Pouchet, Jessica, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Conservation and Conversation: Language and the Politics of Participatory Forest Management in Tanzania,' supervised by Dr. Shalini Shankar
Preliminary abstract: This project will ethnographically examine participatory conservation governance in the protected rainforests of Tanzania's East Usambara Mountains with an innovative approach that uniquely bridges linguistic anthropology with political ecology. Despite the claims of democratic participation and equal partnership underlying participatory arrangements, the extent to which marginalized residents of protected areas can influence the process is heavily circumscribed. In such political-ecological pursuits to shift land use, value, and tenure, language and communication occupy a central role. Yet scholars of such arrangements have yet to explicitly focus on language. I therefore propose to use the tools of linguistic anthropology developed specifically to address questions of hierarchy, agency, and participation to investigate the communicative mechanisms through which social inequality and ecological degradation emerge in participatory conservation models, as well as the linguistic strategies through which marginalized residents of protected areas attempt to have their voices heard. Drawing on ethnographies of speaking, studies of language ideology, and semiotic theorizations of value, my research will reveal how, within a broader context of material and spatial asymmetries, linguistic practice mediates relationships among people, political economy, and their ecological surroundings; and that it is a crucial, but understudied, aspect of conservation governance.
Kohut, Lauren Elizabeth, Vanderbilt U., Nashville, TN - To aid research on 'The Political Landscape of War: Late Pre-Hispanic Fortifications in the Colca Valley, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Steven A. Wernke
LAUREN E. KOHUT, then a student at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, was awarded a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'The Political Landscape of War: Late Pre-Hispanic Fortifications in the Colca Valley, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Steven A. Wernke. The Late Intermediate Period (LIP; 1000-1400 CE) in the highland Andes of Peru has been defined as a time of heightened conflict and political fragmentation. Prior archaeological research on this period has focused on regional-scale surveys, which indeed show a largely fragmented political landscape. But while this characterization may be relevant at a regional scale, it overlooks the more local patterns of integration and affiliation that formed the basis of daily life for communities during the LIP. This research combines micro-regional survey of fortifications, systematic surface collection, and targeted excavation of a single fortified settlement to examine the meso and local scale interactions that have been absent from prior research on conflict during this period. Spatial analysis of defensive settlement patterns in the valley suggests local groups formed local alliance clusters that may have been integrated into a valley-wide alliance network. In addition to serving the defensive needs of individuals in the valley, fortifications provided a new context for community formation that existed in spite of, or more likely because of, regional fragmentation.
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.
Villagra, Analia, City U. of New York, Queens College, Flushing, NY - To aid research on 'Cadê o Mico? (Where is the Tamarin?): Locating Monkeys in the Politics of Land and Conservation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. John Francis Collin
ANALIA VILLAGRA, then a student at City University of New York, Queens College, Flushing, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Cadê o Mico? (Where is the Tamarin?): Locating Monkeys in the Politics of Land and Conservation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. John Francis Collin. The project sought to explore the intersection between land rights and conservation politics in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest region of southeastern Brazil. Inspired by classic work in ecological anthropology and recent studies of scientific practice, the research is interested in how people understand and emplace themselves in a world configured as natural, as well as with how these understandings impact global politics today. More specifically, the project analyzes how a burgeoning concern with conservation alters contemporary struggles over rights to land and land use. The investigation is organized around the efforts to save the Golden Lion Tamarin (GLT), a monkey species endemic to the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Ozarkar, Shantanu Satish, U. of Pune, Pune, India - To aid research on 'Mitochondrial DNA Diversity among Indo-European Language Speaking Agricultural Tribes of Maharashtra, India,' supervised by Dr. Bhaskaran Vijay Bhanu
SHANTANU OZARKAR, then a student at University of Pune, Pune. India, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Mitochondrial DNA Diversity among Indo-European Language Speaking Agricultural Tribes of Maharashtra, India,' supervised by Dr. Bhaskaran Bhanu. Despite cultural and linguistic diversity, Indian populations are largely derived from a common source population that diversified in situ. Available human skeletal record too indicates the genetic continuity since the Mesolithic era in the subcontinent. Cultural and genetic diversification of populations through fission leading to founder effects and drift may have had an impact on the current genetic structure of populations. Further, adoption of new subsistence strategies such as agriculture or pastoralism by the autochthonous hunter gatherers may have had impact on their demography resulting in population expansions or bottlenecks. Arrival of Indo-European speakers too, may have had similar impact. In this context, do the molecular genetic markers show signatures of such events? High copy number within a cell, maternal inheritance, lack of recombination, and a generally higher mutation rate than found in nuclear DNA makes mitochondrial DNA an important tool to reveal evolutionary histories of populations and hence has been extensively used. 15ml blood samples were collected from unrelated tribal individuals belonging to Bhil, Pawara, Mahadeo Koli, Warali and Kokana tibal communities from Western and Northern Maharashtra. DNA was extracted using Phenol-Chloroform extraction protocol. Further mtDNA sequencing analysis of the samples is in progress.
Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - Joseph Andrew Bush, PI - To aid research on 'Religious Non-commitment and Social Critique among Iraqi Kurdish Poets,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
JOSEPH BUSH, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in November 2007 to aid research on 'Religious Non-Commitment and Social Critique among Iraqi Kurdish Poets,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. This research explores a mode of ethical self-formation among non-practicing Muslims in Suleimani, Iraq, which Geertz's termed 'religious non-commitment.' In addition to analyzing the public discourse of secular intellectuals, it documents the personal, spiritual struggles of such intellectuals. Here, the citation and recitation of classical Kurdish poetry--which is saturated with orthodox, Sufi themes-emerges as a form of reflexivity by which such persons interrogate their own (in)ability to believe in Islam or practice as a Muslim. This research further contextualizes the citation and recitation of such poetry within the history of the circulation of classical poetry in 20th-century Kurdistan: through careful examination of poetic texts and interviews with clergy, it provides a description of the historical process by which classical poetry has been exiled from the mosques and Sufi lodges (mezgewt, xaneqa, tekye) where it flourished in the late 19th Century. In such a context, the citation and recitation of Sufi poetry by non-practicing Muslims sheds light on how belief and doubt intertwine in the everyday life of 'secular' intellectuals who strive to lead morally good lives.
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.
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.
Mortensen, Amy M., U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'The Margins of State-Making: Everyday Politics Among the Poor in Lima, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
AMY MORTENSEN, while a student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a grant in May 2002 to conduct ethnographic research on informal, everyday politics in a poor, urban neighborhood of Lima, Peru, under the supervision of Dr. Marisol de la Cadena. Mortensen's fieldwork focused on the personal political histories, opinions, and daily lives of several key families. She demonstrated that, in the context of widespread disenchantment with national and even local political authorities in Peru, the evaluations citizens made of political authorities and government were a key dimension of local and everyday politics. One of the central ways in which Mortensen framed these evaluations was through 'histories of votes,' which entailed both the ways individual evaluations of governments had changed over time and the ways election events and campaign promises continued to figure in local politics after election day had passed. For example, one problem in municipal elections was that many people did not vote in the community where they actually lived but in the district where they had resided when they first received their identity card. However, people often managed to have their opinion count politically in the community in other ways, by discussing the elections with neighbors or by backing particular candidates. The result of the research was an alternative history of the state, politics, and citizenship that explored the everyday, lived, and remembered aspects of government programs, elections, political campaigns, and policy changes.
Hewlett, Christopher Erik, U. of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Mobility, Sociality, and Perceptions of Time among the Amahuaca of Lowland Peru,' supervised by Dr. Peter Gow
CHRISTOPHER ERIK HEWLETT, then a student at the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Mobility, Sociality, and Perceptions of Time among the Amahuaca of Lowland Peru,' supervised by Dr. Peter Gow. This project focuses on how movement produces particular forms of social life and informs perceptions of time among the Amahuaca of lowland Peru. Prior to the establishment of large permanent communities, Amahuaca lived in small mobile clusters comprised of closely related family members spread out along small rivers. Thus, Amahuaca kinship and how it relates to changing socio-political forms are central to research aims. Research findings indicate that social and spatial distance from centers of state or centralized power is related to how kinship relations are understood and realized. This relation is not, however, a simple matter of acculturation. The influence or idea of centralized power as one social force is at odds with Amahuaca notions of personal autonomy and close kinship. Amahuaca view socio-political cohesion as necessary for 'advancing,' but deny the centralization of power out of fear of its potential to threaten their autonomy. The varying understandings of kinship, social life, and mobility currently found among the Amahuaca are primarily a result of the struggle to reconcile these dichotomous forms of power. Furthermore, both forms of power have their own rhythms and create different temporal realities. These temporal forms crosscut one another in complex and sometimes contradictory ways.