Vashro, Layne Joseph, U. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT - To aid research on 'Post-marital Residence among the Twe of Northwestern Namibia,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Cashdan
LAYNE J. VASHRO, then a student at University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, received a grant April 2011 to aid research on 'Post-Marital Residence among the Twe of Northwestern Namibia,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Cashdan. The results of this project support recent research showing that cultural ideals often have minimal bearing on whether couples move to live with the husband's or the wife's family after marriage. This project also began the process of explaining the factors that shape variation in which form of 'post-marital residence' different couples adopt. Childcare assistance offered by women's female relatives is an important incentive for women to stay home after marriage. The impact of the maternal grandmother, identified as a key source of childcare among the Twe and many other populations, is a strong example of this. Twe couples are 28 percent more likely to live in the maternal camp when the maternal grandmother is still alive and able to provide childcare assistance. Men's wealth also plays an important role in shaping post-marital residence. Wealthy men draw their spouses, the spouses of their children, and even the families of these spouses to their residence camp. These men become a residence focal point and lead to larger residence communities. While some women own animals among the Twe, they never develop large enough herds to become residence focal points because inheritance only runs through men.
Kanne, Katherine Stevens, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Pivotal Ponies: Horses in the Development of Emergent Political Institutions of Bronze Age Hungary,' supervised by Dr. Timothy K. Earle
KATHERINE S. KANNE, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Pivotal Ponies: Horses in the Development of Emergent Political Institutions of Bronze Age Hungary,' supervised by Dr. Timothy K. Earle. This research documents early equestrianism in Bronze Age Hungary (2500-1800 BC). During the emergence of complex and stratified societies of this period, people changed the way they thought about and used horses. Horses were no longer considered food. They were treated differently from other animals in life and death as they were transformed into an important strategic resource for the development of political economies. Zooarchaeological, osteological, and stable isotope analyses provide evidence of selective horse breeding, trade, and riding. Chariotry was not important, if it was present at all in the Carpathian Basin. The earliest known bridle bits were found in Hungary and date to the beginning of the Bronze Age. Their form and subsequent distribution delimits a sphere of Carpathian equestrianism that was distinct from contemporaneous Eurasian steppe horse traditions. Status and identities were materialized as riding became linked to wealthy elites, but gender was not similarly defined until the Late Bronze Age. Although riding was common practice, each regional tradition within Hungary had unique patterns of horse production, trade, and amount of use, and approached the remains differently. This variability helps to explain the specific trajectories of polity formation that occurred within Bronze Age Hungary.
Oleary, Heather Elaine, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'The Disparity of Water Access in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman
HEATHER E. O'LEARY, then a student at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The disparity of Water Access in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman. This research explores the disparity of water access in Delhi, India, through the perspective of urban domestic workers. These workers often live in informal 'slum' communities adjacent to the homes of their employers. Like many who struggle to meet minimum consumption requirements for drinking water, domestic workers must also make difficult decisions about using water for the most basic household chores. Yet, many have been exposed to and trained in the aesthetics of modernization, and experience tension over meeting high standards of cleanliness, purity and order with limited resources. Moreover, their active participation as agents of purification in upper-middle class homes distance them from traditional, informal and peer networks of water sourcing, and as a result they are excluded from both formal and informal networks of water access. By elucidating the dynamics of water access, theories from economic anthropology, environmental anthropology, and anthropology of development can be employed to shed light on not only the local water disparity, but can also contribute to a greater understanding of how structures of development, class privilege and resource management are embroiled in socio-political problems of urban water scarcity beyond the context of India.
Davidson, Joanna H., Emory U. Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'The Salience of Ethnicity in Inter-Group Conflict: Felupe-Fula Tensions in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft
JOANNA H. DAVIDSON, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in October 2001 to aid research on the salience of ethnicity in intergroup conflict in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, under the supervision of Dr. Bruce M. Knauft. Davidson conducted twenty-two months of ethnographic and historical research, focusing on recent conflicts within and between ethnic groups in northern Guinea-Bissau. Residing in a Diola village, she gathered a broad array of ethnographic information on areas such as agricultural practices, land tenure, work ethic, neighborhood organization, initiation and socialization, kinship, interethnic marriage, religious institutions and practices, Christian conversion, and funerary practices. Field research methods included interviews, genealogies, household surveys, life histories, and participant observation, complemented by document analysis and archival research. Davidson also collected oral histories on settlement patterns, colonial involvement in the region, and changes in traditional leadership. She explored the way Diola residents and their neighbors in northern Guinea-Bissau were responding, individually and collectively, to recent dramatic changes in their natural and social environment, such as climate change (with its impact on subsistence agriculture), youth migration, schooling, and national political transformations. Within this context, she examined the extent to which ethnicity had become an organizing principle for social action and how such changes were linked to conflicts within and among ethnic groups in the region. A major facet of her research involved understanding how long-standing Diola practices revolving around social and economic egalitarianism were being challenged by both internal and external forces and how such changes were affecting Diola notions of personhood and pluralism.
Suit, Natalia Kasprzak, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Qur'anic Matters: Mushaf as Object in Cairo,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Wiener
NATALIA K. SUIT, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Qur'anic Mattes: Mushaf as Object in Cairo,' supervised by Dr. Margaret J. Wiener. 'Mushaf' is what Muslims call the physical body of the Qur'an, its pages, binding, and print. In contrast to earlier works on the holy book of Muslims, this research focused on the mushaf's corporeal existence as an object in the hands of its manufacturers and users in Egypt, fleshing out the essential practicalities of dealing with a holy text in its tangible form. Such an approach highlighted the social practices that surrounded the production and use of the Qur'anic copies that were drastically altered when the Qur'anic message became mediated through a printed and mechanically multiplied text. Similarly, these social practices have been now going through another significant adjustment as the text of the Qur'an transitions into a new, digital format. Technological change is traditionally considered to play a subordinate role to understanding of the text. However, research indicated that the materiality of objects through which the text is mediated could affect the understanding and use of the mushaf. It also brought to the foreground ways in which social practices could be induced and altered through the physical properties of the 'invisible' object that carries a holy text.
