Cleghorn, Naomi E., State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid a 'Zooarchaeological Analysis of the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Mezmaiskaya Cave, Northwestern Caucasus, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Curtis Marean
NAOMI E. CLEGHORN, while a student at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, New York, received funding in April 2001 to aid an analysis of faunal material from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic strata of Mezmaiskaya Cave in Russia's northwestern Caucasus Mountains, under the supervision of Dr. Curtis Marean. The stratigraphy of Mezmaiskaya Cave preserves a record of frequent hominid occupation over a relatively long span of the Paleolithic-from more than 45,000 years ago to 28,000 years ago-covering the transition from a Neanderthal-dominated to a Homo sapiens-dominated landscape. Faunal skeletal remains are abundant and well preserved throughout the site. Cleghorn collected a broad range of data from specimens from the Middle Paleolithic levels of the site, especially from the 1995 and 1997 assemblages, which came from contexts of relatively fine stratification. She also collected data for the entire sample of Upper Paleolithic faunal material available at the time. Altogether, data from nearly seventeen thousand bone fragments and teeth enabled her to analyze pre- and post-depositional processes of destruction as well as evidence of hominid prey choice, transport, and butchery decisions. Cleghorn's goal was to use a taphonomic approach to test the idea that Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominids responded in significantly different ways to subsistence challenges. Preliminary analysis showed some evidence of change in faunal accumulation between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. Interestingly, the more dramatic shifts may have occurred within the late Middle Paleolithic. Ultimately, Cleghorn planned to test current models of the subsistence behavior of Middle and Upper Paleolithic hominids.
Schiller, Naomi Ann, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Making Media, Making Producers: Community Media and the Production of Collective Subjectivity in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie
NAOMI SCHILLER, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Making Media, Making Producers: Community Media and the Production of Collective Subjectivity in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie. This research examined efforts of 'community' media producers in Caracas, Venezuela, to transform the relationship of the marginalized poor with the state and respond to the Chavez government's political and financial support for their grassroots media projects. Research was conducted among producers from one prominent community television station and three community radio stations based in barrios (poor neighborhoods) of Caracas. The findings draw on participant observation at community- and state-run media organizations and interviews with media producers and government officials. Research argues that participation of barrio-based media producers in local neighborhood projects and in state-run media productions changed the way that producers from poor neighborhoods understood themselves and the state. Grassroots media producers skillfully negotiated the recent increase in the symbolic and political value of their media productions. This project reveals how community media leaders depended on normative theoretical notions about the boundary between state and society to leverage power by asserting themselves as a non-state authentic popular voice, while in their daily practice they regularly questioned, traversed, and challenged the boundary between state and society. This research contributes to an understanding of the intersection of social movement building, activist use of media, subjectivity, and processes of everyday state formation.
Hargrove, Melissa D., U. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN - To aid research on 'Reinventing the Plantation on Gullah-Contested Landscape: Gated Communities and Spatial Segregation in the Sea Islands,'supervised by Dr. Faye V. Harrison
MELISSA D. HARGROVE, while a student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, received funding in May 2003 to aid research on gated communities as a means of spatial segregation-the new 'plantation'-in the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, under the supervision of Faye V. Harrison. Hargrove conducted twelve months of ethnographic research in 2003-4 into the conflicts resulting from the divisive practice of mapping social inequality onto the power-mediated landscapes of gated communities. Her research methods included participant observation, convening focus groups of residents of both gated and Gullah (African American) communities, conducting formal and informal interviews with people on various sides of the dispute, and analyzing associated literature. Preliminary findings were that the gated community phenomenon represented, for Gullah people, the racialized oppression and exploitation associated with plantation slavery and that the term plantation served as a device of knowledge production in reinvented versions of Sea Island history. Hargrove identified dichotomous interpretations of plantation slavery, each equipped with rationalizations dependent on social and historical memory. She also found that the predicament of postcolonial recolonization was being met with grassroots mobilization by Gullahs against threats to the vital resource necessary for maintaining their cultural lifeway: their ancestral land inheritance. Unable to garner political and economic power at the local level, Gullah community leaders chose to respond by crafting a platform for self-determination in the global arena of human and minority rights.
Maldonado, Andrea, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Culture: The New Drug of Choice in Mexico City,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Gutmann
ANDREA MALDONADO, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Culture: The New Drug of Choice in Mexico City,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Gutmann. This dissertation explores new forms of state-sponsored care among low-income Mexicans in relation to the places where they surface and the interests fueling their support. Since 2002, an assortment of 'cultural therapies' (from yoga to tai chi) has emerged as Mexico's prescription of choice to prevent and treat what authorities identify as 'culturally transmitted diseases' (such as diabetes) among the urban poor. In Mexico City, these measures take shape in health institutes, cultural centers, parks, and streets. The growth of this campaign-which blames sickness on the culture of poor people and outsources their care to non-medical providers-raises questions about how states manage the production and circulation of knowledge in this nascent health arena, and why ordinary Mexicans subscribe to these policies. This study investigates the nuances and contradictions of this 'turn to culture,' suggesting that in spite of its appeal, it may be exacerbating aspects of inequality in public health. It reveals how the enactment of cultural healing in place encourages new techniques of self-care and new sites of social differentiation. Health services constituted outside clinical settings, but operating with institutional legitimacy, can generate new exchanges-even as they also engender novel practices of state and expert surveillance.
