Breglia, Lisa C., Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Preservation through Privatization: Maya Heritage Workers and Transnational Institutions in Yucatan, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. George E. Marcus
LISA C. BREGLIA, while a student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on Maya heritage workers and transnational institutions in Yucatán, Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. George E. Marcus. Breglia's ethnographic and historical study was based on the premise that archaeological ruins in Mexico, although juridically mandated as national property, are, in practice, sites of multiple, coexisting claims of ownership, custodianship, and inheritance. Focusing on the recent interventions of Mexican cultural institutions, foreign archaeological research, and U.S. and Mexican nongovernmental organizations, Breglia demonstrated how de jure policies and de facto practices of privatization at the archaeological site of Chunchucmil arose historically and affected the Maya community of Kochol in terms of the ownership, use, and tenure of land within the archaeological zone. She also investigated how local patrimonial claims to and understandings of the ruins were situated in relation to state policy regarding the ownership and custodianship of cultural materials, issues of jurisdiction and access within archaeological zones, and the ongoing efforts of U.S. and Mexican interest groups to develop archaeological sites and promote both scientific knowledge of ancient Maya civilization and international cultural tourism.
Ruigrok, Inge Mariette, Free U., Amsterdam, The Netherlands - To aid research on 'Negotiating Governance: Politics, Decentralization, and Cultural Ideology in Post-War Angola,' supervised by Dr. Jon Abbink
INGE MARIETTE RUIGROK, then a student at Free University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was awarded funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Negotiating Governance: Politics, Decentralization and Cultural Ideology in Post-War Angola,' supervised by Dr. Jon Abbink. The aim of this multi-sited ethnography is to come to an understanding of the changing political relations and identities in Angola in explicit connection with the current negotiation process of governance and power. Angola's political world is not being reordered by State structures alone but equally by complex and interlinked global forces and localized struggles over redistribution and recognition. The national capital as the centre of mobilization and modernity, and Huila province, where the State's political reconstruction strategy is implemented and contested, are the research's main sites. At the local level, the research compares three types of 'redistributive' struggles: the surfacing of local elite associations; the political rebuilding of a former war zone in the north of Huila province; and civil society's attempt to enlarge the public sphere beyond the state through the creation of spaces of dialogue with local state administrators. By comparing the rebuilding efforts at the local level to the national dynamics, the research analyzes a correlative relationship: what is political justice at the local level, and how does it interact with the State's project of dispensing justice and reconciliation? With this focus on the functioning of the body politic, the (un)making of identity, and the small history and memory of a region emerging from one of the bloodiest 'low intensity' conflicts Africa has ever known, the research hopes to contribute to current debates on State-formation, power and political identity, and more generally, to theory formation on the intertwining of politics and culture in a changing world order.
Ruigrok, Inge. 2010. Facing Up to the Centre: The Emergence of Regional Elite Associations in Angola's Political Transition Process. Development and Change 41(4):637-658.
Goebel, Alison Day, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Reconfiguring Middle-Class Whiteness: Global Capitalism, Race, and U.S. Small Cities,' supervised by Dr. Alejandro Lugo
ALISON D. GOEBEL, then a student at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, received funding in October 2007 to assist research on 'Reconfiguring Middle Class Whiteness: Global Capitalism, Race, and US Small Cities,' supervised by Dr. Alejandro Lugo. This ethnographic research investigated how middle class dominance and white racial privilege are being altered under global capitalism and the significance of urban space in these changes. The grantee conducted twelve months of fieldwork in Mansfield, Ohio -- a small, deindustrializing, multiracial, city in the United States -- and utilized discourse analysis to interpret data gathered through participant observation, fieldnotes of everyday talk, unstructured and semi-structured recorded interviews, mapping exercises, and archival research. This case study indicates that small city space brings inhabitants of a range of economic and racial backgrounds together in close residential, occupational, and social proximity. Residents' racial and class worldviews derive from this familiarity. However, ethnography analysis indicates that despite city-wide anxiety over constrained economic opportunities, middle class white Mansfielders are relatively insulated from the debilitating effects of economic restructuring. The grantee concluded that although structures of racial and class advantages have not significantly diminished in Mansfield, middle class whiteness constantly adjusts and recalibrates to changing economic political processes and social formations.
