Nealis, Stuart Edmund, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Assessing Prehistoric Labor Relations Through a Geoarchaeological Study of the Portsmouth Earthworks,' supervised by Dr. George M. Crothers
Preliminary abstract: This research assesses the labor relations and political control present in the prehistoric groups that constructed the Portsmouth Earthworks in what is now southern Ohio and northern Kentucky approximately two thousand years ago. These earthen monuments enclose large spaces and span miles of terrain on both sides of the Ohio River, suggesting a significant labor pool and leadership were required for their construction, despite the archaeological evidence from that period in time that shows no institutionalized power structure or hierarchy. Approaching earthen construction using geophysical survey and geoarchaeological analysis of sediment and soil core samples will allow us to determine the speed and duration of building episodes, and in so doing serve as a proxy for determining the approximate size of the labor pool that was required to build such monumental cultural landscapes as well as the leadership that inherently was needed to bring such large groups of people together for a common task. This approach to studying political economic interactions in non-stratified societies is important where market economy and prestige goods exchange are not well-established. Additionally, this research provides new and significant data for assessing the beginnings of structural inequality and institutionalized leadership positions in the past.
Davidson, Joanna H., Emory U. Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'The Salience of Ethnicity in Inter-Group Conflict: Felupe-Fula Tensions in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Bruce M. Knauft
JOANNA H. DAVIDSON, while a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in October 2001 to aid research on the salience of ethnicity in intergroup conflict in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, under the supervision of Dr. Bruce M. Knauft. Davidson conducted twenty-two months of ethnographic and historical research, focusing on recent conflicts within and between ethnic groups in northern Guinea-Bissau. Residing in a Diola village, she gathered a broad array of ethnographic information on areas such as agricultural practices, land tenure, work ethic, neighborhood organization, initiation and socialization, kinship, interethnic marriage, religious institutions and practices, Christian conversion, and funerary practices. Field research methods included interviews, genealogies, household surveys, life histories, and participant observation, complemented by document analysis and archival research. Davidson also collected oral histories on settlement patterns, colonial involvement in the region, and changes in traditional leadership. She explored the way Diola residents and their neighbors in northern Guinea-Bissau were responding, individually and collectively, to recent dramatic changes in their natural and social environment, such as climate change (with its impact on subsistence agriculture), youth migration, schooling, and national political transformations. Within this context, she examined the extent to which ethnicity had become an organizing principle for social action and how such changes were linked to conflicts within and among ethnic groups in the region. A major facet of her research involved understanding how long-standing Diola practices revolving around social and economic egalitarianism were being challenged by both internal and external forces and how such changes were affecting Diola notions of personhood and pluralism.
Smith, Carolyn, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Weaving pikyav(to-fix-it): Karuk Basket Weaving Practice in-Relation to the Everyday World,' supervised by Dr. Rosemary Joyce
Preliminary abstract: This project requests funding to research archival resources and museum collections pertaining to the Karuk Tribe of California's basket weaving practices, as well as to conduct interviews with Karuk basket weavers, descendants of weavers, and employees of the Karuk Department of Natural Resources. Anthropology has long engaged with Native American craftworks and this project will build on prior work by considering the configurations of social identity produced through practice in everyday life. Data produced will address questions regarding historical and contemporary relations between people and land: how do Karuk basket makers constitute social identity through the making and circulation of baskets? In what ways do these practices support the formation of connection to place? How does recontextualization of museum collections through linking objects with archival resources help us understand how objects can constitute social identities? In order to examine the relations of basket weaving with the broader issues of traditional ecological knowledge and its relation to natural resource management; the circulation of objects within and outside source communities; and the implications of considering objects as agentive; this project explores Karuk epistemology and ontology. The research will significantly contribute to museum anthropology, theories of materiality, and engagements with indigenous methodologies.