Horner Brackett, Rachel Anne, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on ''Eat it to Save it': Risk and the Slow Food Movement,' supervised by Dr. Erica Stephanie Prussing
RACHEL A. HORNER BRACKETT, then a student at University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on ''Eat It to Save It:' Risk and the Slow Food Movement,' supervised by Dr. Erica Prussing. The Slow Food Movement outlines the risks of 'fast' food and living, targeting issues such as sustainability, loss of culinary traditions, unethical rural development, and vanishing biodiversity. How are the discourses of risks described by this movement translated by and through a milieu of diverse local histories and locally defined values surrounding food? To answer this question, research was conducted with Slow Food groups in Tuscany and Iowa from September 2008 to September 2009. This research was comprised of two related but distinct efforts: 1) a critical discourse analysis of Slow Food's stated missions, through evaluations of the media, public relations efforts, publications, and Slow Food events; and 2) the ethnographic study of local efforts to address food risks by Slow Food chapters and related organizations. Risk to place and tradition is emphasized in Italy, where breeds like the Cinta Senese pig are highlighted by Slow Food because they are symbolic of disappearing cultural landscapes and cultural knowledge. In the U.S., where the bureaucratization of a corporate food chain is seen as a major threat, Slow Food groups engage in overtly political contexts. Actors in both countries hold values that promote local activism aiming to redress 'external' threats.
Montesi, Laura, U. of Kent, Canterbury, UK - To aid research on 'Making Sense of Diabetes Among the Indigenous Huave People of San Dionisio del Mar, Oax., Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Anna Waldstein
Preliminary abstract: This research project explores whether and how, among the indigenous Huave (Ikojts) people of San Dionisio del Mar - a municipality located in the Mexican state of Oaxaca - type 2 diabetes provides a specific idiom that enables them to express bodily experiences, embodied memories, and concerns about the structurally violent circumstances that threaten their community. The recent widespread growth of type 2 (or adult onset) diabetes, a 'without borders' epidemic (Ferzacca 2012: 416), has highlighted how accelerated socio-economic changes (such as urbanization, dietary transition, sedentary life-styles) are the main contributors to the disease. Despite this acknowledgment, biomedicine tends to deal with diabetes in an individualized and medicalized way, locating the disease in the body of the affected person and making the individual responsible for both the causation and treatment of the pathology. My research takes issue with this reductionist approach and, by focusing on the dietary transition, seeks to understand how people perceive and make sense of 'change', how they select and construct past food-memories in order to explain their present condition. I contend that food symbolism and narration are important vehicles for the articulation of both the diabetic and the Ikojts identity, and that diabetes should be reframed as the metabolic outcome of a wider political pathogenic system. The experiences of people with diabetes will be explored through a qualitative analysis based on: unstructured and semi-structured interviews; participant observation of the ways in which disease and well-being are conceptualized and enacted in different places and by different actors; collection of life histories integrated by a study of the Ikojts sensorium and of the sensorium of people with diabetes.
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.
Shapero, Joshua Aprile, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Speaking Places: The Grammar of Space and the Sociality of Place among Central Quechua Speakers,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Mannheim
Preliminary abstract: I investigate the role of Quechua speakers' spatial concepts in the contextualization of verbal interaction. I will study the way Central Peruvian Quechua speakers in the town of Huaripampa relate to space at two levels: 1) non-linguistic conceptualization in experimental settings, and 2) the spatial contexts that ground verbal interactions while engaged in agricultural, pastoral and ritual activities. The way Quechua encodes space privileges local landmarks over abstract relations like north and south. I hypothesize that this correlates with a cognitive predisposition to think about space in terms of individual places, and thereby shapes the significance of places in Andean culture. Talk during activities such as farming inevitably refers to nearby and distant places or boundaries, contextualizing their interaction in a spatial frame. When Quechua speakers engage in talk in pastoral or ritual practices, they come to share an orientation to the places around them. By focusing on these verbal interactions, I will show how the significance of places is embedded in the social milieu of interaction. My approach also facilitates an analysis of the role of spatial cognition in the sociality of place, advancing scholarly understanding of the relation between culture and cognition.
Hampel, Amir, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Changing Selves in a Transforming Society: How Shy Chinese Learn the Virtues of Self Assertion,' supervised by Dr. Richard Allan Shweder
Preliminary abstract: Recent reports from China suggest that shy and reserved behavior, which used to be accepted and even encouraged, is increasingly regarded as an undesirable obstacle to personal advancement. Books, websites, and seminars teaching people how to become more assertive and outgoing have become extremely popular. Relating new norms of behavior to changes in economic, social, and moral life, I will study how shy students and alumni from universities in Beijing understand themselves and the social world and how self-confidence training groups and psychological education classes in schools promote the virtues of self-assertion. In a society built around enduring social bonds, shy and reserved behavior was interpreted as an intelligently cautious and commendably selfless social strategy. However, following the collapse of traditional society and the communist economy, individuals have been largely disentangled from collective ties to the family and the work unit. In the new market economy, people are forced to compete for their livelihoods, and new opportunities for consumption and modes of interaction force people to define their style and their social identity and to pursue their desires. To understand these social changes, this study will examine how Chinese people are learning that shyness and reserve are problematic.