Schacht, Ryan Nicholas, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Gender Roles, Mate Choice, and Adult Sex Ratios: A Comparison in the Rupununi, Guyana,' supervised by Dr. Monique Borgerhoff Mulder
RYAN NICHOLAS SCHACHT, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in May 2010, to aid research on 'Gender Roles, Mate Choice, and Adult Sex Ratios: A Comparison in the Rupununi, Guyana,' supervised by Dr. Monique Borgerhoff Mulder. This project examines factors, both social and environmental, that affect the formation of human gender roles. Human partner preference studies within evolutionary psychology have been overwhelmingly based on samples drawn from undergraduate populations and questionnaire responses. Consequently, this research has generated little understanding of how variation in gender-differentiated behavior arises from developmental factors and features of social structure and culture because of a virtual neglect of the broader social context. In order to understand the sources of variation in mate choice, studies of individual preferences, decisions, and behavior must be embedded within the demographic, economic, and cultural context that shapes every decision an individual makes. This project proposed an empirically based evolutionary analysis of gender differences in reproductive strategies, mate choosiness, parental investment, and conjugal bonds. Guyana, South America, provided an exciting laboratory for examining the factors associated with gender differences in mating and marriage patterns. The research seeks to analyze causes of variation in these gender differences by injecting social, economic, and demographic factors back into evolutionary psychology. testing hypotheses for how features of social arena -- specifically the sex ratio of reproductive aged individuals in the community -- affect reproductive behavior, mate choosiness, parental investment, and conjugal bonds across two communities.
Hannig, Anita, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Repair and Return? The Reintegration of Cured Fistula Patients into Their Communities in Rural Ethiopia,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff
ANITA HANNIG, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Repair and Return? The Reintegration of Cured Fistula Patients into their Communities in Rural Ethiopia,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff. From January 2010 until the end of December 2010, the grantee conducted ethnographic research in a comprehensive cultural study on obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. Obstetric fistula is a maternal birth injury that results in the urinary incontinence of the mother following the death of her baby. In Ethiopia, there are specialized foreign-run hospitals that repair these injuries and also seek to transform their patients in ways that exceed the surgical procedure. Rather than focusing on the reintegration of fistula patients into their communities post-surgery as originally planned, the majority of this research entailed an in-depth institutional ethnography of a fistula outreach center in Bahir Dar, Amhara Region. The research activities consisted of collecting patient life histories, leading focus group discussions, interviewing nursing staff (all of whom are ex-patients), attending patient classes, and observing daily hospital routines. The last quarter of the research was spent studying a small enclave of incurable fistula patients near Addis Ababa, which has recently been transformed into a training and rehabilitation center that is supposed to prepare them for an economically self-sufficient life outside this community.
Maher, Stephanie Caroline, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Barca ou Barzakh: The Social 'Elsewhere' of Failed Clandestine Migration Out of West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Hoffman
STEPANIE C. MAHER, then a student at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Barca ou Barzakh: The Social 'Elsewhere' of Failed Clandestine Migration Out of West Africa,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Hoffman. In 2006, thousands of predominantly male clandestine 'boat' migrants left Senegalese shores for Europe. An undisclosed number never made it, running out of fuel off the coast of Mauritania, or worse drowning at sea. Of the more than 30,000 who did successfully reach the Canary Islands that year, nearly a third were forcibly repatriated by the state. Seven years on from the peak of boat migration out of West Africa, European markets continue to contract, pushing migrants to undertake voluntary, if reluctant, return. Whereas successful migrants bring cars, houses, and development projects to their communities, failed migrants return with mains vides (empty hands). That there are so many kinds of failure -- being shipwrecked, repatriated, or unable to endure -- suggests several kinds of return, each with its own psychological, cultural, and material challenges and potentials. Drawing on data generated over six months in 2013 from a variety of sending contexts across Senegal, this research examines not only how local institutions and cultural contexts influence migratory practices, but also how failed migration can become a kind of social barzakh, or 'elsewhere,' from which young West African men must negotiate and strategize their futures.
