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,
O'Neill, Kevin Lewis, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Producing Christian Citizenship: Evangelical Mega-Churches in Postwar Guatemala City,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson
KEVIN LEWIS O'NEILL, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Producing Christian Citizenship: Evangelical Mega-Churches in Postwar Guatemala City,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson. Democracy and neo-Pentecostal Christianity are expanding worldwide. From 1972 to 1996, the number of electoral democracies jumped from 52 to 118, while from 1970 to 1997, the number of nondenominational Christians rose from 185 million to 645 million. Postwar Guatemala City offered a dramatic example of where these two developments have become entangled. Guatemala's slow transition from military rule to a formal democracy has coincided with the rapid evangelization of a once overwhelmingly Roman Catholic population. Over 90 percent Roman Catholic in the 1980s, Guatemala City is now an estimated 60 percent Pentecostal and charismatic Christian. While anthropologists have tended to keep the study of democracy and evangelical Christianity separate, this project explores their cultural coincidence and complex relationship through an ethnographic study of 'Christian citizenship.' The central question is: How do neo-Pentecostals in Guatemala City use their religion to produce different forms of Christian citizenship in an ethnically diverse, class-divided, and democratizing urban context? The primary field site is a prominent neo-Pentecostal mega-church in Guatemala City.
O'Neill, Kevin Lewis. 2010. I Want More of You: The Politicsw of Christian Eroticism in Postwar Guatemala.Comparative Studies in Society and History 52(1):131-156.
O'Neill, Kevin Lewis. 2012. There is No More Room: Cemeteries, Personhood, and Bare Death. Ethnography 13(4):510-530.
Smith, Dr. Lindsay, U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; and Garcia Deister, Dr. Vivette, U. Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City - To aid collaborative research on 'Migrant DNA: The Science Of Disappearance And Death Across The Mexican Borderlands'
Preliminary abstract: Forensic DNA is an ever-growing scientific and political regime in spaces of violence, dispossession, and death. This Project, working in the Mexican borderlands, from Guatemala to the United States, will examine the emergence and consolidation of forensic genetics at the intersection of state-based and grass-roots responses to migration and migrant death. Focusing on scientists, we seek to elucidate the knowledge practices that shape death and identification, particularly the way that genetics has emerged as a contested paradigm for making sense of the crisis of migration and human rights. Drawing on the anthropology of science, critical forensic anthropology, and migrant studies, this study explores the epistemology of forensic genetics in this border region. We seek to elucidate the role of genetics within a new politics of life and death, one where the dead body, made legible through the molecular gaze becomes a contested space for narrating the suffering of violence. This ethnography of forensic science in Mexico adds a new dimension to the theorization of the border, bringing critical attention to the role of forensic science as a knowledge-making borderland straddling justice and research, humanitarian identification and state obfuscation, and the consolidation and contestation of Mexican state power. By focusing on migrant DNA an integral component of the production of violence, justice, and belonging in the global economy, we propose a new methodology for a multi-disciplinary anthropology of science that moves out of the laboratory to better understand the epistemologies and violences of truth-making in the borderlands.
Cano Secade, Maria Del Carmen, U. Iberoamericana, Mexico D.F., Mexico - To aid 'Political Ecology, Sustainability and Environment: An Ethnography of the Conflict Over Water in Matamoros Region,' supervised by Dr. Casey Walsh Henry
Fitting, Dr. Elizabeth M., Dalhousie U., Halifax, Canada - To aid research and writing on 'The Struggle for Mexican Maize: Rural Producers and Neoliberal Globalization' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ELIZABETH M. FITTING, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in November 2005 to aid research and writing on 'The Struggle for Mexican Maize: Rural Producers and Neoliberal Globalization. When genetically modified (GM) corn was found growing among Mexican traditional cornfields, it amplified the debate about the future of Mexican maize and the extent to which corn imports pose a threat to native varieties in the crop's center of origin, domestication and biodiversity. Based on interviews with debate participants and fieldwork among maize producers and migrants in the southern Tehuacan Valley, this project investigates how the claims made in the GM corn debates about rural culture, expertise, and maize agriculture, are employed to frame, reject, or defend neoliberal policies in the countryside; and the ways small-scale maize producers themselves engage and negotiate these policies. In the valley, there has a diversification of livelihoods and the rise of cyclical, transnational migration. This common household labor strategy to adapt to neoliberal policies is remaking corn agriculture in significant ways. While migrant remittances help fund valley households, including maize production (which provides a kind of safety net for older residents), the conditions for sustainable corn agriculture are deteriorating. Residents not only face rising costs and lowered corn prices, but there have been shortages in irrigation water and a loss of interest and knowledge about maize agriculture among the younger generation.
