Howes-Mischel, Rebecca Ella, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Gestating Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Personhood in Discursive Prenatal Practices in Oaxaca and Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp
REBECCA E. HOWES-MISCHEL, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received an award in May 2007 to aid research on 'Gestating Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Personhood in Discursive Prenatal Practices in Oaxaca and Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp. Outlining the connections between rural Oaxaca and urban, southern California with research on a indigenous community that is simultaneously and intensely local and transnational, this dissertation analyzes the intimate and public domains of knowledge mobilized in the production of reproductive selves. Drawing together these micro and macro-level lenses, it offers a framework for analyzing the biomedical models that circulate within clinical, community, and transnational narratives-illustrating how the social valences of medical practice are integrated into the production of social actors across multiple contexts as they in turn are shaped by national and international discourses. Moving between hospital and community-based ethnography, this dissertation analyzes: 1) how subjects are produced through biomedical encounters (including subsequent talk generated about these encounters); 2) how populations (as ideational categories) are formed in the nexus of national health policies and women's bodily practices; and 3) how research might approach the practices of modern self-making across a transborder indigenous community. It looks at the 'spaces in-between,' where women create syncretic notions of personhood and incorporate 'traditional' practices into neoliberal health models. This project uses reproduction as a lens into larger projects of subjectification via complicated and value-laden frameworks for 'good' mothering at the individual, community and transnational level.
Buchbinder, Mara Helene, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Communication and Subjectivity among Adolescent Chronic Pain Sufferers in Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Elinor Ruth Ochs
MARA BUCHBINDER, then a student at University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Communication and Subjectivity among Adolescent Chronic Pain Sufferers in Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Elinor Ochs. This ethnographic and linguistic study examines how care for adolescents with chronic pain is organized across clinical and family settings. During 2008-2009, fieldwork was conducted in a university-based multidisciplinary pediatric pain program in southern California. Data include open-ended interviews with 22 families and 30 pediatric pain clinicians; observations of medical consultations in the pain clinic and of the pain team's weekly meetings; and longitudinal video-recordings of four focal families in a range of clinical and community settings. The grantee documented: 1) how families implement care and respond to adolescents' suffering in their everyday lives; 2) how the multidisciplinary clinical team instantiates collaborative care for adolescent patients; and 3) how the team socializes adolescents and their families into institutionally organized ideologies and practices concerning pain management. By combining interview and observational data, the research considers not only narrativized responses to pain, but also the ways in which such responses and their corresponding logics of care are enacted and transformed in unfolding social interactions.
Buchbinder, Mara. 2011. Personhood Diagnostics: Personal Attributes and Clnical Explanations of Pain. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(4):457-478.
Sadre-Orafai, Stephanie Neda, New York U., New York, NY- To aid research on 'Producing Racial and Ethnic Types: Language, Perception & Embodied Differences in New York's Fashion Industry,' supervised by Dr. Bambi B. Schieffelin
STEPHANIE SADRE-ORAFAI, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in June 2006 to aid research on 'Producing Racial and Ethnic Types: Language, Perception, and Embodied Differences in the New York Fashion Industry,' supervised by Dr. Bambi Schieffelin. The project explores the production of commercial racial iconography through an analysis of the model-casting process in the New York fashion industry. Identifying casting interactions as interrelated and co-constructed productions of media, persons, perceptual experiences, and categories of difference, the researcher examined the visual technologies, linguistic techniques, and embodied practices used by casting professionals and models to create, delimit, and blur commercial categories and types. Drawn from interviews, ethnographic research, and recordings at a leading New York casting agency, a high fashion women's modeling agency, and an international photo production company, the research provides a unique insight on the production of people as media by highlighting the ways in which the casting professionals and models attend to and modulate taken-for-granted features of social interactions and performances. The dissertation will explore casting both as a situated practice within the New York fashion industry and as a metaphor for broader categorical thinking -- racial or otherwise -- in contemporary US.
Arumugam Karunithy, Jeyanithe, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Violence, Trauma, and the Transformation of Personhood/Identity: Sri Lankan Tamils Making Refugee Claims in Canada,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Robert Spencer
JEYANITHE A. KARUNANITHY, then a student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, received a grant in December 2008 to aid research on 'Violence, Trauma and the Transformation of Personhood/Identity: Sri Lankan Tamils Making Refugee Claims in Canada,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Robert Spencer Tamil refugees have spread to all corners of the world as a result of the three decades of civil war and political violence, exacerbated by a 1983 pogrom in Sri Lanka. Tamil refugee claimants have been experiencing tightened immigration control since 9/11, as they hope to find 'refuge' in Canada, their preferred destination. Under the circumstances of refugee and asylum dilemma, this study is designed to explore the paradox of institutional practices of state, refugee law and psychiatric practices (e.g., the discourse and diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), by focusing on its impact upon the process of transformation of personhood. The fieldwork was conducted in the Tamil neighborhoods in Toronto, involving forty in-depth interviews with a group of refugee claimants of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. The data collected on the claimants' experiences of Canadian asylum and strategies of their identity (re)construction will be used to analyze the politics of recollection (memory), interpretation and narrations of the event by using the oral-histories as narrated by asylum-seekers themselves. In other words, the detailed narratives of refugee claimants (which are difficult to narrate and sometimes violate cultural norms), will be analyzed to understand the ways in which the state's practices -- marked by heavy 'bureaucratization' and 'medicalization' -- trigger suffering of refugees who are at the social margins created by the conditions of 'illegality' and 'deportability.'