Bruno, Maria C., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Agricultural Intensification and Formative Period Society: An Ethnobotanical and Paleoethnobotanical Approach,' supervised by Dr. David L. Browman
MARIA C. BRUNO, while a student at Washington University in St. Louis, was awarded a grant in October 2003 to aid in research on agricultural intensification and its role in the development of complex societies during the Formative period (1500B.C. - A.D.500) in the southern Lake Titicaca Basin of the Andes. The research included an ethnobotanical study of present-day agricultural practices on the Taraco Peninsula, Bolivia, and a paleoethnobotanical study of plant remains from Formative period sites in the same region. The ethnobotanical field work provided insight into small-scale intensification processes (particularly weeding, tilling, and fertilizing), characteristics of soils and their productivity in relation to weather patterns, and social aspects of agricultural production. Extensive plant collections provided the link between the ethnobotanical observations and the archaeological plant record. Throughout the paleoethnobotanical analysis, the reference collection has facilitated identification of species that are associated with past agricultural and food practices, such as small-scale processes of intensification, changes in land use related to climate change, and the importance of local agricultural food products in early ceremonial contexts. Results from submitted AMS radiocarbon dates on identified carbonized remains will permit the researcher to track the timing of these agricultural trends and relate them to concomitant changes in climate and social complexity.
Bruno, Maria C. 2014. Beyond Raised Fields: Exploring Farming Practices and Processes of Agricultural Change in the Ancient Lake Titicaca Basin of the Andes. American Anthropologist 116(1):130-145.
Rissing, Andrea L., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Agrarian Transformation in the Age of Corporate Agriculture: Beginning Alternative Farmers in Contemporary Iowa,' supervised by Dr. Peggy Barlett
Preliminary abstract: In the heart of the Corn Belt, the majority of Iowa's farms embody the mechanization, industrialization, and sheer productivity that came to characterize conventional farming over the course of the 20th century. A complex system of agribusiness corporations, agricultural organizations, and state institutions supports and reinforces this system. This dissertation research examines the farmers who are working outside the conventional system to establish viable horticulture, niche livestock, or small grain enterprises. The proposed project asks three interrelated questions about beginning alternative farmers in Iowa. First, how do alternative farmers establish autonomy from the conventional food system, and how do they draw upon the conventional infrastructure to carry out their own activities? Second, what factors variously promote or undermine the efforts of beginning farmers to establish successful alternative agricultural enterprises? Finally, faced with a powerful agro-food system, why do some young people choose to farm in ways outside the established system? This 12-month ethnographic study combines on-farm participant observation with semi-structured interviews with beginning farmers and a range of other agricultural stakeholders. By contributing knowledge about the political, economic, and ideological world in which Iowan farmers work, this project aims to expand comparative understandings of the dynamics of smallholder agriculture worldwide.
Glass, Aaron J., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Conspicuous Consumption: A Cultural History of the Kwakwaka'wakw Hamat'sa Dance,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers - George Langdon Fellowship
AARON J. GLASS, while a student at New York University in New York, New York, was awarded the George Langdon Fellowship in August 2002 to aid research on a cultural history of the Hamat'sa dance of the Kwakwaka'wakw people of British Columbia, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Fred R. Myers. Glass had two major goals: to examine ethnographic depictions of the Hamat'sa ('Cannibal') dance from the past century in various media (text, film, photography, art gallery and museum displays, live nonceremonial performances) and to explore how these representational practices had affected the understanding and performance of the dance in indigenous communities. The archival phase of the research resulted in a large collection of materials relating to representations of the Hamat'sa dance by Natives and non-Natives, as well as to other aspects of Kwakwaka'wakw culture. With this collection, Glass expected to be able to reconstruct attempts to depict the Hamat'sa dance and demonstrate how representations recursively build on one another in a process that contributes to the emblematization of cultural practices. A central feature of the research design was the return of this kind of archival knowledge to the Native people from which it came. The fieldwork phase of the project consisted of nine months of residence in Kwakwaka'wakw communities on the central coast of British Columbia. Glass spent this time largely speaking with people about the archival material in an effort to identify masks and individuals in old photographs. He also participated in and observed Kwakwaka'wakw life and cultural performances, both ceremonial and secular. Such activities provided insights into the ways in which indigenous Canadians engage with anthropological knowledge and selectively draw upon it to frame, support, and transform contemporary cultural practice.
Wheeler, Brandon C., State U. of New York, Stony Brook, NY - To aid research on 'Alarm Calling Behavior of Tufted Capuchin Monkeys at Iguazu National Park, Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Andreas Koenig
BRANDON C. WHEELER, then a student at State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Alarm Calling Behavior of Tufted Capuchin Monkeys at Iguazu national Park, Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Andreas Koenig. Alarm calls (i.e. vocalizations produced when predators are detected) are of interest for several reasons. First, alarm calling appears to be altruistic and benefits for the caller are not immediately obvious. Second, alarms of some Old World monkeys have been argued to be semantic signals similar to human words. Third, learning is thought to play a role in the development of alarm-call use and response in one species of Old World monkey. Finally, alarms can be used in a 'deceptive' manner to access food that other individuals have monopolized. The goal of this study was to test hypotheses related to these aspects of alarm calling in a New World primate, the tufted capuchin monkey (Cebus apella). Behavioral observations and field experiments were conducted over 19 months in Iguazú National Park, Argentina. Experiments involved: 1) predator models used to mimic natural predator detections; 2) playbacks of recordings of capuchin alarms; and 3) feeding platforms used to manipulate the amount and distribution of a high value resource. Analyses of the data are ongoing and are expected to be completed in October 2007. However, it is clear that the data collected will allow the original goals of the project to be met.
