Hamilton, Jennifer A., Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Aboriginal Restorative Justice: A Comparison between Seattle and Vancouver,' supervised by Dr. George E. Marcus
JENNIFER A. HAMILTON, while a student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, was awarded a grant in March 2001 to aid research on 'Aboriginal Restorative Justice: A Comparison between Seattle and Vancouver,' supervised by Dr. George E. Marcus. Jennifer A. Hamilton, a student at Rice University in Houston, Texas, received an award in March 2001 to aid her ethnographic research on indigenous justice initiatives in Seattle, Washington. She was supervised by Dr. George E. Marcus. Based on earlier research conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia from 1999-2000, she examined a range of practices and discourses that fall under a variety of legal rubrics including tribal law, alternative sentencing, and restorative justice. As part of a larger comparative project about the postcolonial emergence of new forms of law and justice practiced among indigenous peoples on both sides of the U. S.-Canada border, she sought to understand the specific ways in which indigenous justice is linked to the historical and political relations of postcolonial states. Through interviews, courtroom observation, and archival research, she determined that important historical, legal, cultural and political differences between British Columbia and Washington State, especially the existence of a well-developed and standardized tribal court system in the latter, create different contexts for the deployment and interpretation of indigenous justice. Her research also demonstrated that conflicts and negotiations around indigenous justice in both field sites operate as powerful moral critiques of law, colonialism, and identity, and that they challenge the epistemological assumptions and presumed neutrality of modern liberal law. Further, she found that discourses about indigenous justice are pervasive, and often rely on static notions of indigeneity and of reconciliation, and must be understood in relation to significant material processes such as the negotiation of land rights and self- government.
Block, Caroline Mohr, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MN - To aid research on 'Rabbis, Rabbas, and Maharats: Aspiration, Innovation and Orthodoxy in American Women's Talmud Programs,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
Preliminary abstract: My research centers on the women's Talmud programs that have recently emerged in the American Modern Orthodox Jewish community, where women study the rabbinic curriculum without the current possibility of receiving ordination or of serving as rabbis in their Orthodox communities. Institutionally unable to claim traditional rabbinic authority, these women have begun to experiment with cultivating alternative forms of pious authority and spiritual leadership within the bounds of American Orthodoxy. In an ethnographic investigation of these educational institutions and the ways in which aspirations for both individual cultivation and communal innovation are enacted through study within them, this research examines the changing landscape of religious authority in a community which has received little attention from anthropological research. Through its focus on American Jewish denominationalism, and the ways in which it simultaneously promises and poses a threat to innovations such as those toward which these female Talmudic scholars aspire, this study aims to contribute to a new and dynamic picture of tradition as it relates to modern religion in the public sphere.
Parezo, Dr. Nancy Jean, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Rethinking the Institutional Collection as the Basic Research Population in Museum Anthropology: Henry Voth's Multi-Institutional Collections'
Preliminary abstract: Museums are databanks of information for a number of disciplines, especially anthropology. Artifacts have, and continue to be, collected during fieldwork enterprises and placed in museums where they constitute an important part of the discipline's evidence for its theories interpretations, descriptions and conclusions. Of the estimated 7 million anthropological artifacts in American museums I estimate that only about 10 percent have been analyzed making museum collections prime data for use in sophisticated contemporary studies in almost every area of contemporary theoretical interest. But museum collections continue to be underutilized in part because researchers have not been taught how to utilize them efficiently and most anthropologists do not understand how collections have been formed and therefor how they can be used for both qualitative and quantitative research. The proposed project addresses one important methodological area of research--identifying a research population and controlling for possible biases inherent in its construction and from there demonstrating how appropriate samples can be drawn. My research questions the prevalent assumption that museum collections as research populations are institution based by looking at the collecting activities of one pracitiioner--anthropologist and mission Henry Voth who collected among the southern Arapaho, southern Cheyene and Hope between 1890 and 1918 for ten different institutions that hold significant North American collections. I will test whether a collector-based and multi-sited research population is a useful concept for asking questions about these three cultures and the instiutions that used them rather than considering them ten separate collections. I will also develop a model and template for scholars to use in addressing the issue of sampling and control of possible bias.
