Nonaka, Dr. Angela M., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research and writing on ''It Takes a Village': Anthropological Analysis of Indigenous Sign Language Development and Decline in Thailand' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. ANGELA M. NONAKA, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship to aid research and writing on ''It Takes a Village:' Anthropological Analysis of Indigenous Sign Language Development and Decline in Thailand.' It Takes a Village is a 311-page manuscript that traces the life cycle of Ban Khor Sign Language. BKSL arose some 80 years ago in response to an unusually high incidence of hereditary deafness, and until recently was widely used in daily life by both hearing and deaf villagers, fostering participation and inclusion of the latter. This rare sociolinguistic ecology is undergoing dramatic changes, however, that threaten the continued vitality of BKSL, which is being supplanted by Thai Sign Language. Synthesizing more than a decade of continuous, holistic anthropological research, this study examines the causes and consequences of language emergence, maintenance, and shift. Ethnographically compelling on their own merits, the descriptive particulars of the Ban Khor case study have applied import for understanding the widespread endangerment of this rare sign language variety. This project also breaks new theoretical ground. By adopting a language socialization perspective that emphasizes interactional, use-based analysis of BKSL, this study counters key assumptions in formal linguistics about 'village' or 'indigenous' sign languages (and other lesser-known signing varieties), by demonstrating their full linguistic complexity and utility in situ, in the course of quotidian talk and interaction.
Shankland, Dr. David, Royal Anthropological Institute, London, UK - To aid RAI conference on 'Anthropology and Photography,' 2014, British Museum, London
'Anthropology and Photography'
May 29-30, 2014, The British Museum, London, UK
Organizer: David Shankland (Royal Anthropological Institute)
The aim of this major conference was to explore the way that anthropology and photography may be brought more closely together. The motivation was two-fold: we wanted to show that the study of photography within anthropology has general application, and that it need not be confined to a specialized sub-field. We also wanted to address the relationship between anthropologists and their subjects in a practical way, illustrating that through photography some of the inequality which is still inherent within much of the way that fieldwork is practiced, may be overcome. In the event, both these objectives were realized. The conference was sold-out, with some 500 persons in total attending (including RAI/BM and volunteers). We also were pleased to welcome to exhibit their work: Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (Benin); Daniel Hernandez-Salazar (Guatemala); Kushal Ray (India); Pablo Rey (Argentina); and Ketaki Sheth (India). These five photographers have been invited to become corresponding members of the RAI's photographic committee. The program may be viewed permanently on the RAI's web-site at www.therai.org.uk/conferences/anthropology-and-photography. It is also planned that a series of open-access refereed pamphlets will be produced from the event, which will be published also on the RAI's web-site.
Engelbrecht, Dr. Beate, Institute for Scientific Research, Goettingen, Germany - To aid conference on origins of visual anthropology: putting the past together, 2000, IWF- Institute for Scientific Film, in collaboration with Dr. Rolf Husmann
U. of California, Irvine, CA, Mireshghi, Elham, PI - To aid research on 'Regulating the Kidney Market: An Ethnographic Investigation of the 'Iranian Model' for Paid Unrelated Kidney Donation,' supervised by Dr. Michael Montoya
ELHAM MIRESHGHI, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Regulating the Kidney Market: An Ethnographic Investigation of the 'Iranian Model' for Paid Unrelated Kidney Donation,' supervised by Dr. Michael Montoya. This research investigates the 'Iranian Model for Paid Non-related Kidney Donation,' the world's only religiously sanctioned and bureaucratically routinized policy for kidney sales. This project is about how despite broad moral uncertainty the policy has been developed and made to endure for over fifteen years. The results build on ethnographic research in hospitals and the Kidney Patient Foundation (KPF) that developed and implements the policy, as well as a diachronic analysis of the making of the policy, including interviews of kidney donors and patients, policy-makers, patient advocates, bureaucrats, urologists - and Shi'a jurists that have decreed permissive fatwas on organ sales. The first phase of this project consisted of extensive observation and interviewing at the KPF. By following the bureaucratic dynamics, the managerial tactics, and the movement (and stasis) of knowledge within the organization, it reveals the everyday processes that help kidney selling endure, despite the policy's conflict with the moral sensibilities of the many people involved. Furthermore, by ethnographically documenting encounters between kidney sellers, recipients, and staff, it reveals the ways in which each of these actors constructs an evolving fragmented ethics on kidney selling.
