Peterson, Brandt G., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Indigenous Identity, Environmentalism, and Agrarian Politics in Post-War El Salvador,' supervised by Dr. Charles R. Hale
BRANDT G. PETERSON, while a student at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in December 2001 to aid research on indigenous identity, environmentalism, and agrarian politics in postwar El Salvador, under the supervision of Dr. Charles R. Hale. Peterson examined the establishment of environmentalism and indigenous rights in post-civil war El Salvador as key organizing concepts in new discourses of development, democracy, and the nation. He explored the cultural and political processes at work in the discursive transformation of peasants-the revolutionary subjects at the center of the civil war-and the land over which they struggled into Indians and 'nature,' respectively. Focusing on the rural municipality of Tacuba, where social and physical landscapes had been shaped by histories of racism but where the presence of racial difference was denied in favor of a homogeneous mestizo identity, Peterson asked why people who were Indians by many contemporary juridical and anthropological definitions rejected that identity even when material benefits were at stake. One goal was to develop a language of difference that might take seriously the effects of racism in Tacuba without situating those for whom an antiracist politics would speak in the position of being either proper Indians or denying that racism was an issue. The Indian imagined in official multiculturalism is too easily displaced outside of the time and space of the nation, marginalizing anew those who cannot easily escape the nation. Peterson showed how social boundaries are inscribed in landscapes and suggested that 'nature' and Indians are linked not only in Western fantasies of primitivism but also in their susceptibility to this process of fetishistic displacement.
Ficek Torres, Rosa Elena, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Migration and Integration Along the Pan American Highway in Panama's Darien Gap,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing
ROSA FICEK TORRES, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Migration and Integration along the Pan American Highway in Panama's Darien Gap,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing. The researcher's dissertation examines how a powerful road-building dream of physical connection created regions at national and hemispheric scales in Latin America. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in Darien province, Panama, where the Pan American Highway remains an on-going but unfinished project. The researcher mapped the changing social geography of Darien in relationship of the highway- how people, plants and animals move in, out, and through Darien, and how this has changed over time since the highway's construction. Oral community histories focused on the twentieth-century migrations of Afro-Darienita, indigenous Choco, and mestizo settler ethnicities. Participant-observation focused on current movements of people, cattle, logs, and agricultural products along the highway as well as everyday experiences of marginality in Darien. By tracing and historicizing mobility along the Pan American Highway, this research suggests that region-making does not happen through the unfettered movement of people and things. In Darien, these movements are controlled by state and foreign organizations. What matters is not that things move, but how they move. Data on mobility and on marginality in Darien, will enable the researcher to theorize how regions are made at the national (Panmanian) level and hemispheric (Latin American) level through the analysis of a single road-building project.
Tilche, Alice, U. of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Broken Frames? Adivasi Museums, Representation and Marginality in Contemporary India,' supervised by Dr. Edward Simpson
ALICE TILCHE, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Broken Frames? Adivasi Museums, Representation and Marginality in Contemporary India,' supervised by Dr. Edward Simpson. This research focused on Adivasis' ('Tribal') struggle for identity and recognition in contemporary India. It particularly examined the development of an Adivasi Museum of Voice in rural Gujarat, and its role in transforming historically rooted forms of marginalization. Adivasi identity emerged as extremely fragmented, at the core of contested projects of modernity, development, and nation building. Interrelated processes of dispossession, resistance to extractive industries, and enrollment within a 'Hindu Nation' were turning Adivasi areas into sites of intensifying conflict and political concern. In this context, the Museum of Voice aimed to generate an Adivasi counter-culture as a tool to redefine terms of inclusion. While young Adivasis were its curators, the museum was also centered within wider transnational networks of trade, social movements, and indigenous people. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork as participant and collaborator within this nexus, the research accounted for the daily work of cultural/political negotiation, and the complex dilemmas of representations involved in museum work. It examined how, while building something new, Adivasis continuously contended with the objectification of others as 'exotic Tribals,' as well as with 'internal' hierarchies and diverse aspiration for change within the community. In this last aspect, the research considered the creation of this new cultural space as a moment of contestation, where different projects of 'modernity' came together.
Karaca, Banu, City U. of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Claiming Modernity through Aesthetics: A Comparative Look at Germany and Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
BANU KARACA, while a student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, received a grant to aid research on 'Claiming Modernity through Aesthetics: A Comparative Look At Germany and Turkey', supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano. This comparative study is based on fieldwork conducted in the contemporary art scenes of Berlin and Istanbul. Drawing from interviews with artists, curators, critics, gallery directors, corporate sponsors, foundation and government officials, as well as observations at contemporary arts institutions, including each city's Biennial, and the analysis of cultural policy documents this research examines how divergent conceptions of art are mediated within the art world. Furthermore, this study centers on how modernization and nation-building processes in both Germany and Turkey impact the discourses, policies and practices in their present-day art scenes. In so doing, rather than asking questions about a Turkish or German 'kind of modernity' it aims to understand respective experiences and, most importantly, probe paradoxes of modernity through the lens of the arts. Paradoxes that manifest themselves, for instance, in tensions between the civic impact accorded to art and its pliability to market forces, and between understandings of art as a universally human and also particularly national expression.
