Kohn, Alison S., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Towards an Archaeology of Urban Process in a Post-Colonial Context: An Ethnographic Case Study in La Paz, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler
ALISON S. KOHN, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in September 2003 to aid research on 'Towards an Archaeology of Urban Process in a Post-Colonial Context: An Ethnographic Case Study in La Paz, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Michael D. Dietler. As in most Latin American cities, under Spanish colonialism the city of La Paz, Bolivia consisted of spatialized hierarchies of race and class, in which Spanish and mestizo occupied the center of town, pushing the much larger indigenous Aymara population to the periphery. Today, postcolonial La Paz consists of a melange of modern and colonial architecture, of planned and unplanned design, of city-built and inhabitant-built neighborhoods sprawling from its Spanish colonial core. Together, La Paz's neighborhoods still represent a vertical sociology of unequal politicoeconomic social relations -- a conspicuous colonial artifact. Social scientists suggest that the built environment mediates social relations in particular ways -- indeed, contributes to their reproduction. This ethnoarchaeological research has asked: How do spatial and temporal practices in La Paz contribute to the reproduction of this vertical sociology? And, in what ways has it changed over time? Ultimately, this research has sought to understand how the built environment mediates relations of power in postcolonial cities. Thus this project has investigated the intersection of political authority, history and urbanization through a case study of the historical social production of one vernacular neighborhood in La Paz, including its relation to the city and its institutions as a whole. There were two major phases of research. Phase I: Vernacular Construction Practices through Time, was a detailed inquiry into the production of the built environment, how things are built, who builds them, how labor is organized and mobilized, where people get materials, and what social relationships are involved in this production. These processes were traced temporally and spatially through Munaypata's history through the collection of narratives from first generation residents and their descendants, urban planning officials, as well as through archival, museum, and urban planning documents. Phase II: Spatio-temporal Knowledge and Practice, added social action to the research focusing mainly on the residents of Munaypata. It sought to theorize how the logic of production engages with the logic of practice. Thus, this part of the research was concerned with gathering detailed information about residents' lifecycles in relation to the built environment -- in other words human histories as related to building histories or settlement biographies. This approach sought to understand how temporality is integrated with the urban landscape to produce a spatio-temporally organized social life. How is space-time reckoned through practice in La Paz? Are social roles distributed across different spatio-temporal networks? How? This second phase of research also examined spatial schemas or mental maps. These ideas about space were gathered through the use of strategies developed in the field of environmental psychology in which subjects are asked to draw representations of space such as representations of the neighborhood, representations of the city as a whole, and representations of important localities that individuals experience regularly. The idea was to record how people understand and imagine the city.
Berger, Eryn Fe Snyder, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Afrodescendant Youth, Cultural Citizenship, and the Promise of Media Democracy in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Paul B. Garrett
Preliminary abstract: Afrodescendant youth in Argentina currently find themselves navigating competing national discourses and complex transnational identity politics as they struggle to enter the public sphere as both legitimate citizens of the nation-state and vocal members of their diasporic community. My research examines Afrodescendant youth media production in order to understand how young Argentines of African descent conceptualize and assert their cultural belonging and citizenship within shifting racial paradigms and a changing media landscape in Argentina. Within the context of Argentina's recent media reforms and growing transnational Afrodescendant communication networks, I investigate recent efforts to bring visibility to the African Diaspora in Argentina through state-sponsored multicultural initiatives that train Afrodescendant youth media-makers. Taking a critical approach to the promises of inclusivity that have accompanied the state's discourses of multiculturalism and media democracy, this project examines how state-sponsored media workshops both enable and possibly constrain Afrodescendant youth's efforts to challenge exclusionary politics of cultural citizenship in Argentina. I will conduct fieldwork at youth media workshops, followed by a period of multi-sited collaborative research with youth participants in their home communities. Studying the post-production phase will yield new insights into the local impact of youth media projects and provide an opportunity to critically explore how media is conceptualized by Afrodescendant youth as a tool for social mobilization and democratic participation.