Green, Elizabeth Mara, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Everyday Signs: Deaf Sociality and Communicative Practices in Rural Nepal,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks
ELIZABETH MARA GREEN, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in May 2009, to aid research on 'Everyday Signs: Deaf Sociality and Communicative Practices in Rural Nepal,' supervised by Dr. William F. Hanks. An estimated 5,000-15,000 deaf people in Nepal are Nepali Sign Language (NSL) users and participants in an urban-centered, national deaf community. In contrast, the majority of deaf Nepalis -- some 190,000 according to one frequently quoted figure -- never learn, or even encounter, NSL. Without access to a shared language, these deaf people, along with their hearing interlocutors, develop localized gestural systems to communicate. The researcher conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Kathmandu, the capital, and Maunabudhuk, a village in the east, with local signers. The findings suggest that local sign is both like and unlike communication that occurs when using a standard language; while both rely on conventions, the former has a much smaller and less stable repertoire, such that it is characterized not only by successes but also by frequent misunderstandings and a very tightly-bound relationship to social and interactional context. The dissertation will explore more fully how deaf local signers and their hearing family members, neighbors, and friends draw on shared personal experiences, tacit social knowledge, and the material landscape to produce meaningful signs and meaningful lives.
Zimman, Lal, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Talking like a Man: Identity, Socialization, Biology, and the Gendered Voice among Female-to-Male Transsexuals,' supervised by Dr. Kira Hall
LAL ZIMMAN, then a student at University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Talking like a Man: Identity, Socialization, Biology, and the Gendered Voice among Female-to-Male Transsexuals,' supervised by Dr. Kira Hall. As a window into the relationship between gender and the voice, this study combines methods from linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics to analyze the changing voices of female-to-male transgender people. Fifteen trans men and others on the female-to-male identity spectrum were recorded in a variety of contexts during their first 1-2 years of hormone therapy. Testosterone, which is one of the most popular medical interventions among trans men, can spur dramatic changes in the larynx along with other so-called 'secondary' sex characteristics. By tracking changes in pitch as well as speaking style, this study underscores the intertwined nature of embodiment, socialization, and identity work, which may or may not be aligned in predictable ways. Trans men, who were raised in a female gender role but do not see themselves as women, clearly represent atypical combinations of physiology, early life socialization, and self-defined gender identity. With the marked biological changes that testosterone brings about, these trans speakers also demonstrate the diversity of speaking styles that can be perceived as male-sounding. Ultimately this study shed lights on the inextricable relationship between the body and social practice while simultaneously problematizing the notion that voices can be unproblematically categorized as 'female' or 'male.'
Jacobs, Sue-Ellen, Ohkay Owingeh, NM - To aid preparation of personal research materials for deposit with Special Collection University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, WA, and National Anthropological Archives, Suitland, MD - Historical Archives Program
Levi, Dr. Margaret, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid workshop on 'Anthropological Epistemology and Cross-Cultural Metacategories,' 2015, Stanford U., in collaboration with Dr. Howard Morphy
Preliminary abstract: The aim of the workshop is to generate reflective discourse on anthropological epistemology. The workshop has both pragmatic and exploratory objectives, building on the theme of cross-cultural/cross-temporal meta-categories in the context of anthropology as interdisciplinary environment for research into human society. Historically anthropology has implicitly created meta-categories for a discourse that encompass different but synergistic ways of thinking about things and acting in the world -- art, aesthetics, gender, family, household, law, property, mind, and so on. The cross-cultural and/or cross-temporal meta-category is dialogic. It exists between different local categorizations, yet simultaneously strives to encompass difference. Recently a tension has developed anthropology between theoretical perspectives which focus on the problematization of boundaries and the dissolution of categories and those earlier perspectives which attempted to develop cross-cultural meta-categories in order to understand the diversity of human societies and the nature of regional trajectories. This workshop has the potential to influence future directions by reflecting on the terminologies employed and the perspectives that lie behind them and placing them in the context of the history of the discipline and the dialogical nature of the relationships with the subjects of their research.