Peano, Irene, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'Sex-Trafficking between Nigeria and Italy: A Study of Networks, Personhood and the Commodification of Humans,' supervised by Dr. Marilyn Strathern
IRENE PEANO, then a student at University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Sex-Trafficking between Nigeria and Italy: A Study of Networks, Personhood and the Commodification of Humans,' supervised by Dr. Marilyn Strathern. The research revolved around the phenomenon of women trafficking for sexual exploitation, taking place specifically between Nigeria and Italy. Eighteen months of fieldwork were carried out, of which eleven were spent in the Nigerian city of Benin, home to the majority of Nigerian women involved in the sex trade in Italy; the remaining time was spent in Turin, Italy. At a general level, fieldwork in both locations aimed at contextualising these practices in their social and cultural environment, by investigating kinship relations, moral values, ideas on society and the polity, religious beliefs, gender roles, notions of sexuality and the body, and perceptions of otherness, with particular reference to 'human trafficking' and its local understandings. More specifically, the research explored the ways in which different persons are constructed and construct themselves in some of the social spaces that trafficking defines: those of several NGOs and institutional actors, in their relations with their targets - trafficked sex workers in Italy and deportees or 'vulnerable women' in Nigeria. To those ends, the reflexive ethnographic method of participant observation was employed in the context of NGO activities in both countries, as well as in independent contacts with deported victims of trafficking and women currently engaged in the sex trade, supplemented by interviewing, attendance of court cases, and collection of written sources.
Evers, Cecile Anne Marguerite, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on ''Between Le Francais and L'Arabe: Muslim Second-Generation Youth Speak and Unspeak Marseille,' supervised by Dr. Asif Agha
CECILE ANNE MARGUERITE EVERS, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Between Le Francais and L'Arabe: Muslim Second-Generation Youth Speak and Unspeak Marseille,' supervised by Dr. Asif Agha. This linguistic ethnography, carried out over the 2012-2013 school year in Marseille, France, calls into question essentializing representations by the French State and popular media that construct second-generation youth of North and West African backgrounds as increasingly pious and more closely identified with transnational Islam than with locally grounded forms of belonging and being French. The research question asks how second-generation youth who live in Marseille and identity as Muslim draw linguistically on both family and peer-learned, non-standard repertoires of Marseillais French, dialectal Arabic, and other heritage languages (e.g., Wolof, Comorian), and school-learned standard repertoires of Arabic and French, in the development of their identities, seeking sometimes to reanimate and sometimes to contest alignments with the institutional categories that predicate a religiosity and transnationality of them. Data collected with youth who attend Modern Standard Arabic and Standard French classes in public and denominational schools, and secular and Muslim community centers reveal that youth micro-communities coalesce around shared stances -- expressed linguistically through recurring preferences to use standard or non-standard languages -- to such social categories as marginality, piousness, kinship and generational difference, foreignness, and Frenchness. Indeed, as they choose among the ideologically weighted linguistic options ambiently available to them, they are likewise communicating broader orientations they hold to Marseille -- as a long-term destination or imminent point of departure to the Muslim world -- and, in turn, the educational and social trajectories incident to these orientations.
Telliel, Yunus Dogan, City U.of New York, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Vernacular Islam and Muslim Citizens: Religious Language Reforms in Secular Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Michael L. Blim
YUNUS DOGAN TELLIEL, then a student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Vernacular Islam and Muslim Citizens: Religious Language Reforms in Secular Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Michael Blim. Exploring questions of religion, language, and reform, as they intersect in modern Turkey, this research examined a set of Islamic reform movements, spanning the early Republican and contemporary eras, which have endorsed, in various ways and toward various ends, the 'vernacularization' of religious language. The researcher traced Muslim reformers' conceptions of language by examining their perspectives on such issues as the translatability of the Qur'an, conducting ritual prayers in Turkish, or the possibility of unmediated engagement with scriptural translations. The researcher also investigated the extent to which these conceptions have been informed and shaped by the language ideologies of the Turkish nation-state. The reformist emphasis on the vernacular has often been seen as an attempt to 'Protestantize' (and eventually 'secularize') Turkish Muslims. Although Islamic reformism in Turkey has historically been entangled with the secular state's strategies of governing Muslim citizens, this research indicated a growing diversification of Islamic reformism in Turkey. New generations of reformers operate not only within, but also against, the political rationalities of the secular nation-state, as they engage with concepts and categories internal to the Islamic tradition.
