Smit, Douglas Karel, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Mining, Markets, and Commercialization: The Archaeology of Indigenous Labor in Colonial Peru,' supervised by Dr. Brian S. Bauer
Preliminary abstract: This project examines the commercialization of indigenous society at Huancavelica, the largest mercury mine in the Americas. Founded in 1564, Huancavelica was indispensable to the Colonial Spanish economy, since silver refining throughout Peru and Mexico required a constant source of mercury. Previous research has detailed Huancavelica's production levels, labor quotas, and the constant moral debates between colonial administrators over underground conditions so brutal that Huancavelica became known as 'La mina de la muerte' (the mine of death). However, since the indigenous laborers themselves left no written records, we know almost nothing of the people who directly produced this colonial wealth. Therefore, this study employs an interdisciplinary approach, combining excavation and compositional analyses of household material culture to examine the consequences of an increasingly commercialized colonial economy on the social organization of the indigenous laborers.
Hinegardner, Livia Katherine, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Grassroots Video in Mexico City: Developing Counterpublics, Producing Citizenship,' supervised by Dr. Bret D. Gustafson
LIVIA K. HINEGARDNER, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Grassroots Video in Mexico City: Developing Counterpublics, Producing Citizenship,' supervised by Dr. Bret D. Gustafson. This research investigates the political practice of social movements in Mexico that produce and distribute documentary films as part of their strategy for social change. The networks and collaborations of filmmakers and social movements are developing new political communities of circulating discourse and practice ('publics') associated with new conceptions and practices of citizenship. These networks challenge anthropological conceptions of 'counterpublics' (social groups often forming the basis of organized social movements) that have been conceived as tied closely to religious and ethnic identities. This research examines emergent counterpublics in Mexico that are detached from these concepts. It asks,'How and with what effects are the practices of creating and distributing political documentaries in Mexico developing and mobilizing counterpublics?' The circulating discourse of these films, and the collaborations that produce and distribute them, also challenge New Social Movement theories in which groups make claims to citizenship rights based on identities. Film counterpublics make political claims based on performances of citizenship rooted in practices of engaging with public deliberation through the production and distribution of media. This research asks, 'What conceptions and practices of citizenship emerge out of the practice of creating and distributing films? How do people make political claims based on these conceptions of citizenship?'
Hinegardner, Livia. 2009. Action, Organization, and Documentary Film: Beyond a Communications Model of Human Rights Videos. Visual Anthropology Review 25:(2) 172-185.
Meharie, Anduamlak, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Development and Displacement in Peri-Urban Areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Impacts on Youth and Households,' supervised by Dr. Peter D. Little
ANDUAMLAK MEHARIE, then a student at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Development and Displacement in Peri-Urban Areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Impacts on Youth and Households,' supervised by Dr. Peter Little. The study examined the coping and adaptive strategies of displaced individuals and households in Yeka Tefo, a peri-urban farming community on the eastern part of Addis Ababa. The study examined how these strategies, on the one hand, reduce risks associated with displacement, and on the other, how these strategies affect intergenerational and other social relations within the community. More specifically, the study investigated whether the dislocation of peasants from their farms provides youth with independence from parental control over land, on-farm employment, and social obligations, so they can pursue other livelihood opportunities, such as education, wage employment, and entrepreneurship. The study further explored the impact of youth’s decisions on intra-household and intra-community relationships and livelihood security. The fieldwork lasted twelve months during which qualitative and quantitative data from two adjacent communities in the eastern side of Addis Ababa were collected.
Chatterjee, Moyukh, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft
MOYUKH CHATTERJEE, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft. This project examines how mass violence unfolds across legal institutions of state redress and its implications for survivors and human-rights NGOs struggling for justice in India. Despite numerous official commissions of inquiry, human-rights activism, and civil society efforts, mass violence against minorities -- supported by state officials and militant rightwing organizations -- goes largely unpunished in India. By examining the production, circulation, and interpretation of police and legal documents within different state institutions, and victim and NGO efforts to challenge state impunity, this project examines state writing practices and its effects on legal accountability. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in lower courts, legal-aid NGOs, and survivors/complainants of the anti-Muslim violence in 2002, this project outlines how law courts obfuscate individual culpability, invalidate victims' testimony, and render sexual and gendered violence against minorities invisible. The study examines the role of legal and police documents in enabling the state apparatus to regulate what can be officially seen and said about public acts of mass violence involving ruling politicians and state officials, and its implications for survivors, human-rights activists, and NGOs fighting for legal justice.
Sandesara, Utpal Niranjan, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Prenatal Kinship and Selective Reproduction: The Process of Sex Selection in an Indian Community,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois
Preliminary abstract: Over the past three decades, the selective abortion of female fetuses has emerged as a prominent form of gendered violence in northwestern India. While state institutions have attempted to combat the practice, the number of sex-selective abortions has remained constant or risen in most regions during the past twenty years. I propose to explore this situation by conducting twelve months of multi-sited ethnographic research on the process of sex selection in Mahesana, Gujarat. Tracing the process across household, clinical, and governmental settings will allow me to connect the views, experiences, and practices of reproductive-aged women with those of husbands, senior relatives, clinicians, brokers, and government officials, thereby elucidating the gendered power relations that sustain sex selection despite efforts to combat it. My project will empirically link gender-kinship norms with medicalized reproduction and state governance by exploring three key questions: What norms and practices underlie desires for sons over daughters in the present sociohistorical context? How do biomedical practitioners come to participate in sex selection, and how do different clinical actors manage the technical, economic, and moral ambiguities in the process? And how do state policies construct, engage, and impact sex selection as a social crisis? Through a focus on the simultaneous reproduction of individual bodies and the social order, and using the analytic of gendered violence, my project will generate a framework for exploring gender, kinship, and violence in the prenatal period. (This submission requests funding for the second phase [last six months] of the project.)
