Haug, Jordan Ross, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Finding Hope in a Time of Decline: After Mine Closure in Misima, Papua New Guinea,' supervised by Dr. Rupert Stasch
Preliminary abstract: In places where extractive industries have left an indelible mark, eroding infrastructures and disappearing economic opportunities following project closures often contribute to crises of hope. Hope for future equality with people in wealthier parts of the world seems no longer practical. Through ethnographic research in Misima, Papua New Guinea, this project seeks to answer the pressing question of how people in these communities hope for greater equality in times of dramatic geopolitical and economic decline. In 2004, the small island of Misima became the site of one of the most significant industrial mine closures in Oceania. Since that time, the possibilities for the island's geopolitical, infrastructural, and economic advancement have dramatically declined. In spite of this foreclosure of opportunity and increased isolation, many Misimans hope for better futures where they are able to obtain geopolitical, infrastructural, and economic equality with the rest of the globalized world. Through moral projects like education, cooperative fund raising, and denominationalism, Misimans infuse presently persistent inequalities with the possibility of greater equality. I hypothesize that these moral projects of cultivating hope subvert the inevitability of inequality in favor of egalitarian ideals that transcend the realm of the possible.
Mawyer, Alexander D., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Processes of Media Receptivity and the Production of Identities in the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia' supervised by Dr. John D. Kelly
ALEXANDER D. MAWYER, while a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in December 2001 to aid research on 'Processes of Media Receptivity and the Production of Identities in the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia,' supervised by Dr. John D. Kelly. Between January 2002 and February 2003, the grantee conducted primary dissertation fieldwork in French Polynesia for a project titled 'TV TALK and Other Processes of Media Receptivity and the Production of Identities in the Gambier, French Polynesia.' The theoretical focus of this project remained centered, throughout the fieldwork, in the investigation of particular affinities between the use of available sociolinguistic tools, the interactional stances taken by speakers in the various discursive situations of daily life, and the production of groupness-higher orders of social organization such as publics or communities. During the course of fieldwork, the grantee investigated how it is that speakers do inhabit roles and identities, and generally perform the great play of culture in all its modes and moods, in the indexical realization of the universe of their discourse - resulting in observations of speakers shifting between multiple possible stances, identifying with a public or publics within French Polynesia. A significant methodological goal of this project was to show how culturally situated persons in a sense improvisationally perform and generate the very publics that constitute them, a process which is in part realized by various linguistic devices that simultaneously index and entail that performance. From examining such 'realizations' in the discursive negotiation of the meaningfulness of news and other culturally mediating tropes - in this case, Mexican soap operas, a metropolitan French talk show, and ongoing local political debates articulated with pearl legislation and the French Polynesian government's regional objectives-1 gained an analytical purchase on the cultural and social logics of 'significant' information and the role(s) of communication more generally, in village society.
Belharte, Dr. Stefanie Anja, Independent Scholar, Canterbury, UK - To aid research and writing on 'Agroforestry and Agrocentrism: Tropical Land Use as a Test-Bed for Conventional Concepts of Human-Environment Relations' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. STEFANIE BELHARTE, Independent Scholar, Canterbury, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Fellowship in October 2007, to aid research and writing on 'Agroforestry and Agrocentrism: Tropical Land Use and a Test-Bed for Conventional Concepts of Human-Environment Relations.' The manuscript looks at the question 'Why cultivate?' from an ecological angle, focusing on tropical subsistence strategies, in particular in Southeast Asia and Oceania. A comparative literature review suggests that the strategies recognized as 'rainforest foraging,' 'sago subsistence', 'agroforestry,' and 'swiddening (shifting cultivation)' are all based on a sequence of vegetational disturbance and subsequent regrowth; that this sequence is variously manipulated through human labor in two dimensions: the degree of regrowth management (clearing, weeding, planting) and the length of the regrowth/cropping period (annual/perennial resources); and that the various expressions of these two dimensions in contemporary forms and their evolutionary antecedents represent the branches of an evolutionary tree. Supported by a case study from lowland New Guinea, it also indicates a trend towards increasing modification, substitution, and curtailment of the regrowth. An explanation for this trend may lie in the co-evolutionary relationships between resources and their human users. Dependent on resource characteristics, these relationships generate a variously forceful self-amplifying dynamic, which draws resource users towards cultivation, and can thus via the management of woody perennials arrive at contemporary swidden vegeculture.
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.
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.