Iacobelli, Nicholas Peter, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Health at the Margins: Sovereignty, Punishment, and Recognition in a Pennsylvania Prison,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois
Preliminary abstract: The penal system in the United States has taken on an increasingly punitive role in the lives of the poor and structurally vulnerable over the past 40 to 50 years. Yet it is in this context that prisoners are guaranteed a constitutional right to healthcare access -- access often outside their reach in their home communities. This project seeks to bring the provision of state healthcare services in prison and an absence of healthcare security in communities under the same analytical framework by engaging in an ethnographic study of prison healthcare services in a Pennsylvania prison. Doing so will elucidate the political economy of prison healthcare delivery, including how modes of economic governance and overt control dictate how and why care is delivered, as well as how providers become socialized to view inmates in particular ways. Central to this investigation is an attempt to complicate straightforward notions of the prison as a site of pure sovereign power. Therefore, I will investigate the ways in which inmates are able to leverage suffering in order to effect political, legal, and interpersonal recognition; the ways such recognition is foreclosed; and how new forms of suffering and violence are enacted in the process. This kind of ethnographic analysis will attempt to unpack the complicated and contradictory systems of punishment, profitability, and compassionate care through the everyday actions, dialogue, and institutional policies in which they become legible. In the process, I seek to elucidate what a constitutional right to prison healthcare means both in theory and in practice, explicating the meaning of rights granted to the marginalized and exposing practices that are hidden from public view.
Carothers, Courtney, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Sociocultural Effects of Privatizing Marine Resources in the North Pacific,' supervised by Dr. Eric A. Smith
COURTNEY CAROTHERS, then a student at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, received funding in July 2005 to aid research on 'Sociocultural Effects of Privatizing Marine Resources in the North Pacific,' supervised by Dr. Eric A. Smith. This study explores the sociocultural impacts of the privatization of fishing rights on Alaska Native fishing villages. Ethnographic research in three remote coastal villages on Kodiak Island suggests that the privatization of fisheries access is a primary factor contributing to a fundamental change in the lifestyle on the island. Within the last decade village populations have decreased by approximately 50%, fishermen and their 'fishing power' (e.g. vessels, crews, permits, and quotas) have decreased substantially, and young people have started growing up without fishing knowledge or a fishing identity. Initial analysis of the fishing quota market, extensive fishery participant survey data, and ethnographic research suggest that community residence, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity play an important role in explaining the variation in the effects of resource access privatization. Cultural factors, such as the importance of a 'maintaining' rather than an 'accumulating' economy, appear to influence decision-making in privatized access fisheries. Other factors, including economic declines in mainstay salmon fisheries, geographic isolation from markets, increased cost of living have also contributed to loss of fishing power in Kodiak villages. This study also explores community ownership of fishing rights as a mitigation measure against some of the negative impacts of resource privatization.
Roosth, Hannah Sophia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Crafting Life: A Sensory Ethnography of Fabricated Biologies,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich
SOPHIA ROOSTH, then a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in November 2008 for ethnographic research on the turn from analysis (sequencing DNA) to synthesis (constructing biological objects) that took place in biology in the last decade. Fieldwork was conducted in two sites: the MIT Synthetic Biology Working Group and the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project based in Los Angeles, California, where it was discovered that researchers increasingly make biological things in order to understand them, a twist in the life sciences she terms 'constructive biologies.' Observing synthetic biologists' work outlining a series of community-approved standards setting guidelines for the composition of genetic sequences, the study demonstrated that biologists and the objects they manufacture are mutually composed, such that biotic artifacts orient, organize, and reflect researchers' interests and practices. Examining the Reef project (a distributed venture of crafters who fabricate material simulations of marine morphologies), the grantee discerned that in both fields, practitioners claimed their own tactics, whether of standardizing, engineering, or crocheting, as fundamental features of biology that preceded their interventions. Results suggest that making, in contemporary biology, is not a means to an end, but operates dialectically with the epistemic work of investigation, examination, and analysis.
Roosth, Sophia. 2013. Of Foams and Formalisms: Scientific Expertise and Craft Practice in Molecular Gastronomy. American Anthropologist 115(1):4-16.