Halawa, Mateusz Pawel, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Inhabiting Postsocialism: The Rise of Mortgages in Poland,' supervised by Dr. Ann Laura Stoler
MATEUSZ P. HALAWA, then a student at New School University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Inhabiting Postsocialism: The Rise of Mortgages in Poland,' supervised by Dr. Ann Stoler. How does the financial infrastructure of capitalism come to shape everyday life by opening possibilities for some and constraining them for others? What are the consequences of the increased reach of markets into family life? This project is an ethnographic study of one of the oldest capitalist instruments, the mortgage credit, as it spreads through post-socialist Poland. The research followed the varied capacities of the mortgage contract in creating new worlds that range from infrastructures of new suburban housing to intimacies of young family households attuned to markets in property and foreign currency; and from emerging individual identities of 'consumers,' 'investors,' or 'homeowners,' to a whole social structure of inequalities mediated by credit scores. Fieldwork was conducted in 2013 in Warsaw and included: interviews with mortgagors, bankers, economists, regulators and financial advisors; an exploration of emerging practices of personal finance and household budgeting; and an analysis of the public discourse around the new 'mortgage generation' and their predicament.
Zeiderman, Austin Gabriel, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Living Dangerously: Risk and Urban Governance in Bogotá, Colombia,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson
AUSTIN G. ZEIDERMAN, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Living Dangerously: Risk and Urban Governance in Bogotá, Colombia,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson. In the late 1990s, the municipal government of Bogotá, Colombia, began mapping the uneven distribution of environmental risk (landslides, floods, and earthquakes). In 2003, a housing agency (Caja de la Vivienda Popular) was put in charge of a resettlement program aimed at relocating low-income populations living in areas designated zonas de alto riesgo, or 'zones of high risk.' To account for this phenomenon, this research project was dedicated to answering the following question: How and to what effect does risk work within emergent forms of urban government in Bogotá? The project involved an ethnographic study of both the Caja's housing relocation program and the scientific expertise on which it is based. In addition, it pursued an historical study that examined, as a relatively recent political problem, the imperative to protect life from a variety threats. An historical ethnography based on twenty months of fieldwork and archival research in Bogotá, the resulting dissertation will examine the emergence and contemporary workings of risk as a mode of governing cities and urban life in the twenty-first century.
Zeiderman, Austin. 2013. Living Dangerously: Biopolitics and Urban Citizenship in Bogotá, Colombia. American Ethnologist 40(1):71-87.
Lynch, Jane Elizabeth, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Fashioning Value: Materiality, Cloth, and Political Economy in India,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane
JANE E. LYNCH, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Fashioning Value: Materiality, Cloth, and Political Economy in India,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane. This research examined the consequences and prospects of economic liberalization in contemporary India through a study of the handloom textile industry. Given its historical depth and institutional diversity -- ranging from cooperative societies and government corporations to private companies and self-help groups -- this industry and its politics offer unique perspectives on India's transition from state-led economic development to market liberalization. By focusing on the workings and institutional frictions of the commodity networks for cloth woven in the central Indian town of Chanderi, this study examined the social geographies, moral claims about production and consumption, and locally mediated conceptions of ownership and community that are navigated and produced in the commoditization of cloth. Ethnographic research undertaken in Chanderi as well as in the cities of Indore and Delhi, revealed a key effect of liberalization on this industry has been the heightened competition over intellectual property and rights to production, for example, in terms of branding. Extended fieldwork and document-based research showed that practices of branding are being defined not only in terms of consumer sentiment, but also through the efforts of institutions, collectivities, and individuals to delineated -- on moral grounds -- the ways in which cloth can be manufactured, valued, and owned.
Brant, Erika Marie, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Ancestors and Aggrandizers: Modeling Political Power and Ancestor Veneration in a Post-collapse Andean Society (AD 1000-1450),' supervised by Dr. Stephen Plog
ERIKA M. BRANT, then a student at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Ancestors and Aggrandizers: Modeling Political Power and Ancestor Veneration in a Post-collapse Andean Society (AD 1000-1450),' supervised by Dr. Stephen Plog. Anthropologists have long viewed ancestors as a source of kin-based authority that leaders draw upon to validate claims to power. An alternative viewpoint posits that ancestor worship may prevent the emergence of centralized authority and provide the ideological foundations for more equitable forms of sociality. This dissertation research project evaluates contrasting models of ancestor veneration in the Titicaca Basin of Peru through surface collection and targeted excavations at Sillustani-the foremost necropolis of the Colla ethnic group (AD 1000-1450). Following the collapse of the Tiwanaku state (c. AD 1000), the proliferation of modest forms of burial and commemoration in the Colla region seem to indicate a rejection of aggrandizing ideologies and the use of ancestors to promote more equitable social relations. Excavations at Sillustani revealed evidence for multiple elite residences, lineage-based ancestral shrines, an obsidian workshop, and also served to define the extent of the domestic sector. Materials recovered from Sillustani point to the performance of ancestor-focused rites by multiple and/or situational leaders. Forthcoming analyses of ceramic and faunal materials will further clarify the role of ancestor veneration in the reorganization of post-collapse Titicaca Basin societies.
Hepner, Tricia M. Redeker, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Of Eritrea and Exile: Trans/Nationalism in the Horn of Africa and the United States, ' supervised by Dr. Laurie K. Medina