Ozarkar, Shantanu Satish, U. of Pune, Pune, India - To aid research on 'Mitochondrial DNA Diversity among Indo-European Language Speaking Agricultural Tribes of Maharashtra, India,' supervised by Dr. Bhaskaran Vijay Bhanu
SHANTANU OZARKAR, then a student at University of Pune, Pune. India, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Mitochondrial DNA Diversity among Indo-European Language Speaking Agricultural Tribes of Maharashtra, India,' supervised by Dr. Bhaskaran Bhanu. Despite cultural and linguistic diversity, Indian populations are largely derived from a common source population that diversified in situ. Available human skeletal record too indicates the genetic continuity since the Mesolithic era in the subcontinent. Cultural and genetic diversification of populations through fission leading to founder effects and drift may have had an impact on the current genetic structure of populations. Further, adoption of new subsistence strategies such as agriculture or pastoralism by the autochthonous hunter gatherers may have had impact on their demography resulting in population expansions or bottlenecks. Arrival of Indo-European speakers too, may have had similar impact. In this context, do the molecular genetic markers show signatures of such events? High copy number within a cell, maternal inheritance, lack of recombination, and a generally higher mutation rate than found in nuclear DNA makes mitochondrial DNA an important tool to reveal evolutionary histories of populations and hence has been extensively used. 15ml blood samples were collected from unrelated tribal individuals belonging to Bhil, Pawara, Mahadeo Koli, Warali and Kokana tibal communities from Western and Northern Maharashtra. DNA was extracted using Phenol-Chloroform extraction protocol. Further mtDNA sequencing analysis of the samples is in progress.
Fernandez Garcia, Sandra, UNED, Madrid, Spain - To aid research on 'Meanings and Senses in Process: An Ethnography of Emerging Practices of Artistic-technological Production in Urban Contexts,' supervised by Dr. Angel Diaz de Rada Brun
SANDRA FERNANDEZ GARCIA, then a graduate student at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, Spain, received a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Meaning and Senses in Process: An Ethnography of Emerging Practices of Artistic-Technological Production in Urban Contexts,' supervised by Dr. Angel Díaz de Rada Brun. The model of artefactual production of prototypes is developed through situated practices of learning by doing (DIY) as well as trans-situated informational exchanges. Thus, by that it is impossible to separate from production. This way of relating and producing generates a circuit of knowledge exchange, in which knowledge is taken as a non-subtractive good. The core idea supporting this is the 'commons.' It is understood in both an economic and a moral sense: as the common 'good.' Thus, it becomes a circuit of gift, as studied by Marcel Mauss, with its obligations to reciprocate. This is a 'total' system of exchange where social positions, sense making, aspects of subsistence, forms of authority and inter-disciplinary relationships come into play for this community of practices. Prototypes are themselves, then, a way of making the world. They become objects of knowledge as a result of learning through processes of incorporated knowledge that is being applied. Because they are concerned with issues of everyday life, and with their development process being a way of understanding these very issues, prototypes become the material results of research accordingly to the meanings themselves that have been produced throughout the workshops as a result of interdisciplinary arts-sciences backgrounds in co-labor.
Spiers, Samuel R., Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'The Historical Archaeology of the Eguafo Polity: Landscapes of Production and Consumption AD 1000-1900,' supervised by Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse
SAMUEL R. SPIERS, while a student at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, received a grant in January 2001 to aid research on the historical archaeology of the Eguafo polity of coastal Ghana, under the supervision of Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse. The goal of Spiers's twenty months of fieldwork was to document changes in settlement patterns and artifact inventories at the site of Eguafo, capital of the kingdom of Eguafo, 1000-1900 C.E. The work including survey, excavation, cataloguing, and archival research and spanned the thousand years of the site's continuous occupation. Preliminary results suggested two main occupation phases: an early phase marked by small, defensive settlements, limited long-distance trade, and limited differentiation in the artifact inventory and a second phase, from roughly the seventeenth century onward, when settlement size increased, long-distance trade goods became more plentiful, and artifact types became increasingly varied. Such transformations in the settlement pattern seemed to have occurred at the height of Eguafo's involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was intended that the completed research would add to the understanding of the archaeological record of coastal Ghana and of African sociopolitical complexity. Further, the findings were to be made available to the people of Eguafo to assist them in tourism development projects.
