Wick, Dr. Livia Celine, American U. of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon - To aid research on 'War Based Mental Health and the Construction of Subjects: An Ethnographic Study of Psycho-Social Interventions in Lebanon and Palestine'
DR. LIVIA CELINE WICK, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, was awarded a grant in November 2009, to aid research on 'War Based Mental Health and the Construction of Subjects: An Ethnographic Study of Psycho-Social Interventions in Lebanon and Palestin.' This project explores the role of psycho-social interventions in shaping people's conceptions of pain and memory among Palestinians in Lebanon and Palestine. It combines the collection of oral histories of mental health professionals and patients as well as participant observation in psycho-social projects. It focuses on the ways in which financial assistance from governmental and non-governmental donors and popular theories of war and mental health interact with the experimental production of a new type of medical and social knowledge underlying policy initiatives that has been called 'psychiatric humanitarianism.' Psycho-social interventions as well as psychiatric interventions implemented in humanitarian projects shape and redefine ways in which people remember, are ill and in pain, and conceive of treatment and recovery. The study of psychiatric humanitarianism contributes to cultural anthropology and science studies by documenting the production and competition over theories of war and mental health, by tracing the changes in the nature of medical objects and professions, and by borrowing from anthropological categories of personhood and illness, to propose how people's identities are changing along with the social meanings that medical and humanitarian institutions attach to the treatment of victims of violence.
Barta, Dr. Jodi Lynn, U. of Toronto, Mississauga, Canada - To aid research on 'The Relationship Between Skin Pigmentation and Vitamin D Insufficiency in Northern Latitudes'
DR. JODI LYNN BARTA, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Canada, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'The Relationship between Skin Pigmentation and Vitamin D Insufficiency in Northern Latitudes.' This project examined the effects that changes in season have on vitamin D concentrations in individuals with varying levels of melanin in their skin in order to clarify the relationship between constitutive pigmentation and vitamin D status in otherwise healthy young adults of diverse ancestry living in northern latitudes. Preliminary data collected show that those with higher levels of melanin in their skin are at consistently higher risk of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency, thus supporting the UVR hypothesis and highlighting the evolutionary significance of skin pigmentation as it relates to geographic origins and the importance of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. Given the profound effects that vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency have on the human body, it was surprising that mean vitamin D concentrations in all ancestry groups were below adequate (75 nmol/L) regardless of season, despite the fact that mean vitamin D intakes in both late summer (296.72 IU) and winter (281.54 IU) were above current recommended adequate intake for adults (200 IU/day). Further research is necessary to precisely determine the vitamin D requirements of individuals of diverse ancestry living in northern latitudes and address the need for higher vitamin D intakes through supplementation and/or improved food fortification strategies to meet requirements and improve overall public health.
Stanton, Dr. Travis W., Universidad de las Americas, Cholula, Mexico - To aid 'Ceramic Ethnoanalysis in Yucatan'
DR. TRAVIS W. STANTON, Universidad de las Americas, Cholula, Mexico, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Ceramic Ethnoanlaysis in Yucatan.' This project successfully completed the second stage of research into ancient Maya ceramic technologies of Yucatan. Two ceramic collections were used for analysis; Xocnaceh and Yaxuna. Radiocarbon dates from Xocnaceh indicate that certain techniques for pastes and slips are later than previously believed forcing researchers to reevaluate chronological sequences for the northern Maya lowlands. Analyses of the archaeological ceramics by the potters from Muna indicate that five primary temper types were used throughout the sequence. These include four calcite-based tempers (calcite sands, calcite rocks, calcite sediments, and calcite crystals), as well as fired soils with high clay content. Secondary temper types included hematite, manganese, and unidentified organic materials. Additionally, field research focused on collecting local materials. Many probable temper sources were identified, indicating that more geological work in the area is necessary. Finally, test tiles using control clay from northern Campeche were fabricated for experimentation on the physical properties of the primary temper types. Based on published petrographic data and the potters' suggestions, these test tiles used different percentages and sizes of the tempers collected in the field and were fired at a range of temperatures. The physical property tests will be forthcoming.