Kessler, Chloe A., George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Waste-to-Energy: Toxicity and Historicity in South Baltimore City,' supervised by Dr. Joel C. Kuipers
Preliminary abstract: South Baltimore City has been a site of national sacrifice since the 1800s, from quarantining lepers during immigration's 'great wave' to supporting nuclear deterrence with its Cold War chemical holdings. Today, it is the planned site of the nation's largest incinerator. While politicians support the project as an 'acceptable risk' on the path toward energy independence, residents respond in protest. Drawing on themes of toxicity (the biochemical effects of prolonged exposure) and historicity (cycles of suffering imposed by government programs), they fight ideologies of sacrifice by invoking their cumulative effects. Beginning with the fight against the incinerator, my project interrogates the effects of prolonged environmental harm and the modes of historical consciousness that inform collective action, by (1) tracing histories of risk management in south Baltimore, (2) exploring this history's reappropriation today, and (3) analyzing how residents portray the incinerator's construction as a morally punctuated event. In the process, my research transcends the single-issue focus characterizing the anthropology of risk by attending to multiple modes of risk management, adds to work on eventfulness by contributing the concept of 'moral punctuation,' and builds on studies of citizenship by positioning 'sacrifice' as a metaphor for the reciprocal bond between citizens and states.
Curley, Andrew Paul, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'The Changing Nature of Navajo Tribal Sovereignty in an Era of Climate Change,' supervised by Dr. Wendy Wolford
ANDREW CURLEY, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was awarded funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'The Changing Nature of Navajo Tribal Sovereignty in an Era of Climate Change,' supervised by Dr. Wendy Wolford. Research was conducted from January 2013 to July 2014 in the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States, and looked at the social nature of coal in the Navajo Nation. The grantee examined the deeper meanings of the industry for both proponents and opponents of it. The dissertation based on this research shows how these meanings articulate competing notions of tribal sovereignty that has both intensified and taken new directions in this era of global climate change. What was found is that political questions about development are rooted in notions of culture that go into constructing deeper meanings of being indigenous in the 21st century. In other words, the ideological foundations to political narratives are related to central understandings about being Navajo now and into the future. Writing through the perspectives of cultural anthropology, Native American studies, and the sociology of development, the dissertation argues that resource development projects and the debates they generate are part of deeper, more critical indigenous struggles for survival, both materially and culturally.
Scull, Charles A., U. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Growing up Samoan Style: Reinventing a Samoan Identity in California, ' supervised by Dr. Nancy C. Lutkehaus
CHARLES A. SCULL, while a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, received an award in July 2001 to aid research on the reinvention of Samoan identity in California, under the supervision of Dr. Nancy C. Lutkehaus. Scull conducted fieldwork in the Samoan communities of the San Francisco Bay area and, to a lesser degree, the greater Los Angeles area, exploring Samoan identity among first-, second-, and third-generation young people. In the San Francisco Samoan community, Scull involved himself in community organizations and, as a volunteer teacher and tutor, in schools with high concentrations of Samoans. His affiliation with these institutions led to his involvement in community events such as church services, dance performances, fundraisers, gift exchanges, festivals, and sporting events. In addition to this participant observation, he acquired more structured data from forty-six Samoan youths (ages 14-31 and fairly evenly divided by gender) who completed surveys, semistructured interviews, group interviews, social mapping exercises, or personal timelines or who were photographed or videotaped. Many informants participated in more than one of these ethnographic activities. Analysis of the data was to form the basis for Scull's doctoral dissertation.
Laugrand, Dr. Frederic, U. Laval, Sainte-Foy, Canada - To aid conference on 'The nature of spirits': human and non-human beings in Amerindian cosmologies, 2004, Quebec City, in collaboration with Dr. Jarich Oosten
'The Nature of Spirits: Human and Nonhuman Beings in Aboriginal Cosmologies,' April 29-May 1, 2004, Quebec City, Canada -- Organizers: Frederic Laugrand (University of Laval) and Jarich Oosten (University of Leiden). Participants in this conference discussed how Amerindian peoples from North and South America (and other societies in contrast) conceive of their relationships to the various spiritual and physical entities that belong to 'nature' and 'supernature,' if these terms are appropriate. Many topics were explored from a comparative perspective. The first day, discussions focused on notions and categories such as those of human and nonhuman figures, ontology, culture, nature, supernature, perspectivism, morality, commensality, cannibalism, and predation. On the following days, two main issues were tackled through local ethnographies. First, participants discussed humanity and animality relationships, with an emphasis on the mediating position of dogs in North America. Then, introducing a diachronic perspective, they discussed ways in which nonhuman entities and shamanic spirits can be transformed, rejected, appropriated, transmitted, or incorporated-in sum, how spirits are visible or invisible and how they can always adapt and circulate.
Laugrand, Frederic B., Jarich G. Oosten (eds.) 2005 Nature of Spirits in Aboriginal Cosmologies. Les Presses de L’Université Laval: Quebec, Canada.