An, Linh My, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Mental Illness among Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Douglas Wood Hollan
LINH MY AN, then a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, too aid research on 'Mental Illness among Chinese Immigrant Families in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Douglas Wood Hollan. This study investigated the responses to mental illness in Chinese immigrant families in New York City. More specifically, it examined how cultural notions of self, emotional experience, behavioral rules, mental illness, kinship structure, and morality of caring interact with economic and social processes to influence the way females caregivers deal with relatives who are schizophrenic. The overwhelming majority of previous studies of families and mental illnesses focus only on negative aspects of caregiving or the subjective experience of the patient. This previous work has underemphasized and underexplored how families interact to construct shared perspectives of mental illness, normalcy, and recovery. In contrast, this research utilized ethnographic observations and interviews to understand how meaning is constructed in everyday family interactions. It is hoped that study results will complement and extend current understanding of mental illness among immigrant groups who experienced renegotiation of familial and gender roles in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Osborn, Michelle Ann, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Ghetto Governance: An Urban Ethnography of Chieftaincy in Kenya's Kibera Slum,' supervised by Dr. David Pratten
MICHELLE A. OSBORN, then a student at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in April 2009 to aid research on 'Ghetto Governance: An Urban Ethnography of Chieftaincy in Kenya's Kibera Slum,' supervised by Dr. David Pratten and Dr. David Anderson. By linking together historical analysis with political ethnography, this study explores the evolution of the Provincial Administration within Kibera and examines the role of chiefly authority within the slum's socio-political landscape. Today Kibera is characterized by a political pluralism, in which local chiefs, who are representatives of the central government, struggle to maintain power and legitimacy alongside competing non-state authorities, such as youth gangs and vigilantes. This ethnographic account is positioned within the space that exists between the bureaucratic office of the chief and the streets of Kibera. Within this space contestations and negotiations over local authority routinely intersect with the everyday practices and politics of chiefs. This study considers how such encounters affect both local governance and the daily lives of the urban poor. Drawing from literature on urban and political anthropology as well as studies of chieftaincy, the anthropology of the state, and global slums, this research contributes to our understanding of how local governance and urban chieftaincy operate and affect the lives of the urban poor within one of the sub-Saharan Africa's largest slums.
Doughan, Yazan, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Acting Like a Citizen: Language Practice and the Vicissitudes of Urbanism and Tribalism in (Neo)liberalizing Amman.,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
YAZAN DOUGHAN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Activing Like a Citizen: Language Practice and the Vicissitudes of Urbanism and Tribalism in (Neo)liberalizing Amman,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. The resulting dissertation, 'Fas?d, Authority and the Discursive Production of Reform and Revolution in Jordan,' is an ethnography of governance, political action, and mobilization drawing on fieldwork conducted at Amman's municipality and poor neighborhoods during the wave of protests in 2011-12. The dissertation grapples with the salience of the concept of fas?d (corruption) used in the protests among discourses and during events since the economic crisis in the late 1980s. Rather than starting from a sociological definition, the dissertation looks at how fas?d is used and materialized in political practice and discourse-by political activists, ordinary Jordanians, and state actors-as a diagnostic of 'what went wrong' and a form of intervention or criticism. It considers how people use fas?d to make sense of their living conditions, their anticipated life trajectories, and relations to political authority. In so doing, the dissertation touches upon a set of interrelated themes: the production and foreclosure of personal and collective futures; the shifting meanings of governance and citizenship from personal care to impersonal market-informed citizenship; the ethical and pragmatic dimensions of the political critique of fas?d; and the intertwinement of secular and religious understandings of the concept.
Strange, Stuart Earle, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Differences to Blame: Narrative, Agency, and Responsibility in War, Sorcery, and Suffering in Suriname,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane
STUART E. STRANGE, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Differences to Blame: Narrative, Agency, and Responsibility in War, Sorcery, and Suffering in Suriname,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane. What is a god or spirit? This study attempts an answer by describing how gods and spirits become causally efficacious in contemporary Suriname. Exploring oracular possession as practiced by Ndyuka Maroon and Indo-Surinamese/Guyanese healers, the project explains how spirit presence emerges from the material qualities of bodies, words, and objects. It argues that spirit possession is more insightfully approached as a semiotic technology -- a means of generating evidence and directing implication and interpretation. It contends that possession is fundamentally political, exercising powerful control over how the world and its constitutive moral properties may be described. Central to this is how possession, as a form of performance, enables spirits to define and assign responsibility for social crises. The study illustrates how this is done in interaction in divinatory consultations, showing the ways spirit speech is used to objectify moral discourses and the social forms/concepts -- particularly kinship, but also, ethnicity and gender -- these make possible. It also addresses how this approach to spirit possession can be used to reconceptualize histories of labor and resistance, explaining how possession is used to articulate other descriptions of history and the moral meanings of exploitation and marginality.
