Hale, Dr. Charles, U. of Texas, Austin, TX; and Velasquez Nimatuj, Dr. Irma, Independent scholar, Guatemala - To aid collaborative research on "When Rights Ring Hollow: Racism and Anti-racist Horizons in the Americas"
Preliminary abstract: This proposal supports two research teams (in Guatemala and Brazil) that form part of a six-country study of indigenous and afro-descendant peoples, as they confront challenges rooted in ongoing social inequality, racial discrimination and limits to participation in their respective national political systems. The research emerges from three year's work with organizations in all six countries, which belong to a hemispheric network of "observatories on racism." Periodic meetings of this network yielded a central empirical observation: throughout the region,
Pearson, Thomas William, State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Biosafety, Neoliberalism, and the Struggle for Life: Anti-biotechnology Activism & the Politics of Expertise in Central America,' supervised by Dr. Carmen Alicia Ferradás
THOMAS WILLIAM PEARSON, then a student at State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Biosafety, Neoliberalism, and the Struggle for Life: Anti-Biotechnology Activism and the Politics of Expertise in Central America,' supervised by Dr. Carmen Alicia Ferradas. Fieldwork investigated the relationships between neoliberal economic reforms and new concerns with the management of biological life, as an object of both technocratic control and political struggle. Through ethnographic research on conflicts over transgenic organisms and agricultural biotechnology, the grantee examined how biosafety is socially constituted as a form of risk management and expertise that mediates local and global circuits of technology, knowledge, capital, and nature. Ethnographic fieldwork with environmental activists who campaign against transgenics, and who work to reshape the meaning and practice of biosafety, provided insight into how 'life itself' is symbolically constructed as an object of struggle amidst wider transformations associated with free-market policies and ideologies. The research also adapted to and incorporated rapidly changing fieldwork circumstances when broad opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) coalesced into one of the largest social movements in the history of contemporary Costa Rica. As concerns over CAFTA came to concentrate on the impacts of new intellectual property rights reforms, environmentalists were unexpectedly propelled to the center of the popular movement, leading a struggle against the privatization and commoditization of genetic resources and seeds framed around the 'defense of life itself.'
Pearson, Thomas W. 2012. Transgenic-Free Territories in Costa Rica: Networks, Place, and the Politics of Life. American Ethnologist 39(1):90-105.
Pearson, Thomas W. 2013. 'Life is Not for Sale!': Confronting Free Trade and Intellectual Property in Costa Rica. American Anthropologist 115(1):58-71.
Smith, Dr. Robert J., U. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS - To aid preparation of personal research materials for archival deposit with the Anthropological Research and Cultural Collections, U. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Carse, Ashley David, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Topography: Conservation, Development, and the Making of the Panama Canal Watershed,' supervised by Dr. Flora E-shen Lu
ASHLEY DAVID CARSE, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'The Social Life of Topography: Conservation, Development, and the Making of the Panama Canal Watershed,' supervised by Dr. Flora E-shen Lu. This dissertation project examines changing regimes of environmental management around the Panama Canal through multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork and archival research. The emergence or 'making' of the Panama Canal Watershed as an administrative region is illustrative of a recent global shift toward regional environmental management. Sixteen months of research were conducted in Panama and the United States on the implementation and effects of state plans to manage the watershed: the drainage basin that provides the immense quantity of fresh water that the canal requires to function. Archival research explored the histories of debates about the appropriate roles for rural lands and peoples in a region dominated by the canal's transport economy. Institutional ethnography with environmental professionals traced the circulation and translation of knowledge and practices aimed at managing emergent environmental problems around the canal. Community-based ethnography examined how watershed management has reorganized symbolic and material relationships between rural people and their environments. This research provides a fine-grained, historical understanding of everyday life around the Panama Canal, emphasizing changing relationships among state agents, rural peoples, lands, and waters.
Carse, Ashley. 2012. Nature as Infrastructure: Making and Managing the Panama Canal Watershed. Social Studies of Science 42(4):539-563.
