Grinberg, Yuliya, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Data Mines: The Quantified Self and the Cultural Work of Data in the Digital Age,' supervised by Dr. Marilyn Ivy
Preliminary abstract: It has become commonplace to invoke the contemporary excesses of digital data. Popular media takes particular pleasure in regularly announcing the '2.8 zettabytes,' the '1 sextillion bytes' the '24 quintillion tweets' or the 'hundreds or thousands of petabyte-scale databases' being generated today (Pearlstein 2013). These staggering figures and exotic descriptors call attention to the way advances in digital technology have opened the gates to a fantastic excess, an incessant digital copying and preservation of minutest signs and gestures that seem to be secreted manically and automatically, leaving behind a techno-social human refuse figured as human resource. While the contemporary ubiquity of digital data has become the most routine reality, this project addresses how digital technologies of capture have become an important social and political technology, and a central means of making sense of the everyday. To examine this, the project is grounded in ethnographic research with a burgeoning community, the Quantified Self, which typifies as it extends the current trajectories and excesses of data collection, processing, and application.
Scarborough, Isabel M., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Market Women Mothers and Daughters: Politics and Mobility in the New Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Andrew Orta
ISABEL M. SCARBOROUGH, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'Market Women Mothers and Daughters: Politics and Mobility in the New Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Andrew Orta. Market women in Bolivia have a long history of political participation and as brokers of ethnic concerns with broader populist social movements. This research sought to explain how recent processes of social and ethnic mobility across two generations affected identity negotiations and constructions for these women. The study is framed within the context of Bolivia's ongoing transformations where current state policies and ideology are based on a reversal of former neoliberal values and the importance of ethnicity and indigenousness in national belonging. Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out with two generations of market women using in-depth interviews and participant-observation methods. Research results confirmed the extent of this upward mobility through education, and how this journey affects broader economic practices, including how these women imagine, embody, and practice both the formal and informal markets, challenging this dichotomy. Additionally, queries on the current political participation of both market women and their university-graduate daughters show both groups fractured along rapidly escalating hostilities between the opposition and the government, which in turn reflect the conflict raging between the highland regions that support the state's indigenous-based politics and the lowland regions where the opposition decries the government's anti-capitalist stance.
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.
Mr. Gaerrang, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh
GAERRANG, then a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh. In the 1990s, seeing an increasing slaughter rate of livestock from Tibetan households and the suffering of livestock in transportation to Chinese markets, the influential Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933-2004), began the anti-slaughter movement. Tibetan pastoralists across the Tibetan Plateau, including those in the study site of Rakhor Village, Hongyuan County, Sichuan, took multiple years' pledges to stop selling livestock to markets. This took place at the same time as the Chinese state was seeking to intensify its economic development agenda in Tibet, trying to shape its citizens to become rational market actors who prioritize commodity production, including by encouraging pastoralists to sell more livestock. This resulted in the negotiation by herders of two very different views of what constitutes development. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork on lamas' motivations and herders' decision-making about the campaign, in order to shed light on the culturally specific, religious idioms through which development is negotiated, and the relationship between markets, subjectivity, and religious revival.
Beyin, Amanuel Yosief, State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid 'Paleolithic Investigation on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea,' supervised by Dr. John J. Shea
Beyin, Amanuel. 2009. Late Stone Age Shell Middens on the Red Coast of Eritrea. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 4:108-124.
Beyin, Amanuel. 2010. Use-wear analysis of obsidian artifacts from Later Stone Age shell midden sites on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea, with experimental results. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 1543-1556.
Rendle, Katharine Alice Sheets, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Negotiating Uncertainty: Risk, Responsibility, and the Unsettled Facts of the HPV Vaccine,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts
KATHERINE A.S. RENDLE, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Negotiating Uncertainty: Risk, Responsibility, and the Unsettled Facts of the HPV Vaccine,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts. Using the promotion and uptake of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a lens, this dissertation project explored how temporality and risk are at work in everyday life. Drawing from ethnographic field research in the San Francisco Bay Area, it explored how different actors including parents and health professionals in the United States are defining the 'right time' for children to be vaccinated. At the core of these temporal debates are contested claims over when -- and through what specific encounters -- the individual body becomes at risk for HPV exposure. In order to identify a target age for HPV vaccination, medical guidelines translate this individual moment into a collective moment. However, for many of the parents interviewed, the right time to vaccinate is perceived to be much later than the recommended age. To defend their desire to delay vaccination, parents often invoke claims to experiential evidence validated by a sense of knowing their child and his or her sexual and emotional development. Entangled within these claims are temporal assessments of risk, whereby parents weigh their child's (perceived) present risk of HPV exposure against the unknown risks of the vaccine itself.