Weyrich, Dr. Laura Susan, U. of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia - To aid research on 'Discovering Past Health Impacts in South America: A Perspective From Ancient Dental Calculus'
Preliminary abstract: The microorganisms within the human body (microbiome) are essential for health; alterations to these communities are linked to numerous systemic diseases, including obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and mental health. Recently, several studies have shown that the modern human microbiome has changed significantly in recent history, and that 'Westernized' microbiomes are drastically different from their modern hunter-gather counterparts. Although we know that the modern microbiome responds rapidly to changes in diet and disease, the historic events that led to the establishment of the modern microbiome remain largely unknown. The recent discovery that ancient dental calculus (calcified plaque or tartar) contains a detailed fossil record of human-associated microbes creates a unique opportunity to examine human health through time and understand the events and factors that contributed to establishing the modern microbiome. Here, I will use ancient DNA sequencing of dental calculus to create the first historical record of human disease, focused specifically on South America. I will explore how cultural, environmental, and dietary changes during the Colonial period impacted the microbiome present Peru. Upon the arrival of the Spanish, a range of diseases and new human groups and lifestyles were introduced over the past 1,000 years. An in-depth analysis of calculus specimens from South America will serve as the ideal location to understand how significant changes culture and diet, introduced by new peopling and colonization of an area, can impact the microbiome and the long-term health of a population.
Blim, Dr. Michael L., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town'
DR. MICHAEL L. BLIM, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, received an award in July 2003 to aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town.' The field-based re-study of economic and social mobility in the Marche region of Italy, Monte San Giusto, completed in August 2003, discovered that the adults of twenty-five shoe entrepreneurial and worker households first interviewed in 1981-1982 (also with a Wenner-Gren grant) have solidified their economic successes and achieved substantial social status mobility. The outcomes for their children, now adults ranging in age from 22 to 40, are more mixed. They have had a great deal of difficulty gaining a foothold in labor markets for professions and service employment, despite significantly better educational preparation than their parents, many of whom had no more than fifth-grade educations. Members of the new generation with minimum educational preparation have trouble finding work in the shoe industry, the 'mono-crop' of the area, and many avoid employment in the industry on the belief that it will not last much longer. Finding blocked opportunities in a shoe industry in semi-permanent economic crisis and in professional and service industries governed by rigid and clientalist employment practices, some of the new generation are taking up small-time entrepreneurship in food, drink, and tourism. Of those taking up manual occupations, skilled tradespeople are doing well, perhaps better than the rest. Instead of serving the shoe industry, machine tool and dye workers and prototype producers are forming small firms seeking business outside the area. The prospects for their 'escape' from the declining shoe industry are as of now uncertain.
Menon, Dr. Kalyani Devaki, DePaul University, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Making Place for Muslims: Religious Practice and Placemaking in Contemporary India'
Preliminary abstract: This project will explore how religious practice enables Muslims residing in Old Delhi to construct identity, community, and national belonging in contemporary India. Exclusionary constructions of religion and identity have enabled extreme violence against Indian Muslims, and have resulted in their political and economic marginalization in the country. Living amidst such inequalities, exclusion, and violence, how do people construct alternative imaginaries that bridge difference and facilitate coexistence? Drawing on data gathered over eight months of fieldwork amongst Muslims who inhabit the religiously plural spaces of Old Delhi, I will explore how religious practice enables alternative and inclusive constructions of community in the face of violent assertions of exclusion in contemporary India. In exploring this question, my project speaks to broader anxieties generated by the pluralism that marks the contemporary moment and challenges constructions of Muslim difference that animate Islamophobia, thus making a significant contribution to scholarship on the place of religion in the modern world. In focusing on how individuals build communities across axes of difference, my project underscores the importance of studying identity, and indeed religion itself, not in isolation, but rather as always in relation to others and inflected by the pluralism that marks our world.
