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.
Willow, Dr. Anna Jane, Ohio State U., Marion, OH - To aid research on 'The Politics of Environmental Alliance: A Multi-Sited Ethnography of the Boreal Leadership Council'
DR. ANNA J. WILLOW, Ohio State University, Marion, Ohio, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Politics of Environmental Alliance: A Multi-Sited Ethnography of the Boreal Leadership Council.' This project explored the prospects and politics of multi-sector conservation by investigating the Boreal Leadership Council, an initiative comprised of ENGOs, First Nations organizations, resource-extractive corporations, and investment institutions committed to collectively addressing issues impacting Canada's boreal forest. Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic research and on landscape and discourse theoretical perspectives, it examined how cultural and political differences contour and complicate partnerships between indigenous groups and environmentally-concerned non-Natives. While the initiative promotes a pluralistic definition of conservation and encourages dialogue that recognizes First Nations rights as essential to the forest's future, it continues to adhere to discursive practices that limit how environmental information can be persuasively presented, thus undermining the influence of indigenous participants who inevitably take part on terms that are not fully their own. Participating in multi-sector conservation represents a strategic choice made by indigenous leaders seeking to ensure their peoples' ability to practice the land-based subsistence on which they physically, culturally, and spiritually depend. These findings offer a valuable vantage point from which to reflect on entanglements of socionatural and sociopolitical relationships and thereby contribute to considerations of 'nature' as a contested category and 'conservation' as an arena in which power relations may be both reinforced and resisted.
Willow, Anna. 2013. Doing Sovereignty in Native North America: Anishinaabe Counter-Mapping and the Struggle for Land-Based Self-Determination. Human Ecology 41(6): 871-884.
Ozden, Canay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Engineering Economics: An Ethnography of the Electricity Markets in the United States,' supervised by Dr. Michael M.J. Fischer
CANAY OZDEN, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2012 to aid research on 'Engineering Economics: An Ethnography of the Electricity Markets in the United states,' supervised by Dr. Michael M.J. Fischer. This dissertation explores the creation and daily maintenance of markets based on the example of deregulated electricity markets in the United States. Specifically, the grantee aims to investigate the shape scholarly economic theories take when a variety of non-economist actors such as engineers, traders, and researchers interpret, modify, or completely transform them while striving to concretize a marketplace. During the multi-sited research, the grantee spent time at a power trading and market intelligence firm, interviewed economists and power systems engineers, and observed studies at various smart grid research centers. Based on observations, the research argues that electricity markets are animated by vernacularized forms of economics created at the interstices of engineering knowledge and microeconomic theory. Today, market expertise is not a direct extension of the academic discipline of economics but a hybrid creation that deserves special attention if anthropologists are to shed light on the mechanisms that underlie ubiquitous yet often obscured forms of contemporary market exchange. Combining economic anthropology with science and technology studies, this research contributes to the anthropology of markets by exploring what it means to make and act in a market today.
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.
Cooper, Jessica M., Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Care by Conviction: An Ethnography of California's Mental Health Courts,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth A. Davis
Preliminary abstract: Across the United States, incarcerated individuals whom the state deems mentally ill are receiving mental health care not in a clinic, but in a courtroom. My research will examine mental health courts (MHCs), criminal courtrooms that move offenders with a diagnosed mental illness from jail and into courtroom-based mental health care. MHCs maintain regular contact with offenders, whom the court now recognizes as patients, and employ psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers to provide care for patients. If courtroom clinicians believe that patients are noncompliant with treatment, the judge may return patients to jail. In a yearlong ethnography of two of California's MHCs, I will examine the experience of MHC adjudication. How do courtroom offender-patients experience care distributed through a state system that has the power to punish? How do courtroom clinicians negotiate therapeutic and carceral roles? In the course of providing health care within the courtroom, relationships develop between patients and providers. My research will highlight these social relationships, characterized by care, to investigate how they simultaneously open a space for the state's intimate governance of offenders with psychiatric diagnoses, and a space for care providers to challenge the elements of state control which they find inhumane.
Randle, Sarah P., Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Building the Ecosystem City: Environmental Imaginaries and Spatial Politics in Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
Preliminary abstract: How are residents of Los Angeles negotiating attempts to manage their city as a service-providing ecosystem -- and what do these processes suggest about the politics remaking urban space under conditions of increasing environmental uncertainty? This project investigates emergent efforts to capture, store, and reuse rain and wastewater in new ways within L.A.'s cityscape, in response to widespread concerns about impending climate change-induced water supply scarcity. Proponents frequently present these initiatives as pieces of a broader spatial transformation within the city, restoring historic watershed functions to the urban landscape. Embedded in these framings is a particular vision of L.A.'s urban ecology, one in which properly managed city space provides key ecosystem services (such as water supply augmentation) to its citizens. Through 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork with water agency personnel, environmental activists and non-profit workers, 'green' business owners and employees, and mobilized residents, I trace the social, political, and material lives of such rescripted urban landscapes and resources. Studying interventions at multiple scales -- in private homes, city streets and parks, and wastewater treatment plants -- I examine the effects of these material projects and spatial imaginaries on Angeleños' political subjectivities, alliances, and claimsmaking.
