Henig, Dr. David, U. of Kent, Canterbury, UK - To aid research on 'Indigenous Modernity in the Pamirs: Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Post-Soviet Tajikistan'
Preliminary abstract: The aim of the project is to examine power and its transformations in the post-Soviet Tajik Pamir region impacted by the disruptive history of the region over the past two centuries and local constructions of this history; present day influences of Soviet hegemony and other trans-regional actors; and changes in political ecology in part emerging from these.
Kunen, Dr. Julie L., Northern Arizona U., Flagstaff, AZ - To aid research on 'Ritual Technology and Resource Management in Tropical States'
DR. JULIE L. KUNEN, of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, received funding in November 2002 to aid research on ritual technology and resource management in tropical states. Kunen conducted six months of research in the anthropological literature on this topic, studying ancestor veneration and land and water management practices among the early states of Southeast Asia and comparing them with similar practices in the Maya lowlands. She identified a widespread pattern in mainland Southeast Asia in which a dual practice of ancestor veneration and spirit cult worship combined to give village groups claims to particular territories. In certain places, this practice was manifested in stelae and shrines similar to Maya ones. As a result, Kunen proposed to further study Maya ritual practices from a perspective informed by this cross-cultural research. Among the topics she planned to investigate was the possibility that Maya stelae were cadastral-that is, that they denoted ownership of valuable natural resources or marked boundary lines on the landscape. In addition, she intended to pursue collaborative research with the Greater Angkor Project in Cambodia on ritual and water management in early Khmer villages.
Grasseni, Dr. Cristina, U. of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy - To aid research on 'Seeds of Trust: A Comparative Analysis of Solidarity Economy Networks in Lombardy (Italy) and Massachusetts (USA)'
DR. CRISTINA GRASSENI, University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Seeds of Trust: A Comparative Analysis of Solidarity Economy Networks in Lombardy (Italy) and Massachusetts (USA).' This project consisted of a comparative analysis of a growing radical phenomenon in Europe and the US: solidarity economies, namely grassroots networks that organize direct provisioning, for example of food and energy. Since the 1990s, solidarity economies have emerged, either as diffused 'districts' or 'networks' of Solidarity Purchase Groups (as in Italy) or as locally focused 'community economies' in the US, including some community-supported agriculture schemes. The project compared the 'District' and 'Community' models of solidarity economy in Lombardy and Massachusetts-two roughly comparable sites by size, population, and affluence. Using ethnography (participant observation, interviews, and network mapping), the project focused on the respective repertoires and tool-kits as well as on their networking strategies. One of the crucial findings is that Italian and American solidarity economy networks produce distinctive repertoires and have different models for their socio-economic action despite their common international background. While the American movement looks especially at Italy and Spain for successful models of worker-owned cooperatives, the Italian movement distinguishes solidarity economy (largely consumer-driven) from the cooperative economy (which is equated to one of the orthodox actors in the global economy and the global food system). Consequently, different sets of skills are developed within each network: while the Italian activists develop mostly consumer-driven, volunteer-run collective provisioning schemes, the American activists become project developers for social and economic entrerprises in the green and cooperative sector, often depending on grants and start-up funds.
Grasseni, Cristina. 2014. Food Activism in Italy as an Anthropology of Direct Democracy. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 23(1):77-98.
Grasseni, Cristina. 2014. Seeds of Trust: Italy's Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale (Solidarity Purchase Groups). Journal of Political Ecology 21:179-192.
