Valles, Dario, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Provedoras Unidas: Latina Migrant Family Child Care Providers Negotiating Poverty, Power & Organized Labor in Neoliberal Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Micaela di Leonardo
DARIO VALLES, then a graduate student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, was awarded funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Provedoras Unidas: Latina Migrants Family Childcare Providers Negotiating Power, Poverty and Organized Labor in Neoliberal Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Micaela di Leonardo. The dissertation project explores the everyday lives of Latina migrant family childcare (FCC) providers and low-wage mothers in Los Angeles, California, as they build community for economic and social justice. Ethnographic research was collected on family childcare providers who serve mostly low-income families, through life history interviews and at activist and union events and meetings. During this time, FCC providers escalated a statewide campaign to ensure better pay from state subsidies and to increase funding for early childhood education. Initial findings delineate the tightrope providers walk affirming the emotional and care bonds to the children they work with, while also remaining critical of the California's post-recessionary austerity politics. At the same time, providers' identity is situated in their ability to provide 'flexible' care essential to the 21st century economy, where many of their low-wage clients work around-the-clock to make ends meet. Life history interviews with providers reveal traces of similar experiences of migration from Mexico and Central America and positioning in Los Angeles' racialized division of labor as low-wage manufacturing and service workers. Ethnographic participation with FCC union activists reveals how recent labor and educational policy shifts intertwine with racial and gendered histories in constructing Latina motherhood in the public sphere, and the ways in which migrant women reshape these understandings and make new claims to political and economic citizenship.
Langergraber, Kevin E., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Kinship and Social Behavior of Chimpanzees, ' supervised by Dr. John C. Mitani
LANGERBRABER, KEVIN E., while a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in July 2004 to aid research on 'Kinnship and Social Behavior of Chimpanzees,' supervised by Dr. John C. Mitani. The grant provided funds for the genotyping of wild chimpanzees living in the Ngogo community in Kibale NationaIPark, Uganda. Fecal samples were collected non-invasively from individually identified chimpanzees and analyzed in the laboratory to determine how the 150 members of the Ngogo community are related to one another genetically. Behavioral data were also collected to determine patterns of affiliation and cooperation between chimpanzees. When combined, the genetic and behavioral data will answer whether genetically related chimpanzees preferentially affiliate and cooperate. These results will add to our understanding of the role that nepotism plays in the evolution of cooperation among animals and humans.
Bloch, Lindsay Carolyn, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Utilitarian Coarse Earthenware Production and Acquisition in the Colonial and Early Federal Chesapeake Region,' supervised by Dr. Anna Sophia Agbe-Davies
LINDSAY BLOCH, then a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded funding in October 2013 to aid research on 'Utilitarian Coarse Earthenware Production and Acquisition in the Colonial and Early Federal Chesapeake Region,' supervised by Dr. Anna Sophia Agbe-Davies. This research investigated the importance of locally made ceramics, using elemental analysis to identify the sources of these wares. 400 sherds from 37 historic earthenware production sites across the mid-Atlantic and in Great Britain were analyzed via laser ablation, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), to establish geologically distinctive reference groups. Then, 184 samples from domestic plantation contexts on nine plantations (ca. 1690-1830) representing varying social status were analyzed and assigned to production origins based on elemental composition. The results demonstrate the diversity of coarse earthenware sources that Chesapeake residents accessed. There are clear temporal shifts in the sources of coarse earthenware, and in particular a steady decrease in imported wares in favor of domestically made products. All plantation households sampled used at least some locally made wares, and no sharp differences were seen among households of different status, suggesting that these everyday wares were available to all, perhaps via plantation provisioning strategies. These results challenge the idea that local products were inferior or low-class. Instead, their omnipresence is evidence for the pragmatic as well as political strengths of local production, from allowing for custom orders and local credit to promoting American self-sufficiency for the nascent revolution.
