Carter, Jon H., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Gangs and Media in Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Michael Taussig
JON H. CARTER, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Legacies of Organized Crime: An Ethnography of Crime and Sovereignty in Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Michael Taussig. The research examines criminality and violence in contemporary Honduras, focusing on Honduran street gangs and the state-sponsored campaigns to eliminate them. Situated in the context of Zero Tolerance policing strategies and mass detentions that have crippled the national prison system in Honduras over the last ten years, the project works through the revulsion and spectacle framing the event in popular venues in order to explore the ways in which the gangs' ridicule of corruption in state politics has obliquely established the conditions for a new language of resistance in the face of familiar specters of totalitarianism that accompany moments of crisis in small states dismantled by neoliberalism and consumed by the free trade juggernaut. The project centers around ethnographic portraits of life in the urban barrios as much as behind prison walls, examining individual life histories entangled in awkward ethical and moral inversions that have characterized the struggle of armed youth against extermination initiatives as much as their own absorption into wider networks of illegal activity also constituting criminalized and targeted communities living underground. The work contextualizes state violence against gangs in the present by tracing a history of the role played by enemies of the state in promoting the consolidation of state power from the 19th century to present.
Fouratt, Caitlin, California State U., Long Beach, CA - To aid engaged activities on ' Workshops and Seminar on Migration and Family in Costa Rica and Nicaragua,' 2015, Costa Rica and Nicaragua
Preliminary abstract: This project seeks to engage both Costa Rican academics and Nicaraguan transnational families composed of migrants in Costa Rica and non-migrant relatives in Nicaragua and Costa Rican through a series of workshops and seminars in May and June 2015. First, the project entails two community workshops, one with Nicaraguan migrants living in Costa Rica and one with relatives of migrants in Nicaragua. These workshops will both disseminate research results and provide tools for strengthening family relationships and navigating the Costa Rican immigration system. Each workshop will cover issues of family separation, gender, and immigration law and will be conducted with a Costa Rican scholar also working on issues of migration and gender. The second set of activities is a 4-week long, open seminar to be held at the Institute for Social Research (IIS) at the University of Costa Rica. the seminar will not only disseminate the applicant's Wenner-Gren funded research to local academics and a broader public, but will create a space for scholars and practitioners working on migration issues in Costa Rica to engage in dialogue, share results and experiences, and build networks for further collaboration.
Kashanipour, Ryan Amir, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research and on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner
RYAN KASHANIPOUR, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner. This project is an ethnohistorical examination of the role of medicine and healing in the eighteenth-century, Spanish Atlantic world. In particular, this project explores the role of healing systems in forging day-to-day connections between diverse social and ethnic groups in colonial Yucatan. These findings demonstrate how native peoples used central components to the human existence -- sickness and health -- to control their own lives and influence the broader colonial society. Funding supported primary source research in archives and libraries in Spain and the United States. Historical sources uncovered in this study -- such as six eighteenth-century manuscript books of medicine written in Yucatec Maya and Spanish -- show the broad series of connections within colonial society based on medicine and healing. These findings, in part, demonstrate that healing practices circulating widely in the colonies. In spite of prohibitions that attempted to limit the interaction between different social groups, natives, European, Africans, and people of mixed ethnicity regularly exchanged medical knowledge. Local healing practices were, therefore, the product of a widespread interaction and exchange. Furthermore, indigenous medicinal practices and knowledge empowered native healing specialists, which served to empower native communities.
McAllister, Dr. Carlota P., York U., Toronto, Canada - To aid research and writing on 'The Good Road: Conscience and Consciousness in a Post revolutionary Guatemalan Indigenous Village' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. CARLOTA P. MCALLISTER, York University, Toronto, Canada, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in December 2004 to aid research and writing on 'The Good Road: Conscience and Consciousness in a Post-Revolutionary Guatemalan Indigenous Village.' Scholars investigating the role played by Maya in Guatemala's socialist insurgency tend to fall into two camps: cultural essentialists, for whom the communitarian Mayan worldview precluded authentic Mayan participation in the modernist political project of revolution; and political essentialists, for whom this project simply represented the objective interests of the Mayan poor. United in their commonsense understanding of revolution as historical progress and Mayan identity as bounded by community, both positions limit the political demands contemporary Maya can articulate. Funding enabled eight months' work on preparing the first draft of a book manuscript, now awarded a contract for publication, which contests these two approaches by exploring the formation and deployment of what villagers in Chupol-a Mayan community that was a stronghold of guerrilla support and then a centre for army counterinsurgency operations-call conciencia (Spanish for both conscience and consciousness). Showing how state and Catholic Church modernizing projects engaged Chupolense notions of the moral life as a 'good road,' the book shows how conciencia became an effective political and moral faculty moving Chupolenses to support the insurgency in the past and governing their debates over the consequences of this decision in the present.
