Williams, Karen Gwendolyn, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'From Coercion to Consent?': Governing the Formerly Incarcerated in the 21st Century United States,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
KAREN G. WILLIAMS, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'From Coercion to Consent? Governing the Formerly Incarcerated in the 21st Century United States,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings. The decades-long expansion of law and order prison policy across the United States has led to historically high rates of incarceration, particularly for communities of color, and has had repercussions far beyond the prison walls. With over 65,000 people returning home each year, prisoner reentry has emerged as a central concern for the correctional system. This ethnography sited in the Missouri Department of Corrections, interrogates prisoner 'reentry' as a social category where meanings and practices of social control, surveillance, and governance are reworked. Reentry initiatives have revived a strong interest in rehabilitation, which have expanded the types of governing strategies. These governing strategies are formulated from evidence-based principals that include risk/needs assessments, targeted treatment, and positive and motivational interactions. Embedded in these strategies is the idea that criminal behavior is a choice; and therefore, economic inequality, racialized policing, and personal trauma are not viewed as barriers in the reentry process. These findings reflect a broader neoliberal approach that individualizes punishment and requires offenders to self-govern; additionally, reentry policies are unable to address the inequalities produced by the long history of mass incarceration.
Nichols, Catherine Anitra, Arizona State U.,Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Museum Networks: The Distribution of the U.S. National Museum's Anthropological Collections,' supervised by Dr. Richard John Toon
CATHERINE A. NICHOLS, then a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, received a grant in October 2011 to aid resarch on 'Museum Networks: The Distribution of the U.S. National Museum's Anthropological Collections,' supervised by Dr. Richard J. Toon. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, major scientific museums exchanged objects with each other in order to build encyclopedic collections. This project investigates the distribution of museum objects from the Smithsonian Institution's U.S. National Museum anthropology collections during the period of 1879-1940. In addition to collection exchanges, the U.S. National Museum distributed a large number of anthropological objects to educational institutions within the United States in return for political favors as a means of maintaining and increasing operational and research funding from Congress. Research traces the path of Southwest Native American objects distributed by the U.S. National Museum from a collection assembled in 1879-80. Using archival records, museum collection records and material culture (object data), it investigates how curators made decisions about what to keep and what to give away, and interprets those decisions within the intellectual, political, and social contexts of the time period. This study makes a significant contribution to museum anthropology through the evaluation of how American anthropologists influenced the development of museums globally, and the relationship between anthropological distributions and national identity formation.
Hebert, Karen, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Reworking Regimes of Value: Fishery Restructuring and Globalization in Bristol Bay, Alaska,' supervised by Dr. Fernando Coronil
KAREN HEBERT, then a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michicagn, was awarded a grant in January 2004 to aid research on 'Reworking Regimes of Value: Fishery Restructuring and Globalization in Bristol Bay, Alaska,' supervised by Dr. Fernando Coronil. The ten months of dissertation research supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation enabled the grantee to gather data crucial for considering the questions outlined in the proposed project, 'Reworking Regimes of Value: Fishery Restructuring and Globalization in Bristol Bay, Alaska.' The fieldwork grant allowed travel in and between sites of fishing practice and policy production in order to understand how a wide variety of industry participants construct and conceptualize fishery restructuring designs. The central research question asks how local regimes of value might serve to shape-rather than simply stymie-projects of globalization contained in salmon industry restructuring plans, particularly those involving corporate consolidation, labor downsizing, and resource privatization. As the proposal anticipated, the bulk of the research was conducted in and around Dillingham and Anchorage, Alaska, through extensive participant-observation -- including work in numerous fishing operations and regular attendance at key regulatory meetings -- as well as interviews of fishers, processing workers and managers, fisheries analysts, and politicians. Findings to date indicate that historically dense notions of fisher independence play a significant role in shaping current policy.
