Pearson, Thomas William

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
New York, Binghamton, State U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 4, 2007
Project Title: 
Pearson, Thomas William, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Biosafety, Neoliberalism, and the Struggle for Life: Anti-biotechnology Activism & the Politics of Expertise in Central America,' supervised by Dr. Carmen Alicia Ferradás

THOMAS WILLIAM PEARSON, then a student at State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Biosafety, Neoliberalism, and the Struggle for Life: Anti-Biotechnology Activism and the Politics of Expertise in Central America,' supervised by Dr. Carmen Alicia Ferradas. Fieldwork investigated the relationships between neoliberal economic reforms and new concerns with the management of biological life, as an object of both technocratic control and political struggle. Through ethnographic research on conflicts over transgenic organisms and agricultural biotechnology, the grantee examined how biosafety is socially constituted as a form of risk management and expertise that mediates local and global circuits of technology, knowledge, capital, and nature. Ethnographic fieldwork with environmental activists who campaign against transgenics, and who work to reshape the meaning and practice of biosafety, provided insight into how 'life itself' is symbolically constructed as an object of struggle amidst wider transformations associated with free-market policies and ideologies. The research also adapted to and incorporated rapidly changing fieldwork circumstances when broad opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) coalesced into one of the largest social movements in the history of contemporary Costa Rica. As concerns over CAFTA came to concentrate on the impacts of new intellectual property rights reforms, environmentalists were unexpectedly propelled to the center of the popular movement, leading a struggle against the privatization and commoditization of genetic resources and seeds framed around the 'defense of life itself.'

Publication credits:

Pearson, Thomas W. 2012. Transgenic-Free Territories in Costa Rica: Networks, Place, and the Politics of Life. American Ethnologist 39(1):90-105.

Pearson, Thomas W. 2013. 'Life is Not for Sale!': Confronting Free Trade and Intellectual Property in Costa Rica. American Anthropologist 115(1):58-71.

Grant Year: 
2007
Award Amount: 
$18,620

Faltyskova, Zuzana

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Cambridge, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 12, 2011
Project Title: 
Faltyskova, Zuzana, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'The Population History of South America: A Genetic Study of Extinct Fuegian and Patagonian Aborigines,' supervised by Dr. Toomas Kivisild

ZUZANA FALTYSKOVA, then a student at University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Population History of South America: A Genetic Study of Extinct Fuegian and Patagonian Aborigines,' supervised by Dr. Toomas Kivisild. The population history of the Americas has remained unclear even after decades of research because only a handful of Native Americans are left to expand our knowledge of the pioneering stages of the American settlement. Fortunately, cutting-edge technology allows the recovery of past genetic signatures from populations now extinct. The grantee obtained DNA sequences of 54 complete mitochondrial genomes from human skeletal remains from Tierra del Fuego, which were compared to published sequences of other Native Americans. Complete mitogenomes provide sufficient phylogenetic resolution to shed light on the earliest South American peopling. This study found no evidence of the controversial hypothesis about the alleged pre-Amerindian origin of the extinct Fuegians in a putative archaic migration preceding the arrival of other Native Americans. Instead, it seems that Fuegians dispersed at the forefront of the Amerindian dispersal and arrived to the Southern Cone shortly after people entered the Americas through the Bering Strait, indicating a rapid dispersal throughout the American continent. The remnants of Fuegian populations lived in isolation in the Fuegian islands in extreme weather conditions, subject to severe genetic drift, until their extinction a century ago.

Grant Year: 
2011
Award Amount: 
$19,858

Thames, Horacio B.

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Pittsburgh, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 31, 2002
Project Title: 
Thames, Horacio B., U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Emergence and Development of Political Organization in the Tafi Valley (N.W. Argentina),' supervised by Dr. Robert D. Drennan

