Sherpa, Pasang Yangjee, Washington State U., Pullman, WA - To aid research on 'Sherpa Perceptions of Climate Change: Local Understandings of a Global Problem,' supervised by Dr.. John Bodley
PASANG YANGJEE SHERPA, then a student at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, received a grant in April 2011, to aid research on 'Sherpa Perceptions of Climate Change: Local Understanding of a Global Problem,' supervised by Dr. John Bodley. This research was designed to examine how Sherpa perceptions of climate change differ between on-route and off-route villages, as to what causes these differences and how the differences might affect the effectiveness of risk management policies and practices. This research found that Pharak Sherpas are knowledgeable and adapting to the changing climate, while also vulnerable to the short-term and long-term effects of climate change. The data collected from the field show that in addition to the on-route/ off-route residence, a Pharak Sherpa's age, gender and employment situation also play a role in how he/she perceives climate change. This research therefore defines socio-economically created cultural units as consisting of Pharak Sherpas from same residence, age group, gender, and employment, who are likely to interact with each other more than with someone from outside their own unit. The vulnerability to the inevitable effects of climate change in Pharak depends on the cultural unit an individual and his/her family belongs to. Further analysis of policies suggest that collaborating with the local people and accommodating to the existing cultural units by the institutions, local and foreign, as they design, develop, and implement climate change risk management programs can increase their effectiveness.
Hardin, Jessica Anne, Brandeis U., Waltham, MA - To aid research on 'Exchange and Health: Negotiating the Meaning of Food and Body among Evangelical Christians in Independent Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Richard J. Parmentier
JESSICA A. HARDIN, then a student at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Exchange and Health: Negotiating the Meaning of Food and Body among Evangelical Christians in Independent Samoa,' supervised by Dr. Richard J. Parmentier. In a 'traditional' Samoan idiom, large body size indexed deep social networks and prosperity. Today, as rates of weight-related diseases and obesity increase, meanings of the large body are in flux. Exchange is increasingly critiqued by public health and evangelical Christians as a source of financial, social, and emotional hardship that causes weight-related disorders. This research explores how weight-related disorders are constructed as a problem of inequality and social change related to global influences on everyday life. This analysis draws from fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork that included participant observation, semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis in two evangelical churches and public health domains in the urban and peri-urban areas of Apia. These diverse data sets enabled an investigation of how: weight-related disorders are linked to exchange; spiritualized etiologies encourage social and embodied change; and global public health discourses are articulated in complex and surprising ways. This research into responses to the rise of weight-related disorders illuminates the social and spiritual dimensions shaping disease management in contemporary Samoa; this suggests a focus on well-being, as opposed to health, in prevention and policy is necessary.
Marsh, Katharine Ruth, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Spiritual Care on the Move: Ethics of Care, Migrant Integration, and African Pentecostalism in the United Kingdom,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Jordan Smith
Preliminary abstract: This project will examine how Pentecostal Christianity shapes practices of care-seeking, care-giving and care-receiving among African migrants in the United Kingdom (UK). African Pentecostal churches provide extensive material, emotional and spiritual assistance to their members, particularly during difficulties with physical health, financial security, immigration matters and family conflicts. Pentecostal religious commitment also has a profound impact on how people understand their relationships and obligations to others, resulting in moral and ethical frameworks that further shape how people care for themselves and for others. Focusing on a large multi-ethnic African church in a medium-sized city in the south of England, this project will investigate how these various forms of material and spiritual care impact the broader institutional and social fabric of everyday life in the city. Through 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork, I will investigate how church members navigate state-based care services and the consequences of this for how the state envisions and delivers care to its citizens. This project will also explore the extent to which Pentecostal care practices help cultivate meaningful cross-cultural relationships with those who share the same institutional, work-based and other urban social spaces as church members. My project will contribute to a broader exploration of African Pentecostalism as a force of social change in the global North, while also engaging with ongoing anthropological debates on religion, on migration and on care.
