Schiller, Naomi Ann, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Making Media, Making Producers: Community Media and the Production of Collective Subjectivity in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie
NAOMI SCHILLER, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Making Media, Making Producers: Community Media and the Production of Collective Subjectivity in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Abercrombie. This research examined efforts of 'community' media producers in Caracas, Venezuela, to transform the relationship of the marginalized poor with the state and respond to the Chavez government's political and financial support for their grassroots media projects. Research was conducted among producers from one prominent community television station and three community radio stations based in barrios (poor neighborhoods) of Caracas. The findings draw on participant observation at community- and state-run media organizations and interviews with media producers and government officials. Research argues that participation of barrio-based media producers in local neighborhood projects and in state-run media productions changed the way that producers from poor neighborhoods understood themselves and the state. Grassroots media producers skillfully negotiated the recent increase in the symbolic and political value of their media productions. This project reveals how community media leaders depended on normative theoretical notions about the boundary between state and society to leverage power by asserting themselves as a non-state authentic popular voice, while in their daily practice they regularly questioned, traversed, and challenged the boundary between state and society. This research contributes to an understanding of the intersection of social movement building, activist use of media, subjectivity, and processes of everyday state formation.
Kelly Luciani, Dr. Jose, CNRS, Paris, France - To aid research & writing on 'A Political Anthropology of Indigenous Health in Venezuela: Amazonian Cosmopolitics & State Policy Implementation among the Yanomami of Amazonas' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. JOSE KELLY LUCIANI, French National Center for Scientific Reesarch, Paris, France, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2007 to aid research and writing on 'A Political Anthropology of Indigenous Health in Venezuela: Amazonian Cosmopolitics and State Policy Implementation among the Yanomami of Amazonas.' The grantee used the fellowship period to write a book-length monograph entitled 'Yanomami, Doctors and the State: The Cosmopolitics of Indian-White Relations in Venezuela' and an article entitled 'Equívocos sobre Cultura e Identidad: Un Comentario sobre la Formulación de Políticas para los Pueblos Iindígenas de Venezuela'. The monograph, which is devoted to the analysis of Yanomami-State relations as seen through the operation of the Venezuelan state health system, develops theoretical insights that contribute to Amazonianist and medical anthropological literature. Beyond the basic Yanomami ethnography presented, the theoretical argumentation and insights have implications for the analysis of many contexts of indigenous peoples' relations with their respective nation-states. The manuscript is currently being considered for publication by Arizona University Press. The second piece is a long discussion expanding part of a chapter from the main manuscript. It is centered on the double or mutual misunderstandings that both sustain and limit Indian-white and Indian-state relations, specifically in the context of integration into nation-states via public services. This article is due to be published in an edited volume on indigenous health in Venezuela by the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas (IVIC). The volume is also being considered for publication in English.
Campbell, Jeremy Michael, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'The Social Life of an Amazonian Highway,' supervised by Dr. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
JEREMY M. CAMPBELL, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Social Life of an Amazonian Highway,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing. This study asks how settlers and natives along an unpaved Amazonian highway live with the layered history of property-making along the frontier, and reveals how land-reformers, ranchers, and native Amazonians are participating in the most recent state visions for sustainable development in the region. Research reveals that, over the past 40 years, a diverse array of migrants to the region have put into place improvised land tenure regimes based on conflicting and confused signals from the state. In response to recent promises to pave the highway, distinct practices of property and territory --ranging from collective squatting to land grabbing -- have emerged as key mechanisms for roadside residents to articulate their emerging subject-positions in debates over the future of the Amazonian frontier. By focusing on vernacular property-making projects along the road, this project shows how current plans to reverse past development failures become enmeshed with local idioms of race, class, labor, and nature that have developed over the past 40 years along the unpaved highway. The study analyzes both the design and reception of Brazil's newest plans to pave the highway, and argues that poor and rich colonists alike have worked to reposition their speculative practices (e.g. forgery, corruption, and violence) as legitimate and environmentally sustainable.
Tallman, Dr. Paula, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL - To aid engaged activities on 'Vulnerability & Health Outcomes in Amazonia': An Innovative Conference Engaging Peruvian Scholars, Policy-Makers, & Indigenous Community Members,' 2016, Peru
Preliminary abstract: I propose to host an innovative conference that will bring together individuals from Peruvian universities, non-governmental organizations, governmental institutions, indigenous organizations, and communities to discuss how rapid eco-social changes taking place in the Amazon are influencing the health of the people who live there. But more than just presenting on and hearing about the most cutting-edge research on this topic, we will create spaces for scholars, policy-makers, and indigenous community members to sit at the same tables and discuss how this research can be used to determine recommendations for mitigating vulnerability to poor health in Amazonia in the future. These recommendations will serve as the foundation for a publishable paper for the scholarly community, a white paper for policy-makers, and educational materials for indigenous communities. Importantly, I will work with indigenous representatives post-conference to create these materials, ensuring that indigenous perspectives are central to our knowledge production process. Thus, this project will create new interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations in Peru and will result in concrete recommendations for mitigating vulnerability to poor health that are appropriate for a range of stakeholders and inclusive of indigenous perspectives. This is especially important considering the current escalation of eco-social changes in the Amazon.
