Berman, Elise Chertoff, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Children as Social Players: Children's Conversational Roles as Affected by Concepts of 'Truth' in the Marshall Islands,' supervised by Dr. John Arthur Lucy
ELISE C. BERMAN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Children as Social Players: Children's Conversational Roles as Affected by Concepts of 'Truth' in the Marshall Islands,' supervised by Dr. John A. Lucy. Ethnographic and linguistic research was conducted in a small village in the Marshall Islands. Data was collected through participant observation, informal questioning, recording natural conversations, a longitudinal study of eight children, and formal interviews, and reveals that the Marshallese, like many other peoples, consider giving to be obligatory. Yet, many people did not want to give. The dissertation analyzes how the Marshallese avoided giving. It focuses specifically on children's roles (as both objects and actors) in these language games the Marshallese play to avoid giving without insulting anyone. Two theoretical implications emerge: 1) avoiding sharing is a semiotic processes that requires speaking or acting in such a way that people are able to assign goods a status that removes them from the exchange system. Consequently, this study shows that signs change the exchange status of goods; and 2) Marshallese children were able to avoid giving because adults saw them as irrelevant to exchange relations. This irony of the children's situation exists at two levels of analysis. At an ethnographic level, children in the RMI are important because they are perceived as unimportant. But on a theoretical level, it may be the case that, specifically because our informants do not recognize them as such, children are relevant to many research questions traditionally investigated among adults.
Hyman, Marita E., Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Mathematics and the Aboriginal Imagination: Correspondences and Conflicts in Northeast Arnhem Land,' supervised by Dr. Viranjini Munasinghe
MARITA E. HYMAN, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Mathematics and the Aboriginal Imagination: Correspondences and Conflicts in Northeast Arnhem Land,' supervised by Dr. Viranjini Munasinghe. Mathematical imagination extends beyond the use of numbers to define and create external reality. During research with Yolngu people, the grantee examined the production of Yolngu artwork, observing ceremonial practices, learning kinship roles, and analyzing the relations between people's identity and their land to establish the daily connections between lifeworlds and mathematical mindsets. The project has explored the principle of rrambangi (equality) and balance through embedded Yolngu social settings to describe interactions that appear chaotic, but only at the surface. The expression of unity through division begins at the central core of Yolngu culture represented by two moieties and becomes embedded in the quotidian activities of family life, language use, ceremonial activities, bark paintings and woven pandanas reed products. From describing spirits of invisible width to representing the infinite expanse of space, Yolngu worlds also capture a similar characteristic of nonYolngu mathematical imagination in their attempt to access the inaccessible. The research has uncovered a correspondence between efforts by both Western mathematics and Yolngu practices to project a reality beyond the easily describable but from their respective culturally-specific mathematical perspectives.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Stds.
February 11, 2003
Meehan, Dr. Betty, Bungendore, Australia - To aid preparation of the personal research materials of Dr. Rhys Maengwyn Jones for archival deposit with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Acton, Australia
Taylor, Dr. John P., The Australian National U., Canberra, Australia - To aid research on 'Masculinities in Northern Vanuatu: Gender, Generation and Social Transformation'
DR. JOHN TAYLOR, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on Masculinities in Northern Vanuatu: Gender, Generation, and Social Transformation. Masculinities in island Melanesia have undergone profound changes throughout the course of colonial and post-independence history. Yet despite the many classic ethnographies dealing with male ritual and exchange practices, and a burgeoning contemporary literature focusing on changes in women's lives, research that focuses explicitly on the changing contours of male personhood in the region is scarce. This project aims to redress this gap by examining a range of issues relating to the production of masculinities in northern Vanuatu. These focus on the historical entanglement of indigenous cosmology and Anglican Christianity in relation to the new powers secured through mobility and modernity. It examines masculinities in terms of salient shifts of socio-economic focus, for example from indentured and wage labor to bisnis (indigenous commercial enterprise). It also necessarily addresses debates concerning hegemony and power, particularly relating to 'urban drift', youth unemployment, crime and violence, and considers masculinities in contemporary popular culture and the changing configuration of male bodily aesthetics in villages and towns.
Taylor, John P. 2010. Janus and the Siren's Call: Kava and the Articulation of Gender and Modernity in Vanuatu. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16(2):279-296.
Kaplan, Dr. Martha, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY - To aid research on 'Fiji Water: A Commodity Biography and Ethnography'
DR. MARTHA KAPLAN, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, received an award in April 2008 to aid research on 'Fiji Water: A Commodity Biography and Ethnography.' Advertisements insist (truthfully) that Fiji Water really is from Fiji. The ads invoke images of remote, natural purity. They picture no Fiji citizens. The privately held bottling company was neither founded by nor is it owned by Fiji citizens. The ads are designed for a US consumer sensibility. This summer 2009 project asked the question, 'How does a company that markets water from the remote Pacific by proclaiming that it is 'untouched' and the opposite of 'civilization' interact with actual Fiji citizens? Specifically, how has the company interacted with the Vatukaloko people of Drauniivi village -- traditional landowners where the bottling plant is located, and well known in Pacific anthropology for their distinctive 19th-century, anti-colonial history. The past relationship has been a contested one, including a takeover by local villagers in 2000. Drawing on almost two decades of previous research experience in Drauniivi (conducted between 1984 and 2002), the project in 2009 included interviews with members of 33 households to discuss changes and continuities in kinship, religion, employment, education, moral economy, self representations and aspirations. Interviews with Fiji Water management at the bottling plant site and in the capitol city, Suva, were also carried out.