Brandisauskas, Donatas, Aberdeen U., Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'Beliefs and Practices among Hunters and Gatherers in the Zabaikalja Region, Russia,' supervised by Dr. David G. Anderson
DONATAS BRANDISAUSKAS, then a student at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland, received funding in January 2005 to aid research on 'Beliefs and Practices among Hunters and Gatherers in the Zabaikalja Region, Russia,' supervised by Dr. David G. Anderson. Ethnographic research was conducted among Orochen-Evenki hunters' and reindeer herders' communities from January to December 2005 in the northern part of Chita district and Buriatiia Republic in Eastern Siberia (Russia). The research explored how Orochen relationship between cosmology and environment has changed because of external stresses such as the establishment of the Soviet! Post-Soviet policies. It focused on the everyday activities and discourses of indigenous Siberians as they hunt, herd reindeer, and fish to explore the concept of 'odiun.' (master, ruler) which is crucial to understanding the way in which the indigenous relate to places. 'Odiun' is a 'root metaphor' for the social power configuration of the world in Orochen realities that is also found widely throughout Siberian natives. 'Odiun' can designate spiritual entities like the masters of mountains, lakes, or rivers and it can be explained as a 'ruler' or a 'host' of a particular place, referring to any sentient being. Research discovered that 'masterhood' can be used as analytical concept to tie together many disparate concepts such as cosmological knowledge, power, perception of landscape and animals, and recent political discourses. It can serve as excellent explanatory concept crucial to many Asian societies.
Rozental, Sandra C., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Mobilizing the Monolith: Property, Collectivity, and Vernacular Archaeology in Contemporary Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie
SANDRA ROZENTAL, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Mobilizing the Monolith: Property, Collectivity, and Vernacular Archaeology in Contemporary Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie. This research examined how archaeology -- a science that has been key in formulating state ideology and national heritage in Mexico -- is being mobilized by community projects to claim inalienability over land and community property over scarce natural resources in the context of rampant urbanization and social change. Ethnographic research was conducted in Coatlinchan, a town characterized by the extraction of a colossal pre-Hispanic stone monolith that was taken by the state to Mexico City's National Museum of Anthropology in 1964. Findings draw on eight months of participant observation among: groups working with cultural heritage in Coatlinchan, the absent monolith and its many replicas; local authorities in charge of managing community property; and other social actors engaged in activities around the town's history and heritage. A second phase of research was conducted during six months of work in the national and state archives locating documents, maps, and photographs illustrating the history of Coatlinchan's buildings and territories, and oral-history interviews with participants in the monolith's extraction and in the study of Coatlinchan as an archaeological site. This study argues that national heritage (as a property category) and State appropriation of the preconquest indigenous past and its material culture (as the nation's past and property) are being re-signified by local communities who are mobilizing this past and the tangible ruins located in their territories to claim indigenous ancestry and collective ownership over land and resources at the same time Mexico's neoliberal policies work to dismantle the inalienability of ejidos (communal property) and communal forms of government and identity that had characterized Mexico's post-revolutionary recent past. This project contributes to studies on property, heritage (as both a system of ancestry and inheritance), and the uses of science and scientific knowledge by social actors in contemporary claims.
Glenn-Levin, Naomi Jessica, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Translating Care: Foster Placements and Bureaucratic Collaborations,' supervised by Dr. Donald Lawrence Brenneis
NAOMI GLENN-LEVIN, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Translating Care: Foster Placements and Bureaucratic Collaborations,' supervised by Dr. Donald L. Brenneis. This project, based on twelve months of ethnographic research, examines the entanglement of transnational families with the U.S. child welfare system at the U.S.-México border. It examines decisions made about child removal and custody, asking how structures of race, citizenship, and nationality inform determinations about proper parents, ideal homes, and state responsibility for minor citizens. This research contends that the lack of communication between two legal systems -- dependency law, which governs child welfare, and immigration law -- creates a situation where families entangled simultaneously in both systems are subject to the translation of immigration policies into categories of neglect and abuse employed by child welfare authorities. This research asks, what sorts of translations occur that remake immigration actions == such as detention and deportation -- into instances of 'bad' parenting? How do child welfare's categories lead to the termination of parental rights despite international laws protecting children's and family's rights? This project presents an analysis of the structural violence inflicted on families at the intersection of immigration law and child welfare policy. It considers the family as a locus for interrogating notions of citizenship and the state, and a crucial site where ideals of belonging and exclusion are produced and reinforced.
