Hoag, Colin Brewster, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Emerging Water Cultures: Water Wealth, Soil Erosion, and Nationalism in Lesotho,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing
Preliminary abstract: The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is a multi-billion dollar effort to transfer water from the mountains of Lesotho to the arid industrial areas around Johannesburg, South Africa. With declining employment opportunities for Lesotho's citizens in South Africa, 'white gold' is figured by Project supporters as the export commodity that will free Lesotho from economic dependence. However, tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the Project and acute soil erosion threatens to compromise the viability of the project in its entirety, calling into question this national future imaginary. As Project supporters struggle to maintain the image of Lesotho's water future, soil conservation programs collectively known as Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) are being implemented by the LHWP, which will attempt to reform land use management practices that are currently controlled by chiefs. Yet, the rates and causes of soil erosion are notoriously difficult to measure and a long history of ineffective and even harmful soil conservation programs in Lesotho suggests that ICM will not have the final word. Competing ideas about what water means for Lesotho, and what water does as it passes through soils, have distinct implications for social organization, cultural identity, and political authority. This dissertation project tracks these relationships between changing water imaginaries and their consequences, using ethnographic methods to discern emerging water cultures in Lesotho's water-export era.
Melnick, Amiel Bize, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on ''Black Spots': Roads, Accidents, and Uncertainty in Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Brian Larkin
AMIEL MELNICK, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in 2012 to aid research on 'Black Spots: Roads, Accidents, and Uncertainty in Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Brian Larkin. The research project was a historically informed ethnography of roads and their hazards. Data was gathered through case studies of road accident victims, a sited ethnography of a 'black spot' (a stretch of road where accidents happen frequently), research on the insurance industry, and archival research on both road safety and insurance. This research explores how the hazards of the road-both the high incidence of injury and death, and the dangers of connection across distance-require social, ethical, and political forms for dealing with uncertainty and harm. The data will help illuminate both how obligations and solidarities are created and tested within and outside co-ethnic spaces, as well as how the political-economic shifts dubbed 'neoliberalism' have affected the forms of managing, and capacity to manage, uncertainty.
Chazin, Hannah, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Politics of Pasture: Organizing Pastoralism and Politics in the Late Bronze Age South Caucasus,' supervised by Dr. Alan Kolata
Preliminary abstract: This project explores how the human-animal relationships that define pastoralism were key to the organization of political authority in ancient societies, through a detailed study of pastoral organization in the Late Bronze Age South Caucasus. The proposed research will use zooarchaeological and isotope data from animal bones from settlements and cemeteries to address two questions: 1) How were pastoral practices organized in the Late Bronze Age in the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia? and 2) What role did newly emergent political institutions have in shaping the organization of pastoralist activity? Answers to these questions will provide important information about the way human-animal relationships shape political life in pastoralist societies. This project will pioneer the use of isotope analysis on faunal remains from the South Caucasus, providing direct data on the mobility of animals, which will allow for a more nuanced understanding of the organization of pastoral mobility. The data and analysis generated by this research will contribute to anthropological discussions of pastoralism, networks and mobility, sociopolitical complexity, human-animal relationships, and non-human agency.
Saraf, Ishani, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on ''Scrap-scape': Waste, Trade, and Urban Ecologies in Contemporary Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas
Preliminary abstract: In the context of urban reform in Delhi that seeks to remove 'wastes' from its landscape, my project will focus on the little understood practices of waste trade by examining the trade in metal scrap (henceforth scrap). I seek to understand how metal, which had captured the imagination of the developmentalist nation-state of India, is apprehended in the form of scrap. Through multi-sited ethnographic research conducted in 'Junk Market', India's largest metal parts market in Delhi, and Dadri dry port in the National Capital Region where scrap from transnational trade reaches Delhi, I will ask: What are the different meanings of scrap in official discourses and according to those who trade it? What are the diverse circuits of flow and multiple forms of transactions through which scrap is traded? How is scrap made marketable and what is the work of valuation that makes this possible? Through these questions, I study how the diverse activities around the trade in scrap intersect with the increasingly frequent and often abrupt interventions by regulatory institutions. I ask how they affect the livelihoods of those who participate in this landscape of scrap transformation. My hypothesis is that these activities and intersections constitute a specific type of urban ecology that I call the 'scrap-scape' which includes the scrap market, the dry port, and the movement and interaction of people and things to and from and between them that make up its processes. While official and corporate discourses frame the urban landscape as one devoid of certain materials-such as 'wastes'-and people working with them, I adopt an optic constituted by these very people and practices, and the lifeworlds that they inhabit and enact, to understand the shadowy, occluded, and underground terrain of megacities like Delhi.
Hallin, Kristin A., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Paleoclimate During Neandertal and Modern Human Occupation in Israel: Tooth Enamel Stable Isotope Evidence,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Schoeninger
Hallin, Kristin A., Margaret J. Schoeninger, and Henry P. Schwarcz. 2012. Paleoclimate during Neandertal and Anatomically Modern Human Occupation at Amud and Qafzeh, Israel: The Stable Isotope Data. Journal of Human Evolution 62(1):59-73.