Burdick, Christa Marie, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Imagining a New Alsace: The Branding of Place and the Production of Ethnolinguistic Identity,' supervised by Dr. Jacqueline L. Urla
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the ways in which place branding initiatives constitute important sites for the contemporary reconfiguration of nations, cultures and languages along the lines of global market imperatives. Focusing on a particularly fraught instance of region branding in Alsace, France, this project traces the ways in which Alsatian linguistic difference is rearticulated as profitable within broader discourses of place-based economic distinction. I will track the ways 'Alsatianness' is produced by regional branders for the specific brand form, and how efforts to produce 'Alsatianness' recruit Alsatian dialect to index and perform authenticity. Alsace however, as a region that changed hands between France and Germany four times within two hundred years, has long been the site of contested linguistic and national identification. Today, Alsace remains a region that defies identification along national lines, thus complicating the brand process that seeks to elicit consumable images and identities. Thus, this project also seeks to understand how emergent economic valuations of linguistic difference confront, coexist or compete with long-standing configurations of language and the nation. Employing methods of participant observation, interviews and focus groups with brand custodians and Alsatian individuals, I will trace the production, implementation and circulation of the brand to understand where and how Alsatian individuals are themselves interpellated to embody the regional brand identity, for as branding literature shows, place brands must be 'lived' to be successful (Aronczyk 2013).
Gogel, Leah Pearce, Teachers College, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Diagnosis Postponed: Ethnographic Perspectives on the Mental Health of Female Youth in Court-placed Residential Treatment,' supervised by Dr. Charles Harrington
LEAH PEARCE GOGEL, then a student at Teachers College, New York, New York, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Diagnosis Postponed: Ethnographic Perspectives on the Mental Health of Female Youth in Court-Placed Residential Treatment,' supervised by Dr. Charles Harrington. This ethnographic study provides an analysis of the how psychiatric diagnoses, including Disruptive Behavior Disorders and Bipolar Disorder, are located in a residential treatment center for female youth in the juvenile justice system. Fieldwork was conducted for twelve months with residents and staff at a facility in New York State. In particular, the project sought to explore how juvenile justice gatekeepers, youth, and other members of the residential community invoke, embrace, and/or challenge diagnostic categories. Data generated from participant observation and interviews suggests that there are meaningful contradictions in how psychiatric diagnoses operate in this environment. On the one hand, mental health concerns remain relatively muted in the daily lives of residents, who face myriad challenges related to histories of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual coercion, and school failure. On the other hand, the assignment of a psychiatric disorder to specific individuals, whether by self-labeling or by consensus among peers or staff, functions both to forgive and discredit; youth who acknowledge diagnoses can purchase leniency from peers and adults but only at the cost of being perceived as somehow broken. Ethnographic data is integrated with literature on the historical transformation of adolescent psychiatric disorders in order to examine how diagnoses like Conduct Disorder and Bipolar Disorder become a currency of value for various actors with different end goals.
Whitten, Margarete Jean, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Decentralizing Compassion: Biomedical Politics of Ethics and Life in US Community Health,' supervised by Dr. Dana Ain Davis
Preliminary abstract: The Affordable Care Act is predicted to spur a decentralization of hospitals in the United States, stimulating the growth of localized community health centers and services to accommodate 32 million formerly uninsured people. In the absence of universal health care, how is the responsibility to care for vulnerable populations directed and organized? How has the connection between structural inequality and suffering in vulnerable populations been elided and reconstrued as incidental, blameless and random? How does an ethical commitment to compassion undermine or support the 'right' to access care? My research will address these questions by studying the work of community health nurses in Massachusetts, the state that has served as the model for national reform, to map expanding and increasingly localized networks of care that explicitly target vulnerable populations. I will investigate (1) how the increasing authority, autonomy, and scope of practice of community health nurses enable them to redefine the administration and justification of care; and (2) how nurses use new health information technologies to legitimize an expanded notion of care and to redefine their obligations and responsibilities as care providers. I will collect data through a combination of participant observation in three community health sites, an analysis of bureaucratic document production in the use of health information technologies and materials, and oral history with nurses who have worked in multiple clinical paradigms through generations of reform. I hypothesize that increasing the influence of community health nurses will enable an activation of professional caring ethics to reimagine the role of medicine to shape the quality of life of vulnerable populations in an unstable neoliberal moment.
Laven, Nina, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Remaking Ancestry, Redrawing Aboriginality: The Life of Family Trees in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Maria Lemon
NINA LAVEN, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Remaking Ancestry, Redrawing Aboriginality: The Life of Family Trees in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec,' supervised by Dr. Alaina Maria Lemon. The research investigated the impact of folk ideas about 'race' and ancestry on DNA analysis, demonstrating how suppositions about race and North American settler and Native history are being used to generate a priori definitions of the genetic makeup of ancestral populations for genetic research. The grantee found that paternally inherited surnames are being used by geneticists to indicate the family histories of current day French Canadians. However, names are tacitly understood according to different frameworks within different groups. Within scientific contexts names are used as indicators of biological ancestry (French names mean French origins). Within broader French-Canadian circles, names are used as keys to recover personal histories and track French geographical and national origins. Within many Native circles, names are seen as subverting the search for roots and true ancestry: they are viewed as the stamps of a colonial clerical regime that converted natives in order to make them good French Catholic subjects. Research found that a struggle over history and political rights between French-Canadian nationalist and First Nations groups is being carried out through the debate about how to interpret names.