Pan, Yichung, U. of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'The Colonisation and Abandonment of Neolithic Islandscapes: A Case Study from the Penghu Archipelago, Taiwan,' supervised by Dr. Keith Dobney
Preliminary abstract: This project aims to reinvestigate the evidence for the early occupation and exploitation of the Penghu archipelago, Taiwan by Neolithic settlers between 5000 to 4000B.P and to explore if the islands were abandoned by end of the Neolithic. By combining zooarchaeological, geoarchaeological and GIS approaches the project will enable the key relationships between site location, resource availability/exploitation and environmental factors to be established in order to throw new light on the important role this relatively unknown but key island archipelago played in the early expansion of Austronesian-speaking peoples from mainland ISEA. This research will apply and modify archaeological theory of both island and landscape archaeology and will help highlight and promote the combination of advanced GIS, geoarchaelogical and island zooarchaeological research within Taiwanese archaeology.
Dickinson, Maggie, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Re-calibrating the Welfare State: The Politics of Food Insecurity in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
MAGGIE DICKINSON, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Re-Calibrating the Welfare State: The Politics of Food Insecurity in New York City,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings. This ethnography of food insecurity in North Brooklyn found that, despite the growth of state and private charitable food aid, the resources that currently exist in this area are inadequate for preventing food insecurity, particularly for those families and individuals who are unemployed or marginally employed. The work-first orientation of welfare policy, codified in the 1996 welfare reform legislation, continues to impact people's abilities to access food aid, making it far more difficult for families and individuals who are unemployed or who rely on cash welfare benefits to maintain a Food Stamp case than for families where at least one household member is employed. These findings reflect a broader, neoliberal approach to urban poverty governance based on the idea that poverty should be dealt with by encouraging poor and working class people to participate in the labor market through a system of state-administered incentives and punishments. It finds that food aid programs based on this model are inadequate at preventing food insecurity for the poorest urban dwellers and that food program recipients, working with community-based organizations and anti-hunger advocates, have begun to challenge this approach to providing food aid.
Tarter, Andrew Martin, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'The Tree Farmers of Haiti: Understanding Factors that Influence Farmers' Retention of Forest Land in Southern Haiti,' supervised by Dr. Gerald F. Murray
Preliminary abstract: Deforestation and loss of valuable topsoil in Haiti have severe consequences for the seven million Haitians that occupy the rural countryside and depend on agricultural production as their primary livelihood strategy. Declining agricultural yields have exacerbated under-nutrition, hunger, dis-ease, environmental vulnerability, and rural out-migration. Haitians who have abandoned unproductive rural localities for urban areas are often met by an even bleaker situation, as they are forced to occupy the marginal spaces of overcrowded and underemployed cities. Anthropologists working in Haiti since the early 20th century have produced a corpus of literature on human-nature interactions in Haiti, particularly centered on the relationship between Haitian farmers and trees. Economists and ecologists have approached this same relationship from different but complementary perspectives. What has emerged from the better part of a century of scholarship on human-nature interactions in Haiti is the broad consensus of anthropologists, economists, and ecologists that tree-planting aimed at curbing soil loss is one very important way of simultaneously addressing the human, ecological, and economic crises in Haiti. The tree, conceptualized as a cash-crop, harbors the possibility to improve and diversify Haitian livelihoods and improve overall standards of living. This research focuses on rural Haitian farmers who plant, maintain, and harvest trees, independent of any external assistance. By situating a previous anthropological concept entitled 'the domestication of energy' within a a modified Rational Choice Theory approach to understanding individual decision-making, this research identifies the social, ecological, and economic factors that most affect the retention and management of tree-covered land.
Ikeuchi, Suma, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Brazilian Birth, Japanese Blood, and Transnational God: Identity and Resilience among Pentecostal Brazilians in Japan,' supervised by Dr. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva
Preliminary abstract: This study engages Brazilian migrants in Japan, both Pentecostal and non-religious, and asks the following question: Can religious networks, practices, and commitments promote a more resilient sense of self by resolving the ambiguity of multiple ethnic identities and national belonging? The majority of Brazilians in Japan hold 'long-term resident' visas, which are available only to Japanese emigrants and their second- and third- generation descendants. Although the legal structure regards them as at least partially Japanese based on descent, the Japanese majority typically does not view them as fully or authentically Japanese. This is because the society tends to define national belonging as the complete convergence of Japanese blood, culture, and language. In this context, many are converting to Pentecostal Christianity in Japan. This project focuses on the religious participation of such converts through the conceptual lens of resilience. The ability to resist stress and overcome adversity, or resilience, is a solid construct in psychological and medical anthropology. I will conduct seven months of fieldwork in Toyota City, Japan. The methods will include participant-observation, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and open interviews. Particular effort will be made to observe and record emic idioms of resilience, on which later data analysis will be based.