Concha-Holmes, Dr. Amanda Dawn, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Entangled Lives: Human Encounters with Rhesus Macaques on Florida's Silver River'
Preliminary abstract: In an era of global conservation and development, unpacking notions of belonging is paramount: lives are at stake. Globally deployed colonial ontologies that separate human from nature and native from alien inform local policies. Yet, how these ontological politics manifest in individual tourist behaviors is less clear. As tourism becomes more prevalent at a global level and human-environmental contexts become more complex, anthropologists are needed to query multispecies encounters. Researching the entangled lives of human tourists and Rhesus Macaques on Florida's Silver River offers a compelling case for anthropologists to further the discipline both theoretically and methodologically. Theoretically, this project attends to issues that are at the forefront of current anthropology, namely debates on notions of nature-culture, technology, place and multispecies entanglements. As a methodological intervention, it builds on postconial, feminist visual anthropology to capture, analyze and portray certain assemblages of conceptions, perceptions and interactions that occur in human-macaque entanglements. To explore human encounters with the only wild monkeys in the United States, this project integrates intersubdisciplinary collaborations of a multispecies ethnographer, an ethnoprimatologist and a visual and ecological anthropologist to be the first examination of a human-macaque interface in the U.S.
Shimmin, Jessica Ann, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'A Safe Place: Gender, Safety, and Place Making in a Shelter for Battered Women,' supervised by Dr. Bambi B. Schieffelin
JESSICA SHIMMIN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'A Safe Place: Gender, Safety, and Place Making in a Shelter for Battered Women,' supervised by Dr. Bambi Schieffelin. This research investigates the production of culturally legible safe space for battered women and children. Using ethnographic data gathered from Massachusetts' human service systems and shelter network, the grantee analyzes and compares the ideological, material, and systemic architectures domestic-violence professionals construct to create security. Funding supported the second phase of this research including: participant observation at a shelter campus operated at a published location; interviews with domestic-violence experts and building professionals; and participation in workshops and public awareness events, as well as tours and photography in emergency shelters. This line of inquiry uncovered an engagement with space shared by professionals across the spectrum of domestic-violence intervention. Strong beliefs and differences of opinion highlighted a semiotics of women's safety that emphasizes personal interiors, domestic routines, and familial intimacy. By mapping the social resources professionals use to sustain emergency-shelter programs, this study situates emergency shelters in a bureaucratic network that enables and regulates victims' access to services as well as their success or failure. Emphasizing the cultural and institutional framework of emergency shelters, this dissertation will contribute an empirical analysis of the gendered space of personal safety, as well as of the transition domestic-violence professionals make available to abused women and children.
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.
Dunn, Dr. Elizabeth C., U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Food Safety, Scientific Knowledge, and the Micropractices of Meatpacking'
DR. ELIZABETH C. DUNN, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, was awarded funding in August 2003 to aid research on 'Food Safety, Scientific Knowledge, and the Micropractices of Meatpacking.' Over the last decade, politicians and activists have begun calling for more stringent standards for food production, asserting that tougher regulations and more inspection in meat processing will ensure a safer food supply. But how do contemporary ideas of risk and regulation shape debates over standards? How do they shape the production process and the lives of those who produce and consume meat? Does more standardization automatically lead to safer food? This research explored these questions by tracing a 'standards chain' related to the production of American beef. By conducting participant observation at trade group meetings and USDA training sessions, interviewing packing plant owners and consumer advocates, and examining texts and new technologies for eliminating microbes, the project looked at how standards reshape not only the industry, but ideas of risk and safety. The project challenged contemporary notions of governmentality, showing how increased regulation actually led to more contamination rather than less. It posited the existence of zones of bacteriological and governmental wildness in the midst of an increasingly regulated production environment. In doing so, it traced a new form of governmentality structuring social and ethical behavior in capitalist markets.
Takamine, Linda Hiromi, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Alcoholism and Recovery as Everyday Practice,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
Preliminary abstract: Why do some find it extremely difficult to stop drinking despite negative consequences, while others manage to stop? It is common knowledge among alcoholism researchers that the majority of alcoholics recover outside of clinical facilities, but little is known about how they do so. This project builds on addiction research that defines addiction behavior as a constellation of automatic, skilled substance-seeking and -consumption behaviors, and relapses as the omission of deliberate actions to deter these automatic behaviors. This project provisionally defines the changes to drinking behaviors experienced by those who achieve sobriety as the establishment of routinized skilled actions that they enact instead of the sequences of behaviors that, singly or in multiples over time, may result in drinking. This research has two objectives: 1) To explain, in part, the difficulty some experience in becoming sober through a systematic exploration of the ways in which drinking is intertwined within a range of practical behaviors within everyday contexts. This study seeks to establish the range of behaviors that may lead toward drinking and the settings and configurations of material artifacts, other persons, and social positions or identities in which they occur. 2) To explore factors that influence the establishment and enactment of alternate skilled behaviors in order to provide a positive account of both change and lack of change by focusing on the relationship between meaning and radical transformations of experience, perception, and behavior. This research will take place from November 2011 to October 2013 in Austin, Texas and will consist of observation of practical activities within everyday settings, analysis of face-to-face interaction between recovering alcoholics, and life history interviews.