Zee, Jerry Chuang-Hwa, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihw Ong
JERRY CHUANG-HWA ZEE, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. Environmental problems, like desertification, which now afflicts more than a quarter of China's territory, have stood as a powerful site for the discussion of the consequences of the breakneck pace of Chinese development. China's rise has, in recent years, been understood not merely as a challenge to the international economic and geopolitical status quo, but as an ominous ecological threat to the planet itself. The threat of environmental degradation has challenged the Chinese state to take on the management and maintenance of sustainable environments as part of its governmental purview, and this new demand for the state to manage nature itself has showed the limits to existing techniques of governance when presented with this new task. In China, as the effects of 'socialist marketization' -- environmental disaster, social instability -- continue to surface, a confluence of political events and environmental disasters has seen a shift in state rhetoric toward 'sustainable development' and 'scientific' governance. This project explores how, in the PRC, programs to combat massive desertification, have made desertified regions zones of experimentation, where ecological research is applied to social-environmental governing. In so doing, it is argued, places zoned as environmental problem areas have seen local governments operating with reference to concepts derived from the ecological sciences, increasingly casting the task of government as the creation and management of ecological relations. This has transmuted the Maoist task of ideological transformation and mass organization into a matter of 'adjusting human and environmental relations' -- social management is framed as an ecological-governmental process by local governments, and informed by new research from the ecological sciences. This reframes how the state enacts relations with minority pastoralists, coal and commercial interests, and territory. Ongoing research tracks how local governments experiment with 'ecological' governance, and how manipulation of markets in land and employment are re-figured as techniques for creating new physical environments.
Leon, Andres, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Agrarian Conflict and the 2009 Honduras Coup d'état: Global Land Grabbing, Dispossession and Peasant Resistance in the Bajo Aguán,' supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman
ANDRES LEON, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Agrarian Conflict and the 2009 Honduras Coup d'état: Global Land Grabbing, Dispossession and Peasant Resistance in the Bajo Aguán,' supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman. The grantee investigated the relation between the current agrarian conflicts in the Aguan Valley in northern Honduras, and the 2009 coup d'etat that ousted democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya. Research included extensive fieldwork in various peasant communities located in the valley and employing extended participant observation and oral history recuperation to document and reconstruct the history of the valley and the set of peasant cooperatives that were created during the 1970s. Based on fieldwork, interviews, archival and other documentary data, research investigated the process by which organized groups of peasants were brought to the deemed 'empty' Aguan Valley during the 1970s to form a set of cooperatives dedicated mainly to the production of African Palm. Based on this combination of ethnographic and historical research, the study argues that this case complicates the argument presented by most of the current literature on the global land grab that presents the African Palm boom as something relatively new, and as creating a conflict between palm-producing large landowners and subsistence-oriented poor peasants. In the Aguan Valley, the expansion of African Palm began in the 1970s and this expansion has been as much the result of increasing transnational investment through large landowners, as that of peasant cooperatives investing their meager resources into the production of the crop.
Baron, Joanne Parsley, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Patrons of La Corona: Deities and Power in a Classic Maya Community,' supervised by Dr. Richard M. Leventhal
Preliminary abstract: This research examines the role of patron deity veneration in the construction of power relationships among the Maya of the Classic period (ca. AD 250-900). The research combines archaeological and epigraphic approaches to investigate research questions pertaining to the relationship between the ruler and his patron deities and the way in which veneration rites contributed to the exercise of the ruler's political power. It also investigates the construction of political identity among members of the community. The research investigates the following questions: which veneration rituals were specific to 'patron deities,' the local deities of the community? Which members of the community participated in these rites and what was the nature of their participation? When did these rites occur, and with what frequency? Why were particular rites considered most appropriate for local deities and what was their religious significance? And how did patron deity veneration change through time as a result of the decisions and actions of ritual participants? Archaeological excavation at La Corona, Guatemala, will investigate these questions by examining construction histories, architectural features, and discarded remains of veneration rites at a series of patron deity temples. Epigraphic analysis will be incorporated in order to investigate the specific meaning of patron deity rites, as expressed by Classic Maya elites. Ultimately, this research seeks to understand the place of patron deity veneration, as opposed to other types of religious practice, in the social life of the Classic Maya.
Quest, Mary Nell, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Renewing the Port, Rethinking Space: Experiences of Urban Renewal in Marseille,' supervised by Dr. Frances E. Mascia-Lees
MARY NELL QUEST, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'Renewing the Port, Rethinking Space: Experiences of Urban Renewal in Marseille, France' supervised by Dr. Frances Mascia-Lees. This project explored people's sensory experiences of urban renewal projects currently underway in Marseille, France. These urban projects are reconstructing the city's infrastructure and refining its image: as France's port city on the Mediterranean, the city played an important role in colonialism before falling into economic decline and becoming associated with criminality and inassimilable immigration. However, current urban renewal efforts are recasting this image, and positing the city as central in changing relations between France, Europe, and the other side of the Mediterranean. The central research question asked in this project was as follows: Within this changing urban context, how do diverse social actors, through their embodied, sensory experience, sense belonging to the city, the nation, the Mediterranean region, and to Europe more broadly? With Foundation support, fieldwork was conducted among residents from various Marseille neighborhoods, urban planners, architects, government officials, social workers, association leaders, and activists. Methodologically, the approach combined archival research, participant observation, sensory recordings, participatory walking tours, and ethnographic interviews. The dissertation will contribute to scholarly work in the anthropology of immigration, urban anthropology of globalization, embodiment studies, and science studies.