Patterson, David Burch, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Ecological Niche Evolution in Homo and Paranthropus at East Turkana, Northern Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Rene Bobe
Preliminary abstract: The fossil record suggests that our genus, Homo, originated in eastern Africa around 2.4 million years ago (Ma), at which time our ancestors would have shared the environment with a closely related species, Paranthropus boisei. However, the record indicates that by 1.3 Ma the Paranthropus lineage went extinct and Homo had expanded outside of Africa. Although we understand they coexisted, we lack a relevant framework for testing hypotheses related to their ecologies during this period. The objective of this project is to use the quantitative methods of community ecology and stable isotope geochemistry to contrast the ecological niches of Homo and Paranthropus within a localized paleoecosystem. This study will use data collected directly from hominin localities and archaeological sites between 2 -- 1.4 Ma at East Turkana in northern Kenya to test a series of hypotheses related to the following research question: What role did ecological conditions play in the different fates of Homo and Paranthropus between 2 Ma and 1.4 Ma? This study will create the first high-resolution reconstruction of the niches of these two taxa and provide key insights into the mechanisms behind the survival of our genus on landscapes that witnessed the extinction of our close fossil relatives.
Formanack, Allison Beth, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Mobile Precarity: 'Trailer Trash' and Risk in an American Zone of Abandonment,' supervised by Dr. Carla Jones
Preliminary abstract: How does the symbolic transference of material degradation and impermanence onto mobile home residents produce social precarity and financial risk? In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the manufactured housing industry continues to grow as foreclosed homeowners turn to mobile homes as a means to preserve their hold on middle-class respectability and the American dream. The growth of mobile home ownership is problematized by the closure of many mobile home communities (MHCs), particularly in urban areas where 'trailer trash' is seen to represent moral and physical decay as the result of widespread cultural stigmatization dating back to the 1950s. Following a series of national awards and accolades in 2011-2012, city officials in Lincoln, Nebraska have initiated redevelopment plans that will displace over 4,000 urban MHC residents in conjunction with the city's new 'rebranding' campaign. Despite community protest, mobile home residents' claims to ownership are rejected due to their inability to traditionally finance their homes. By considering the complexity of housing--as shelter, the symbolic realm of the domestic, or as a financial vehicle for upward mobility--my research examines the ways in which the immaterial and material intersect in the social imaginary of the (mobile) home.
Su, Hsiao-Ling, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Counterfeit Goods, the State, and Intellectual Property Rights: An Ethnography of Legal Consciousness in Post-Socialist China,' supervised by Dr. Yongming Zhou
HSIAO-LING SU, then a graduate student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Counterfeit Goods, the State, and Intellectual Property Rights: An Ethnography of Legal Consciousness in Post-Socialist China,' supervised by Dr. Yongming Zhou. China, upon its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, became obliged to protect intellectual property. The concept of private ownership embedded in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), however, contrasts with vaguely defined local property relations and contradicts practices of reciprocity common in China. This six-month extension of dissertation fieldwork in two southern Chinese markets investigates the emergence of a legal consciousness of IPR in a context where legal reforms enforce private ownership and yet long-practiced customs of reciprocal exchange continue. An examination on interactions between business owners, sales staff, and state actors reveals that business owners and sales staff differentiate various kinds of property and act accordingly. On trademark law, the majority of business owners and sales staff contest regulations by continuing to carry and sell counterfeit goods while remaining wary and vigilant. On ideas and information including new season designs and general know-how, which is not legally protected, they actively fend off competitors. Finally, on dispensable resources such as money, food, time and labor, all groups reciprocate intensively. State actors are more on the receiving end of reciprocal exchanges, which has important implications on shaping market people's legal consciousness of property.
Katz, David Charles, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Universality and Biological Mechanisms of Subsistence-Driven Craniofacial Reduction,' supervised by Dr. Timothy D. Weaver
DAVID C. KATZ, then a graduate student at University of California, Davis, California, received a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Universality and Biological Mechanisms of Subsistence-Driven Craniofacial Reduction,' supervised by Dr. Timothy D. Weaver. This research assesses the extent to which modern human cranial and mandibular form evolved in response to dietary changes associated with the agricultural revolution. The emergence of agriculture as the predominant means by which people obtain food resources is one of the most significant economic shifts in human evolutionary history. Physical anthropologists have long hypothesized that the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture produced common shape changes in the chewing architecture of early agriculturalists because the diets of early farmers were softer and more heavily processed than those of their hunter-gatherer predecessors. To test this hypothesis on a worldwide scale, 3D shape data was collected: 1) on the cranial and mandibular remains of over 500 hunter-gatherer and agriculturalist populations from six continents; and 2) on the mandibular remains of approximately 200 subadults from a subset of these populations. Data analysis is ongoing, with project completion expected by June 2015.