Wheeler, Brandon C., and K. Hammerschmidt. 2013. Proximate Factors Underpinning Receiver Responses to Deceptive False Alarm Call in the Wild Tufted Capuchin Monkeys: Is It Counterdeception? American Journal of Primatology 75(7):715-725
Wheeler, Brandon C. 2010. Production and perception of situationally variable alarm calls in wild tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus paella nigritus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 64: 989-1000.
Wheeler, Brandon C. 2010. Decrease in Alarm Call Response Among Tufted Capuchins in Competitive Feeding Contexts: Possible Evidence for Counterdecption. International Journal of Primatology 31: 665-675.
Wheeler, Brandon C. 2009. Monkeys Crying Wolf? Tufted Capuchin Monkeys Use Anti-Predator Calls to Usurp Resources from Conspecifics. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences 276:3013-3018.
Wheeler, Brandon. 2008. Selfish or Altruistic? An Analysis of Alarm Call Function in Wild Capuchin Monkeys, Cebus paella nigritus. Animal Behavior 76:1465-1475.
LaRocque, Olivier, McGill U., Montreal, QC, Canada - To aid research on 'Ranching and Conservation Covenants in the Foothills Rangelands of Alberta Canada,' supervised by Dr. John G. Galaty
OLIVER LaROCQUE, then a student at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Ranching and Conservation Covenants in the Foothills Rangelands of Alberta, Canada,' supervised by Dr. John G. Galaty. 'Conservation' certainly has a busy agenda in the southwest corner of Alberta, famous for its spectacular landscapes and wildlife. The ambitions of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) merged with intense imbroglios waged on behalf of 'nature' that often have little to do with its welfare but that of the multifarious advocates of its various uses and vocations. Through ambitious ranchland purchases, NCC became the region's largest local landlord in a short time -- lucky in timing but culturally insensitive in practice, naïve in discourse, and blundering in methods. Yet it has scored a major upset against the current trend of landscape fragmentation that serves exurban development. The NCC must now contend with the fallout of its improvised land-buying spree (which more expeditious than the negotiation of conservation easement), the legal complexities of which are propelling them towards Supreme Court. This calls for the NCC to get into the trenches of landscape production as equals with their ranching leaseholders, lest they alienate entire communities. Of fundamental research importance (because the conduct of conservation hinges on it) was the project's aim of documenting the choreography of conceptual entrenchments that occur amongst scientists -- who are cast as gatekeepers of valid ecological knowledge -- in contrast with those practitioners who make landscapes happen. Collectively, researchers waver between commitments to taxonomic purity and equilibrial ideals of nature, and the acknowledgement that nature is forever in flux, which discombobulates their world of references propped up with solid baselines and clear benchmarks.
Behrens, Joanna P., Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid 'Digging the Great Trek: An Historical Archaeology of a Voortrekker Community, South Africa,' supervised by Dr. Christopher R. DeCorse
JOANNA BEHRENS, while a student at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2004 to aid archaeological research at Schoemansdal, a mid- 19th century Voortrekker village in the Limpopo Province, northern South Africa, supervised by Dr Christopher R. DeCorse. The project investigated socio-economic diversity within a frontier community that lay along the northern margins of the wider colonial expansion, known historically as 'The Great Trek.' Between October 2004 and December 2005, Behrens undertook survey, excavation, and preliminary cataloguing as well as archival research in Pretoria, South Africa and London, England. Previous excavations at Schoemansdal, which had focused on the main community structures, were expanded, and houselots, located away from the village center, were targeted in order to access a broader understanding of the community. Shovel test pit sampling strategies were successfully employed in yard areas and six middens within the village were excavated, yielding assemblages that can be linked to individual households or properties. This material, analysed in tandem with that recovered from the community areas, is yielding insight into differential consumption practices and expanding historical understandings of trekker economies, specifically by shedding light on local and regional trade and exchange networks. The Schoemansdal material provides a crucial baseline assemblage for mid-19th century southern Africa and represents an important step in the re-interrogation of South Africa's Great Trek mythology .