Kebede, Kassahun Haile, Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'Root and Routes: The Lived Experiences of Transnational Migrants from Ethiopia to the United States,' supervised by Dr. Hans C. Buechler
KASSAHUN H. KEBEDE, then a student at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Roots and Routes: The Transnational Experiences of Ethiopian Immigrants in the Washington Metropolitan Area,' supervised by Dr. Hans C. Buechler. This dissertation study sought to explore Ethiopian immigrants, and the contours and patterns of their transnational practices in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Findings demonstrate that Ethiopian immigrants' participation in transnational living remains extensive, dynamic and historic. Beyond remittance transfers, a good number of immigrants participate in philanthropic activities, work for democratization in their home country, as well as inclusion of the Ethiopian diaspora to the list of important ethnic lobbying groups. In terms of determinants that prompt immigrants to remain committed to their home countries, competitions, inner tensions and contentions among the immigrants to shape political and economic backdrops in the sending country seem to be more the driving force than lack of integration or social exclusion in the U.S. Furthermore, research results indicate that trasnationalism is a practice of double integration cum allegiance to both sending and receiving countries.
Otu, Edwin Kwame, Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'Reluctantly Queer: Sassoi, and the Shifting Paradigms of Masculinity and Sexual Citizenship in Postcolonial Ghana,' supervised by Dr. Susan Snow Wadley
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation research will explore the ongoing transformations in understandings about masculinity and sexual citizenship in postcolonial Ghana. In the early decades of the 21st century, Ghana has witnessed several shifts in understandings about gender and sexuality, such as the reduction of effeminacy to homosexuality. These transformations, wrought by the increasing visibility of same-sex politics in postcolonial Africa and the increasing pseudo-homophobia of the nation-state, inform the background of the lives of self-identified effeminate men, known in local parlance as sassoi. Not a unified whole, sassoi experiences and sensibilities are shaped by their multiple orientations. Sassoi heterogeneity is therefore contingent on their ethnicity, class, educational level, and the degree to which they embrace particular heteronormative ideas and practices, such as marriage, fatherhood, and socially acceptable markers of being. Central to this thesis is the idea of, and perhaps the practice of reluctance. How might sassoi be reluctantly queer subjects, and what aspects of their lives might shape their refusal of the reducibility of effeminacy to homosexuality? Combining life narratives, observant participation, discourse analysis, and archival research, I will explore how sassoi remake their identities as effeminate subjects in this era of global LGBTQ politics and growing political homophobia in Ghana.
Degani, Michael Jason, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'The City Electric: Ingenuity and Infrastructure in Dar es Salaam,' supervised by Dr. Michael McGovern
MICHAEL J. DEGANI, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'The City Electric: Infrastructure and Ingenuity in Dar es Salaam,' supervised by Dr. Michael McGovern. Fieldwork was conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from July to December 2012 as part of a broader ethnography an African electrical grid. Research focused on three themes: 1) the links between national experience and power generation; 2) the informal economy of power transmission; and 3) the everyday life of electricity consumption. Local immersion, interviews, and discourse analysis mapped connections between the political economy of power generation contracts, chronic outages, and the experience of post-socialist Tanzanian nation. Fieldwork with contractors, bureaucrats, electricians, and consumers revealed a web of shifting collaborations around municipal power theft, expedited bureaucratic procedures, and surreptitious connections to the grid. Finally, neighborhood surveys and three, month-long household 'energy diaries' demonstrated electricity to be a highly variable economic asset: a business expense, prestige good, or investment in social relations. This variability contributed to problems of collective action in paying for electricity and financing infrastructure in unconnected neighborhoods. Ultimately this research may help describe a version of contemporary infrastructures that are neither heroic public works nor sunk into the background of everyday life.
Syndicus, Ivo Soeren, National U. of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland - To aid research on 'Culture, Development, and Higher Education in Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Strong
Preliminary abstract; Higher education has increasingly moved into the focus of international development cooperation. At the same time, calls for the recognition of culturally distinct ways of knowing and being are voiced in post-colonial contexts. In a sense, a tension is emerging between the promise of development through education, and the idea that standard models of higher education export eurocentric values and ways of knowing and being to other cultures. My research examines this tension through an ethnographic study of higher education in Papua New Guinea. I address the question of how stakeholders in tertiary educational institutions reflexively locate themselves in relation to notions of development and culture. Through participant observation, life histories, interviews, and discourse analysis, I explore how subjectivities and reflexive notions of the self shape and are shaped by the experience of higher education, and how these link to images of global modernity and development that are framed as standing in tension to notions of culture. Through original empirical research, this project seeks to describe and analyze how Papua New Guineans in a modern institutional setting mediate between the putatively universalist values of higher education and development, and their own culturally diverse ways of knowing and being.
