Pfefferle, Lisa Warner, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Investigating Adipocyte Differences in Humans and Chimpanzees: Connecting Gene Expression with the Evolution of Diet,' supervised by Dr. Gregory A. Wray
LISA W. PFEFFERLE, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Investigating Adipocyte Differences in Humans and Chimpanzees: Connecting Gene Expression with the Evolution of Diet,' supervised by Dr. Gregory A. Wray. Differences in energy consumption and allocation that persist between humans and chimpanzees have widely been proposed to account for unique metabolically expensive human adaptations. One such distinction is the dietary shift towards increased fat consumption during human origins, a trait that continues to differentiate us from chimpanzees today. This shift in energy source may have contributed to the evolution of physiological, morphological, and disease susceptibility characteristics seen in modern humans. White adipose tissue and its specialized cell type, the adipocyte, are essential for lipid metabolism, as they integrate energy balance by regulating intake, storage, and expenditure. This study characterized the phenotypic traits of human and chimpanzee differentiated adipocytes and compared them to their underlying genomic profiles. In addition, the adipocytes were challenged with an evolutionarily significant fatty acid, linoleic acid, to elucidate gene expression events associated with increased dietary intake. Using multiple genomic techniques, this study exposed important changes in adipocytes that distinguish humans from chimpanzees, providing insight into the evolution of the human phenotype and modern disease.
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.
Marquez, Jr., Arturo, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'A Senegalese Odyssey: Migration and Mental Health in Catalonia, Spain,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca A. Seligman
ARTURO MARQUEZ, JR., then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'A Senegalese Odyssey: Migration and Mental Health in Catalonia, Spain,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca A. Seligman. This dissertation research provides an ethnographic study of the production, circulation, and recontextualization of humanitarian discourse in local institutions working with undocumented and tenuously documented West African residents in the province of Barcelona. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork, this study demonstrates the ways in which institutional discourse anchored in psychiatric and humanitarian registers enables forms of recognition according to broader subject formation processes and subsumes West Africans' lived experience within a distinct model of institutional personhood. Fieldwork was conducted in two main institutions and in multiple non-institutional contexts. With unemployment at record high levels, many West Africans have relied on 'occupied' industrial buildings and complexes as strategic spaces for housing, work, and transnational social relations. Local groups have made human rights claims on behalf of migrants, but in mobilizing public support they have relied on language that reifies the figure of the 'humanitarian subject' embedded in state governmentality. The struggles of West Africans, specifically from Senegal, align with an alternative model of personhood and a distinct transnational morality, which are ultimately obfuscated in the odyssey to remain in Spain.
Kashanipour, Ryan Amir, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research and on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner
RYAN KASHANIPOUR, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner. This project is an ethnohistorical examination of the role of medicine and healing in the eighteenth-century, Spanish Atlantic world. In particular, this project explores the role of healing systems in forging day-to-day connections between diverse social and ethnic groups in colonial Yucatan. These findings demonstrate how native peoples used central components to the human existence -- sickness and health -- to control their own lives and influence the broader colonial society. Funding supported primary source research in archives and libraries in Spain and the United States. Historical sources uncovered in this study -- such as six eighteenth-century manuscript books of medicine written in Yucatec Maya and Spanish -- show the broad series of connections within colonial society based on medicine and healing. These findings, in part, demonstrate that healing practices circulating widely in the colonies. In spite of prohibitions that attempted to limit the interaction between different social groups, natives, European, Africans, and people of mixed ethnicity regularly exchanged medical knowledge. Local healing practices were, therefore, the product of a widespread interaction and exchange. Furthermore, indigenous medicinal practices and knowledge empowered native healing specialists, which served to empower native communities.
Oakley, Roy E., U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - To aid research on 'Counting Fingers, Quantifying Forests: Numbers, Translation and Guyanese Eco-Politics,' supervised by Dr. Casey High
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the heterogeneity of numeracy in the interactions of Waiwai people, international conservation organizations, and the Guyanese state. Quantitative data are increasingly important to how governments, organizations and researchers engage with environmentalism in contemporary Amazonia. In Guyana, the national government has measured and monetized its rainforests while some indigenous peoples have used partnerships with conservation organizations to advocate for land rights and self-determination. Despite attention to questions of translation and misunderstanding, studies of indigenous peoples embedded in these wider economic and political systems do not consider the existence and alterity of indigenous numeracy in conceptualizing intercultural interaction. My project focuses on a Waiwai community-owned conservation area in southern Guyana. Counting in the Waiwai language, which is spoken, written and read in everyday life, refers to the human body while Waiwai people use English in schools, regional employment and interactions with outside partners. I will study the convergences and contradictions between numbering in farming, hunting and exchange processes and the quantitative data used for conservation measurement and management. I ask how human life is enumerative, considering the multiple ways that numbers have explanatory power as well as how culturally-specific notions of 'singular,' 'dual' and 'multiple' are part of Waiwai personhood and social life. This research seeks to place numbers into the domain of intercultural interaction in Guyanese eco-politics and explores how numerical notions permeate human socialities and influence anthropological theory.