Idrus, Rusaslina, Harvard U., Cambridge MA - To aid research on 'Native State, Transnational Indigenes: Strategies in the Era of International Accountability,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho
RUSASLINA IDRUS, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2005 to aid research on 'Native State, Transnational Indigenes: Strategies in the Era of International Accountability,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho. At the international level, the legal realm is an emerging space of resistance for indigenous movements. There has been a significant increase in the number of court cases involving tribal communities successfully suing state governments for land and resource rights world wide. This project seeks to understand the larger implications of this strategy. How has this changed the relationship and dynamics between marginalized groups and the nation state? How has the state responded? How are transnational discourses such as 'human rights' and 'cultural rights' influencing these cases? How do ideas of international accountability and the global audience play into this? This project will examine the questions above by focusing on the relationship between the Malaysian State and the aboriginal people of Peninsular Malaysia, the Orang Asli.
Morrison, Amanda Maria, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Rockin' the Body Politic: Multiracial Youth and Hip-Hop Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area,' supervised by Dr. John Hartigan
AMANDA MARIA MORRISON, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Rockin' the Body Politic: Multiracial Youth and Hip-Hop Activism in the San Francisco Bay Area,' supervised by Dr. John Hartigan. Through ethnography, the grantee examined how hip-hop's expressive forms are being used as the raw materials of everyday life by residents of the San Francisco Bay Area -- home to what many regard as one of the most diverse, politically progressive, and creatively prolific hip-hop 'scenes' in the U.S. This focus on regional specificity provides a greater understanding of the impact hip-hop is having on the ground, as an aspect of localized lived practice. While taking a geographically delimited 'case study' approach would seem to narrow the scope of this project, it actually expanded the discussion into often-overlooked areas, exploring hip-hop's heterogeneity and its regional specificity. The Bay Area offers a rich site for the investigation of hip-hop culture because it is distinct in ways that complicate prevailing scholarship on the subject, most of which either emphasize its continuity within Afro-Diasporic expressive traditions or bemoan its cooptation by the global cultural industries. Three key characteristics about the local scene particularly stand out: its racial diversity, its penchant for producing socially conscious artists, and its commercial independence from the corporate music industry. These three qualities provide the primary foci for this analysis.
Cowgill, Libby Windred, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Ontogeny of Long Bone Diaphyses in Immature Late Pleistocene Postcrania,' supervised by Dr. Erik Trinkaus
LIBBY W. COWGILL, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Ontogeny of Long Bone Diaphyses in Immature Late Pleistocene Postcrania,' supervised by Dr. Erik Trinkaus. While studies of adult remains have identified patterns of temporal variation in postcranial robusticity, relatively less research has focused on possible differences in developmental trajectories that result in variable levels of skeletal robusticity in the adult form. This study aims to clarify the developmental basis for the acquisition of adult postcranial strength in both Late Pleistocene and Holocene humans by addressing two research questions: When during growth do the differences in postcranial strength that differentiate Late Pleistocene and Holocene adults manifest themselves in subadults? Are immature Late Pleistocene individuals attaining postcranial strength at the same rate and following the same pattern as Holocene subadults? Cross-sectional geometry was used to compare the developmental trajectories of humeral, tibial, and femoral growth in Late Pleistocene Neandertal and modern human subadults (N=104) to a sample of immature humans from seven geographically diverse Holocene populations (N=621). The results of this research indicate that populational differences in postcranial robusticity emerge early in development. While many of these differences are likely related to activity pattern variation, the early onset of populational variation during growth implies that other factors, including nutrition and genetics, may play an important role in the development of long bone strength. While individual variation is common, cross-sectional geometric properties of immature Late Pleistocene individuals generally show modestly elevated levels of postcranial strength. These results highlight the complex mosaic of processes that result in adult postcranial robusticity, and suggest that further exploration of the developmental interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic influences on skeletal robusticity will likely enhance our understanding of adult postcranial morphology.
Cowgill, Libby W. 2010. The Ontogeny of Holcene and Late Pleistocene Human Postcranial Strength. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 141(1):16-37.
Cowgill, Libby W. 2007. Humeral Torsion Revisited: A Functional and Ontogenetic Model for Populational Variation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 134(4):472-481.
Cowgill, Libby W., Erik Trinkaus, and Melinda A. Zeder. 2007 Shanidar 10: A Middle Paleolithic Immature Distal Lower Limb from Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. Journal of Human Evolution 53(2):213-223.