Judd, Maya Drell, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'The Power of Gender: Fatherhood and Fertility Decisions in Italy,' supervised by Dr. David I. Kertzer
MAYA D. JUDD, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Power of Gender: Fatherhood and Fertility Decisions in Italy,' supervised by Dr. David I. Kertzer. Largely unforeseen by population experts in the 1990s, Italy's birthrates dropped to among the lowest in the world. This demographic shift was especially astonishing given the country's reputation as a family-oriented and heavily Catholic country. This research project investigates the interaction between gender dynamics and demographic changes, and more specifically, the dialectical relationship between changing masculinity, attitudes towards fatherhood, and Italian fertility. With ever more women in the labor force, new family policies, and increasingly marked individualism, men have been obliged to rethink partnerships, fatherhood and even male identity. Furthermore, later average age at first marriage, increasingly widespread participation in higher education for both women and men, and a changing life course intertwined with emerging values have created new expectations for the roles of men and women in Italian society. Investigating the complexity of changing demographic processes provides a window through which to explore gender and masculinity in anthropological theory. Material gathered through ethnographic research in Padua on the male life course, male identity, and men's relationships with women reveals both the impact of changing male identity on fertility rates, as well as the ways the Second Demographic Transition has influenced masculinity and men's relationships with women.
Newman, Jessica Marie, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Abortion, Negotiation, and Activism in Morocco,' supervised by Dr. Marcia C. Inhorn
Preliminary abstract: Global health campaigns targeting reproductive and maternal health consider access to medical abortions to be intrinsically linked to lower maternal mortality and morbidity rates. Yet in contexts where abortion is illegal, public health projects targeting the reduction of 'unsafe abortion' have been unsuccessful. This project seeks to understand the ways that everyday actors draw on religious and human rights discourses to understand their bodies, their behaviors, and their rights. Specifically, this research will examine how the intersection of juridical practices that criminalize abortion, and human rights and global health frameworks structure women's access to abortions in Morocco. The Maliki school of Islam, to which Morocco belongs, disallows abortion after 40 days of gestation and Morocco's criminal code outlaws both abortion and premarital sexuality. Attempts to contest these laws therefore challenge religious and state authority, which are entwined in the Moroccan state apparatus. Despite proscriptions against abortion in Morocco, high rates of abortion bespeak the myriad ways in which women negotiate access to abortive care in cases of unplanned pregnancy. This project examines women's therapeutic itineraries in contexts of constraint, while questioning how normative medical, religious, and feminist discourses influence individuals' understandings of their own opinions about and experiences with abortion.
De Silva, Sepalika, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Cultural Practice of Human Rights: An Ethnographic Study of Human Rights in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Eve Darian-Smith
SEPALIKA DE SILVA, while a student at the University of California in Santa Barbara, California, received funding in May 2002 to aid ethnographic research on cultural conceptualizations of human rights in Sri Lanka, under the supervision of Dr. Eve Darian-Smith. The objective of the study was to provide an in-depth understanding of local conceptualizations of human rights in the context of the Disappearances Commission in Sri Lanka as well as to examine how local- and national-level discourses on human rights converged or diverged with respect to this commission. De Silva carried out fieldwork in Dickwella, a small town in southern Sri Lanka where many disappearances had taken place during a violent conflict between the state and a Marxist youth organization in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Interviews were conducted there, and archival and other documents were collected in Colombo from which to examine the national-level discourse on human rights. Initial data analysis revealed that human rights concerns at the national level were intrinsically connected to national politics. At the local level, social context in the form of caste relations, political affiliations, and economic circumstances greatly influenced the ways in which individuals approached the Disappearances Commission and conceptualized human rights. National- and local-level discourses on human rights vis-à-vis the Disappearances Commission diverged. At the national level the focus was on human rights in a political sense, whereas at the local level people's interest was more in compensation and other social benefits.
