Pennesi, Karen E., U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Communication and Uses of Traditional and Scientific Climate Forecasts in Ceara, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Jane H. Hill
KAREN PENNESI, then a student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, received funding in January 2005 for dissertation fieldwork on rain predictions in Ceará,Northeast Brazil, under the supervision of Jane H. Hill. The project investigated how environmental knowledge is communicated differently by traditional 'rain prophets' and meteorologists. A central question was how communication practices affect the interpretation, evaluation, and perceived relevance of climate forecasts to smallholder farmers. During 13 months of fieldwork, Pennesi observed the generation and interpretation of traditional and scientific climate forecasts. Field trips and interviews with rain prophets (who make predictions based on continual observation of the ecosystem) provided insights into traditional practices. In the scientific domain, understanding grew from weekly interactions with meteorologists and attendance at workshops, press conferences, and presentations. Information from recorded interviews, focus group discussions, media broadcasts, and public events was used to develop a 4 survey administered to 189 rural households in three regions of Ceará state: Quixadá, Tauá, and Cariri. The survey explored knowledge of both traditional and meteorological rain indicators as well as opinions related to climate forecasting. Pennesi has now cataloged over 900 traditional rain indicators. Further questions about agricultural practices, religion, government, and science provided data used to elucidate cultural models affecting how climate forecasts are interpreted and judged. Feedback on preliminary conclusions was obtained from rain prophets, meteorologists, and farmers. In the final months, Pennesi's research was used as part of a communication plan in development at the Ceará Foundation for Meteorology and Hydrological Resources.
Heuson, Jennifer Lynn, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Sounding Western: Producing National Sensory Heritage through Sound in South Dakota's Black Hills,' supervised by Dr. Marita Sturken
JENNIFER L. HEUSON, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Sounding Western: Producing National Sensory Heritage through Sound in South Dakota's Black Hills,' supervised by Dr. Marita Sturken. This dissertation explores how and why sound is used to produce national heritage in a popular, yet contested, tourist region in South Dakota: the Black Hills. It argues that the Black Hills is an important geopolitical space not only because of its history of 'native elimination' and resource extraction, but because of how this history is taught, preserved, and celebrated through popular culture and tourist events. Specifically, it examines how sonic experiences in the Black Hills produce the region as an experiential artifact of frontier mythologies that include manifest destiny, rugged individualism, and salvage ethnography. It outlines frontier aurality as crucial conceptual frame for understanding how past conquest shapes both present and future through the subtle modes of sensing enacted at heritage venues and offers both a highly contested example of the 'colonized ear' and an instance of the relationship of this ear to something that could be called 'the colonization of experience.' Through ethnographic observations and recordings, historical and cultural analyses, and interviews with heritage producers, this research hopes to expose the role of aurality in heritage production and in the continued subjugation of native peoples and places.
Touhouliotis, Vasiliki Despin, New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Weapons between Wars: Cluster Bombs, Technological Failure and the Durability of War in South Lebanon,' by Dr. Ann Laura Stoler
VASILIKI D. TOUHOULIOTIS, then a student at New School for Social Research, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Weapons between Wars: Cluster Bombs, Technological Failure and the Durability of War in South Lebanon,' by Dr. Ann L. Stoler. This project is an ethnographic study of the millions of cluster bombs dropped by Israel on south Lebanon during the 2006 war. Six months of ethnographic research in Lebanon were premised on the hypothesis that these cluster bombs are productive agents that render war durable by assembling people, objects, practices, and discourses in ways that defy the official end of war. To understand how cluster bombs prolong the time of war and what the forms of this prolongation look like, ethnographic research was conducted across the following sites: de-mining teams working to clear contaminated fields; local organizations providing mine risk education and victim assistance; surgical units specializing in treating injuries by cluster bombs; inhabitants of bomb afflicted areas; and farmers cultivating currently or formerly contaminated land. Evidence was collected on how cluster bombs continue to affect work, agricultural practices and land use, regimes of care, health and mobility, structures of governance, and ways of talking about prolonged and continuous war. Preliminary findings indicate a further militarization of south Lebanon through the sustained presence of the bombs and their de-mining, their importance as objects of discourse, and their location in a web of conspiracy theories, generalized suspicion, and potential for betrayal.
Melin, Amanda Dawn, U. of Calgary,Calgary, Canada - To aid research on 'Evaluating the Importance of Colour Vision for Target Detection in Human Observers,' supervised by Dr. Linda Mary Fedigan
AMANDA DAWN MELIN, then a student at University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, was awarded funding in October 2008, to aid research on 'Evaluating the Importance of Colour Vision for Target Detection in Human Observers,' supervised by Dr. Linda M. Fedigan. In a continued effort to understand the evolutionary significance of color vision polymorphism in primates, the grantee evaluates the effect of vision phenotype on real-world target detection tasks experienced by a polymorphic species of monkey. Digital images of a variety of naturally occurring fruits and insects consumed by capuchins in Costa Rica were presented to human observers on a touch-sensitive graphics tablet. Human observers with normal trichromacy searched for ripe fruits and insects in the images, which were color-filtered using custom software to appear as they would for the six monkey vision types -- three dichromatic and three trichromatic -- based on photopigment sensitivities. The study also included color-deficient human participants for comparison. Participants with both simulated and actual color deficiencies took longer to complete the search tasks and had more erroneous responses, especially for yellow food items and to a lesser extent with red food items. This demonstrates a clear advantage to trichromats for real-world search tasks. Interestingly, recent research shows that color deficient monkeys do not have lower feeding efficiencies than trichromats, thus the current research indicates that these monkeys must be compensating for their disadvantage by using non-visual mechanisms or that visual deficiencies can be minimized with foraging experience.