Hubbard, Amelia R., Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'A Re-examination of Biodistance Analysis Using Dental and Genetic Data,' supervised by Dr. Debra J. Guatelli-Steinberg
AMELIA R. HUBBARD, then a student at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'A Re-Examination of Biodistance Analysis Using Dental and Genetic Data,' supervised by Dr. Debra J. Guatelli-Steinberg. Bioarchaeologists utilize biodistance analysis to better understand the nature of biological change through time. Population structure, a form of biodistance analysis that examines the relative contributions of gene flow and genetic drift to the biological 'structure' of a population, has recently gained popularity because it allows researchers to explore the possible effects of cultural behaviors like migration and trade. Due to refinements in models for assessing population structure, bioarchaeologists have begun to use discrete dental traits to estimate population structure among archaeological populations. These studies are predicated on the assumption that dental trait frequencies reflect underlying genetic frequencies and can be used in place of DNA to assess population structure, though no research has been undertaken to formally test the agreement between such estimates using data from the same sites and same individuals. This project uses data from living populations occupying Kenya's coastal province to test the concordance between estimates of population structure based on genetic and dental data. Because dental remains are the most commonly preserved skeletal element, do not remodel during an individual's life, and are relatively cheap to analyze, the opportunity to make refinements to existing methods would provide an invaluable tool for researchers.
Morris, Meghan Lisa, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Relations of Dispossession: Property and Sovereignty in Colombia's Land Restitution Program,' supervised by Dr. Stephan Palmie
Prliminary abstract: This project examines the making of property, sovereignty, and legality through an ethnographic study of dispossession and restitution of land in Colombia. I will undertake this research through an ethnographic examination of Colombia's state-sponsored restitution program, which aims to restore and grant title to over six million hectares of land -- approximately five percent of the country's territory -- to people displaced and dispossessed in the country's ongoing armed conflict. In Colombia, about five million people are internally displaced -- more than in any other country in the world. By following several restitution cases, I will examine how displaced claimants, opposing parties, armed actors, and state officials create and contest property rules in the processes of dispossession and restitution that are at issue in those cases. Understanding the property relations and rules involved in claims to dispossession and restitution, and how they are negotiated in these processes of contestation, becomes a crucial window into how sovereignty is made in the region, as the state, guerrilla and paramilitary groups, and local communities assert authority through control over land. These processes also provide insight into how notions of legality are created, as citizens and armed actors mobilize formal and informal rules in order to claim land. Through this research, I aim to bring into conversation and contribute to continuing anthropological debates around property and social relations, sovereignty, and law and legality.
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Grossman, Kathryn Mary, PI - To aid research on 'Re-centering the Ninevite 5 Economy: Archaeological Investigations at Hamoukar, Syria,' supervised by Dr. Gil J. Stein
MARY KATHRYN GROSSMAN, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in November 2009, to aid research on 'Recentering the Ninevite 5 Economy: Archaeological Investigations at Hamoukar, Syria,' supervised by Dr. Gil J. Stein. Recent archaeological studies of ancient urban societies have drawn attention to the new kinds of social, political, and economic relationships that came into existence as cities emerged and developed. This focus on the disjunction between pre-urban and urban societies, however, needs to be balanced by a recognition that the specific trajectory followed by each case of urbanization was largely determined by what came before. This research project investigated the foundations of the urbanization process in Early Bronze Age northern Mesopotamia, fore-fronting the social context of food and craft production within a single site, rather than focusing on regional political economy. The project was built around excavations at Hamoukar, a major urban settlement in northeastern Syria with abundant evidence for both the Ninevite 5 period (c. 3000-2500 BC) and the better-known urban phase that followed (c. 2500-2200 BC). Excavations on the eastern and western sides of Hamoukar's lower town uncovered successive phases of well-preserved mudbrick architecture and a rich, in situ artifactual assemblage. Analysis of the architecture, ceramics, faunal remains, and administrative tools from these excavations has provided a wealth of new information about the roots of the urbanization process in northern Mesopotamia.
