Daspit, Lesley L., Purdue U., West Lafayatte, IN - To aid research on ' Market Women in Central Africa: Transnational Interface of Wildlife Commerce & Conservation,' supervised by Dr. Melissa J. Remis
LESLEY L. DASPIT, then a student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Market Women in Central Africa: Transnational Interface of Wildlife Commerce and Conservation,' supervised by Dr. Melissa J. Remis. This dissertation project examines the roles of women in the commerce and conservation of wildlife in the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic (CAR). Commercialized hunting and trade of wildlife is seen as the largest threat to wildlife in this region. To date, the majority of research and policy has centered on men as hunters, while undervaluing women as stakeholders. Within the RDS, wildlife is an increasing component of livelihoods, despite conservation efforts targeted at reducing dependence upon it. The current research focuses on a group of market women at the center of this trade. It combines gender analysis and ethnography to understand shifting human-wildlife relations within a fluctuating economy. It also explores the relationships between market women's activities and broader conservation and development policies through interview and archival research at key environmental NGOs in Washington, DC and CAR. Findings from this research demonstrate how women's roles in a wildlife economy intersect with movements of people, economic opportunities, and environmental ideologies. Further, these findings suggest that women are spatially and ideologically removed within the commerce and conservation of wildlife and shed light on how this impacts women's abilities to effectively contribute to sustainable development within the region.
Smit, Douglas Karel, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Mining, Markets, and Commercialization: The Archaeology of Indigenous Labor in Colonial Peru,' supervised by Dr. Brian S. Bauer
Preliminary abstract: This project examines the commercialization of indigenous society at Huancavelica, the largest mercury mine in the Americas. Founded in 1564, Huancavelica was indispensable to the Colonial Spanish economy, since silver refining throughout Peru and Mexico required a constant source of mercury. Previous research has detailed Huancavelica's production levels, labor quotas, and the constant moral debates between colonial administrators over underground conditions so brutal that Huancavelica became known as 'La mina de la muerte' (the mine of death). However, since the indigenous laborers themselves left no written records, we know almost nothing of the people who directly produced this colonial wealth. Therefore, this study employs an interdisciplinary approach, combining excavation and compositional analyses of household material culture to examine the consequences of an increasingly commercialized colonial economy on the social organization of the indigenous laborers.
High, Mette M., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid 'A Study of Gold Mining, Pastoralism, and Changing Working Lives in Rural Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Caroline Humphrey
METTE M. HIGH, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'A Study of Gold Mining, Pastoralism and Changing Working Lives in Rural Mongolia', supervised by Prof. Caroline Humphrey. The research objectives were to understand the practical and cosmological issues that arise for pastoralists when mining comes to occupy a visible social and physical space and presents them with new subsistence opportunities. Fieldwork consisted of 10 months' participant observation and interviews with people who are taking part in the current gold rush as well as herders who distance themselves from the environmentally damaging mining practices. By examining narratives about industrialization and collectivization in the socialist era as well as the recent advent of the gold rush, the research concerned how notions of collectivity, responsibility and individualism were related to transformational historical processes and changing subsistence economies. Focusing on how people reconcile cosmological concepts related to the landscape with working practices that transgress fundamental taboos about the underground and water resources, moral commentaries and discourses of fear and suspicion highlighted people's negotiation of status and social interaction. The research demonstrates that emerging subsistence economies may not only be fuelled by economic incentives but also by particular socio-cultural mechanisms.
High, Mette M. 2013. Polluted Money, Polluted Wealth: Emerging Regimes of Value in the Mongolian Gold Rush. American Ethnologist 40(4):676-688.
High, Mette M. 2013. Cosmologies of Freedom and Buddhist Self-Transformation in the Mongolian Gold Rush. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(4):753-770.