Johnson, Caley Anne Szewczak, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Baboon Diet in the Forest and Savanna: An Intraspecific Comparison of Nutritional Goals,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman
CALEY JOHNSON, then a graduate student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding April 2014 to aid research on 'Baboon Diet in the Forest and Savanna: An Intraspecific Comparison of Nutritional Goals,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman. During the Plio-Pleistocene, early hominins fed in increasingly open habitats and their diets diversified, including woody/herbaceous and grass-derived foods. Foraging in this new environment is linked with a suite of changes since our last common ancestor with apes, including bipedalism and encephalization. From our savannah origins, it is hypothesized that humans have little evolutionary experience with high-fat and sugary foods. Therefore, modern humans tend to overconsume energy and maintain protein intake, contributing to an obesity crisis. The objective of this study was to model how habitat shapes nutrient priorities in an omnivorous primate, the baboon, which like humans is known for its ecological and dietary flexibility. Feeding observations and collection of food and feces were utilized to assess the nutritional consequences of diet changes during hominin evolution. Numerous studies of stable carbon isotope reconstruction assume that in a forested landscape, individuals did not access and consume grass-derived foods. This study found that rainforest-dwelling baboons in Uganda consume significant amounts of grassy piths. However, that stable carbon isotopes of baboon excreta masks the presence of grass-derived foods. These new results from a forest-dwelling omnivorous primate advise a more nuanced consideration of carbon stable isotope analyses regarding hominin habitat and diet reconstruction.
Anderson, Christine Broughton, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Uncovering and Recovering Cleared Galloway: The Lowland Clearances and Improvement in Scotland,' supervised by Dr. H. Martin Wobst
CHRISTINE B. ANDERSON, then a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in October 2010, to aid research on 'Uncovering and Recovering Cleared Galloway: The Lowland Clearances and Improvement in Scotland,' supervised by Dr. H. Martin Wobst. The concept that clearing the tenant and cottar classes off the land in Galloway, Scotland, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was constructed in tandem with the more popular account of the Highland clearances and the ideology of improvement framed this research project. This concept made the tenant and cottar classes who experienced clearing invisible while also whitewashing the underlying violence and oppression. The goal of this research project was to understand how clearance was manifest in the 'improvement strategies' used by landowners and, more broadly, how the creation, maintenance, and subversion of power were carried out within developing agrarian capitalism. Archival evidence and results from the landscape survey support that strategic choices made by landowners to agriculturally improve their estates resulted in the clearing of tenants and cottars. Written leases and other documentation outlined changes to be carried out on the landscape that drastically altered tenant lifeways. Physical evidence on the ground correlated with the written documentation and is archaeologically significant. The research to date asserts that the practice of clearing in the Lowlands was more nuanced than its Highland counterpart; the ideological and physical processes that constituted agricultural improvement were processes of clearing.
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.
Di Nunzio, Marco, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Ethiopian Good Fellas: Unemployment, the Politics and Imagination of Addis Ababa's Youth,' supervised by Dr. David Pratten
MARCO DI NUNZIO, then a student at the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Ethiopian Good Fellas: Unemployment, the Politics and Imagination of Addis Ababa's Youth,' supervised by Dr. David Pratten. This research is an examination of the impact that the strategies of political mobilization of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front (EPRDF), have had on the life of street youth over the last six years in the old city center of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). By looking at the political success of the ruling party in the 2010 national elections from the perspective of the street youth, this study provides new insights into the way in which the state power produces marginality in urban Ethiopia. The design of micro-credit schemes and the establishment of cooperatives and small enterprises comprised the means that the ruling party employed to successfully mobilize 'street unemployed youth.' This process, however, did not consist of taking the urban youth away from the street. Rather, it relied on keeping the 'street actors' in the street while making them dependent on the government for their own survival. By studying these dynamics, this research argues that the making of marginality in Ethiopia consists of the emergence of a political delimitation of terrains of actions for the poor. In these terrains, street actors -- while continuing to struggle to make a living -- navigate and reproduce their condition of political subjects, and at the same time experience the margins and the limits of their social exclusion.