Mosko, Dr. Mark Stephen, Australian National U., Canberra, Australia - To aid research on 'Trobriand Chieftainship and Social Change: New Directions in the Study of Trobriand Agency and History'
DR. MARK S. MOSKO, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, was awarded funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'Trobriand Chieftainship and Social Change: New Directions in the Study of Trobriand Agency and History.' This Project consisted of eleven months of archival research at two locations -- the Digital Ethnographic Project at California State University at Sacramento, and the Melanesian Archives at the University of California at San Diego -- concerning the renowned Tabalu 'Paramount Chieftainship' system of the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, and related institutions. Adopting the perspective of the 'New Melanesian Ethnography' (NME), which has revolutionized much of the ethnographic reporting on the cultures and societies of the South Pacific, access to the wealth of DEP and Melanesian Archive holdings has greatly facilitated the reinterpretation of numerous dimensions of classic Trobriand ethnography and the analysis of post-contact history and social change, including: the discovery of a diarchic system of chieftainship similar to that found through Polynesia; confirmation of the applicability of the NME model of personal agency to Trobriand chieftainship and leadership; the magico-ritual basis of chieftainship; reconfigurations of indigenous Trobriand cosmology; revised understanding of indigenous notions of procreation; botanical metaphors and imagery throughout cultural and social contexts; early encounters with whalers, traders, missionaries and government agents; and social changes resulting from commoditization, the introduction of Western clothing styles, Christian proselytization, and the imposition of colonial government.
Mosko, Mark S. 2013. Dividuals, Individuals, or Possessive Individuals? Recent Transformations of North Mekeo Commoditization, Personhood, and Sociality. In Engaging With Capitalism: Cases from Oceania. Research in Economic Anthropology 33:167-198.
Thorner, Sabra Gayle, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Indigenizing Photography: Archives, Activism, and New Visual Media in Contemporary Australia,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers
SABRA GAYLE THORNER, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Indigenizing Photography: Archives, Activism, and New Visual Media in Contemporary Australia,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers. The research undertaken during this grant explores the technologies and resources through which Indigenous Australians are fashioning a new visual culture. Other peoples' representations have had extraordinary power over Indigenous lives, memories, and futures; this project interrogates how Indigenous people are renegotiating representation and the social practice of photography as: 1) a vehicle for the expression of Indigenous subjectivities and community goals; 2) a form of cultural activism; and 3) a medium for the recuperation of histories, kinship ties, and connections to country. Funding supported fieldwork with three organizations representing distinctive histories and social formations: the Koorie Heritage Trust (an urban Aboriginal cultural center in Melbourne); Boomalli (an Aboriginal artists' cooperative in Sydney); and Ara Irititja (a digital archiving project based in Adelaide and with outposts in the Pitjantjatjara/Yankunyjatjara lands). Using photography as a starting point in this multi-sited project enables consideration of how digital technologies can be made culturally specific and relevant; how art-making remains a largely uncensored domain and an important realm of social intervention; and how traditional knowledge is being looked after in the 21st century. Indigenous organizations are a site of production of contemporary Aboriginality, facilitating change in Australia's visual lexicon and national imaginings.
Crook, Dr. Tony, U. of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK - To aid '8th Conference of the European Society for Oceanists: Exchanging Knowledge in Oceania,' 2010, St. Andrews, in collaboration with Dr. Melissa Demian
'8th Conference of the European Society for Oceanists: Exchanging Knowledge in Oceania'
July 5-8, 2010, University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom
Organizers: Tony Crook (University of St. Andrews) and Melissa Demian (University of Kent)
The 'Exchanging Knowledge in Oceania' meetings aimed to address a nexus of important contemporary questions, with the objective of rethinking the relations, roles, reciprocities, and responsibilities of academics working and wishing to work in Oceania. Concerns focused on recognizing that obligations to act are being raised by host communities and by diverse funding bodies, but that the kinds of action, knowledge, and relations at stake may be very differently conceived. Increasingly, academic knowledge has to address itself to terms originating from beyond the academy, and these can perhaps risk the eclipse of a commitment to understanding through models grounded in vernacular terms and concerns.
The two hundred and forty conference delegates engaged these questions through more than two hundred presentations in a series of twenty-four working sessions, four plenary keynotes, two dialogues, and a roundtable. The conference theme raised some difficult issues that are rarely discussed head on?such as academic vs practicing anthropology, and who can speak for culture?and enabled these to be raised and discussed in a serious and friendly manner. In addition, a series of publically accessible events ran alongside to provide insights into the realities of Pacific people?s lives, and into anthropological research.
Kefalas, Christofili Valentina, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Telling Ancestral Narratives: Maori Identity and the Charles Smith Collection,' supervised by Dr. Laura Lynn Peers
CHRISTOFILI V. KEFALAS, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Telling Ancestral Narratives: Maori Identity and the Charles Smith Collection,' supervised by Dr. Laura Lynn Peers. The word taonga has come to define many notions of Maori material culture such as museum objects, performance, land, ancestral human remains, and even knowledge itself. This case study documents ways narratives from the Charles Smith collection of taonga Maori at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford speak to contemporary imperatives for Whanganui iwi (tribe). Whanganui haVE been long involved in endeavors to restore their ancestral land rights through the Waitangi Tribunals. The trials have demanded a recollection of community oral history as evidence, but have also shaped heritage ideals. Museum taonga is theorized as integral to Maori identity, because it is the bridge to ancestral history. This study agrees with this relevant aspect of taonga, but argues that this kinship-based view cannot be wholly removed from the legal and political engagements