Fitting, Elizabeth, M., New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Milpa to Market: Household Labor and Corn Production in the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Deborah A. Poole
ELIZABETH M. FITTING, while a student at the New School for Social Research in New York, New York, was awarded a grant in November 2001 to aid research on household labor and corn production in the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. Deborah A. Poole. Maize is at the center of images and debates about the Mexican countryside. It was a key commodity in the NAFTA negotiations-the crowning achievement of neoliberal reform-and the target of rural reforms more generally, and it lies at the heart of an international debate about the risks transgenic crops and imports may pose to Mexican biodiversity. Fitting considered these images and debates in relation to changing livelihood strategies in the southern Tehuacan Valley, one of the possible sites of original maize domestication. She investigated the ways in which the rural household was reproduced through the circuits of labor and capital beyond the borders of the house, the field, and the nation-state and how this entailed the negotiation of both neoliberal policy and local values and pressures. She found that agricultural production had declined, but corn had become a more significant share of overall production, contrary to policy predictions. Neoliberal reform and sustained economic crisis had produced an increasingly flexible, gendered labor force in the valley. At the same time, U.S.-bound labor migration constituted part of the local strategy. Fitting examined this strategy and the tension between reproducing rural livelihoods and agrarian futures, on one hand, and the erosion of agricultural knowledge and production, on the other. She focused on the local aspects of rural labor migration, although the cycle itself was transnational.
Warrener, Anna Gabriella, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Pelvic Shape and Locomotor Cost: An Empirical Test of Biomechanical Models of the Hip,' supervised by Dr. Herman Pontzer
ANNA G. WARRENER, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Pelvic Shape and Locomotor Cost: An Empirical Test of Biomechanical Models of the Hip,' supervised by Dr. Herman Pontzer. This study focuses on the effect of variation in hominin pelvic shape on locomotor cost and gait kinematics, specifically how pelvic width influences the functioning of the hip abductor muscles and what these muscles contribute to energetic expenditure during locomotion. This topic has been discussed widely in the literature, however all previous analyses have been based on static biomechanical models of hip abductor function that do not incorporate the dynamics of force production in the lower limb during locomotion. To address these questions, gait analysis, force plate, and oxygen consumption data were collected for 28 individuals as well as anatomical data from MRIs. Using a custom-written MatLab routine, muscle mechanical advantage, force, and active muscle volume will be determined for the hip abductors as well as the other major muscle groups of the lower limb active during locomotion. These data can then be used to determine the relationship between skeletal shape and muscle mechanical advantage as well as the direct contribution of the hip abductors to locomotor cost. Once analysis is completed, this research will help answer long-standing questions regarding early hominin locomotion and the effect of sexual dimorphism in the modern human pelvis on locomotor efficiency.
Khayyat, Munira, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'State of War: Violence, Uncertainty and Survival in Southern Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Michael Taussig
MUNIRA KHAYYAT, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'State of War: Violence, Uncertainty and Survival in Southern Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Michael Taussig. The dissertation project looks at how war comes to be 'naturalized' in a place where it has been an often-recurrent reality or at least potentiality for more than 60 years. A central thesis is that war, when protracted and persistent, is better understood as a social structuring force, and not just as a singular, exceptional, destructive event. This funding enabled twelve months of research along the southern border of Lebanon -- a poor and neglected rural periphery and a front-line of warfare, whose inhabitants depend on agriculture for subsistence, and the cultivation of tobacco and olives for income. To the inhabitants of this borderland, the pursuit of daily living necessarily intersects with the deadly objects that remain in the soil (such as mines and cluster bombs) and the wartime realities that visibly and invisibly structure the militarized border area. Thus, research examined the casual intertwining of war-related realities with the necessities of everyday living especially those relating to cultivating the land and the rebuilding of homes destroyed during the 'July War' of 2006. Fieldwork involved interviews and discussions with the inhabitants of several villages along the militarized border around the everyday themes of cultivation and construction, as well as the daily observation of village life across the different seasons in several villages along the border.