Hlubik, Sarah Kathleen, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Finding Prometheus: A Multi-pronged Approach to the Search for Fire in the Early Pleistocene at FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Craig Feibel
Preliminary abstract: The search for the first use of fire in the archaeological record has been a topic of contention since the discovery of reddened consolidated sediments at the sites of FxJj20 East and FxJj20 Main at Koobi Fora, Kenya in 1973. Since then work at other contemporaneous sites in East and South Africa have added to the debate over the earliest use of fire by human ancestors, but none have unequivocally answered the question of whether ancient human ancestors controlled fire. Evidence for fire in the region is abundant in the natural record, but association of that fire with human behavior, particularly in open-air settings, has been problematic. The current study proposes to combine chemical, spectral, spatial and magnetic analysis with new excavations at site FxJj20 AB and experimental work to determine whether a signal of fire is present on the site and whether or not it can be associated with human activity. The project will conduct excavation at the FxJj20 AB site, as well as conduct experiments in the signature of fire on open landscapes. During excavation, all cultural material will be collected, as well as samples for micromorphology, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and magnetic intensity. Similar samples will be collected for experiments to create a reference collection of the signature of fire on an open arid landscape and how that signature degrades over time. This project will contribute a significant amount of knowledge to the study of the origins of fire.
Mellquist Lehto, Heather Ashley, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Multisite Church Revolution: Church Technology in South Korea and the United States,' supervised by Dr. Charles Hirschkind
Preliminary abstract: A multisite church is a single church that meets at multiple locations by recording the worship service in one sanctuary and broadcasting it to congregations of 'satellite' churches. This typically involves a combination of audio, video, and hologram technologies. My dissertation research explores technology in religious practice through examining transnational multisite churches and the media technologies that both enable and guide their development. With the support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, I will conduct fieldwork at the Onnuri and Yoido Full Gospel church sites in Los Angeles, California as a necessary complement to the fieldwork I have conducted at the Seoul, South Korea sites of these churches. This will permit me to conduct research not only across church locations, but national and social boundaries, and providing comparative data that is central to addressing my research hypotheses about the relationship between particular material surroundings and the theological ideals of these communities. This research will not only add to sparse academic literature on Korean Christianity, but also to literature on embodied practice and materiality. It will also contribute to ongoing conversations in anthropology of religion and secularism, science and technology studies, and the anthropology of global phenomena.
Chaturvedi, Ruchi, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Criminal Enmities: State, Party Workers and the Law in South India,' supervised by Dr. E. Valentine Daniel
RUCHI CHATURVEDI, while a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on 'Criminal Enmities: State, Party Workers and the Law in South India,' supervised by Dr. E. Valentine Daniel. Research centered around political party workers of the Marxist left and the Hindu right in Northern Kerala who have used relentless violence against each other for over three decades. Field research for the dissertation project proceeded from the following questions: What are the details of the party workers' social histories and biographies? What roles and performances mark their careers and what is their relevance for the functioning of the democratic state? What are the contexts and modes in which workers oft11ese parties usurp the state's defining feature: its monopoly over the use of physical force? Party workers form communities tied together by bonds of friendship and kinship, and religious and other ideologies. Those not perceived as 'friends' and 'brothers' are classified as enemies. Political practice gets directed towards elimination of this enemy, and violence ensues. This is a logic that also finds place within democracies but poses grave challenges to the ideals of rightful democratic practice. In KeraIa, as in other parts of India and the world, the State paradoxically becomes both the site of the political contest as well as the agent of violence against enemies of one or another group, thereby creating its own enemy. Research was thus directed at examining how the State-judiciary enacts its authority only by transfiguring the State subject into the State enemy through violence. Party workers are caught in this whirl of varied antagonistic claims to authority and violence. The question of necessity of this violence in the practice and preservation of democracy is the central ethical problem that is posed and engaged with in the dissertation.
Saraf, Aditi, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Invoking Azaadi: Islam, Freedom and the Moral Economy in the Kashmiri Marketplace,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
ADITI SARAF, then a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Invoking Azaadi: Islam, Freedom and the Moral Economy in the Kashmiri Marketplace,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The research addresses questions of freedom, exchange, and the 'moral economy' in the markets of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir. Currently, the movement for freedom from India (azaadi) is organized primarily through strikes and public protests in the midst of state violence and surveillance in accordance with a schedule of activities laid out in regularly issued protest calendars. The grantee conducted 22 months of fieldwork between 2011 and 2013 on how Kashmiri merchants adapt their work to the ongoing conflict. Specifically, the project focuses on: 1) how the disruptive violence of militarization, curfews, and protests transform the everyday business practices of traders, merchants, and shopkeepers; 2) the history of traders' activism as discerned in archival documents; and 3) how notions of freedom are linked to perceptions of economic self-sufficiency and dependence. For the dissertation, the grantee hopes to explore ideas of sovereignty, both collective and individual, along the following lines: an ethnohistory of trade relations and commercial regulation, the political activism of traders' collectives, and the material and moral networks of credit and credibility that persist through political turbulence.