Shin, Layoung, Binghamton U., Binghamton, NY - To aid research on ''Performing Like a Star': Pop Culture and Sexuality among Young Women in Neoliberal South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Deborah Elliston
Preliminary abstract: This dissertation project traces the intertwining of neoliberalism and sexuality through ethnographic study of young women's engagements with fan-cos in Seoul. After South Korea's 1997 economic crisis, the state introduced sweeping neoliberal economic and political reforms affecting most industries. The entertainment industry developed the commercial star system during the post-1997 recovery, producing boy bands that became enormously popular among teenage young women, including some who began styling themselves to look like their favorite male singers. This was the beginning of fan-costume-play (or fan-cos), which was further developed by young women, many of whom identified as iban (lesbian). By 'performing like a star,' consuming and re-representing male pop singers' images, these young women incorporated alternative (masculine) gender stylings as well as non-normative sexual desires (for other young women) into their self-understandings. They were also, however, roundly critiqued in public discourse as being overly influenced by the media and 'inauthentic' in their same-sex sexual desires. This research project examines the emergence of fan-cos, the discourse of 'inauthentic' sexuality, and young women's same-sex sexuality in relation to neoliberal economic reform and attendant discourses of freedom and democracy in South Korea. Engaging with scholarship on media and consumption, queer subjectivity, performance theory, and neoliberalism, this project investigates the material interactions between subjectivity formation and media consumption, the interrelationships between capitalism and 'homosexuality,' and the hierarchies of sexuality and exclusion of queer subjects in South Korea's liberal social reconstruction.
Harman, Eva Margaret, Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Desire for Education and 'Ties that Lift': Schooling, Movement, and Social Regeneration in Post-War Liberia,' supervised by Dr. Carol Greenhouse
EVA M. HARMAN, then a student at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Desire for Education and 'Ties that Lift': Schooling, Movement, and Social Regeneration in Post-War Liberia,' supervised by Dr. Carol Greenhouse. This project is a study of schooling and post-war social life in Liberia. Liberia's fourteen-year conflict (1989-2003) forced a third of the population into exile and displaced another third. The war caused widespread social fragmentation; many families were separated; generations were internally divided; some young people took part in the fighting, others fled as refugees or were internally displaced. Following a peace settlement, the United Nations and other humanitarian actors demobilized combatants and resettled populations. As in other post-war settings, schooling was embraced as a vehicle for re-integrating communities and generations fractured by war. Schooling is a source of social connection, but also of division: in the post-war context, young people, often with their own dependents in tow, leave rural communities in order to pursue schooling in larger towns and cities. Through ethnographic fieldwork in rural and urban areas, this project examined how school pursuits and desire for education are intertwined with rural-urban movement and migration, kinship relations, gendered and generational conjunctures, legacies of war and exclusion, and post-war economies. The research sheds light on the relationship between investment in education and the re-shaping of social, political, and aspirational geographies in post-war Liberia.
Martin, Melanie Ann, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Maternal Factors Influencing Variation in Infant Feeding Practices in a Natural Fertility Population,' supervised by Dr. Michael Gurven
MELANIE A. MARTIN, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Maternal Factors Influencing Variation in Infant Feeding Practices in a Natural Fertility Population,' supervised by Dr. Michael Gurven. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for two years or longer promote optimal infant health and growth. Globally, however, many mothers introduce complementary foods and wean earlier than recommended. This study examined factors associated with variation in infant feeding practices in an indigenous population, the Tsimane of Bolivia. During 2012-2013, interviews and anthropometric measurements were collected from 147 Tsimane mothers and infants aged 0-36 months, with 47 mother-infant pairs visited repeatedly over eight months. Half of Tsimane infants were introduced to complementary foods by four months of age, although 75 percent were still breastfed at two years. On average, male infants were exclusively breastfed longer and weaned later than females. No other maternal, infant, or household factors measured influenced the duration of exclusive breastfeeding duration. Age at weaning, however, was increased by the number of family members over the age of 10, and decreased by a mother's subsequent pregnancy and total number of living offspring. Poor growth was evident in only two percent of infants aged 0-6 months, but increased markedly after twelve months. Earlier weaning and/or the quantity or quality of complementary foods may more significantly impact Tsimane infant growth and health outcomes than does early complementary feeding.