Peche, Linda Ho, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Constructing Self and Spirit: Home Altars and the Articulation of Vietnamese American Subjectivities,' supervised by Dr. Pauline Turner Strong
LINDA HO PECHE, then a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Constructing Self and Spirit: Home Altars and the Articulation of Vietnamese American Subjectivities,' supervised by Dr. Pauline Turner Strong. This project is about spiritual connection -- how the 'spiritual' is accessed, experienced and/or transformed in the materiality of everyday life for Vietnamese Americans. The context is a community envisioning itself emerging from war and refugee flight as well as grounding itself as truly American. Specifically, this project examines Vietnamese American home altars and shrines as social spaces where cultural, religious and political ideologies are experienced and expressed. It seeks to explore how religious experiences inform and are produced by a kind of 'spirit' of a community, addressed not through some static notion of 'identity' but, instead, as constituted (and continually re-constituted) through expressive practices. With this approach, the 'spirit' and 'spiritualities' of Vietnamese America are fulfilled through experience rather than revealed in a holistic sense. What emerges is a shifting and negotiated spectrum of belief and practice, navigated both through an exploration of different spiritual/spatial landscapes and collective diasporic imaginaries.
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.
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
ANDREW CURLEY, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Changing Nature of Navajo Tribal Sovereignty in an Era of Climate Change,' supervised by Dr. Wendy Wolford. Research was conducted from January 2013 to July 2014 in the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States, and looked at the social nature of coal in the Navajo Nation. The grantee examined the deeper meanings of the industry for both proponents and opponents of it. The dissertation based on this research shows how these meanings articulate competing notions of tribal sovereignty that has both intensified and taken new directions in this era of global climate change. What was found is that political questions about development are rooted in notions of culture that go into constructing deeper meanings of being indigenous in the 21st century. In other words, the ideological foundations to political narratives are related to central understandings about being Navajo now and into the future. Writing through the perspectives of cultural anthropology, Native American studies, and the sociology of development, the dissertation argues that resource development projects and the debates they generate are part of deeper, more critical indigenous struggles for survival, both materially and culturally.
Love, Serena Helen, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid 'Building a Neolithic Community Through Architecture: A Case Study from Catalhoyuk, Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Ian Hodder
SERENA HELAN LOVE, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Building a Neolithic Community through Architecture: A Case study from Catalhoyuk, Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Ian Hodder. This project examines the compositional variation of mud brick architecture from the Neolithic village of Çatalhöyük, Turkey, circa 7000 BC. Standard geoarchaeological techniques are employed to characterize cultural sediments and results are charted through 1,400 years of uninterrupted occupation. The creation of a brick typology demonstrated how building materials are chronologically and spatially sensitive, and how material sources for the production of building materials are not motivated by resource depletion but rather illustrate intentional choices and avoidances. Temporal changes in brick composition coupled with a decrease in overall brick size suggest a change in social organization from community-based activities in the earliest phases to smaller, inter-group activities. This study also examines how Neolithic people may have employed building materials to constitute a social identity or to create difference, through patterns of materials use.
Williamson, Kathryn E., Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Instituting Care: Reproductive Health Governance and the Ethics of Humanizing Birth in Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Eugenia Georges
Preliminary abstract: This project focuses on the Brazilian state's ongoing attempts to dramatically transform maternity care in the national health system. Spurred by persistently high maternal mortality as well as decades of feminist activism to demedicalize birth, President Dilma Rousseff has launched Rede Cegonha as her flagship women's health program. Rede Cegonha synthesizes the science of best practices and a humanistic ethics of care to effect what is known as the 'humanization' of birth: a shift toward low-intervention, respectful care in pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Fundamentally, humanization exhorts multiple actors not only to change technical practices in birth, but also to cultivate themselves as caring subjects. The program's implementation follows participatory models of governance that have become a hallmark of post-authoritarian Brazil. Salvador, Bahia, the major site of my research, has historically failed to sustain such models and exhibits extreme health inequities associated with poverty and racial discrimination. Nonetheless, the city has now been nationally recognized as an exemplar of the successful implementation of Rede Cegonha. Through participant observation, interviews, surveys, and archival research across five key sites for the program, I will develop an ethnographic understanding of how the large-scale ethical project of humanization is incited, enacted and experienced by government officials, healthcare professionals, and women and their families. Drawing together anthropological conversations around reproduction, state bureaucracies and policy, and ethics and morality, I aim to generate a theoretical framework for the articulations of statecraft and the new ethics and practices of maternity care taking shape in contemporary Brazil.