VanValkenburgh, Dr. Nathaniel Parker, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Reducción and Policía: Spanish Colonial Forced Resettlement and Daily Praxis at Carrizales (Zaña Valley, Peru)'
DR. NATHANIEL VanVALKENBURGH, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Reducción and Policía: Spanish Colonial Forced Resettlement and Daily Praxis at Carrizales (Zaña Valley, Peru)'. During this course of research, the grantee and collaborators examined the impacts of the Spanish colonial reducción movement on the daily lives of indigenous populations in Peru's lower Zaña valley. 'Reducción' was a wholesale attempt to refashion indigenous subjects by forcibly resettling them into gridded - planned towns and reassembling extended native households into nuclear family units. Through excavations at the sites of Carrizales (a reducción abandoned a few years after its foundation in 1572 CE) and Conjunto 125 (an adjacent late prehispanic site), the team household spatial organization and foodways, with the goal of understanding how reduccion's grand aims were articulated and contested within quotidian spaces. Following an excavation field season in 2012, laboratory research in 2013 concentrated on the analysis of zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical remains. Architectural comparisons revealed broad similarities in the organization of domestic space before and after reducción, even as settlement took on a radically different shape. Analysis of malacological and vertebrate assemblages demonstrated a drastic drop in marine species diversity between late prehispanic and early colonial times and a reorientation towards less time - intensive fishing and mollusk - gathering strategies. Across the same time period, terrestrial species presence and diversity increased markedly, and the residents of Carrizales intensified their production of products that tribute records indicate they owed their encomendero. Based on these results, the grantee and collaborators have secured additional funding and will continue to expand their results in future field sessions.
Cords, Dr. Marina, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Collective Action, Kinship, and Reciprocity: Communal Territorial Defense in an Old World Monkey'
DR. MARINA CORDS, Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Collective Action, Kinship, and Reciprocity: Communal Territorial Defense in an Old World Monkey.' This project focused on social cooperation through collective action, in which many individuals benefit, even those who did not participate in providing a public good. Little is known about how our closest releatives organize participation in collective tasks. We studied participation in aggressive territorial defense by female Cercopithecus mitis monkeys, and will relate their differential involvement to other kinds of social exchange. The research found sex differences in participation in territorial defense emerged gradually from an early age. The presence of matrilineal kin did not influence participation, but females with infants participated less often as expected. The researchers were surprised to find that high-ranking females participate most in territorial defense, since dominance rank generally has minor effects on behavior in this species. Variation among individuals may reflect the way they cooperate in other 'currencies.' Grooming behavior is highly reciprocal in these monkeys, with each female grooming her partners as often as they groom her. However, reciprocity in grooming is not perfect, again suggesting that grooming may be interchanged for other social services, such as communal territorial defense. Analyses of these social exchanges are still underway, and will include tolerance at feeding sites and kinship as variables, along with grooming and territorial defense.
Cords, Marina. 2007. Variable Participation in the Defense of Communla Feeding Territories by Blue Monkeys in the Kakamega Forest, Kenya. Behaviour 144(12), 1537-1550
Cords, Marina. 2008. Face-offs of the Female Kind. Natural History, September: 36-41
Scheffel, Dr. David Z., U. College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, B.C., Canada - To aid research on 'Patterns of Relations Between Rural Roma and Ethnic Slovaks'
DR. DAVID Z. SCHEFFEL, University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Patterns of Relations Between Rural Roma and Ethnic Slovaks.' The research carried out as part of this grant sought to assess variation in the quality of relations between rural Roma and ethnic Slovaks in the Presov district of eastern Slovakia. Five ethnically mixed villages were visited between January and June 2004, and informants representing both groups were interviewed in order to obtain insight into emic methods employed in the determination of the quality of local relations. The methods themselves were found to be highly asymmetrical since they favor the (Slovak) majority community. Although Romani commentators are well aware and often critical of this asymmetry, they nevertheless accept the standards imposed on them and use them to evaluate their own standing as well as that of neighboring groups. The most important standards are those of cultural refinement and deviance. Roma who score well on these, that is, those who are 'cultured' and law-abiding, become known as 'good gypsies', and their communities may become quite well integrated into the local majority society. On the other hand, Roma who exhibit a marked deficit in both realms are branded as 'bad gypsies' and barred from other than fleeting intercourse with ethnic Slovaks. Since the examined settings differ little in terms of socioeconomic variables, it appears that the roots of the observed distinctions go back to the era of early socialism when higher-order integrationist efforts in the realms of housing and education were received and implemented with varying degrees of enthusiasm and cooperation by municipal authorities.
Scheffel, David Z.. 2005. Svinia in Black and White: Slovak Roma and their Neighbours. Broadview Ethnographies & Case Studies. Broadview Press: Toronto
Scheffel, David. 2008. Ethnic Micropolotics in Eastern Europe: A Case Study from Slovakia’s Gypsy Archipelago. Anthropology Today 24(4):23-25.