Krauss, Amy Beth, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Legal Language, Moral Fields: An Ethnographic Study of Abortion Rights and Advocacy Networks in Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Deborah Poole
Preliminary Abstract: This project explores how women negotiate the conflicting normative and moral fields generated by a complex legal and political landscape in which the right to abortion exists in Mexico City and is criminalized in other states. I will conduct an ethnographic study based in advocacy networks in Mexico City and the adjacent state of Guanajuato. Guanajuato, located to the west of Mexico City has recently charged women accused of voluntarily ending their pregnancy with 'homicide within reason of kinship', a federal crime that carries up to a 40-year prison sentence. Counter-acting the threat of persecution that women face in states such as Guanajuato, feminist support networks have emerged with the aim of making the legal medical services of Mexico City accessible to non-city residents. My research takes this tension between the criminalization of abortion in Guanajuato and its legalization in the Federal District to ask how law impacts women's understandings of themselves as ethical subjects within a broader field of social and kin relations.
Edwards, Terra, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Language, Embodiment, and Sociality in a Tactile Life-world: Communication Practices in Everyday Life among Deaf-Blind People in Seattle, Washington,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks
TERRA EDWARDS, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Language, Embodiment, and Sociality in a Tactile Life-World: Communication Practices in Everyday Life among Deaf-Blind People in Seattle, Washington,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks. This project investigates language and communication practices in a community in Seattle, Washington, whose members are born deaf and, due to a genetic condition, lose their vision slowly. Most members grew up using visual American Sign Language (ASL). Upon moving to Seattle, they transition to a tactile mode of reception of ASL. Until recently, this transition was treated as a compensatory strategy. Thus, a single interaction often occurred in two different modalities: a sighted or partially sighted person would use visual reception, while their blind interlocutor used tactile reception. Despite this variation, it remained normative to organize access to the immediate environment along visual lines. Therefore, the more a person moved away from visual practices and orientations, the more reliant on interpreters they became. Then, in 2007, a 'pro-tactile' social movement took hold, calling for the cultivation of tactile dispositions regardless of sensory capacity. Once everyone-blind, sighted, and partially sighted- 'went tactile,' relations between linguistic forms and the social and physical environment were reconfigured and new grammatical sub-systems began to emerge. Ongoing research aims to understand how linguistic forms derived from visual ASL are calibrated to the contours of this emergent tactile world, yielding an emergent, tactile language.
Widmer, Alexandra E., York U., Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Constituting 'Mental Health' in Vanuatu: Subjectivity, Knowledge and Development in a Pacific Post-Colonial Context,' supervised by Dr. Margaret C. Rodman
ALEXANDRA WIDMER, while a student at York University in Toronto, Canada, received funding in March 2003 to aid research on the constitution of health and subjectivity in Vanuatu, under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Rodman. Widmer looked at changing articulations of the nature of Vanuatu people (ni-Vanuatu) in biomedical, Christian, colonial, development, and kastom discourses regarding health, beginning in the 1850s. By making the health knowledge that circulated in Vanuatu and in global arenas a key object of her inquiry, along with accompanying assumptions about personhood, Widmer was able to contextualize as culturally and historically specific the otherwise universalizing aspects of notions of the rational individual and modernity typically associated with biomedicine. In Port Vila, Vanuatu, Widmer spoke with NGO health educators, biomedical doctors, and Christian healers and with people using their services. She attended public events held by health education development organizations and church services held explicitly to heal sick people. Looking at the history of biomedical health care in Vanuatu, she interviewed retired health professionals who had practiced during the colonial period and examined Presbyterian missionary and British colonial material in libraries and archives. She found that beginning in the 1850s, missionaries hoped that the 'rational' knowledge and practices of Western medicine would help bring about conversions from 'heathenism' to Christianity. By the twentieth century, colonial authorities saw medicine as a means to 'bring the uncontrolled bush tribes under control'; providing access to Western medicine was crucial for 'progress' toward 'modern civilization.' Widmer planned next to analyzie how ni-Vanuatu had adapted and resisted these discourses.
Andersen, Barbara Anne, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Nursing Education and Gendered Dilemmas in the Papua New Guinea Highlands,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp
BARBARA A. ANDERSEN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Nursing Education and Gendered Dilemmas in the Papua New Guinea Highlands,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp. Nurses, the majority of whom are women, are the primary health care providers in Papua New Guinea (PNG). As members of PNG's small 'educated working class,' they share values that have been shaped by missionary, colonial, and developmentalist moralities of caregiving. These include the importance of outreach to the country's rural majority. However, rapid economic transformation has heightened social conflict along lines of gender, class, and region. Nurses in Papua New Guinea face a dilemma: they must serve and respect rural people -- with whom they may share kinship, language, and culture -- while also preserving their own fragile authority. This research, based on fourteen months of participant observation and life-history interviews at a nursing college in Eastern Highlands Province, examines how students acquire the discursive and practical repertoires necessary for managing this dilemma in clinical settings and in their own lives. This dissertation argues that students resolve the contradiction between the idealization of rural life and the desire for modernity through a strategy of 'displaced agency:' attributing to rural people qualities of willfulness and disobedience and linking health to discipline, obedience, and order. The study concludes that these concerns with obedience profoundly shape nursing practice in PNG, limiting nurses' ability to equitably distribute care.