Levitt, Emily Katherine, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY -To aid research on 'Changing the Tax Base Changes Everything: The Fiscal Dimensions of Citizenship and Sovereignty in Upstate New York,' supervised by Dr. Paul Nadasdy
Preliminary abstract: In Seneca Falls, NY, the Cayuga nation is buying property and refusing to pay the associated taxes, thereby attempting to establish a reservation. Many residents of Seneca Falls are organizing in opposition to this move and the associated loss to the municipal tax base. This project examines the financial and non-financial stakes of the struggle from the perspectives of the different players involved. I ask: what understandings of political and economic life are embedded in these controversies surrounding the changes posed to the tax base? Through studying both Cayuga and non-Cayuga discourses about the role of taxes and revenue, this project examines the ways in which these heated debates reflect and constitute different ideas of what citizenship and sovereignty entail. This research will open new space for anthropological enquiry through its focus on taxation's relationship to citizenship and sovereignty, through its synchronic approach to a group of politically highly varied research subjects, and through bridging the traditionally discrete domains of Native American and other North American anthropologies. Through drawing anthropological attention to these contestations about the fiscal dimensions of citizenship and taxation, this project will further academic understanding of a variety of important aspects of American political debates.
Ballestero, Andrea, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Between Human Rights and Commodities: Water, Expertise and Politics in Latin America,' supervised by Dr. George Marcus
ANDREA BALLESTERO, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Between Human Rights and Commodities: Water, Expertise and Politics in Latin America,' supervised by Dr. George Marcus. This research examines the ethics and politics of the constitution of the human right to water by Latin American water experts. It explores how 'transnationalized' experts produce, disseminate and evaluate expert knowledge. Using a multi-sited design, the project focuses on experts from Brazil, Costa Rica, and an international water NGO based in Sweden, to investigate the everyday use of economic, legal, and hydrological knowledge to create boundaries between human rights and commodities as governance tools. During 14 months of fieldwork more than 90 interviews were conducted. Informants included experts from state institutions, NGOs, academia, corporations, and water users. More than 40 technical meetings were attended and a database of articles and technical publications was collected. A series of fieldtrips for public-participation events, hydro-geological data collection, public hearings, and pollution assessments were conducted. The research shows how the articulation of policy knowledge is becoming more dependent on its form than on the types of networks through which it moves. It shows a complex politics of case-study presentation and creation of publics that closely resembles contemporary anthropological knowledge. And finally, it underscores how presumed political opposites, such as human rights and commodities, are difficult to differentiate as techno-political tools.
McLean, Kristen E., Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Masculinity and Fatherhood in Post-conflict, Ebola-Affected Sierra Leone: Assessing Challenges and Resources for Family Wellbeing,' supervised by Dr. Catherine Panter-Brick
PReliminary abstract: Within anthropology young men have been targeted in the context of reproductive health and HIV, with the goal of improving family wellbeing. However, young men have been relatively ignored for their roles as caregivers and co-parents. Research that involves fathers tends to be based in Western settings and largely focuses on their deficits, recognizing men for the damages they impart, rather than for the positive roles they play. This research seeks to join other anthropologists in calling attention to African men's positive caregiving roles. In this project I ask: How does surviving war shape young men's masculinity, fatherhood experiences, and family wellbeing in post-conflict, Ebola-affected Sierra Leone? This project will assess what it means to be a man in a context of debilitating poverty and public health crisis, identifying key challenges young men face as well as resources they rely upon in their efforts to parent. Finally, this project will assess how men, even within the context of utmost adversity, strive to overcome barriers to provide support and love to their families. By doing so, the study will advance and bridge the literatures on masculinity, fatherhood, and resilience, adding to theoretical debates on gender and family wellbeing.