Cowgill, Libby W., Anna Warrener, Herman Pontzer, and Cara Ocobock. 2010. Waddling and Toddling: The Biomechanical Effects of an Immature Gait. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 143(1):52-61.
Cowgill, Libby W., Courtney D. Eleazer, Benjamin M. Auerback, et al. 2012. Developmental Variation in Ecogeographic Body Proportions. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148(4):557-570.
Seselj, Maja, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Human Growth Evolving: Integrating Dental and Skeletal Growth Proxies to Understand Life History in Fossil Homo', supervised by Dr. Susan Carol Anton
MAJA SESELJ, then a student at New York University, received funding in May 2009 to aid research on 'Human Growth Evolving: Integrating Dental and Skeletal Growth Proxies to Understand Life History in Homo,' supervised by Dr. Susan Antón. Modern humans differ from our closest living relatives, the African apes, in having a particularly long period of growth and development, both dental and skeletal. Although many studies focused either on dental or skeletal development in fossil hominins, a key to a better understanding of the evolution of the modern human pattern of growth and development is evaluating both developmental systems simultaneously. This study aims to elucidate the relationship between dental and skeletal growth and chronological age in modern humans and Pleistocene hominins, and to explore the variability in dental and skeletal ontogeny in a large and diverse recent modern human sample from North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The results suggest that dental and skeletal growth and development are not conditionally independent given age, but the conditional relationship is relatively weak; thus one developmental system may not be a reliable proxy for the other. The ontogenetic patterns in Neanderthals and early H. sapiens appear to be generally comparable to recent modern humans.
Seselj, Maya. 2013. Relationship between Dental Development and Skeletal Growth in Modern Humans and Its Implications for Interpreting Ontogeny in Fossil Hominins. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150(1):38-47.
Hatmaker, Melissa Sue, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Flooded in Sludge, Fueling the Nation: Generating Power, Waste, and Change in East Tennessee,' supervised by Dr. Hoon Song
MELISSA S. HATMAKER, then a student at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Flooded in Sludge, Fueling the Nation: Generating Power, Waste, and Change in East Tennessee,' supervised by Dr. Hoon Song. This ethnographic study investigates the ways the changing East Tennessee landscape directly and indirectly shapes, and is shaped by, ideas of progress and technological development. By drawing on science and technology studies, in particular actor-network theory, this project investigates the human and nonhuman forces productive of the 2008 TVA coal ash spill -- a disastrous event that flooded the town of Kingston in accumulated waste from a coal burning power plant. This event serves as an analytical focal point for understanding how processes of landscape transformation, from the early 20th century to the present, coalesce in this environmental disaster. Interviews with residents, participant observation, and archival research all focus on understanding how and in what ways the landscape changed to accommodate this massive waste pond. This includes investigation of cultural assumptions about Appalachia, national development goals in science and energy, conceptions of landscape and nature, and social and cultural values that enable flows of electric power and waste. By examining the coal ash flood, and asking how it emerged through cultural tensions within the nation-state and techno-scientific development, this project contributes to anthropological literatures on place-making, science and technology studies, modernization, and national and global development.
Masterson, Erin Elizabeth, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Putting Teeth into the Developmental Origins Hypothesis: Early Childhood Ecology, Enamel Defects and Adolescent Growth,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Eisenberg
Preliminary abstract: Like a window into the past, adult teeth may reflect early childhood ecology. Dental enamel on the permanent maxillary incisors calcifies incrementally during early childhood (0-5 years of age), is highly-sensitive to biological stress, and doesn't repair over the life course. Developmental defects in the enamel (DDE) are caused by metabolic disruption during development, including micronutrient deficiency, gastrointestinal disturbance, and bacterial and viral infections. According to developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) research findings and evolutionary theory, these factors may also influence chronic disease risk later in life. Bioarcheological findings have indicated an association exists between DDEs in the permanent dentition and increased morbidity and early mortality among skeletal remains, suggesting that dental enamel may be a retrospective marker of early childhood ecology. However, the association between DDEs and long-term health consequences has never been tested in a contemporary population. The purpose of the proposed project is to assess whether DDEs -- developed during the first five years of life -- is a marker of early childhood ecology and predictor of adolescent growth in a contemporary population. Based on evolutionary theory, we hypothesize that enamel defects mark a physiologically-stressful early childhood that predicts unhealthy growth in adolescence. We expect our study to provide the scientific community more confidence in interpretations of DDEs, and to introduce a new measure of early childhood ecology that may enable widespread study of the DOHaD and improve the sensitivity of these studies.