HORACIO B. THAMES, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on 'Emergence and Development of Political Organization in the Tafi Valley (N.W. Argentina),' supervised by Dr. Robert D. Drennan. Full-coverage survey of the Tafi Valley involved the detection and recording of architectural remains and surface scatters throughout the valley floor and piedmont zone. Instead of sites, collection units were used as the basic spatial unit of data recording and analysis. A collection unit represents a standardized area delineated in the field whose boundaries were marked on air photographs. Two types of artifact collections were made within each collection unit. Systematic collection circles were used to collect all visible artifacts until reaching a minimum sample size. When sherd density was low, an opportunistic general collection was carried out. In addition, diagnostic sherds were collected when available from each collection unit. A series of shovel probes was dug in collection units containing surface architecture when surface artifact density was low. Survey methodology utilized yielded representative collections of ceramics of various kinds that are suitable for quantitative analysis. The information provided by the regional survey primarily allowed the grantee to create a reliable database and to develop digital maps. Databases will allow the grantee to calculate both proportions of sherds of various kinds (of particular periods, or forms) and densities of surface ceramics. Digital maps compiled display areas occupied during Formative and Regional Development periods and exhibit the spatial distribution of different kinds of artifacts. A typology based on formal attributes was developed to categorize domestic, public, and productive (agricultural and pastoral) structures recorded. Intersite comparison of architectural composition will be used to assess character and magnitude of complexity (i.e., functional differentiation) throughout the sequence.

Grant Year: 
2002
Award Amount: 
$20,000

Jung, Jin-Heon

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Illinois, Urbana, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 24, 2006
Project Title: 
Jung, Jin-Heon, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Post-Division Citizenship: The Christian Encounters of North Korean Refugees and South Korean Protestant Church,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Abelmann

JIN-HEON JUNG, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Post-Division Citizenship: The Christian Encounters of North Korean Refugees and the South Korean Protestant Church,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Abelmann. Dissertation fieldwork, conducted at a church-sponsored training program, 'Freedom School,' for North Korean migrants in Seoul, Korea, from January to December 2007. This field research is an attempt to understand a historical juncture of the Korean peninsula when its people are simultaneously facing post-division, transnational, and multi-cultural flows of people, products, and capital at a rapid pace. This ethnographic study investigates Freedom School as a contact zone in which North Korean migrants and South Korean Christians are struggling to assimilate with each other in conditions simulating a reunified post-division community, where they encounter unexpected, multilayered cultural differences that problematize the very idea of ethnic homogeneity. Indeed, this analysis focuses on Christianity as the main medium that mediates this co-ethnic relationship. Both North Korean migrants and South Korean Christians invoke the concept of true Christianity in order to mediate their various differences and to promote their desire for national unity in religious terms. The grantee argues that while Christianity works to depoliticize the conflicted relationship between the migrants and South Korean Christians, it also highly politicizes the Church as a social space in which contrasting political ideologies and beliefs compete.

Grant Year: 
2006
Award Amount: 
$22,750

Ngo, Anh-Thu Thi

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Harvard U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
April 8, 2011
Project Title: 
Ngo, Anh-Thu Thi, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Constructing / Belonging in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. Michael Herzfeld

ANH-THU THI NGO, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Constructing/Belonging in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. Michael Herzfeld. This research focuses on transformation, adaptation, and belonging in Vietnam's largest metropolis, Ho Chi Minh City (known locally as Saigon). Three fields of interaction -- distinguished broadly as artistic, political and philanthropic activity -- serve as the grounds for an examination of the sociality inherent to self- and world-making in the context of urban growth. Amid both the empowering and obstructing capacities of city life, how do particular agents construct the means for grounding their lives meaningfully? How do the landscapes and social processes around them impinge on these endeavors? In each of the three spheres of inquiry, young Saigonese organize themselves to share information and resources to broaden and enable their creative, civic or charitable aims. The urban environment, which engenders these connections, grounds the ethnographic picture, even as Saigonese increasingly turn to social media platforms to engage one another. These investigations into well-being are framed not as processes that have neat arcs of fulfillment but rather as continual working at
'being-with:' being with oneself in terms of spiritual or moral understanding; being with others in social and political engagement; being with one's environment or cityscape in its multitude and mutations. Through extended conversations and multimedia engagement, this ethnography provides a mosaic of urbanites' attempts to forge futures when collective memories and present realities come together in uncertain manner.