Praspaliauskiene, Rima, U. of California Davis, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Thank You, Doctor: Informed Patients, Healthcare, and Ethics in Post-Socialist Lithuania,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit
RIMA PRASPALIAUSKIENE, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Thank You, Doctor: Informed Patients, Healthcare, and Ethics in Post-Socialist Lithuania,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit. This project explored how in informal economy illness is experienced and how health is managed. By examining one of the components of health practice -- informal payments -- this project looks at the configuration of the concept of health itself, as it currently emerges at the historical intersection of socialist state practices and liberal technologies of government. And it asks: How did the socialist state provision of health-its practices and technologies-contribute to a definition of health during its heyday? How is this definition of health being rearticulated by the neo-liberal state and how do informal payments interfere with it? What is it like to be a patient or a healthcare provider at these historical crossroads? This research approaches the narratives coalescing illness and told by patients, their relatives and doctors as 'envelope narratives.' The envelope here is not solely a metaphor for a monetary transaction that comes up in the narratives, but a metaphor and a concept that encapsulates the linkages between notion of health, belief, hope, and political economy in contemporary Lithuania. Findings suggest that the interconnectedness of both therapeutic systems and social networks is rendered in the envelope narratives, where illness, hope and social networks are bundled.
Bauer, Kenneth M., Oxford U., Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Land Use Change and Socio-Economic Transformations among Nomads in Porong, Central Tibet,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Rival
KENNETH M. BAUER, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in September 2003 to aid research on 'Land Use Change and Socio-Economic Transformations among Nomads in Porong, Central Tibet,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Rival. This field research investigated land use change and the impacts of government development policies among Tibetan pastoralists during the second half of the twentieth century. This work describes and analyzes the rhetoric and implementation of development policies by the Chinese government in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This history of land use dynamics, socio-economic change, and policy phases, is grounded in a case study of Porong Township (Nyelam County, Shigatse Prefecture, TAR, PRC). The grantee gathered several kinds of evidence, which will be interpreted using a multi-disciplinary approach. Support enabled the grantee to collect and translate historical texts describing land use and to interview pastoralists, government agents, and NGO workers, as well as work with local pastoralists to map historical and contemporary pasture boundaries.
Tallman, Paula Skye, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Stress, Health, and Physiological Functioning in the Awajun of the Peruvian Amazon' supervised by Dr. Thomas W. McDade
PAULA S. TALLMAN, then a graduate student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Stress, Health, and Physiological Functioning in the Awajún of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Thomas W. McDade. The Awajún are an Amerindian group living in the northern highland rainforest of the Peruvian Amazon. This dissertation employed a critical biocultural approach and methods to explore the relationship between cultural changes, stress, and biological functioning in an Awajún community. Ethnographic research revealed that individuals are most stressed by lacking economic resources to cover basic needs and the costs of education. The importance of education is deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of Awajún communities as the Summer Institute of Linguistics (a US based evangelical and linguistic organization) and the Peruvian government worked extensively in the region over the last 50 years to promote education and Spanish language use as a path out of poverty. In a sample of 220 individuals (18-65 yrs. of age), multivariate linear and logistic regression analyses showed that individuals with more education have lower blood pressure (B = -1.41, p = 0.004) and individuals who reported speaking Spanish as their primary language had lower Epstein-Barr Virus antibodies (OR =0.33, p = 0.029), indicating that they have 'better' immune system functioning. These results demonstrate that events in the broader cultural and political economic sphere can 'get under the skin' to influence cardiovascular and immune system functioning.
Darmadi, Dadi, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'The Hajj, Reinvented: Pilgrimage, Mobility and Inter-State Organizations in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho
DADI DARMADI, while a student at Harvard University, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'The Hajj, Reinvented: Pilgrimage, Mobility and Inter-State Organizations in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia,' supervised by Professor Engseng Ho. The grantee conducted twelve months of research on the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in March 2007, working with Indonesian pilgrims, bureaucrats, middlemen and other key actors in the Hajj business -- spiritual guides, tour and travel agents, government officials, leaders and activists of Islamic organizations, and migrant workers. The research was designed to investigate the consequences of state-to-state organization of the Hajj between a country with the largest contingent (over 200,000 pilgrims) and its host. Research was conducted in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and during the pilgrimage itself, and provides an analysis of the burgeoning pilgrimage bureaucracy by emphasizing the actual rather than the ideal workings of state-sponsored Hajj administration. It shows that various groups of middlemen in both countries have a far greater role in shaping the contemporary practice of the Hajj than was previously believed and, while both governments seek to serve and protect pilgrims from organizational failures, the state regulation often becomes a vehicle for private gain at public expense. The social context of bureaucratization and marketization of pilgrimage were examined through a multi-sited ethnography including direct observation, interviews, and participatory research during the Hajj Islamic pilgrimage, and documented by an in-depth study of both state regulations and recent popular Hajj literature. The key aim of this ethnographic research is to provide useful analysis and enlighten anthropological understanding of such major ritual practice as the Hajj and its complex relationships with government and market institutions.
