Doberne, Jennie Carmel, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Technologically-Assisted Later Motherhood in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon
JENNIE DOBERNE, then a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'Technologically-Assisted Later Motherhood in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Susan McKinnon. This research queries the reproductive practices and politics of extending motherhood into the fifth and sixth decades of life among Israeli women. Through the lens of later motherhood, both the limits and horizons of Israeli pronatalism become visible. The grantee conducted participant observation in a high risk pregnancy unit, interviewed later mothers and health care professionals, attended medical conferences on fertility and pregnancy, followed online communities of later mothers, and analyzed media representations of assisted reproduction. By listening to professional and personal narratives and by investigating the routes and risks Israeli women take to become mothers later in life, the stakes of belonging through family in Israel come to the fore. As citizenship is increasingly formulated in genetic terms and the future Jewishness of the state is uncertain, understanding the cultural preoccupation with assisting the nation's reproduction is of the essence.
Seale-Feldman, Aidan Sara, U. of California, Los Angleles, CA - To aid research on 'Adolescent 'Mass Hysteria' in Rural Nepal: Subjectivity, Experience, and Social Change,' supervised by Dr. C. Jason Throop
Preliminary abstract: In the wake of economic and political instability, high rates of unemployment and outmigration and the decade-long violence of the 'People's War,' increasing cases of 'mass hysteria,' also known as 'chhopne rog,' among adolescents have been reported in government schools throughout Nepal. Investigating the phenomenon of mass 'chhopne rog,' which affects mainly female adolescents in rural Nepal, this study traces connections between new forces of social change which have taken shape in the post-conflict period, and the psychocultural dimensions of people's lives. Why are adolescent girls disproportionally afflicted by 'chhopne rog' and how might this be connected to relations of power? What is the public discourse on 'mass hysteria' in Nepal, and how do families, healers, and psychiatrists understand, explain, and treat this illness? What is the nature of the experience of 'chhopne rog' for people themselves, and how does it relate to the sociocultural and economic conditions in which they live their lives? Through a phenomenological, person-centered approach to ethnographic research, this study contributes towards understanding the ways in which subjectivity, an individual's intimate, affective, emotional life-- thoughts, desires, hopes, fears or dreams-- takes form in particular historical, political, economic, and sociocultural contexts.
Holowka, Nicholas Baird, State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Kinematics of the Chimpanzee Foot During Terrestrial and Arboreal Locomotion,' supervised by Dr. Brigitte Demes
Preliminary abstract: Chimpanzees and other apes possess highly mobile pedal joints that allow the foot to function as a grasping organ during arboreal positional behaviors, whereas humans have evolved relatively stiff feet with reduced joint mobility to enable the foot to function as a propulsive lever during bipedal locomotion. Foot joint morphology is an important determinant of the functional differences in human and ape feet. Pedal remains from early hominins indicate a fascinating mosaic of ape- and human-like features at these joints. However, a limited understanding of ape foot mechanics hampers interpretations of ape-like joint morphology in these fossils. To improve our understanding of early hominin positional behaviors, the objective of the proposed study is to collect detailed three-dimensional kinematic data of the foot joints in chimpanzees during locomotion on terrestrial and arboreal substrates. A four camera motion capture system will be used to record foot motion in two chimpanzee subjects during the following behaviors: bipedal and quadrupedal walking on a flat surface, and climbing on a vertical pole. Additionally, foot motion will be recorded in five human subjects during bipedal walking. From these recordings, three-dimensional motion will be measured at the talocrural, subtalar, transverse tarsal, cuboidometatarsal, and metatarsophalangeal joints. Chimpanzee and human foot kinematics during bipedal locomotion will be compared to investigate the functional consequences of interspecies differences in joint morphology. Chimpanzee foot kinematics during terrestrial quadrupedalism and vertical climbing will be compared to determine whether specific features of chimpanzee foot joint morphology reflect adaptations to arboreal locomotion.