Nucho, Joanne Randa, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Producing the Neighborhood without the Nation: 'Trans-Municipal' Urban Planning in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. William Michael Maurer
JOANNE R. NUCHO, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Producing the Neighborhood without the Nation: 'Trans-Municipal' Urban Planning in Lebanon,' supervised by Dr. Bill Maurer. In the wake of a fifteen-year civil war (1975-1990) and ongoing political strife, urban planning and infrastructure in Beirut remains fragmented. Residents negotiate access to basic services, from garbage collection to electricity, delivered through a byzantine web of private, public, and informal networks, often run by local political parties organized around ethnicity or sect. In the absence of a national or citywide planning apparatus, local parties shape the social, political, and visual landscape of each neighborhood. While local municipal actors often reach out to funding sources outside Lebanon, one such urban planning initiative, hereafter referred to as the Collaborative Development Strategy (CDS), takes a unique form. The CDS was initiated in 2009 as a joint strategy between two municipalities: Hospitalet, a suburb of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, and Bourj Hammoud, a polluted, working-class suburb of Beirut dominated by an Armenian political party, Tashnak. This dissertation research investigates the CDS using ethnographic methods in order to better understand the ramifications of planning in a postconflict city where municipal actors circumvent both national and transnational institutions to create city-to-city partnerships outside the purview of both the state and large transnational actors like the European Union.
Deutsch, Cheryl Lynn, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'The Traffic of Desire: Economic Growth, Environmental Sustainability, and Transportation Planning in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Keith Murphy
Preliminary abstract: In a recent decision, Delhi's High Court directly challenged the car culture of India's growing middle class. Striking down a lawsuit brought by car-owners against a new bus system in the capital city, the Court argued: 'A developed country is not one where the poor own cars. It is one where the rich use public transport.' The Court's decision gave a go-ahead to convert over 300 kilometers of vehicle lanes into bus-only corridors along the city's congested road network and reflects a shift in thinking about urban development away from consumer culture and towards environmental sustainability. Transportation planners now face the challenge of implementing this new Bus Rapid Transit system and, with it, re-engineering the car culture of Delhi's middle class. Through one year of ethnographic research with Delhi's transportation planners, this project will bring to light the contestations at work in changing conceptions of development through infrastructures of mobility.
Sperlich, Tobias, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Germany and its 'Ethnographic Treasure Box': The Anthropology of Collecting in Colonial Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Chris Gosden
TOBIAS SPERLICH, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in March 2003 to aid research on 'Germany and its 'Ethnographic Treasure Box:' The Anthropology of Collecting in Colonial Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Chris Gosden. The fieldwork is part of a larger project that looks at the origin, dissemination, and reception of Samoan material culture in early 20th century Germany. It was carried out over a two-month period in Samoa and included research in archival collections, field interviews, and site observations. The aim of these activities was to reconstruct the socio-cultural milieu of colonial Samoa and to study the changing uses and perceptions of material culture over the last century. The research base was Apia, where research was conducted at the Nelson Memorial Library and the National University of Samoa. Interviews were held with Samoans whose ancestry included Germans or those who had mementoes documenting the German colonial presence. Both of these activities were retrospectively focused, whereas contemporary practices were the focus of interviews with museum officials, artists and producers, vendors and buyers of Samoan material culture. Discussions aimed to evaluate modern perceptions of the authenticity, value, and meanings of these objects in a Samoan and foreign context. This research thus complements research previously undertaken in Germany and allows for a fuller evaluation of colonial Samoa and its representation through collections of material culture in the West.
Howard, Maureen Penelope, U. of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK - To aid research on 'Seascapes: Voyaging Through the Movements of Experience, Histories, and Ecology,' supervised by Dr. Arnar Arnason
MAUREEN MCCALL, then a student at University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Seascapes: Voyaging through the Movements of Experience, Histories, and Ecology,' supervised by Dr. Arnar Amason. The research project set out to address the question of whether existing theories of landscape could be applied to the sea, and what contributions an understanding of seascape could bring to anthropological landscape research. Fieldwork took place while living on a boat located in the northwest of Scotland between 2006 and 2008, and involved long-term participant observation on several boats as well as in five coastal communities. The research found that the seascape is a place of human habitation, filled with significant places and histories created through processes of work and social interactions at sea. The dissertation will emphasize how working processes bring people, places, and machines into intimate relation with one another -- relations that are always tensioned, have histories, and are constantly unfolding as new places and new techniques. The primary contribution of this research to existing landscape research will be to bring to the fore processes that may be active in all landscapes, specifically, the role of working interactions in forming significant places and experiences of place, the role of technologies in mediating interactions with sea/landscape, and the significant tensions that people must contend with in this process.
Mixter, David Williams, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Surviving Collapse: Investigating Ancient Maya Responses to the End of Divine Kingship at Actuncan, Belize,' supervised by Dr. David Freidel
DAVID W. MIXTER, then a student at Washington University. St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Surviving Collapse: Investigating Ancient Maya Responses to the End of Divine Kingship at Actuncan, Belize,' supervised by Dr. David Freidel. The ancient Maya collapse of the Terminal Classic period (AD 780-1000) has previously been characterized as the failure of a hierarchical political system headed by networked divine kings. Modern images of abandoned cities buried in the jungle have led to sensationalized views of this collapse. However, despite increased warfare, regional starvation, and broad-scale migration, Maya groups survived the collapse and rebuilt their political institutions. Through investigations of public architecture at the site of Actuncan, Belize, this research investigates the local development of post-collapse political institutions and the selective incorporation of the community's Classic period past. Excavations focused on defining the architectural layout of a large civic complex constructed during the Terminal Classic (TC) period. The open and accessible form of this complex points to increased participation in political life following the collapse. Additionally, distributional analysis of artifacts, microartifacts, and soil chemistry from this complex points to activities taking place during the routines of public life. Finally, excavations of Classic period public spaces only identified TC reverential activity within a pyramid complex spatially discrete from the TC civic center. The spatial separation of political and ritual life reflect a reaction against the entangled institution of divine kings.