Rock, Joeva S., American U., Washington, DC - To aid research on ''Our Stomachs are Being Colonized!' Constructions and Practices of Food Sovereignty in Ghana,' supervised by Dr. William Leap
Preliminary abstract: My research asks: how do food sovereignty NGOs negotiate between government discourses and the meanings and uses of food in the communities within which they work? Recent economic and climatic shifts have placed incredible pressure on Ghana's foodways and farmers. To address such challenges, Ghanaian activists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have advocated for food sovereignty, a framework that concerns people's rights to produce, consume and market healthy, 'culturally appropriate' foods through local, sustainable agricultural practices. Beginning in 2012, food sovereignty activists and NGOs mobilized in opposition to industrial agricultural schemes such as the US Feed the Future initiative, which use expensive, environmentally-unfriendly technologies (e.g. high nitrate fertilizers and GMOs). Such programs often posit food as a commodity for production and consumption, an approach which scholars and activists alike have argued overlooks the cultural components and social meanings attached to food. In Ghana, these meanings vary across geography and ethnicity. Here, food becomes a marker of resistance, and stands at the nexus of international economic and development institutions, debates of sovereignty, global order, and socio-cultural preservation. Thus, my research approaches food sovereignty advocacy vertically, and simultaneously considers the way food sovereignty NGOs navigate between the communities in which they work and the state structures within which they are situated.
Osterhoudt, Sarah Rae, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Vanilla for the Ancestors: Landscapes, Trade, and the Cultivation of Place in Madagascar,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove
SARAH R. OSTERHOUDT, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Vanilla for the Ancestors: Landscapes, Trade, and the Cultivation of Place in Madagascar,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove. The grantee is an environmental anthropologist working with small-scale vanilla, clove, rice and coffee farmers in the Mananara Nord region of Northeastern Madagascar. The project investigates the dynamic material, cultural, historical and ideological layers of agrarian landscapes, especially as related to commodity production and trade. Research notes how the agroforestry fields of Malagasy farmers emerge as places of overlap where products, meanings, and knowledges are actively circulated. Individuals draw from their everyday interactions with managed fields to imagine and articulate their past histories, present conditions, and future aspirations. Whether it is using a clove tree to recount family lineages, experimenting with a new technique to plant vanilla vines, or harvesting leaves from a hasina plant to use in a traditional ceremony, farmers draw from their fields both material and ideological resources. Focusing on agroforestry fields -- as places where 'natural' forests, managed forests, and agricultural activities intersect -- also complicates the ethnographic divide between agriculture and forest environments and illustrates the mutually constitutive spaces of nature and culture.
Filean, Erik P., U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Domestic Cattle and Political-Economic Change in the Roman-Period Lower Rhineland: The Civitas Batavorum,' supervised by Dr. Glenn R. Storey
ERIK P. FILEAN, then a student at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, was awarded a grant in July 2002 to aid research on 'Domestic Cattle and Political-Economic Change in the Roman-Period Lower Rhineland: The Civitas Batavorum,' supervised by Dr. Glenn R. Storey. The supported research explored changes in cattle exploitation in the civitas Batavorum, a district of the Roman province Germania Inferior, as a result of integration into the Roman Empire. The evidence collected consists of faunal assemblages from rural agricultural settlements, Roman military camps, urban and proto-urban settlements of fIrst through fourth century AD dates, with zooarchaeological analysis focusing on contrasts between military/civilian, Roman/Batavian, and urban/rural evidence for the use of cattle and cattle products. Representation of cattle skeletal parts with respect to economic utility suggests that rural sites with more direct links to the Batavian elite were more involved in cattle product provisioning to Roman forts and civilians, both before and after the evident appearance of market exchange in the later first century, perhaps indicating that the major effect of markets was to create a new pathway for funding of elite political competition. Sex and mortality profiles for cattle, however, indicate a lack of economic specialization at the production end: assemblages are typically dominated by mature female and castrate cattle. Despite the lack of evidence for a major impact of market exchange on husbandry patterns, two cattle subpopulations can be distinguished during the later first and second centuries, differing primarily in robusticity and possibly reflecting intensive breeding of larger animals for urban and military consumers.