Yuan, Xiao-bo, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Constituting the Three-Self Church: Official Christianity, the State, and Subjectivity in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar
Preliminary abstract: China, in the last two decades, has experienced what many term a post-Socialist 'religious revival.' In particular, scholars and popular media have noted fast-growing participation in Protestant Christianity -- once deemed a 'Western' import with little traction in Chinese society, and now increasingly localized, indigenized, and popularly enacted as 'Chinese' by religious practitioners. My project follow this construction of 'Chinese Christianity' in the domain of state-approved religion. Rather than presuming a natural antagonism between 'authentic' sites of Christianity and state regulatory mechanisms, I ask instead about how forms of state/institutional power, along with everyday Protestant practices and discourses, work to align Christianity with the Chinese state. How is official Chinese Christianity being constructed as a domain of belief and practice in institutional and everyday settings? And what significance does the increasing visibility of Protestant Christianity, in its various and fraught forms, have for public imaginations about the meaning of religion, Chinese tradition, and the regulatory presence of the party-state? To explore these questions, I propose to approach the institutionalization of Chinese Christianity as an ongoing process rather than a fixed reality, by focusing on the discursive circulations and on-the-ground practices of the Three-Self Church, the only state-sanctioned, nationwide Protestant church in China.
Leeds, Adam Ephraim, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'On the Subjects of Political Economy: Liberalism, Crisis, and Economic Knowledge in Russian Think Tanks,' supervised by Dr, Adriana Petryna
ADAM E. LEEDS, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'On the Subjects of Political Economy: Liberalism, Crisis, and Economic Knowledge in Russian Think Tanks,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna. This fieldwork investigated the transformations in economic knowledge production in Moscow. The end of the Soviet Union meant the end of the ideological master code (Marxist-Leninism) governing uneasily co-existing strands of economic knowledge, the social system in which these knowledges formed, and the institutional regime within which they had been the means of social action. The community of economists in Moscow now constitutes a fractured field. Moving within it, this work examined several different moments in economic knowledge development: from 1960s 'market socialist' reformism and the dream of optimal planning, to the birth of the Gaidar team and their microeconomic critique of the Soviet state, to the international assembly of the think-tank world, to the implantation of Western economics, to the constitution of 'transition economics' as a subfield and its subsequent dissolution into a new comparative political economy of development. It tacks back and forth between underlying political imaginaries, ideologies of objectivity, and the everyday practices of economists working in different institutional locales. Finally, it asks: What are the meanings of capitalism, liberalism, and democracy today? How are they related? How do they, don't they, or should they operate in Russia? and, of course, What is to be done?
Barger, Nicole Lynn, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Primate Social Behavior from an Evolutionary Neuroanatomical Perspective: A Comparative Analysis of the Amygdaloid Complex,' supervised by Dr. Katerina Semendeferi
NICOLE BARGER, then a student at student at University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Primate Social Behavior from an Evolutionary Neuroanatomical Perspective: A Comparative Analysis of the Amygdaloid Complex,' supervised by Dr. Katerina Semendeferi. The amygdala, a critical 'social brain' structure, facilitates the production of appropriate, context-specific, emotional responses to social signals. Stereological estimates of volumes and neuron numbers for the amygdala and four of its constituent nuclei were collected from a histological sample of over 40 individuals, representing humans, all ape species, and long-tailed macaques. The lateral, basal, and accessory basal amygdaloid nuclei were chosen because they process neocortical information, while the central nucleus was selected for its subcortical associations. The lateral nucleus contained proportionately more neurons in humans and macaques, while the basal contained more in apes. Macaques exhibited relatively more neurons in their central nuclei than hominoids. Thus, amygdala reorganization likely occurred first between cercopithecoids and hominoids and then between hominoids and hominins. Relative to other apes, orangutan amygdala contained fewer neurons in accessory basal and basal nuclei. These reorganizational events may reflect coordinated changes occurring in interconnected brain regions. The lateral nucleus and temporal lobe share a strong connective relationship and are both large in humans and macaques. Conversely, the central nucleus communicates with the evolutionarily conserved brainstem and is not emphasized in encephalized hominoids. Orangutan data mirror differences found in functionally related 'social' structures, possibly reflecting their semi-solitary social organization.