Zharkevich, Ina, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Generation, Gender and Change in the Maoist Base Areas of Nepal during the Conflict and its Aftermath,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner
INA ZHARKEVICH, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Generation, Gender and Change in the Maoist Base Areas of Nepal during the Conflict and its Aftermath,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. The fieldwork was carried out in the village of Thabang, hailed as the capital of the Maoist base areas during the war. The findings of the fieldwork suggest that the 'people's war' has reconfigured key hierarchies along which Nepali society was organized - that of caste, gender and generation. However, the old hierarchies were subverted not only due to the spread of Maoist ideology, but also due to the processes engendered by the situation of war -- the exodus of able-bodied men who either joined the Maoists or migrated abroad, the concurrent feminization of villages, and inevitable change in the gender and generational structure of society. While the 'people's war' had a clear generational dimension, these were predominantly unmarried youth who joined the rebels -- pointing towards the importance of the moral economy of marriage and kinship for understanding the Maoist mobilization campaign and broader social processes during the war. The fact that such practices as beef-eating and inter-caste commensality, considered as a serious transgression in the once Hindu Kingdom of Nepal, endure in post-conflict environment testifies that the 'people's war' undermined Hindu ideology as the basis of the moral order in Nepal and introduced new ideas about morality grounded in the Maoist discourse of equality and progress.
MacCourt, Anna Elisabeth, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Lord of the Universe ... Among Equals: The Challenges of Kingship in Late Early Historic and Early Medieval India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Sinopoli
ANNA MacCOURT, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Lord of the Universe… among Equals: The Challenges of Kingship in Late Early Historic and Early Medieval India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Sinopoli. This research project focused on establishing the spatial and chronological changes of elite sites in mid-first millennium CE Gujarat, focusing on sites associated with the Maitraka dynasty. Kingdoms, such as the Maiktrakas, of this period were characterized by competition between elite, land-holding groups including courts, Brahmanical temples belonging to various sects, and Buddhist monasteries. In order to compare the archaeological record of such elite sites two methods of analysis were used-spatial analysis of remote sensing data and typological analysis of ceramics excavated at such sites. Remote sensing data has been used to identify areas of archaeological activity and potential archaeological activity surrounding such sites on the Saurastra peninsula. Typological analysis of ceramics collections at Maharaja Sayajirao University and the Gujarat Directorate of Archaeology and Museums was used to establish both chronological and regional variation in the material record. By combining these two methods of analysis, this project addresses the on-the-ground changes in land use and artifact distribution, which may not be as evident from literary records alone.
Bridges, Elizabeth Jane, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Regional Political Authority Under the Vijayanagara Empire: Archaeology of the Keladi-Ikkeri Nayakas,' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli
ELIZABETH BRIDGES, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in April 2008, to aid research on 'Regional Political Authority Under the Vijayanagara Empire: Archaeology of the Keladi-Ikkeri Nayakas,' supervised by Dr. Carla M. Sinopoli. This project investigated the Keladi-Ikkeri Nayakas, regional kings who ruled under the Vijayanagara Empire from 1500 to 1614 and as independent sovereigns from 1614 to 1763. This project is based on archaeological survey at the first and second capitals of the Nayaka kings, occupied in the imperial and early independent periods. Archaeological fieldwork was conducted during three seasons between 2007 and 2009; Wenner-Gren funding supported the completion of fieldwork in the final season and subsequent analysis of artifacts. Archaeological fieldwork was conducted at the sites of Keladi and Ikkeri in Shimoga District, Karnataka State, India. A full-coverage survey over 18 square kilometers comprising the former urban cores at both sites located and documented a total of 238 sites. Support also funded archival research on historical sources held in the British Library; the documents examined included unpublished translations of relevant literature, and early colonial survey and census data relevant to establishing site chronology. These and other lines of evidence indicate that while the empire was instrumental in supporting the development of Nayaka power, regional rulers were functionally highly autonomous. This picture represents a contrast to many other archaeologically known empires whose processes of regional integration relied on relations of domination and resistance.
Reinhart, Katrinka, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Food practices and social stratification at the early Shang period site of Yanshi Shangcheng, Yanshi, Henan, China,' supervised by Dr. Ian R. Hodder
KATRINKA REINHART, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded funding in January 2004 to aid research on 'Food practices and social stratification at the early Shang period site of Yanshi Shangcheng, Yanshi, Henan, China,' supervised by Dr. Ian R. Hodder. The current research project concerns the relationship between social inequality and food practices during the Shang Dynasty, China's earliest historical dynasty. Pottery analysis was used to inquire into differences in food practices between high elite and people of lower status in order to discern how the Shang people might have experienced inequality in their day-to-day life. Research was conducted at Yanshi Shangcheng, a walled site from the early Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC). A walled compound in the southern center of the site called 'Palace Area' exhibits typical Shang period elite architecture and other impressive features such as a large pool and a drainage system. In contrast, a peripheral neighborhood located just inside the city wall called 'Area IV' exhibits modest architecture. Pottery from these two areas was analyzed using residue analysis and typological analysis. Residue analysis conducted at the Evershed lab, University of Bristol, has only discovered a small number of residues in the samples. Further study currently seeks to understand this unexpected result. Preliminary statistical analysis of typology data, currently underway, is revealing some interesting differences in types of food utensils between the Palace Area and Area IV implying different food customs between elite and lower status residents.