Fitting, Elizabeth, M., New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Milpa to Market: Household Labor and Corn Production in the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Deborah A. Poole
ELIZABETH M. FITTING, while a student at the New School for Social Research in New York, New York, was awarded a grant in November 2001 to aid research on household labor and corn production in the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. Deborah A. Poole. Maize is at the center of images and debates about the Mexican countryside. It was a key commodity in the NAFTA negotiations-the crowning achievement of neoliberal reform-and the target of rural reforms more generally, and it lies at the heart of an international debate about the risks transgenic crops and imports may pose to Mexican biodiversity. Fitting considered these images and debates in relation to changing livelihood strategies in the southern Tehuacan Valley, one of the possible sites of original maize domestication. She investigated the ways in which the rural household was reproduced through the circuits of labor and capital beyond the borders of the house, the field, and the nation-state and how this entailed the negotiation of both neoliberal policy and local values and pressures. She found that agricultural production had declined, but corn had become a more significant share of overall production, contrary to policy predictions. Neoliberal reform and sustained economic crisis had produced an increasingly flexible, gendered labor force in the valley. At the same time, U.S.-bound labor migration constituted part of the local strategy. Fitting examined this strategy and the tension between reproducing rural livelihoods and agrarian futures, on one hand, and the erosion of agricultural knowledge and production, on the other. She focused on the local aspects of rural labor migration, although the cycle itself was transnational.
Hoenes del Pinal, Eric, U. of California, San Diego, CA - To aid research on 'Language Use and Language Ideologies among Catholic Maya in Guatemala,' supervised by Dr. Kathryn A. Woolard
ERIC HOENES DEL PINAL, then a student at University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California, received funding in April 2004 to aid research on 'Language Use and Language Ideologies among Catholic Maya in Guatemala,' supervised by Dr. Kathryn A. Woolard. This research investigated the emerging differences in language use between Mainstream Catholics and Charismatic Catholics in a single parish with an ethnically Q'eqchi'-Maya congregation in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Whereas Mainstream Q'eqchi'-Maya Catholics have a strong preference for using Q'eqchi' in ritual settings, Charismatic Catholics have begun to use both Spanish and Q'eqchi'. Additionally Charismatic Catholics have introduced other linguistic innovations (including call and response patterns, loud singing, and 'shouts of joy') and a different set of norms for bodily behavior during religious services, that contrast with the generally quiet and reserved style of worship practiced by Mainstream Catholics. These differences in language use and physical comportment have led to intra-community tension, as parishioners contest what it means to be properly Catholic and Q'eqchi'-Maya. The grantee conducted participant-observation research for twenty months (June 2004 to January 2006) with both Mainstream and Charismatic Catholic groups regularly observing religious rituals including masses, Celebrations of the Word, vigils, and prayer meetings. Additionally, he interviewed group leaders. Over 150 hours of audio- recordings and 50 hours of video-recordings of various rituals were collected to enable closer post-field analysis of parishioners' speech, gesture and movement patterns.
Magana, Maurice, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid engaged activities on 'Youth Activism, Anthropology, and Community Building in Oaxaca, Mexico,' 2014, Mexico
Preliminary abstract: The research project which received Wenner-Gren funding focused a network of youth activists and artists in Oaxaca, Mexico. These youth were key actors in a popular movement that took grassroots control of Oaxaca City for six months in 2006 in protest of police attacks against teachers. Although crucial to the social movement, the contributions of youth were largely trivialized or ignored by most media and scholarly accounts, which often perpetuate narratives about the political apathy and criminality of Mexican youth. The dissertation challenges this erasure by highlighting the important role that youth played in the movement. The engagement project builds on the Wenner-Gren funded research by highlighting youth participation in a collaborative and engaging way for members of various communities in Oaxaca. In the months and years that followed the social movement of 2006, youth channeled the momentum created during the height of the movement into longer-term political and cultural projects, such as social centers and community art spaces. The community engagement event will showcase some of these projects, including the space that will host the site. Importantly, the forums, fanzines, and mural allow the protagonists from my research to produce their own testimonies and analysis in ways that are accessible beyond the academic community, but that also include the local academic community.
Smith-Nonini, Dr. Sandy, Elon U., Elon, NC - To aid research and writing on 'Healing the Body Politic' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. SANDY SMITH-NONINI, Elon University, Elon, North Carolina, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in November 2005 to aid research and writing on 'Healing the Body Politic.' The fellowship allowed several months of work across several disciplines focused at the intersection of the body and relations with state power, including new research on the mind-body relationship, dialectical approaches to moral reasoning and power relations as applied to social movements and political life. The manuscript develops an argument that acknowledges human universals (as well as our particularities) and allows that a moral ecology, as well as individual identities, may shape our social commitments and relationships with power.