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
Ceron Valdes, Mario Alejandro, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Epidemiology and the Everyday Life of the Right to Health in Post-war Guatemala,' supervised by Dr. Janelle Sue Taylor
ALEJANDRO CERÓN, then a student at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Epidemiology and the Everyday Life of the Right to Health in Post-War Guatemala,' supervised by Dr. Janelle Taylor. This project is a study of the everyday practice of epidemiology in Guatemala and how it shapes and is shaped by the notion of the right to health. Much of the research on the relationship between public health and human rights adopts either a critical position towards public health as a potential human rights violator, or an uncritical assumption that what is good for public health is good for human rights, without an examination of how that relationship happens. However research findings indicate that the human rights impact of epidemiological practice is not unidirectional but is influenced by the concrete configuration of transnational and local forces (political, economic, bureaucratic, scientific and symbolic) mediated by social relations in which the epidemiologist plays a moderating role. This study introduces the notion of 'fourth-world epidemiology' (alternatively 'post- neo-colonial epidemiology,' and 'magic realism epidemiology') to synthesize the ways in which these forces take shape in the Guatemalan context. To complete this research the grantee spent twelve months doing fieldwork in Guatemala and carried out archival work, accompanied epidemiologists in their work, and interviewed public health officials, human rights activists, international health officers, and people affected by epidemics or the work of epidemiologists.
Fouratt, Caitlin E., U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Presences and Absences: Nicaraguan Migration to Costa Rica and Transnational Families,' supervised by Dr. Leo Chavez
CAITLIN E. FOURATT, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Presences and Absences: Nicaraguan Migration to Costa Rica and Transnational Families,' supervised by Dr. Leo Chavez. This ethnographic study examined how Nicaraguan migrants and their family members confront the contradictions of remaining 'family' despite absence and distance. Over 300,000 Nicaraguans, many of them undocumented, live in Costa Rica where they represent between seven and ten percent of the population and fill low-paying jobs that form the basis of the country's agricultural and service sectors. But even as they build new lives in Costa Rica, many migrants maintain ties to households and families in Nicaragua. Through participant observation and ethnographic interviews with Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica and their families in Nicaragua, this project studied how Nicaraguan families express care and intimacy across physical and legal boundaries as they adapt to the context of transnational migration and, in the process, transform what it means to be related. In particular, this project examines the contradictions and tensions in Nicaraguan transnational family-life, including how Costa Rican immigration law conditions the possibilities for such families, the flexibility of Nicaraguan kinship and transnational family formation, and the specificities of transnational forms of care. Migration represents both a response to economic and social crisis, even as it generates new forms of instabilities and uncertainties for Nicaraguan families.
Kett, Robert John, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Subterranean Science: Oil, Archaeology and the Making of Southern Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Mei Zhan
ROBERT J. KETT, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Subterranean Science: Oil, Archaeology and the Making of Southern Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Mei Zhan. From atop Complex C, an overgrown pyramid at the center of the Olmec archaeological site of La Venta, the visitor can see the pipes and towers of the Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) processing plant that sits next to the archaeological zone. Such natural and cultural resource projects have dramatically transfigured the town of Villa la Venta and the Mexican state of Tabasco. This research examines how intellectual inquiry on the Mexican Gulf Coast has contributed to the region's dramatic transformation through projects of natural and cultural resource development in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It demonstrates how various knowledge-making projects-which identified natural and cultural resources including Olmec archaeological centers and petroleum reserves-were necessary precursors to the subsequent transformation of the region from an infamous 'backwater' into a center of heritage tourism and oil extraction. The research then offers an intellectual history that points to the active role of such projects in processes of region- and resource-making, arguing for an increased attention to the ways in which intellectual projects interact in the context of field research and to the connections between such interdisciplinary inquiry and broader regional development.
McGill, Dr. Alicia, Indiana U., South Bend, IN - To aid engaged activities on 'Cultivating Heritage Dialogue: An Engaged Anthropology Program with Belizean Teachers, Youth, and National Actors,' 2013, Belize
DR. ALICIA MCGILL, Indiana University, South Bend, Indiana, received an Engaged Anthropology Grant in February 2013 to aid research on 'Cultivating Heritage Dialogue: An Engaged Anthropology Program with Belizean Teachers, Youth, and National Actors.' Funding allowed the grantee to return to the field in summer 2013 to disseminate the results from dissertation research conducted in Belize. The research examined how constructions of heritage are promoted through public venues (including archaeological practice, tourism, and education) and how these shape the cultural production of young citizens. This work is tied to many public issues, and has implications for education policy, archaeological practice, and heritage management. The project incorporated three forms of engagement: 1) sharing, dialogue, and support; 2) teaching and public education; and 3) social critique interacted with heritage scholars, practitioners, and national actors, students and faculty in higher education, and host community members. Engagement projects included presentations at an annual anthropology and archaeology symposium, meetings with heritage practitioners and national officials, presentations and forums with students at Belizean universities, and community forums with youth and community leaders focused on heritage education, local history, and future development plans.