Fitting, Elizabeth. 2006. Importing Corn, Exporting Labor: The Neoliberal Corn Regime, GMOs, and the Erosion of Mexican Biodiversity. Agriculture and Human Values 23:15-26.
Hinegardner, Livia Katherine, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Grassroots Video in Mexico City: Developing Counterpublics, Producing Citizenship,' supervised by Dr. Bret D. Gustafson
LIVIA K. HINEGARDNER, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Grassroots Video in Mexico City: Developing Counterpublics, Producing Citizenship,' supervised by Dr. Bret D. Gustafson. This research investigates the political practice of social movements in Mexico that produce and distribute documentary films as part of their strategy for social change. The networks and collaborations of filmmakers and social movements are developing new political communities of circulating discourse and practice ('publics') associated with new conceptions and practices of citizenship. These networks challenge anthropological conceptions of 'counterpublics' (social groups often forming the basis of organized social movements) that have been conceived as tied closely to religious and ethnic identities. This research examines emergent counterpublics in Mexico that are detached from these concepts. It asks,'How and with what effects are the practices of creating and distributing political documentaries in Mexico developing and mobilizing counterpublics?' The circulating discourse of these films, and the collaborations that produce and distribute them, also challenge New Social Movement theories in which groups make claims to citizenship rights based on identities. Film counterpublics make political claims based on performances of citizenship rooted in practices of engaging with public deliberation through the production and distribution of media. This research asks, 'What conceptions and practices of citizenship emerge out of the practice of creating and distributing films? How do people make political claims based on these conceptions of citizenship?'
Hinegardner, Livia. 2009. Action, Organization, and Documentary Film: Beyond a Communications Model of Human Rights Videos. Visual Anthropology Review 25:(2) 172-185.
MacLeod, Joshua Peter, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Mega-Projects, Nature, and Social Movements in Post-Conflict Guatemala,' supervised by Dr. Kay B. Warren
Preliminary Abstract: An ethnographic investigation based in the Ixil region of the Guatemalan highlands, this doctoral dissertation projects investigates social mobilizations around the construction of mega projects (such as open-pit mines, hydroelectric dams, African palm plantations, or cement factories). Frequently promoted by the Guatemalan state as the best opportunity for post-conflict economic recovery, such projects are provoking widespread resistance and rejection in rural communities. Asking how Guatemalan communities and organizations participate with and construct their opposition to mega-projects, my investigation involves three areas of research: First, an analysis of the politico-economic transformations that have contributed to the current emphasis on the extraction and accumulation of natural resources throughout Latin America and the world. Second, an investigation of to what extent recent indigenous mobilizations foreshadow a resurgence of identity politics or if we are seeing the emergence of a new socio-political moment where, as in other countries, indigenous peoples are seeking to articulate an alternative political agenda for all citizens. And finally, an exploration of how historical memories of la violencia are resonant with contemporary conflicts. I pay particular attention to the central place that contrasting conceptualizations of nature play in the contemporary conflicts as well as the complex ways in which--after decades of state terror and more than a decade of violent 'post-conflict' insecurity--Ixil experiences of the internal armed conflict are refracted through current conflicts over mega-project construction.
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