Franklin, Kathryn Jane, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Poltiical Economy at the Crossroads: Trade and Authority in the Medieval Armenian Highlands, AD 500- 1400,' supervised by Dr. Adam Thomas Smith
KATHRYN J. FRANKLIN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Political Economy at the Crossroads: Trade and Economy in the Medieval Armenian Highlands, AD 500-1400,' supervised by Dr. Adam T. Smith. This project investigated the intersection of local political life along the mountain highways of Armenia with regional trade during the late medieval period (AD 900-1400). The project aims to discover how people living in the Armenian highlands at this time imagined themselves in relation to both local history and wider cultural and political phenomena, and how they put such imagined relationships into action through architectural projects that engaged with the material objects carried through the landscape by donkey caravans. To achieve these aims, the project investigated a caravanatun ('caravan house') built by a local merchant-prince in the early 13th century at the site of Arai-Bazarjugh. The excavations revealed the caravanatun to be a rectangular hall divided into vaulted galleries by rows of arches. This large and secure space provided accommodation for human travelers as well as their beasts, which were kept in specially built stable-galleries at the sides of the building. A second phase of the project focused on categorizing the material artifacts found within this building, which includes metal objects, animal bones, and pottery. The ceramic assemblage from the Arai-Bazarjugh caravanatun floors includes cookwares and small bowls, as well as glazed dishes that may have been trade goods on their way to the next town.
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.
Gupta, Hemangini, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'After-Work: Class, Gender and Public Culture in Neoliberal Bangalore, India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Freeman
Preliminary abstract: This project foregrounds an increasing turn to entrepreneurial and professional work amongst middle class women in India to examine emerging forms of self-making as they cultivate productive, professional and modern selves at public sites of leisure. Located within recent anthropological approaches to the study of middle class life and of work, this research will explore how new forms of capitalism shape the lives of working women, drawing them into public practices of leisure and sociality, and challenging historical and cultural expectations that middle class women remain in the private domestic realm. Based in Bangalore, India's 'IT capital,' and situating itself within a network of professional and entrepreneurial women, this research will investigate how gender and class norms are challenged and negotiated by professional women as they cultivate their bodies at gyms and fitness classes, network at bars and clubs, and produce themselves anew at salons and spas. This project will investigate how public leisure challenges existent gender norms and reconfigures middle class respectability. The findings will contribute to our understanding of how middle class bodies and selves are being reshaped by contemporary work, thus producing new forms of public culture and rewriting the basis of middle class life.
Spiers, Samuel R., Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'The Historical Archaeology of the Eguafo Polity: Landscapes of Production and Consumption AD 1000-1900,' supervised by Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse
SAMUEL R. SPIERS, while a student at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, received a grant in January 2001 to aid research on the historical archaeology of the Eguafo polity of coastal Ghana, under the supervision of Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse. The goal of Spiers's twenty months of fieldwork was to document changes in settlement patterns and artifact inventories at the site of Eguafo, capital of the kingdom of Eguafo, 1000-1900 C.E. The work including survey, excavation, cataloguing, and archival research and spanned the thousand years of the site's continuous occupation. Preliminary results suggested two main occupation phases: an early phase marked by small, defensive settlements, limited long-distance trade, and limited differentiation in the artifact inventory and a second phase, from roughly the seventeenth century onward, when settlement size increased, long-distance trade goods became more plentiful, and artifact types became increasingly varied. Such transformations in the settlement pattern seemed to have occurred at the height of Eguafo's involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was intended that the completed research would add to the understanding of the archaeological record of coastal Ghana and of African sociopolitical complexity. Further, the findings were to be made available to the people of Eguafo to assist them in tourism development projects.
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.
Dua, Jatin, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
JATIN DUA, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. Since 2008, a number of high profile incidents of piracy off the coast of East Africa have resulted in increased global attention to this region, including the deployment of a multi-national naval patrol and attempts to prosecute suspected pirates. Policy makers have attributed this phenomenon to the lack of a strong centralized government in Somalia and called for various forms of intervention on-shore to address piracy's root causes. However, this interpretation of the conflict obscures a longer history of regulation and transgression and piracy's long pedigree in the Western Indian Ocean. This research resituates piracy within histories of the Indian Ocean and longstanding attempts to redefine sovereignty and legality within this oceanic space. This work suggests that maritime piracy may be better understood as a form of capital-intensive armed entrepreneurship and an attempt to secure protection from global poaching, waste dumping, and from the surveillance of regulators. As such, piracy as a system of protection competes with a variety of state and non-state forms of protection in this area. This project investigates the encounters between these overlapping regimes of protection and regulation in the Western Indian Ocean.