Katz, David, and Martin Friess. 2014. Technical Note: 3D from Standard Digital Photography of Human Crania - A Preliminary Assessment. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 154(1):152-158.
Baig, Noman, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Capital-extraction: Esoteric Islam, Counter-terrorist Surveillance, and Corporate Finance in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Ali
NOMAN BAIG, then a graduate student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Capital-Extraction: Esoteric Islam, Counter-Terrorist Surveillance, and Corporate Finance in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Ali. The research focuses on the shaping of merchants' subjectivity in Karachi's contemporary marketplace. It does this by placing human experience within the matrix of the cosmological value system, driven to a large extent by Islamic moral and ethical principles, as well as everyday material conditions, determined by economic activity. In doing so, it brings together the material and spiritual in conversation with each other. This research particularly focuses on the convergence of Sufi moral discourse and meditative practices of zikr/dhikr with globalized technologies of finance capitalism. It seeks to answer: How do the two seemingly different practices converge? Modern financial practices aim to discipline merchants into becoming economic subjects accumulating capital. In contrast, the spiritual tradition of Sufi techniques shapes this excessive desire for accumulating, through the meditation (zikr/dhikr), molding the merchants into charitable subjects. Being a self-maximizing as well as a self-annihilating individual in the market, the merchant is able to contain the larger structuring of money and moral universes in everyday life. The experience generated at the threshold of accumulation and charity, the grantee argues, gives rise to an affirmative subjectivity, which perceives the unity of existence the way it is.
Nguyen, Victoria, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Urban Interrupted: Rethinking Urbanization and Development in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar
Preliminary abstract: As China pushes ahead with its New National Urbanization Plan, a radical proposal to move 250 million rural residents into towns and cities in the next 12 years, the city in China today has become a primary site for the production of a developed nation state and, perhaps implicitly, its modern urban citizens. Yet, in the absence of any standardized consensus of what constitutes the 'urban', towards what goals do projects like these now strive, and what are the metrics of their assessments? Using comparative ethnographic methodology over 13 months of fieldwork, this study will examine the redevelopment of Old Beijing, a site now considered 'improperly urban' under China's new urbanization policy, to understand how culturally and historically specific ideas of the 'urban' are being translated, measured, and authorized as quantitative and objective national goals in late-socialist China. Focusing on the social effects of urbanization on the life of cities, the results of this study aim to expand anthropological knowledge by investigating how shifting ideals of urban life affect built and social environments, drawing new lines of division between the 'urban' and 'non-urban', historical preservation and demolition, and proper citizenship and stigmatized exclusion. In addition, it will also offer a critical investigation of the industries, experts, and projects that sustain and perpetuate urbanization as both a problem and a solution to national social ills. At an historical moment when global urbanization discourse has become seemingly ubiquitous in development and policy circles, this project interrogates anew the quantitative assumptions of current urban research and the qualitative values of the social category of the 'urban' as they inform contemporary urbanization projects.
Dua, Jatin, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot
JATIN DUA, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Policing Sovereignty in the Western Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Charles D. Piot. Since 2008, a number of high profile incidents of piracy off the coast of East Africa have resulted in increased global attention to this region, including the deployment of a multi-national naval patrol and attempts to prosecute suspected pirates. Policy makers have attributed this phenomenon to the lack of a strong centralized government in Somalia and called for various forms of intervention on-shore to address piracy's root causes. However, this interpretation of the conflict obscures a longer history of regulation and transgression and piracy's long pedigree in the Western Indian Ocean. This research resituates piracy within histories of the Indian Ocean and longstanding attempts to redefine sovereignty and legality within this oceanic space. This work suggests that maritime piracy may be better understood as a form of capital-intensive armed entrepreneurship and an attempt to secure protection from global poaching, waste dumping, and from the surveillance of regulators. As such, piracy as a system of protection competes with a variety of state and non-state forms of protection in this area. This project investigates the encounters between these overlapping regimes of protection and regulation in the Western Indian Ocean.