Allen, Dr. Susan Elizabeth, U. of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH - To aid research on 'Seeds of Complexity: Archaeobotanical Perspectives on State Formation in Southern Greece'
Preliminary abstract: The emergence of complex societies and the formation of early states are among the most pivotal transitions in the human past. In the past, archaeological attention to these processes of socioeconomic change has focused overwhelmingly on primary centers of power, such as palaces and seats of rulers, rather than smaller, less powerful towns and villages that were both integrated into the hierarchies that developed and likely played an important role in their formation. Moreover, the potential of archaeobotanical evidence -- as a proxy for land use and economic organization -- has been only minimally applied to research on state formation. The research proposed here is significant in that it harnesses the underutilized potential of archaeobotanical aproaches to understanding the processes of conflict and consolidation of power that led to the emergence of powerful states by focusing on its visibility in two non-palatial Mycenaean case studies. These are Iklaina, a secondary administrative center within the Mycenaean polity of Pylos, and Tsoungiza, a tertiary settlement within the territory of Mycenae. By focusing on shifts in resource access, land use practices, and agricultural strategies at the regional, site, and household levels, and their intersection with rapid climatic fluctuations, this research investigates the political ecology of state formation. Although focused on the case of Mycenaean Greece, this research contributes to the development of methodological and interpretive models that have broad application for comparative analysis of state formation in other parts of the world. In that not only environmental adaptations, but also social systems, can be either sustainable or unsustainable, the investigation of both anthropological and environmental aspects of social inequality, state formation, and collapse can help to inform decisions about sustainable practices in the present.
Oelze, Dr. Viktoria Martha, Max Planck Institute Leipizig, Germany - To aid research on 'Isotope Ecology of the Salonga Bonobo - Tracing Dietary Variation and Seasonality by Stable Isotope Analysis of Hair'
DR. VIKTORIA M. OELZE, Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Isotope Ecology of the Salonga Bonobo: Tracing Dietary Variation and Seasonality by Stable Isotope Analysis of Hair.' Very little is known about the seasonal isotope patterns in extant great apes, although they are important references for dietary reconstructions in fossil hominins utilizing stable isotope techniques. This study reconstructs dietary seasonality in wild bonobos by analyzing the isotope ratios in food items and bonobo hair samples, which were non-invasively collected from the LuiKotale field site in Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. In the year of sample collection, fruit was particularly rare and the bonobos were forced to forage outside their territory range and thus out of sight of direct observation. It was predicted the bonobos would fall back on herbaceous vegetation in this time period, which would be recorded in their hair isotope values. Although the data covers a complete annual cycle, little evidence that the bonobos significantly changed their feeding behavior was found. A preliminary conclusion is that the community succeeded to cope with seasonal food stress by finding sufficient ripe fruit outside their usual territory. Finally, researchers obtained a valuable reference dataset of a frugivore ape species exposed to low seasonal variation in their preferred food resources.
Levin, Dr. Nadine Sarah, U. of Exeter, Exeter, UK - To aid research on 'What is Metabolism After Big Data? Health, Bodies, and Populations in the Post-genomic Sciences'
Preliminary abstract: This project explores how metabolism is being reconfigured in relation to 'big data,' and how this has normative consequences for the development of biomedical interventions into health and disease. This project draws on a combination of scholarship in medical anthropological and science and technologies to examine how the rise of big data--which revolves around the use of computers, algorithms, and databases--not only enables researchers to engage with the meaning of biological life in new ways, but also produces culturally, morally, and politically charged ways of evaluating, measuring, and intervening into bodies and populations. To do so, this project examines the field of metabolomics--the post-genomics study of the molecules and processes that make up metabolism--as a case study for the role and value of big data in biomedicine. It entails six months of ethnographic research in two US-based metabolomics laboratories, in order to explore the practices, techniques, concepts, and norms that pervade research on the metabolic basis of health and disease. Ultimately, this project contributes to the anthropological literature on the post-genomic sciences by moving beyond accounts of the downstream 'social implications' of science, to examine how everyday data practices in laboratory settings are intersecting with notions of biological and social life, and in potentially normative and value-laden ways.