Mehari, Asmeret Ghebreigziabiher, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Decolonizing the Pedagogy of Archaeology in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Peter R. Schmidt
ASMERET G. MEHARI, then a student at University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, received funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'Decolonizing the Pedagogy of Archaeology in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Peter R. Schmidt. This dissertation research explores the nature of archaeology in postcolonial East Africa using Tanzania and Uganda as case studies. Its main focus is analyzing the history and development of practicing and teaching archaeology by African scholars. Particularly, it examines what constitutes local archaeological research and how emerging local professionals contribute towards decolonizing archaeology in the region, meaning creating archaeological practices and pedagogies that are liberated and locally relevant. The methods for collecting relevant information include in-depth interviews with archaeologists, students, local communities, and antiquities and museum officials; archival research at university libraries, museums, and national research clearance institutions; participant observation -attending field schools and class-room based lectures, occasionally delivering lectures to undergraduate students, and living with local communities who reside around archaeological sites. Research findings show that most archaeological research is performed under collaborative projects that are mainly run by European-descendant Africanist scholars. Local Ugandan and Tanzanian scholars are most likely to have a profound influence on decolonizing archaeology through their own self-initiated and administrated projects. The contributions of local scholars vary but predominantly their efforts have been directed to the final product of archaeological research - primarily in the rewritings of African history.
Mehari, Asmeret. 2014. Knowledge about Archaeological Field Schools in Africa: The Tanzanian Experience. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 49(2): 184-202
Chapman, Chelsea, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Conceptions of Energy and Economies of Knowledge in Central Alaska's Yukon Flats,' supervised by Dr. Larry Nesper
CHELSEA CHAPMAN, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Conceptions of Energy and Economies of Knowledge in Central Alaska's Yukon Flats,' supervised by Dr. Larry Nesper. This project investigated concepts of energy in central Alaska, asking how regional developments of hydrocarbon and renewable resources are experienced, evaluated, and disputed. Via ethnographic study of a land trade between an Alaska Native corporation and a regional wildlife refuge in the Yukon Flats -- and bio-mass energy projects in the same region -- the research looked at how fields of energy knowledge manifest, and how they are rendered authoritative or marginal as they animate local conflict. Multiple cultural orientations toward nature, land, and power were found to circulate within regional energy production. Despite heterogeneity among cultural models of energy, findings confirmed the relationship of oil, gas, and bio-mass fuels to personal and societal characteristics like vitality, independence, stamina, and life force. Participants conceptualized central Alaska as precarious (energy-brittle) due to political relationships hardened by North Slope oil production, legacies of social inequality, and consequences of climate change. Apocalyptic forecasts related to energy crisis were shared across ethnic, cultural, and occupational groups. Findings further indicate that spiritual practice, especially Pentecostal Christianity, relates closely to a powerful conception of energy as a morally compelling substance languishing untapped in the trees and subterranean hydrocarbons of the boreal forest.
Sandberg, Paul Adams, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'High Resolution Reconstruction of Early Life History Events in Archaeological Humans: A Biogeochemical Approach,' supervised by Dr. Matt Sponheimer
PAUL A. SANDBERG, then a student at University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, was awarded funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'High Resolution Reconstruction of Early Life History Events in Archaeological Humans: A Biogeochemical Approach,' supervised by Dr. Matt Sponheimer. There has been increasing interest in reconstructing aspects of human life history in the past using stable isotope analysis of bones and teeth. This has most commonly been accomplished by measuring stable isotope ratios in the bone collagen of individuals at various ages of death, or by comparing the stable isotopes in the enamel of teeth that form at different times. While useful, the temporal resolution of these methods is rather coarse grained. A relatively new method of measuring stable isotopes in tooth enamel -- laser ablation / gas chromatography / isotope ratio mass spectrometry -- permits the analysis of very small amounts of enamel in situ and creates the opportunity to generate high-resolution stable isotope profiles within single human teeth. The goal of this project is to use this method to greatly improve the temporal resolution of infant and childhood diet, and dietary changes associated with the weaning process and seasonality. A variety of methodological issues were addressed including sampling location within dental enamel and the comparability of isotope profiles in different tooth types and dental tissues. High resolution intratooth stable isotope analysis holds promise for addressing a number of questions concerning human life history in the archaeological and fossil records.