Grant Year: 
2011
Award Amount: 
$19,700

DeCaro, Jason Alexander

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Emory U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
November 9, 2001
Project Title: 
DeCaro, Jason A., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'The Social Ecology of Childhood Stress: Reactivity and Family Function in North Central Georgia, U.S.A.' supervised by Dr. Carol M. Worthman

JASON A. DECARO, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded a grant in November 2001 to aid research on the social ecology of childhood stress in north-central Georgia, U.S.A., under the supervision of Dr. Carol M. Worthman. DeCaro's research was designed to evaluate whether children's reactivity (physiological response to stress or arousal) during the transition from preschool to kindergarten was related to their parents' economic security; whether the 'routinization' of family life and stability in the social ecology of the home predicted children's reactivity during this transition; and whether the stability of children's social environment and their reactivity predicted functional outcomes. Ethnographic interviews with parents in forty-five metropolitan Atlanta families focused on work, finances, economic security, time management, and school and neighborhood choices and satisfaction. Prior to and following the transition into kindergarten, DeCaro collected saliva samples from children and parents three times a day for seven days, in order to test for levels of cortisol, a hormone of physiologic arousal. He also monitored children's heart rates during a puppet-based psychobehavioral interview. Parents were asked to track on hand computers their and their children moods, contexts, and experiences for seven days. Questionnaires covered children's behavioral and somatic symptomatology and preschool educational outcomes. Preliminary analysis suggested that cardiovascular response during a mild social challenge predicted the density of parents' schedules but that mothers' and fathers' types of 'busyness' had different effects on household ecology and on children's responses to experience. The study was expected to provide insights into the cultural construction of the 'work' of the family, which profoundly affects both the actual form and the perception of family life by family members and thus what precisely is 'stressful' about it.

Publication Credit:

DeCaro, Jason A. and Carol M. Worthman. 2006 Cultural Models, Parent Behavior, and Young Child Experience in Working American Families. Parenting: Science and Practice 7(2): 177-203.

Grant Year: 
2001
Award Amount: 
$20,000

Snodgrass, James Josh

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Northwestern U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 7, 2002
Project Title: 
Snodgrass, James J., Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Energetics, Health, and Lifestyles Change among the Yakut of Siberia,' supervised by Dr. William R. Leonard

JAMES J. SNODGRASS, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on 'Energetics, Health, and Lifestyles Change among the Yakut of Siberia,' supervised by Dr. William R. Leonard. This study examined the health consequences of economic modernization in the Yakut (Sakha), a high-latitude indigenous population of horse and cow pastoralists from the Sakha Republic of Russia. The two main research objectives were: 1) to investigate metabolic adaptation; and 2) to explore health and energy balance within the context of economic modernization. All research was conducted in the rural Siberian village of Berdygestiakh, Russia. Data were collected on: basal metabolic rate (BMR), total energy expenditure (TEE), blood pressure, body composition, diet, thyroid hormones, Epstein-Barr virus antibodies, and lifestyle and socioeconomic status. The results of this study indicate that, regardless of which reference standard is used, Yakut men and women have elevated BMRs. This study did not document any significant relationships between lifestyle measures and BMR, which suggests that genetic factors play an important role in metabolic elevation. This research provides baseline information on health and energy balance in the Yakut and investigates how specific lifestyle (e.g., physical activity and diet) and socioeconomic (e.g., income and education) factors contribute to the development of obesity and hypertension. Relatively low levels of physical activity, documented using the doubly labeled water technique, play an important role in the development of obesity in the Yakut, especially among women. Obesity and hypertension are emerging health issues among the Yakut. Affluence is associated with obesity among men, but not women; this parallels findings from nationally representative studies in Russia that document that health changes are more closely tied to socioeconomic status in men than women.

Publication Credits:

Snodgrass, J. Josh, William R. Leonard, M.V. Sorensen, L.A. Tarskaia, and M.J. Mosher. 2008. The Influence of Basal Metabolic Rate on Blood Pressure among Indigenous Siberians. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137(2):145-155

Snodgrass, J.J., M.V. Sorensen, L.A. Tarskaia, and W.R. Leonard. 2007. Adaptive Dimensions of Health Research among Indigenous Siberians. American Journal of Human Biology 19:165-180.

Snodgrass, J.J., W.R. Leonard, L.A. Tarskaia, T.W. McDade, et al. 2007. Anthropometric Correlates of C-Reactive Protein among Indigenous Siberians. Journal of Physiological Anthropology 26:241-246.

Snodgrass, J. Josh, et al. 2006. The Emergence of Obesity among Indigenous Siberians. Journal of Physiological Anthropology 25(1):75-84.

Snodgrass, J. Josh, et al. 2006. Total Energy Expenditure in the Yakut (Sakha) of Siberia as Measured by the Doubly Labeled Water Method. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84:798-806.