Meari, Lena Mhammad, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Interrogating 'Painful' Encounters: The Interrogation-Encounter between Palestinian Political Activists and the Shabak,' supervised by Dr. Suad Joseph
LENA M. MEARI, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received a grant in 2008 to aid research on 'Interrogating 'Painful' Encounters: The Interrogation-Encounter between Palestinian Political Activists and the Shabak,' supervised by Dr. Suad Joseph. Ethnographic information was collected from two key locations: Jerusalem and Ramallah. From Jerusalem, the data collected include Israeli governmental reports, court decisions, human rights organizations' reports, newspaper articles, Shabak employees' memoires, and court cases. In addition participant observation within an Israeli human rights organization and in-depth interviews were conducted. The interviewees included human rights activists, lawyers, and journalists. These ethnographic information will be employed in order to explore Israeli conceptions of torture, pain, and ethics related to the interrogation-encounter, how this encounter had affected - and been affected by -- court decisions and governmental reports, and International and local human rights reports. In addition, the ethnographic information will be employed in order to investigate the relation between torture, pain, and liberal ethics. In Ramallah, in-depth interviews were conducted with Palestinian leaders and activists from five Palestinian political parties who experienced interrogation. Other research activities included participant observation within a Palestinian human rights organization and a Palestinian psychological organization, as well as participant observation and interviews with family members and friends of Palestinian prisoners. This ethnographic information will be employed in analyzing the various Palestinian conceptions of torture and pain and the practices exerted by them, in addition to the multiple Palestinian discourses that constitute the Palestinian activist.
Conway, Meagan Kathleen, U. of South Carolina, Columbia, SC - To aid research on 'A Choice to Engage: Selective Marginality and Dynamic Households on the 18th -19th Century Irish Coast,' supervised by Dr. Charles Cobb
Preliminary abstract: This research explores the nature of marginality on the peripheries of empires. These shifting borders are historically fluid spaces which have revelatory potential regarding individual decision-making, sources of cultural change, and altered social dynamics under foreign rule. This project focuses on the local processes through individual households in rural communities off the coast of western Ireland in order to understand selective engagement in transnational systems and reaction to prescribed narratives from the imperial epicenter. This research interprets the expressions of selective engagement in transnational processes which demonstrate the presence, connection, and engagement to broader global networks of economic trade and access. This research proposes investigation a counter narrative which complicates the pre-existing account of isolation on the fringes, a story which often ascribes passive acceptance of powerlessness and subjugation over the complexity and agency of everyday life in the past. Anthropologists can then access how imperialism truly affected the daily lives of people on the margins. Purposeful adaptation and social change due to these external ascriptions and beliefs are examined through the lens of material activity and architectural change on two Irish islands in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Rotem, Zohar, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Becoming Jews and Arabs: Children and the Making of Ethno-national Distinctions in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence A. Hirschfeld
ZOHAR ROTEM, then a student at the New School for Social Research, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Becoming Jews and Arabs: Children and the Making of Ethno-National Distinctions in Israel,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence A. Hirschfeld. This ethnography of a bilingual (Hebrew-Arabic) school in Israel analyzes the formation of ethno-national and ethno-linguistic difference in a country dedicated to values of equality and inclusion under the rule of law, but where a large population of Arabic-speaking Palestinians is nevertheless marginalized. Using an analytic double lens, it alternately takes a broad view at the school's successes and failings, and then narrows in to examine the lives of young children as they make sense of the categorical distinction -- between 'Jews' and 'Arabs' -- that they are called on to inhabit. Adults' fears of assimilation and desires for upward mobility make visible the societal that maintain de-facto segregation in a country that is legally democratic and explicitly liberal. And the young children -- who are left to make sense of their ethno-linguistic identities based on piecemeal information in their environment and an innate commitment to essentialism -- see language as the primary determinant of difference, and demand that a bilingual person (speaking both Arabic and Hebrew) should be deemed both Jewish and Arab. The erasure of this possibility by adults (and to some extent by children themselves) illuminates adults' commitment to difference as much as the essentialist structure of the child's mind.
Hannaford, Dinah Rebecca, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Love in the Time of 'Absentee Marriage:' Transnational Migration, Class, and Gender in Urban Senegal,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft
DINAH REBECCA HANNAFORD, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Love in the Time of 'Absentee Marriage:' Transnational Migration, Class, and Gender in Urban Senegal,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft. This multi-sited research project examined the phenomenon of Senegalese 'absentee marriage,' or marriages between Senegalese men living and working abroad and women living in Senegal. Using detailed ethnographic methods, the grantee investigated how these transnational couples are adapting to and influencing current Senegalese ideologies about intimacy, consumption, and marital duties. Through extensive fieldwork in Senegal, as well among migrants in France and Italy, the grantee was able to develop important insights into the gendered, religious, economic, technological, and social realities that account for the prevalence of these marriages. In-depth interviews with partners both in Senegal and in Europe led to rich ethnographic data about how couples confront the challenges and reap the benefits of this kind of marital arrangement. The data collected during this research project will be used towards a dissertation that challenges received anthropological understandings about modern global trends in marriage and romantic partnerships, and contributes to developing theories of transnational migration.