Smith, Nicholas Russell, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Spatial Conceptions in the Transformation of China's Rapidly Urbanizing Villages,' supervised by Dr. Eve Blau
NICHOLAS R. SMITH, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Spatial Conceptions in the Transformation of China's Rapidly Urbanizing Villages,' supervised by Dr. Eva Blau. This project explores the rapid transformation of Hailong, a peri-urban village on the outskirts of Chongqing, a booming municipality in China's west. Through a combination of ethnography and spatial analysis, this research has investigated how actors conceive of the village's transformation, how these conceptions are actualized through socio-spatial practices, and how these practices intersect to produce transformation. Preliminary findings have revealed a variety of socio-spatial ontologies used to theorize Hailong's transformation. The dominant ontology, subscribed to by a majority of urban planners and policy makers, defines Hailong in terms of fixed urban and rural categories. By reifying these categories, planners and policy makers limit their options for intervention, leading to practices that fragment and simplify the village. Other actors employ alternatives, such as an ontology of uncertainty, which drives practices that minimize risk through diversity, hybridity, integration, and mobility. These alternative practices thus subvert planners' efforts to create fixity and simplicity, resulting in contestations that erupt with particular intensity in Hailong's village square, at the site of a new residential compound, and in neighborhood common spaces. The contingency and indeterminacy of these spaces makes them crucial nodes in the production of Hailong's still unsettled future.
Hodgson, Jennifer Ann, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'A GIS-based Approach to the Study of Hominin Carcass Acquisition at Kanjera South, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Thomas W. Plummer
JENNIFER HODGSON, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'A GIS-Based Approach to the Study of Hominin Carcass Acquisition at Kanjera South, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Thomas W. Plummer. Subsistence behaviors are of central importance in addressing questions about the behavioral ecology of Plio-Pleistocene hominins. The shift to increased meat consumption may be one of the major adaptive changes in hominin dietary evolution. While it is established that Oldowan hominins butchered large mammal carcasses, the method of carcass acquisition (i.e., hunting vs. scavenging) and degree of completeness (fleshed vs. defleshed) is less certain. This study addresses these questions through an analysis of bone modification patterns created by hominins and carnivores in the ca. 2.0 Ma zooarcheological assemblage from Kanjera South, Kenya. A GIS image-analysis method is used to compare bone modification patterns in the Kanjera assemblage with modern experimental bone assemblages created by various large carnivore species. Preliminary results indicates hominins had early access to large carcasses at Kanjera, however, data analysis is still underway.
Menegaz, Rachel A., U. of Missouri, Columbia, MO - To aid research on 'Ecomorphological Implications of Primate Dietary Variability: An Experimental Model,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Jordan Ravosa
RACHEL A. MENEGAZ, then a student at University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, was awarded funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Ecomorphological Implications of Primate Dietary Variability: An Experimental Model,' supervised by Dr. Matthew J. Ravosa. The evolution and function of the human skull is intimately related to the mechanical demands imposed by diet and food items. However, despite a growing awareness of the complexity of the primate diet, the effects of such seasonal variability in food items on craniomandibular growth and morphology are poorly understood. This gap in the understanding of functional morphology hinders our ability to identify dietary variability in the fossil record, and to identify evolutionarily significant divergences in ecological strategies (such as the use of seasonal 'fallback foods') in closely related species within the human lineage. This integrative study uses an experimental approach to model mammalian skull growth as affected by temporal changes in dietary composition. Results from this study suggest that for anthropologists, changes in diet related to seasonal cycles increase the difficulty of inferring behavior from anatomy. To overcome this challenge, morphological analyses included within this research identify those features within the mandible and the cranium that are the most useful for correctly classifying individuals within the correct dietary category. Such an enhanced understanding of the complex relationship between diet and morphology is critical for understanding human evolution and the ecological and behavioral aspects of early hominins.