Duarte, Columba Gonzalez, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Monarch Butterfly Assemblage: A Transnational Study of Environmental Knowledge, Politics and Conservation Networks,' supervised by Dr. Hilary Cunningham
COLUMBA GONZALEZ DUARTE, then a graduate student at University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, was granted funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'The Monarch Butterfly Assemblage: A Transnational Ethnography of Environmental Knowledge, Politics and Conservation Networks,' supervised by Dr. Hilary Cunningham. From an ethnographic perspective, this research elucidates the monarch butterfly conservation dynamics across the butterfly's Eastern migration route that comprises Canada, the United States (U.S.) and Mexico. With support of the Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, the researcher conducted fifteen months of fieldwork in four different sites across the butterfly's migratory path. As a result, the dissertation builds on ethnographic data obtained at two conservation areas in Canada, the University of Minnesota laboratory focused on monarch biology, and at the reserve in Mexico that protects the forest where the butterfly hibernates. The research elucidates the ways in which these four sites-despite their differences-are connected by the butterfly, the tri-national initiatives to conserve the insect, as well as through the social and natural arrangements that transformed these sites after the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The research analyzes the associations between the citizen-science practices to protect the monarch, which take place in Canada and U.S. along with the new environmental challenges that appear in the protected Mexican habitat. Therefore, the ethnographic study reveals the NAFTA politics linking classrooms, laboratories, funding agencies, and citizen-scientists from the U.S. and Canada, in relation to the rural unprivileged peasants of Mexico who co-habit with the monarch.
Sahota, Puneet Kaur Chawla, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid 'An Ethnography Of Medical/Genetics Research among American Indians: Political, Economic, and Ethical Considerations,' supervised by Dr. Bradley Philip Stoner
PUNEET SAHOTA, a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, received funding in May 2007 for to aid research on 'An Ethnography of Medical/Genetics Research Among American Indians: Political, Economic, and Ethical Considerations,' supervised by Dr. Bradley P. Stoner. Fieldwork, including participant-observation and in-depth interviews with 53 community members, was conducted with a Native American community that has participated extensively in biomedical research studies. Tribal members' views were assessed regarding the impact of research studies on their health-related knowledge and behaviors. Tribal members' perceptions of the relationship between research studies and health care were also examined. Interviewees had diverse reactions to researchers' reports that Native Americans are at a higher risk for developing diabetes: some were motivated to improve diet/exercise habits while others were discouraged by genetic explanations for diabetes in their community. Tribal members also had a wide variety of views on the handling of biological specimens in medical/genetics research. The tribe recently developed a unique partnership with a genetics research group, including joint ownership rights for data and possible patents. Findings of this research will contribute to the anthropology of science and new technologies and may also have implications for bioethics policies and practices.
Sahota, Puneet Chawla. 2012. Genetic Histories: Native Americans' Accounts of Being at Risk for Diabetes. Social Studies of Science 42(6):821-842.
Sahota, Puneet Chawla. 2012. Critical Contexts for Biomedical Research in a Native American Community: Health Care, History, and Community Survival. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 36(3):3-18.
Lee, Tina Marie, CUNY-Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Stratified Reproduction and Definitions of Child Neglect: State Practices and Parents' Response,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
DR. JENNIFER HASTY, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, received funding in May 2004 to aid research on 'Corruption and the Politics of Indigeneity in Ghana.' From July 2004 to August 2005, the grantee conducted twelve months of fieldwork on corruption and anticorruption in Ghana. While the anticorruption programs of international donors and NGOs diagnose corruption as a problem of selfish greed and cynicism, this research supports the argument that the practices of corruption are deeply rooted in notions of indigenous African identity, sociality, and global positionality. Archival work on anticolonial newspapers and postcolonial Commissions of Enquiry illustrates how the Ghanaian sense of indigeneity was key to the crafting of resistance to colonial forms of expropriation, as well as the Africanization of the nation-state, and, more recently, neoliberal participation in global processes (both fueling and fighting corruption). If historical and sociocultural factors are key to the endurance of corruption, then solutions to the problem of corruption must engage with the sociocultural dynamics at work, rather than criminalize the 'temptations' of sociality and local culture (gift-giving, favors, nepotism), as donor anticorruption often do. In six months of participant-observation, working as an assistant to a corruption investigator at the Ghana Serious Fraud Office, the grantee studied how the work of anticorruption is infused with socially-embedded forms of morality, often inspired by local Christianity (as opposed to the secularist and individualist discourses of donors).