Snodgrass, J. Josh, W.R. Leonard, L. Tarskaia, V.P. Alekseev, and V.G. Krivoshapkin. 2005. Basal Metabolic Rate in the Yakut (Sakha) of Siberia. American Journal of Human Biology 17:155-172.

Grant Year: 
2002
Award Amount: 
$20,000

Hoh, Lyndsey Marie

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Oxford U.
Status: 
Active Grant
Approve Date: 
April 21, 2015
Project Title: 
Hoh, Lyndsey M., Oxford U., Oxford, UK - To aid research on 'The Sound of Metal: Aesthetic Materials and Public Music Making in West Africa,' supervised by Dr. David Pratten

Preliminary abstract: The making of social life in a postcolonial state is a complex process, of which music is an evocative element (Chernoff 1978; Guilbault 1993; Agawu 2003). With a rich social history and a modern political environment that is changing, tumultuous, and even violent, West Africa produces complex, politically charged, and socially evocative music (Turino 2000; Skinner 2012; White 2008). Scholars have suggested that culture is the domain par excellence that offers outlets for expression of experiences of urbanization and contemporaneity, and that examining musical performance is a particularly powerful way of analyzing these experiences (Merriam 1964; Coplan 1985; Guilbault 2007; Wade 2013). Particularly in West Africa, public musical expression and interpretation are privileged signifiers of collective and individual orientations, and these values give definition to what it means to be West African (Feld 2012; Skinner 2012). I will expand on this vein of inquiry by asking how people express the realities and insecurities of modern life through the formation of aesthetic categories and the performance of public sound. I am concerned with the role of aesthetic materials -- particularly, brass and metal instruments -- in public performances, and how they act as containers of meaning and conduits for expression. As part of my larger inquiry on the contemporary West African experience, I am also attuned to the communal ethos and public dimension of performance, and the role of sound in shaping modern experience.

Grant Year: 
2015
Award Amount: 
$20,000

Michelet, Aude Pierrette Pascale

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
April 30, 2008
Project Title: 
Michelet, Aude Pierrette Pascale, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Learning Kinship in Huld (Mongolia),' supervised by Dr. Rita Astuti

AUDE MICHELET, then a student at London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Learning Kinship in Huld (Mongolia),' supervised by Dr. Rita Astuti. In the village of Huld (Mongolia), children (aged 3 to 7) build representations about how they relate to other people that differ from those of their elders. Contrary to adults, children do not have a theory of kinship based on consanguinity. However, young children differentiate between two categories of people: those who are familiar -- category that includes ah duu ('kin'), and naiz ('friends') -- and those who are not. Familiarity is established through visits, phone calls, gifts, etc. From the age of 4, children start to restrict family membership to the people who are related to the mother as children or husband. They consider friendship and kinship to be equivalent kinds of relationships albeit friendship is restricted to people of the same age. They believe that relations of friendship and kinship have generative properties; they see these relations as transitive. At age 7, children start to distinguish ah duu (kin) from naiz (friends) and to develop genealogical knowledge to discriminate between the two, despite the overwhelming similarities in people's modes of interaction. The evidence collected suggests that children might share some intuitions about relationships. One would be that birth creates a special bond; a second that certain relationships have generative properties.

Grant Year: 
2008
Award Amount: 
$24,946

Chien, Jennifer

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Duke U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 3, 2010
Project Title: 
Chien, Jennifer, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph Litzinger

JENNIFER CHIEN, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph Litzinger. From September 2010 to July 2011, this research investigated the forms of collective identities emerging within migrant communities along with the phenomenon of Corporate Social Responsibility or 'CRS' in Beijing, China. Research findings gathered from participant observation as a volunteer with three different social organizations engaged in CSR partnerships showed the following: 1) the solidification of a 'migrant' identity and culture; 2) distinct divergences in how 'migrant' and 'community' are conceived of by different CSR partners; 3) the basis of these divergences as two different principles of integration and scission,; 4) the social impact of CSR grasped at the level of socialized production; and 5) the importance of culture as a site of antagonism. These research findings helped to address the following research questions: How is CSR reconfiguring forms of collective identity in China, and what political claims are enabled or precluded within its discourses and practices? How do migrants in China, associated with agricultural or factory production, affect a global economy increasingly driven by cultural and informational production? How does 'community' as code for forms of common production become both desirable and risky for business practice?

Grant Year: 
2010
Award Amount: 
$15,000
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