increasingly, social life had become regulated by market practice, which meant not just simple market economics but the adoption of a frenzied style of stock-market speculation by unlikely comers from private and public life. Kaehler collected evidence through interviews with government officials, fund managers, and individual investors and through participant observation at a Malaysian hedge fund. Her findings suggested a possible reformulation of anthropologists' arguments regarding the embedding of markets in societies to incorporate the transplanting of Euro-American financial markets into developing countries without grafting roots in local market cultures, even where financial markets were run by locals.
Ochoa, Marcia, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and Mass Media in Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Renato I. Rosaldo
MARCIA OCHOA, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in August 2002 to aid research on 'Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and Mass Media in Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Renato I. Rosaldo. 'Queen for a Day' examined the ways women in Venezuela use transnational mass media to fashion womanhood. This study, developed as an ethnography of media, embedded hegemonic productions of beauty and femininity within discourses of the nation and everyday practice. Two groups of women were chosen for the study: participants in the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant, and transformistas, as some transgender women are called in Venezuela. Particular attention was paid to the 'accomplishment of femininity' of both groups by comparing and contrasting self-fashioning practices through interviews, participant observation, and video recording methods. The study also examined the emergence of the modern beauty pageant in 20th Century Venezuela, and its relationship to transnational circuits of economic and cultural power. Further, the study sought to account for the marginalization experienced by transformistas, and to document the strategies they employed for survival and selfmaking. This focus on social inequality also engaged ongoing transformation in Venezuela under President Chavez, political subjectivity, participation and citizenship in groups of people marginalized from the space of the political by their presumed frivolity. The study has resulted in a dissertation and article, several HIV prevention and human rights interventions, and a book under contract with Duke University Press.
Daspit, Lesley L., Purdue U., West Lafayatte, IN - To aid research on ' Market Women in Central Africa: Transnational Interface of Wildlife Commerce & Conservation,' supervised by Dr. Melissa J. Remis
LESLEY L. DASPIT, then a student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Market Women in Central Africa: Transnational Interface of Wildlife Commerce and Conservation,' supervised by Dr. Melissa J. Remis. This dissertation project examines the roles of women in the commerce and conservation of wildlife in the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic (CAR). Commercialized hunting and trade of wildlife is seen as the largest threat to wildlife in this region. To date, the majority of research and policy has centered on men as hunters, while undervaluing women as stakeholders. Within the RDS, wildlife is an increasing component of livelihoods, despite conservation efforts targeted at reducing dependence upon it. The current research focuses on a group of market women at the center of this trade. It combines gender analysis and ethnography to understand shifting human-wildlife relations within a fluctuating economy. It also explores the relationships between market women's activities and broader conservation and development policies through interview and archival research at key environmental NGOs in Washington, DC and CAR. Findings from this research demonstrate how women's roles in a wildlife economy intersect with movements of people, economic opportunities, and environmental ideologies. Further, these findings suggest that women are spatially and ideologically removed within the commerce and conservation of wildlife and shed light on how this impacts women's abilities to effectively contribute to sustainable development within the region.