Brodine, Maria Teasdale, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Engineering Levees: Reconstructing Water Management in New Orleans,' supervised by Dr. Herve Varenne
MARIA T. BRODINE, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Engineering Levees: Reconstructing Water Management in New Orleans,' supervised by Dr. Herve Varenne. This ethnographic study explores how levees and their roles in flood events -- and flood protection or risk reduction -- are continuously redefined and (re)constructed by human and nonhuman actors as well as how the levee reconstruction project is shaped by, and shaping, competing conceptions of the relationship between people, technology, and the environment in New Orleans. Building on an ANT/STS framework, this study focuses on conflict around levees and draws on a range of historical and ethnographic sources in order to trace associations mediated by levees. This research engages with questions about the active roles of technologies in engineered landscapes and extends the application of ANT within anthropology. This research may also contribute to public policy, especially as global warming and coastal restoration are issues directly shaped by engineering and scientific paradigms constructed around notions of the roles of people, industry, and technologies in relationship to 'nature.'
Polat, Bican, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Assessing 'Attachment': A Multi-sited Ethnography of Psychological Conceptions of Emotional Bonding,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
BICAN POLAT, then a student at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Assessing Attachment: An Anthropological Analysis of the Changing Scientific Practices of Infant Attachment,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. This project explored the emergence and development of scientific conceptions, technologies, and practices used to study mother-infant relationship in early years of infancy. The research objective was to provide data and insight into the contextual character of scientific knowledge practices in attachment research, with an aim to laying bare the inbuilt frameworks and criteria upon which scientific judgments acquire traction. Through in-depth ethnographic research conducted over a year period, the grantee investigated the ways in which scientific ideas on infant attachment are operationalized in distinct scientific communities allowing their cross-disciplinary, cross-regional, and cross-species dissemination. The project followed the varied instantiations of the attachment construct through distinct field sites such as two neurobiology laboratories in New York City, which studied the biological determinants of attachment through animal models, and a psychology laboratory in Ankara, Turkey, which conducted research on cross-cultural variations of infant attachment. The ethnographic fieldwork considered the daily practices of scientists and researchers as they develop measures and protocols, conduct experiments, and generate criteria on aspects of what they defined as 'attachment.'
Janssen, Brandi Jo, U. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Producing Local Food and Local Knowledge: The Experience of Iowa Farmer,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Chibnik
BRANDI JO JANSSEN, then a student at University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Producing Local Food and Local Knowledge: The Experience of Iowa Farmers,' supervised by Dr. Michael S. Chibnik. The growing demand for local food can be seen in national increases in farmers markets attendance and Community Supported Agriculture memberships. The local food movement, often framed in terms of consumers, has implications for agricultural production in the US, particularly in states like Iowa with strong connections to large-scale, industrialized agriculture. Local food production is significantly different than most conventional, industrialized farming in that it requires producers to grow, market, and distribute a variety of products. Because producers of local food engage in different activities than conventional farmers, they also need different kinds of knowledge to be successful. This project examined how producers of local food in eastern Iowa use and apply the various sources of knowledge available to them. Iowa's long agricultural history contributes to many sources of agricultural knowledge including scientific based extension services, farming organizations, and historic family knowledge. Applying a variety of ethnographic methods, including in-depth interviews and participant observation, this project viewed the local food system in Iowa from the producers' perspective. In particular, this study examined the process of 'scaling-up' to meet larger, institutional markets, the challenges associated with obtaining adequate labor, and the relationships that local food farmers have with their industrial neighbors.
Chapman, Chelsea, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Conceptions of Energy and Economies of Knowledge in Central Alaska's Yukon Flats,' supervised by Dr. Larry Nesper
CHELSEA CHAPMAN, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Conceptions of Energy and Economies of Knowledge in Central Alaska's Yukon Flats,' supervised by Dr. Larry Nesper. This project investigated concepts of energy in central Alaska, asking how regional developments of hydrocarbon and renewable resources are experienced, evaluated, and disputed. Via ethnographic study of a land trade between an Alaska Native corporation and a regional wildlife refuge in the Yukon Flats -- and bio-mass energy projects in the same region -- the research looked at how fields of energy knowledge manifest, and how they are rendered authoritative or marginal as they animate local conflict. Multiple cultural orientations toward nature, land, and power were found to circulate within regional energy production. Despite heterogeneity among cultural models of energy, findings confirmed the relationship of oil, gas, and bio-mass fuels to personal and societal characteristics like vitality, independence, stamina, and life force. Participants conceptualized central Alaska as precarious (energy-brittle) due to political relationships hardened by North Slope oil production, legacies of social inequality, and consequences of climate change. Apocalyptic forecasts related to energy crisis were shared across ethnic, cultural, and occupational groups. Findings further indicate that spiritual practice, especially Pentecostal Christianity, relates closely to a powerful conception of energy as a morally compelling substance languishing untapped in the trees and subterranean hydrocarbons of the boreal forest.