Murphy, Daniel Joseph, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little
DANIEL J. MURPHY, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little. This project investigated the ways in which increasing rural inequality in post-socialist Mongolia has altered common-property resource management institutions, access to pastoral resources, and resources use patterns. The researcher carried out this project in the third bag (Uguumur district) of Bayankhutag soum (county), Khentii aimag (province) in eastern Mongolia and employed a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (including participant observation, surveying, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing, and case-study analysis) to investigate the research questions. The project found that general socio-economic inequality and commercialization in pastoral society, rather than solely absentee herd-ownership as hypothesized, has fostered divergent herd management practices and resource use strategies. Moreover, the research has found that these changes, in combination with neo-liberal governance reforms such as decentralization, have altered community dynamics and the effectiveness of community level institutions to regulate resource use. This research will contribute to: 1) new understandings of common property systems and theories of 'community;' 2) expansion of anthropological investigations of property relations under post-socialism to common-property systems; and 3) anthropological studies of pastoral inequality.
Closser, Svea Hupy, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter John Brown
SVEA CLOSSER then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown. This case study of a public health project focused on Pakistan, one of the last four countries in the world with endemic polio, and explored the reach, limits, and complex negotiation of the power of UN and bilateral agencies over the Pakistani health system. This research revealed that because the Polio Eradication Initiative is a 'partnership' of donors and UN agencies with country governments, officials at places like the WHO in Geneva have no direct control over the actual implementation of immunization activities. Polio vaccination campaigns are carried out in Pakistan by highly political district health offices along with very poorly paid and largely disgruntled workers. The WHO uses a number of tactics to put pressure on Pakistani government officials, but they are unable to make polio the priority in a nation beset with other, more politically pressing problems. However, due to the donor-directed culture of optimism that pervades upper levels of the project, these issues are never discussed in official publications. These tensions between the culture of global health institutions and local political cultures threaten to undermine the 20-year, six-billion-dollar initiative.
Closser, Svea. 2010. Chasing Polio in Pakistan: Why the World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail. Vanderbilt University Press: Nashville, TN.
Smith, Alexander T.T., U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Apprehending the (Scottish) State: Devolution, Nationalism and the Politics of Rural Development,' supervised by Dr. Anthony P. Cohen
ALEXANDER T. T. SMITH, while a student at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, received funding in May 2001 to aid research on devolution, nationalism, and the politics of rural development in Scotland, under the supervision of Dr. Anthony P. Cohen. Contemporary Scotland presents a unique opportunity for anthropologists and other social scientists to explore, in a Western setting, the processes by which a new parliament is created and its effects on other state agencies. Smith investigated the processes by which the authority of the Scottish Parliament was being negotiated and established through a nexus of institutions concerned with 'rural development' in Dumfries and Galloway. On the basis of ethnographic research conducted between the devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the region in 2001 and elections to the local council and Scottish Parliament in May 2003, Smith addressed the following questions: How is authority and legitimacy constructed by governing institutions in Scotland? What legitimating role will discourses relating to rural development and the land play in constructing political authority in postdevolution Scotland? And how do these discourses contribute to the formation of national identity?
Smith, Alexander. 2011. Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives: Banal Activism, Electioneering and the Politics of Irrelevance. Manchester University Press: Manchester and New York.
Haskell, David L., U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'The Incorporation of Local Level Elites in the Tarascan State,' supervised by Dr. Susan D. Gillespie
DAVID L. HASKELL, then a student at University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, received funding in June 2005 to aid research on 'The Incorporation of Local Level Elites in the Tarascan State,' supervised by Dr. Susan D. Gillespie. The research seeks to illuminate the Tarascan administrative hierarchy, at least as it existed in the political and demographic core of the Tarascan State, the Lake Patzcuaro Basin. This research has helped to confirm obsidian lapidary production at the secondary administrative center of Erongaricuaro. With this confirmation, researchers are starting to better understand the control of status markers of utmost importance to the construction of authority in the Tarascan State. The presence of lapidary production at Erongaricuaro differentiates this site from its subordinate, Urichu, a tertiary administrative center, at the same time that it renders nobles at Erongaricuaro less dependent upon the royal dynasty at Tzintzuntzan for such items. The research also holds the potential, however, for examining the procurement strategies of the nobility at Erongaricuaro as they supported the lapidary specialists. It remains a possibility that the nobles of Erongaricuaro still relied on the royal dynasty to provide them with the raw materials needed to produce these markers of nobility.
Maurer, Megan Lynn, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Growing Change? Urban Gardening and Citizenship in Southeast Michigan,' supervised by Dr. Kristin Monroe
Preliminary abstract: Residents of Southeast Michigan are challenging images of urban decay by physically transforming their cities. People from all walks of life are investing 'sweat equity' in their urban environments, turning vacant lots into vegetable garden plots and generating civic life. Through these investments gardeners engender forms of citizenship, creating new landscapes of political engagement, as well as producing green space and food. However, what kinds of citizenship these gardeners enact remains unclear. Do gardener-citizens operationalize neoliberal ideologies of private responsibility for social service provision, or are they forging alternatives to them? Urban gardening thus raises important questions about how people use everyday activities to affect the sociopolitical conditions of their daily lives. To investigate these questions, this project uses in-depth ethnographic study in a small Southeast Michigan city to identify gardeners' ideas about urban land use and civic life, and to explore how these ideas impact urban gardening and citizenship. This project also considers how different experiences of race and class inequalities shape participation in urban gardening and citizenship. Finally, given the regional impacts of global economic restructuring and recent changes in Michigan's urban governance policies, this project asks in how gardeners influence their city's political governance and economic redevelopment.