Wieland, Josef Nicholaus, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Crystallizing Value: Quartz Mining, Crystal Healing, and the Energies of Market-making,' supervised by Dr. William Maurer
Preliminary abstract: Through this project I track the phenomenology of value through a New Age commodity network spanning from rural Brazilian quartz miners to California crystal healers. As a multi-cited study project, my dissertation has three goals: (1) to map the different ways that informal Brazilian miners, international wholesalers, and New Age crystal healers narrate their experiences with 'crystal energy' (2) to trace how quartz crystals become spiritually and economically valuable through these experiences (3) to understand what these experiences might tell us about the world's multibillion-dollar quartz crystal market and New Age spirituality in the twenty-first century. Social, historical, and cultural fields of power help contextualize Brazil's role as the world's leading producer of New Age healing crystals. Building on ethnographies exploring the religious and political-economic dimensions of mining in Latin America and beyond, this study uses embodiment to question the intersection of spirituality and international exchange networks. While gems and minerals have long had spiritual valence, Brazilian quartz is unique because differnetly positioned actors all claim to have experiened their energetic propoerties. By mapping this network of perspectives, this study connects the phenomenological with the economic, offering a way to understand how value emerges and transforms as people engage with commodities' sensuous qualities.
MacCarthy, Michelle Dawn, U. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand - To aid research on 'Contextualizing Authenticity: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands,' supervised by Dr. Mark William Busse
MICHELLE MacCARTHY, then a student at University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Contextualizing Authenticity: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Mark W. Busse. This project entailed eighteen months of fieldwork on the island of Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Ethnographic research with both Trobriand Islanders and tourists facilitated an examination of how both parties understand and manipulate notions of tradition and authenticity in the milieu of cultural tourism. This research explored, on the one hand, how Trobrianders enact 'Trobriandness' to tourists, and their own ideas about the importance of tradition for Trobriand life and for presentation to tourists. It also examined the ways in which tourists exoticize persistent notions of 'the primitive' and narrate their experiences in terms of cultural tourism as a lens into a more 'traditional, authentic' way of life. By considering various aspects of life that have been commoditized for tourist consumption, including material culture, dance and performance, and village life, this project analyzes the discourses of both tourists and Trobrianders as a way of understanding the intercultural encounter as it is seen by both parties, with a particular focus on how ideas of authenticity are constructed and are essential to both Trobriand and touristic notions of 'culture.'
MacCarthy, Michelle. 2012. Playing Politics with Yams: Food Security in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment: The Journal of Culture & Agriculture 34(2):136-147.
MacCarthy, Michelle. 2013. 'More than Grass Skirts and Feathers': Negotiating Culture in the Trobriand Islands. International Journal of Heritage Studies 19(1):62-77.
Can, Sule, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The State and the City: Ethno-Religious Conflict and Political Change at the Turkish-Syrian Border,' supervised by Dr. Thomas M. Wilson
Preliminary abstract: The Syrian Civil War has displaced millions of Syrian citizens since March 2011 and has drastically changed the lives of those in the Turkish-Syrian borderlands. Hatay, which was annexed by the Republic of Turkey from Syria under the French Mandate in 1939, is a border province that hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees today. Although the province has long been renowned for its ethnic, religious diversity, the influx of the Syrian refugees and Turkey's Syria policy have created new ethno-religious conflicts and have shifted the dynamics of everyday life in Hatay. Drawing on micro-historical approaches to boundary-making and state formation, this ethnographic study focuses on first, the emergence of ethno-religious conflict in the city in response to Turkish state practices in Turkish-Syrian borderlands between local residents of Hatay and the displaced Syrians. Second, it explores political opposition and their impacts on claiming a 'right to the city' by looking at how the refugees and ethno-religious minorities grapple with the transformation of the city since the Syrian Civil War. This research will be conducted through a historical and ethnographic investigation of the local populations and the Syrian refugees in Hatay and the tense relations between Turkey and Syria. This project suggests that in international conflicts between neighboring states, the spatial, political and social divisions in border cities will increase as ethnic and religious identities become more politicized.