Vitzthum, Dr. Virginia Judith, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Testing Hypotheses of the Dietary Determinants of Ovarian Hormones: A Comparative Study of Three Populations'
DR. VIRGINIA J. VITZTHUM, Institute of Primary and Preventative Health Care, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2006 to aid research on 'Testing Hypotheses of the Dietary Determinants of Ovarian Hormones: A Comparative Study of Three Populations.' This research is part of a larger project to elucidate the ecological, behavioral, and ontogenetic determinants of variation in women's reproductive functioning. This phase of the project evaluated the relative importance of total caloric intake versus dietary fat consumption in determining ovarian steroid variation by comparing hormone levels in nomadic-herding Mongolian women (high fat/low calorie diets) with those in previously collected samples of agropastoral Bolivian women (low fat/low calorie diets) and Chicago women (high fat/high calorie diets). Daily biological samples spanning a menstrual cycle and data on covariates were collected from 40 nomadic Mongolian women during July through September 2006. Assays were conducted in collaboration with Dr. Tobias Deschner at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Initial analyses suggest that ovarian steroid levels are at least as high as those of U.S. women, suggesting that dietary fat may be the more important factor. In addition to increasing current understanding of the sources of variation in ovarian functioning, this finding suggests that the modulation of reproductive functioning during a woman's lifespan may be sensitive to variation in dietary fat intake. Ongoing research includes the collection of a comparative sample of German women and planned research includes genetic analyses to ascertain the potential contribution of genotypic variation to hormonal variation.
Chesson, Dr. Meredith Slater, U. of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN - To aid research on 'Follow the Pots: The Social Lives of Early Bronze Age Artifacts from the Southeastern Dead Sea Plain, Jordan'
Preliminary abstract: The 'Follow the Pots' research program explores two interconnected sides of an archaeological looting story: the conventional archaeological investigation of the emergence of prehistoric urbanism and increasing social complexity, and the multiple and contested values of this archaeological heritage to multiple stakeholders today. In this examination of the social lives of archaeological objects the artifacts have at least two lives as looted and excavated artifacts in the present and as associated grave goods from the past. We seek to explore the interplay of these two spheres through the lens of looting. Archaeologically, Follow the Pots centers on the cemetery of Feifa as a comparative base to the other early EB cemeteries in the region potentially enhancing our understanding of EB society during this dynamic period. Ethnographically, interviews are used to document meanings and values of the EBA material culture by looters and non-looters in the local communities and elsewhere to better understand motivations behind pothunting. Follow the Pots draws on this comparative data to rewrite the traditional archaeological looting story by focusing on materiality, and considers how EB peoples deployed material culture in graves in the past, and how archaeologists and looters re-use and re-value this same material culture in the present. By offering all stakeholders a voice in this dialogue, we cultivate greater possibilities for meaningful strategies to protect heritage resources while simultaneously developing locally-nuanced and practical programs for disentangling the links between poverty and looting, and fulfilling the promise of an engaged anthropology.
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.
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.
Leinaweaver, Dr. Jessaca Bennett, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'From Peru to Spain: Transnational Adoption and Migration'
DR. JESSACA LEINAWEAVER, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, received funding in December 2010, to aid research on 'From Peru to Spain: Transnational Adoption and Migration.' This research, based in Madrid, compared those young Peruvians who were adopted by Spanish parents and are growing up in an increasingly multicultural setting, to those young Peruvians who migrated alongside their Peruvian parents seeking economic opportunities. The grantee conducted extensive interviews and observation among both populations and with professionals and scholars involved in both adoption and migration. The study found that although there are important differences between adoption and migration, there is also great value in comparing them. Migration and adoption overlap in time, often share the same points of origin and arrival, and are driven by some of the same broader forces. Despite the differences in their form of arrival to a Madrid that is suddenly and rapidly becoming racially diverse, young people of Peruvian origin share several experiences in common. The grantee is writing a book based on these findings, tentatively entitled 'Transnational Children: What Adoption and Migration Mean for a Global World,' which unites the objects of study, approaches, and theoretical frames of both kinship and migration literatures.
Leinaweaver, Jessaca B. 2013. Toward an Anthropology of Ingratitude: Notes from Andean Kinship. Comparative Studies in Society and History 55(3):554-578.
Leinaweaver, Jessaca B. 2013. Adoptive Migration: Raising Latinos in Spain. Duke University Press: Durham and London.
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.
Cooper, Dr. Elizabeth Charlotte, Simon Fraser U., Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on 'Next Generational Responses to the 'Orphan Crisis': Social Reproduction in Western Kenya'
Preliminary abstract: This research will investigate how major demographic changes in Sub-Saharan Africa, including the so-called 'youth bulge' and 'orphan crisis', affect the reproduction and change of social values and practices. To do this, the research will focus on the transitions to, and perceptions and practices of, adulthood and parenthood among a cohort of young women and men in western Kenya who were orphaned during their childhoods between the years of 1990 and 2005. There is a persistent argument in media, policy and research that African societies are unable to meet the socialization needs of their large populations of youth and orphans, and that this results in anti-social behaviour and societal disorder. This research will answer whether the claim of a socialization crisis is valid in the case of western Kenya where two-thirds of the population is under the age of 24 and 1 of 5 children is orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. It will uniquely contribute to theories of social reproduction by analyzing links between processes of meaning-making in childhood and ideas and practices of adulthood and parenthood in a tangibly uncertain context.
Shneiderman, Dr. Sara Beth, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory and Religiosity in Nepal's State of Transition'
Preliminary abstract: How do we imagine the ideal state that we aspire to live in? I address this question in anthropological terms through a multi-sited ethnography of state restructuring in Nepal since 2006. In the wake of a decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces in this erstwhile unitary Himalayan kingdom turned secular democratic federal republic of nearly 30 million, I transpose Victor Turner's long-standing 'invitation to investigators of ritual to focus their attention on the phenomena and processes of mid-transition' (1967: 110) to the political realm. Despite a 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, a new constitution has yet to be promulgated, making 2014 the eighth year of Nepal's 'mid-transition'. I ask: In this temporally protracted liminal state, how do discourses and practices of restructuring articulated at the national and global level work to produce affective experiences of transformation for ordinary citizens in a range of locales outside the political center of Kathmandu? How do these experiences of transformation shape the political consciousness and aspirations of individuals and collectivities? How are such aspirations expressed in discursive and material terms, and what do they tell us about the structural and functional dimensions of the imagined state of the future? Finally, how do such localized imaginaries of ideal state structure intersect with national and transnational visions of order as articulated by both Nepali and international institutional actors? I address these questions through a focus on the domains of citizenship, territory and religiosity as spaces within which imaginaries of the state's functions and structures in transition are revealed in both material and discursive terms.
Aikhenvald, Dr. Alexandra Y., La Trobe U., Melbourne, Australia - To aid research on 'Arawak Languages: Reconstruction and Culture History'
DR. ALEXANDRA Y. AIKHENVALD, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, received funding in February 2003 to aid research on 'Arawak languages: reconstruction and culture history.' The focus of this project was a linguistic reconstruction of linguistic and cultural pre-history of Arawak languages, correlated w