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).
Ganapathy, Sandhya, Temple U., Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'The Intersections Between Indigenous Rights and Environmental Movements,' supervised by Dr. Judith Goode
SANDHYA GANAPATHY, then a student at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in December 2004 to aid research on 'The Intersections Between Indigenous Rights and Environmental Movements,' supervised by Dr. Judith Goode. This research examines the environmental mobilizations to prevent oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the ways in which the Native Alaskan community of Vahsraii' Koo is positioned within these mobilizations. Fieldwork was conducted in Vashraii' Koo, Alaska and with environmental NGOs operating in Fairbanks, AK and Washington, DC, and consisted of ethnographic interviews and participant observation, archival research on federal and state Native policies and environmental policies and media analysis on the representations of this environmental controversy and Native opposition to development. The research describes the ways in which people in Vashraii' Koo articulate and frame environmental concerns and their experiences of this broader environmental mobilization. The research also describes the work of environmental NGOs active in these mobilizations and shows how political contexts and constituencies influence the ways they operate and how they attempt to incorporate Native perspectives within their work. This research suggests that there is a disconnect between the interests of the NGOs and the Native communities represented as their allies; specifically, the singular emphasis on narrowly defined environmental goals marginalizes Native voices and diverts attention from other pressing political, economic and cultural concerns in Vashraii' Koo.
Ganapathy Sandhya. 2013. Imagining Alaska: Local and Translocal Engagements with Place. American Anthropologist 115(1):96-111
Abadie, Dr. Roberto, Independent Scholar, Montevideo, Uruguay - To aid research and writing on 'A Guinea Pig's Wage: Risk, Body Commodification, and the Ethics of Pharmaceutical Research in America' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. ROBERTO ABADIA, an independent scholar in Montevideo, Uruguay, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2008 to aid research and writing on 'The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects.' An ethnographic study of the participation of paid subjects in Phase I clinical trials in Philadelphia, this book examines a group of self-defined professional 'guinea pigs' who earn their livelihoods as research subjects testing drugs being developed by the pharmaceutical industry. Abadia describes not only participants' experiences and motivations as they volunteer but also the role of financial compensation in the social organization of clinical trials and its effects on the ethical arrangements designed to protect human subjects. Findings suggest that continuous participation-experienced subjects may perform more than sixty trials over a few years-exposed subjects to risks they might be unable or unwilling to recognize. The grantee shows how the prospects of financial gain predisposed subjects to neglect risks of synergistic drug interactions derived from their continuous participation. These risks are also neglected by a pharmaceutical industry that depends on the routine participation of professional subjects. And while paid subjects perceived certain trials, like those involving psychiatric or genetic drugs, to be especially dangerous, financial incentives still led them to volunteer. He argues that while today's paid subjects seem to be more informed about risks than previous populations, their participation in trials research still poses ethical questions. Financial compensation creates a new type of market-captive population whose ability to consent is jeopardized by financial inducements. This situation challenges the basic ethical assumptions that guide current Institutional Review Boards (IRBs).
Shear, Boone Wingate, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Making the Green Economy: Culture, Politics and Economic Desire in Massachusetts,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Krause
BOONE W. SHEAR, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Making the Green Economy: Culture, Politics, and Economic Desire in Massachusetts,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth L. Krause. The fieldwork explored how groups of activists are imagining, responding to, and enacting the economy in relation to green economy discourse in Massachusetts. In particular, the project investigated economic subjectivity among green economy coalition members, focusing on the conditions under which both capitalist and non-capitalist desires and practices emerge. This engaged research project combined participant observation while working alongside activists and organizers, with semi-structured and informal interviews in order to better understand how different economic dispositions and desires emerge, are closed-off, or are enacted. The research revealed that interest in economic innovation, experimentation, and organizing around alternative economic projects -- what Gibson-Graham and others have described as 'non-capitalism' -- appears to be increasing among green coalition members. Though preliminary research suggests that discursive interventions can lead to new economic identities and desires, the research also shows that a politics of non-capitalist possibility might also be able to utilize capitalist and anti-capitalist desires in the construction of on-the-ground non-capitalist enterprises and relations. More broadly, this research intends to expand understandings around the complex relationship between structure, subjectivity, and agency.
Malone, Molly Sue, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on 'Living on the Skagit River: Native American Historical Consciousness and Relationships with the Aquatic Environment,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Granville Miller
MOLLY SUE MALONE, then a student at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Living on the Skagit River: Native American Historical Consciousness and Relationships with the Aquatic Environment,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Granville Miller. This research examines Upper Skagit Indian Tribe members' historical consciousness of their families' settlement patterns and fishing practices in the Skagit River watershed over the past two hundred years, and ,asks what this consciousness reveals about how contemporary Native American relationships to land and water are shaped by colonial processes of land alienation and subsequent struggles for tribal recognition and access to aboriginal territory. Data was collected over a twelve-month period using three overlapping methods of inquiry: the collection of oral narratives with contemporary Upper Skagit people, participant observation within the Upper Skagit community, and archival work with documents pertaining to the post-contact history of the Skagit River valley as well as field notes and oral narrative transcriptions collected by earlier anthropologists working among the Upper Skagit throughout the 20th century. The data is compiled into family settlement narratives and an overall tribal narrative for the purpose of evaluating the various levels of historical consciousness pertaining to colonial impacts on the watershed .
Grewal, Dr. Zareena A., Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Is the Quran a Good Book? Tolerance and the Muslim Question in the US'
Preliminary abstract: Is the Quran a 'good book'? Tracking the social life of the Quran as an American cultural object deepens our understanding of the complexity and diversity of Americans' political and cultural interests in Islam over time. By analyzing a wide range of official, media, artistic, pedagogical, and ritual practices around the Islamic text-object in the US, we learn not only about American views of Islam but also about Americans' anxieties about the liberal doctrine of tolerance. Contemporary debates about Islam and tolerance are generally organized around two sets of questions: (1) how much should 'we' tolerate Muslims in the US and (2) how should the US government make tolerant Muslim societies abroad? In regard to the first question, how American Muslims read the Quran figures centrally in arguments over the extent they should be tolerated and protected as a minority. The policing of 'good' and 'bad' reading and interpretive practices profoundly impact American Muslims. The second, related question of teaching Muslims abroad tolerance manifests in state projects aimed at nurturing the same 'good' Quranic reading and interpretive practices. I will map out the contours of these national debates about the nature (and limits of) religious tolerance inspired by the Quran.