Hagerty, Alexa, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Blood and Bone: Kinship, Science and the Imagined Body in 'Humanitarian Exhumation' of the Dead,' supervised by Dr. Tanya Luhrmann
Preliminary abstract: Exhumation of the dead has become a normative human rights intervention and a requisite aspect of transitional justice. In the wake of political violence, exhumation aims to provide judicial evidence of mass atrocity and to return human remains to families. Understood as bringing closure to families, 'humanitarian exhumation' may be carried out even in situations in which there is little or no hope of judicial recourse. Yet, the relationship between forensics teams and families has proven to be complex and often fraught. While some exhumations have received clear support from families, others have been sites of intense controversy. This project asks why there has been persistent tension between families of the missing and forensic teams. Attentive to the polysemy of the dead body, which at different times and places can be understood to be judicial evidence, a medical specimen, a scientific object, a political symbol, a religious relic, a site of the uncanny, a social subject, a dense site of mourning and more, this project explores what humanitarian exhumation means to those most intimately involved: forensic teams and families of the missing. Based in Argentina, location of the earliest and longest continuously excavated humanitarian exhumations, this project takes the complex relationship between families and forensic teams as a generative site to explore how we conceptualize exhumations as 'humanitarian,' how we expect science to serve social ends and how we imagine relationships of care between the living and the dead.
Zhang, Amy Qiubei, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Recycled Cities: Remaking Waste in Post-reform Urban China,' supervised by Dr. Helen F. Siu
AMY ZHANG, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Recycled Cities: Remaking Waste in Post-reform Urban China,' supervised by Dr. Helen F. Siu. This research examines contention around the modernization of waste infrastructure against the backdrop of rapid urbanization in China. After 30 years of economic reform activists warn that, if China fails to develop more efficient ways of managing garbage in cities, its residents will experience a waste crisis. During eighteen months of fieldwork, the researcher collected data through interviews and participant observation, by following incineration experts and activists, tracking informal and formal recycling schemes, and working with communities who are devising new organic waste treatment technologies with an eye to examining how waste-instead of being treated as objects to be discarded-was transformed into things of value. The research focused on how different types of waste (e.g, recyclable or organic) are classified, processed, and transformed through technologies, labor, and environmental practices. Debates around waste intersect with efforts at making 'modern' citizens and cities. At the same time the success and failure of each of these new waste treatment schemes reflects increased citizen advocacy against pollution and their skepticism towards the ability of governments and experts to create the modern cities they have promised.
Lynch, Damon Frederick, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Time Frameworks and Peacebuilding in Tajikistan, ' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman
Preliminary abstract: My anthropological research is on the time frameworks Tajiks use as they build peace after the 1992-97 civil war in Tajikistan. War typically forcefully penetrates subjective time imaginaries and experiences, affecting what people do long after the physical violence has ended. Who among a postwar population use which time frameworks? Surprisingly little is known about this. Scholars have identified time frameworks prevalent during and after war, but what we do not know are the ways in which these and other time frameworks occur within a postwar population. Can we identify any patterns? For example, are non-combatant widows more likely to use a particular framework compared to ex-combatants? Theoretically I combine cutting-edge research on spatial time concepts from cognitive science with a concept of self found across the social sciences dating back to William James that distinguishes between I and Me. This combination is innovative, and is likely genuinely unique among contemporary approaches to the anthropology of time. My research has implications for our understanding of conflict transformation and peacebuilding, trauma, memory, and the anthropology of violence. It also promises new directions in the study of time in the social sciences.
Brainer, Amy Kathryn, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Same-Sexuality and Family Relations in Taiwan,' supervised by Dr. Barbara J. Risman
AMY K. BRAINER, then a student at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in January 2012 to aid research on 'Same-Sexuality and Family Relations in Taiwan,' supervised by Dr. Barbara J. Risman. This project examines generational changes in parent-child and sibling relationships in Taiwan, with a focus on families in which one or more members is lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT). The project is comprised of sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork and 81 oral-history interviews with three generational cohorts of LGBT people and their kin. The sample is diverse by region of the country, age, gender, sexual identification, education, income, and family situation (including LGBT people who are heterosexually married and those who have remained unmarried), as well as heterosexual kin who are supportive, tolerant/ambivalent, and rejecting toward same-sex relationships and gender variance. Evidence gathered reveals important generational, gender, and class variation in how LGBT people in Taiwan relate to their families-of-origin, and in the perspectives and experiences of heterosexuals who have LGBT children and siblings. Findings shed light on how accelerated changes in Taiwanese family structure and organization have shaped everyday family practices, obligations, and roles.