Pollock, Dr. Susan M., State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Mobility and Subsistence in the Halaf Period in Southeastern Turkey'
DR. SUSAN M. POLLOCK, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in June 2001 to aid research on 'Mobility and Subsistence in the Halaf Period in Southeastern Turkey. The goals of this project are to address questions concerning short-term and long-term mobility and intra-community patterns of subsistence activities in the Halafperiod (6th millennium cal B.C.), using archaeological materials excavated at Fistikli Höyük in southeastern Turkey. Analytical methods include spatial analyses of artifact and biological remains in order to infer the locations of activities within the community; studies of seasonality using faunal and floral remains; and high-resolution chronological and stratigraphic analysis to address the span of occupation of the site. The first stages of the spatial analyses indicate clear associations among artifacts -- for example, between ceramic and stone disks, thought to have been used as mnemonic devices, and. animal bones -- from which the locations of specific activities can be ascertained. Botanical analyses are providing indications of specific plant-related activities that can be attributed to certain seasons and their locations within the site. AMS dates and ceramic-based comparative stratigraphic analysis indicate a relatively short occupation for the site, during which time its use seems to have varied from a settled community to one characterized more by occasional or squatter usage
Politis, Dr. Gustavo Gabriel, U. National de la Plata, La Plata, Argentina - To aid research on 'Mounds, Maize, and 'Caciques' in the Upper Delta of the Paranñá River, Argentina'
DR. GUSTAVO POLITIS, Universdad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina, was awarded funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Mounds, Maize and 'Caciques' in the Upper Delta of the Paraná River (Argentina).' The project focused on four main topics: 1) the southernmost presence of Lowland pre-Hispanic horticulture based on the starch content of ceramic and lithic tools, which helped determine the dispersal of continentally widespread cultigens such as corn (Zea mays) and beans (Phaseolus spp.) in addition to the identification of the use of wild resources, such as algarrobo (Proposis nigra), which had not been previously recorded in the area; 2) analysis of the human-made earthen mounds ( 'cerritos'), which allowed the identification of a 'pre-mound' occupation as well as evidence of cultural activities, such as mound construction, between ca. 1000-500 BP; 3) the development of low-level social hierarchies among foragers and small-scale horticulturists; and 4) the southern expansion of the Guaraní people and their relationship with local indigenous groups. The results obtained contribute to the archaeology and anthropology of the Delta of the Paraná River, an area which will likely play a crucial role in understanding a variety cultural processes and population dynamics in the South American Lowlands.
Bonomo, Mariano, Gustavo Politis, and Camila Gianotti. 2011. Montículos, Jerarquía Social y Horticultura en las Sociedade Indígenas del Delta del Río Paraná (Argentina). Latin American Antiquity 22(3):297-333.
Zlolniski, Dr. Christian, U. of Texas, Arlington, TX - To aid research on 'The Global Fresh-Produce Industry and the Settlement of Indigenous Workers in Baja California'
DR. CHRISTIAN ZLOLNISKI, University of Texas, Arlington, Texas, received funding in April 2008 to conduct research in the San Quintin Valley in Baja California, Mexico. His study examines how the growth of the export-oriented fresh-produce industry has affected the employment opportunities and labor migration patterns of indigenous farm laborers who come from southern Mexico. He conducted participant observation and household interviews with Mixtec, Triqui, and Zapotec workers and families. Preliminary results show that these families have improved their living conditions, have longer seasons of employment, and more stable income from agricultural jobs. Child labor has declined, while health, sanitary, and safety conditions have improved as a result of demanding regulations to export fresh produce. Yet, wages and employment benefits have not kept up with the growing productivity in agriculture, which have increased substantially due to new technologies such as greenhouse production. In contrast to the expectations of this neoliberal model of economic development, adult members are migrating to the United States to help offset the costs of settlement and housing. Perhaps the most damaging effect, however, has been a sharp decline in the quality and quantity of water resources fueled by the intensification of export agriculture and overexploitation of underground water resources, causing water insecurity, social unrest, and political protests in the Valley.
Golovanova, Dr. Liubov V., Laboratory of Prehistory, St. Petersburg, Russia - To aid research on 'Significance of Ecological Factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition'
DR. LUBOV V. GOLOVANOVA, Laboratory of Prehistory, St. Petersburg, Russia, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Significance of Ecological Factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition.' In the result of 2006 excavation in Mezmaiskaya Cave, a hypothesis about significance of ecological factors during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in the Northwestern Caucasus is supported by new data. The first time volcanogenic deposits are found in caves in the region. Volcanic ashes, identified in layers 2B-1 and 1D at Mezmaiskaya, differs in mineral compositions and appears to be resulted from eruptions of different volcanoes. One can suggest that large ecological catastrophes like volcanic eruptions essentially affected the climate, flora and fauna. Floristic spectra reflect a change in paleovegetation with tendency in increasing of sub-alpine meadows under very cold and dry climate. In the prey fauna, increasing a role of caprids is revealed at Mezmaiskaya. After the earlier eruption identified in Layer 2?-1 (38-40 kyr ago), Neanderthal visits became rare. After a volcanic eruption about 36-35 kyr ago, identified in Layer 1D, a high-developed Upper Paleolithic industry first appears in Layer 1? at Mezmaiskaya near 33 kyr ago. The industry is characterized by high laminarity (Ilam = 60%) with predominance of bladelets and micro-bladelets. Among tools, backed bladelets prevail, then Gravette points. No Neanderthal occupations are known after 35 kyr ago in the Northwestern Caucasus.
Golovanova, Liubov, Vladimir Doronichev, and Naomi Cleghorn. 2010. The Emergence of Bone-Working and Ornamental Art in the Caucasian Upper Palaeolithic. Antiquity 84:299-320.