Halili, Rigels, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland - To aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel
RIGELS HALILI, then a student at Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Oral Epic Poetry in Kosovo and Sandzak Nowadays,' supervised by Dr. Andrzej Mencwel. This research project realized from July 2006 to February 2007, aimed to inquire into the presence, function and role that oral epic poetry plays nowadays in the regions of Sandžak and Kosovo. Several singers have learned their songs from other members of their families or neighbors; in other words through an oral transmission. But others admitted that they have learned songs from different songbooks or tapes of other singers. Textual analysis of recorded songs showed that only among Kosovo singers is there still a strong presence of formulaic character of singing. The traditional way of singing is becoming more and more a professional and commercial activity. In Sanžak, but increasingly in Kosovo as well, epic songs rarely appear in public places that are not in connection with commercial activities. But they are still present in many spheres of private life, especially weddings. Moreover, the number of active singers is decreasing. All singers emphasized that the young generation is not interested in learning old songs, while they prefer newly composed popular songs, especially those broadcasted in the media or distributed on the internet. However, oral forms did not disappear entirely, but were transformed, while functioning in new communicative conditions.
Zhu, Jiangang, Chinese U. of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, P.R. China - To aid research on 'Shanghai Lilong Neighborhood: An Ethnography of Civil Associations and Social Movements,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Bosco
JIANGANG ZHU, while a student at Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, P.R. China, was awarded a grant in August 2001 to aid research on 'Shanghai Lilong Nieghborhood: An Ethnography of Civil Associations and Social Movements,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Bosco. This research explored the civil associations and community movements in a lilong neighborhood in Shanghai since the 1980s. The central question was how these civil associations and social movements interact with neighborhood residents and with the local government in Shanghai. In order to answer this question, a neighborhood named Pingming Village was selected for ethnographic fieldwork.
Data was collected by doing volunteer work for the neighborhood committee, by participating in several community movements against the local government or real estate developers, and by becoming involved in several voluntary organizations. In one case, residents protested against a skyscraper that would hide the sunlight from older buildings. Residents protested to the developer, complained to the local government, and organized themselves to defend their rights. Though the study of protest movements in China is a sensitive issue, community issues at the local level are not seen as political but as 'social' problems. Long-term residence in the community permitted research on these movements, and leaders were glad to provide materials and to be interviewed to publicize their struggle. The research showed how state power penetrated into neighborhood life and how resistance in the community was intertwined with this state penetration. Some of the movements successfully fought state bureaus, but only by depoliticizing their actions and allying themselves with other state bureaus. Because of the limits imposed by state hegemony, these associations and collective actions cannot build an independent civil society. However, they weave relations of trust, create networks of engagement, and improve the norm of reciprocity. When democratization is on the agenda these civil associations and movements may provide the social capital for this transformation.
MacCarthy, Michelle Dawn, U. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand - To aid research on 'Contextualizing Authenticity: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands,' supervised by Dr. Mark William Busse
MICHELLE MacCARTHY, then a student at University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Contextualizing Authenticity: Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Mark W. Busse. This project entailed eighteen months of fieldwork on the island of Kiriwina in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Ethnographic research with both Trobriand Islanders and tourists facilitated an examination of how both parties understand and manipulate notions of tradition and authenticity in the milieu of cultural tourism. This research explored, on the one hand, how Trobrianders enact 'Trobriandness' to tourists, and their own ideas about the importance of tradition for Trobriand life and for presentation to tourists. It also examined the ways in which tourists exoticize persistent notions of 'the primitive' and narrate their experiences in terms of cultural tourism as a lens into a more 'traditional, authentic' way of life. By considering various aspects of life that have been commoditized for tourist consumption, including material culture, dance and performance, and village life, this project analyzes the discourses of both tourists and Trobrianders as a way of understanding the intercultural encounter as it is seen by both parties, with a particular focus on how ideas of authenticity are constructed and are essential to both Trobriand and touristic notions of 'culture.'
MacCarthy, Michelle. 2012. Playing Politics with Yams: Food Security in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment: The Journal of Culture &