Saboo, Kartikeya, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Financial Agency: Economic Action and Experience after the Financial Crisis,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Ahearn
KARTIKEYA SABOO, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Financial Agency: Economic Action and Experience after the Financial Crisis,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Ahearn. This project examined daily life and relationships in a class-divided neighborhood of color in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Across contiguous blocks of two municipalities, it examined indigenous concepts of financial competence, the differential impact on middle- and low-income families in the same neighborhood, and compared the meaning making exercises of older middle-income activists (class war, revolution) with younger lower-income youth (conspiracy, apocalypse). The research found that middle class families experienced decline in wealth and increased personal vulnerability because of the subprime bubble. Lower-income families, already excluded from financial participation, await the worst structural impact as austerity measures begin to have effect. The ghetto becomes more disorganized, public infrastructure declines, and middle class families of color face the prospect of precarity after a lifetime of normative participation in the economy. This turns them further away from their lower class neighbors as they try to hold on to any possible markers of status and distinction. Conducted by a South Asian male, the project examines contending models of masculinity as well as the misunderstandings, confusions and antagonisms produced by encounters across race, class, and nationality.
Kisin, Eugenia Carol, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Indigenous Sovereignties, Non-secular Modernities: The Market for Northwest Coast First Nations Art,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers
EUGENIA C. KISIN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Indigenous Sovereignties, Non-Secular Modernities: The Market for Northwest Coast First Nations Art,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers. Indigenous social movements have had long histories in settler states. But in recent decades, a new cultural politics has emerged that hinges on expressive culture -- art, music, and performance -- to assert sovereignty and contemporaneity. Within these movements, indigenous peoples have complex affiliations in relation to the commodity market, including community, pan-indigenous, religious, and professional identities. This project documents how contemporary indigenous cultural politics emerge around art, focusing on how the state, the art market, and religiosities are entangled with projects of indigenous self-determination in Vancouver, Canada. Exploring the ways in which First Nations artists take up the fluid categories of contemporary art while challenging modernist and secularist models of art's efficacies, this research shows how participants in this regional art world imagine new ways for aesthetics and politics to comingle in Indigenous practice, often amidst extractive state regimes. Through participant observation, life histories, social network analyses, and archival work in the many spaces of the art world, this research explores how the politics, discourses, and processes of contemporary First Nations art production have led to a $100 million market for Northwest Coast art, and how, on this market, cultural and monetary values are powerfully interlinked.
de la Torre III, Pedro Eduardo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY - To aid research on 'Future Imaginaries, Environmental Stewardship, and the Politics of the Longue Durée at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation,' supervised by Dr. Kim Fortun
Preliminary abstract: The Hanford Nuclear Reservation hosted plutonium production facilities for the U.S.'s nuclear weapons arsenal from 1943 until 1988. It is now the site of one of the largest environmental remediation efforts in the world, which involves the 'public' primarily through a long-standing stakeholder advisory board that issues advice to federal agencies on issues ranging from final land use plans to the pace and extent of cleanup. Some communities, however, are engaged in intergenerational efforts to build the kinds of institutions, expertise, technologies, and politics that can ensure that the site is safe for ten thousand years or more. This intergenerational advocacy, as well as the broader politics of the site, involves negotiating ethical obligations to future generations and diverse populations in the present, as well as 'imagining' the future of this site. Through an ethnographic engagement with stakeholders and others involved in the Hanford clean up, this project will explore the future imaginaries implicated in the practices, knowledges, and advocacy shaping the longue durée of contaminated landscapes. Finally, it will argue that the inheritance of dangerous landscapes is an active and contested process--beset by discursive hazards and double binds--that is shaped by history, collective memory, and anticipation.