Lyons, Kristina Marie, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Science, Storytelling, and the Politics of Collaboration: Advocacy against Aerial Fumigation in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. Marisol de la Cadena
KRISTINA LYONS, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Science, Storytelling, and the Politics of Collaboration: Advocacy against Aerial Fumigation in Colombia,' supervised by Dr Marisol de la Cadena. This research project takes seriously the proposal to think with and from the ethnographically inspired associations emerging out of 'the politics of soil' in Colombia. Taking into consideration that 2009 is the Year of Soil, this project traces its multiple lives and ontologies (as well as its health and sciences) in Colombian laboratories, political arenas, 'natural resource' debates, and within contexts of rural violence, in order to address the on-going relations between the worlds below and above our feet. The project takes up theoretical-and-practical conversations that expand the reach of ethnography beyond the boundaries and comforts of a humanist framework in order to think in terms of new forms of connectivity that have serious consequences for our understanding and engagement with the political. This projects questions the politics of translation that soil scientists, local communities, and 'soil stewards' engage in as they attempt to make the life and wellbeing of the soil meaningful in social, cultural, ecological, and political realms. It also addresses broader questions about what happens to politics and representational practices when 'nature' becomes understood as non human actors and existents that experience shared conditions of life and death with human populations.
Conner, Ronald Charles, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Sounding into Being: The Musical Ethnogenesis of the Brazilian Tapeba People,' supervised by Dr. Anthony Seeger
Preliminary abstract: Throughout Northeast Brazil, the performance of the Toré--an indigenous music/dance ritual with sacred and ludic forms--helps substantiate the identity claims of reemerging traditional peoples seeking legal reclassification from mixed-race peasants to Amerindians. In the 1990s, amid deadly conflicts with white landholders, the Tapeba Indians became the first in the Northeast state of Ceará to win federal recognition and indigenous lands demarcation. Destabilizing the historical view that Northeast Brazilian Indians fell extinct during colonization (and Ceará's 1863 statutory decree affirming the same), the Tapeba's increased public profile owes much to Toré performances at their villages (just outside the state capital, Fortaleza) and intergroup indigenous events statewide. With other groups adopting the Toré and initiating similar claims, Ceará now has more open indigenous identity investigations than anywhere in Brazil. Through ethnographic research, I ask: How does the musical performance of identity animate indigenous ethnogenesis in Ceará, reflect acoustemological praxis, and inform public sphere discourses on indigeneity? Fieldwork conducted among the Tapeba, plus archival findings and interviews with Cearense public and media officials, will support a theorization of 'musical ethnogenesis,' or, the notion that music-making can sound new identities into being, propelling ethnic mobilization and revising material practices in the process. This work will add to the sparse body of indigenous music ethnography in Northeast Brazil, bridging studies in anthropology, ethnomusicology and indigenous identity. Most importantly, it will re-theorize ethnogenesis as a sociomusical practice, as well as sociopolitical and ethnohistorical process.
Viatori, Maximilian, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Amazonian Communities and the State: Language and the Construction of Authenticity,' supervised by Dr. Martha J. Macri
MAXIMILIAN VIATORI, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was awarded funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Amazonian Communities and the State: Language and the Construction of Authenticity,' supervised by Dr. Martha J. Macri. Funding supported dissertation research focused on several communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon that previously identified as part of a pan-ethnic cultural group united by the use of a common indigenous language, Kichwa. In the 1990s, these communities broke from this pan-ethnic identity and started a project to revive the Zápara language, spoken by fewer than five elders, as a way to identify themselves as a distinct Zápara ethnicity. The research was primarily concerned with two things: 1) understanding how Zilpara communities use the Zápara language to obtain state recognition and resources, while simultaneously challenging state models of indigenous identity and organization; and 2) learning how this process of recognition and resistance fits into larger historical spheres of national and international economic systems and labor demands, and discourses of governance in the Ecuadorian Amazon during the past two centuries.
Viatori, Maximilian. 2007. Zápara Leaders and Identity Construction in Ecuador: The Complexities of Indigenous Self-Representation. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 12(1):104-133.
Natarajan, Venkatesan, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Power of Memory: Transitional Justice and the Aftermath of Argentina's Dirty War,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
RAM NATARAJAN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Power of Memory: Transitional Justice and the Aftermath of Argentina's Dirty War,' supervised by Dr. Sally Merry. This project is a study of human rights movements, law, and military soldiers in the context of contemporary Argentine dictatorship trials, one of the most lionized, discussed, and circulated forms of judicial responses to Latin American authoritarian regimes. It is about how efforts to prosecute violence committed during the 1976-1983 Argentine military rule become implicated with and generate new forms of violence, and about how the legal construction of categories of perpetrators is so shaped by social forces that such construction is never simply about identifying who is responsible for a crime. It draws from twenty months of fieldwork with retired and convicted military men; women and men affiliated with human rights' victim groups; and employees of the Argentine state judiciary system to ask what happens to these individuals' senses of self, social relationships, and national belonging, once the Argentine executive, legislative, and judicial branches began enforcing and instituting a new understanding of the past. This research helps shed light on why closure in the aftermath of political violence becomes, in the context of Argentina, a national impossibility.
Fattal, Mr. Alexander, Harvard, U. Cambridge, MA - To aid engaged activities on 'Guerrilla Marketing: Information War and the Demobilization of FARC Rebels,' 2014, Bogota, Colombia
ALEXANDER FATTAL, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded an Engaged Anthropology Grant in February 2014 to aid engaged activities on 'Guerilla Marketing: Information War and the Demobilization of FARC Rebels,' Bogota, Colombia. Over the course of late July and August 2014, the grantee traveled to four cities in Colombia to share the findings from dissertation research that was funded in part by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. The grantee presented conclusions in a political context in which peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reached an advanced stage, with provisional agreements signed for three of the five agenda items. This made the research into the individual demobilization of FARC combatants all the more germane to Colombian scholars, students, and policy-makers. Research results were presented at four different universities: La Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin, ICESI Universidad in Cali, la Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, and the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota. The audiences were very engaged at the presentations, often asking lively questions about Colombia's much-anticipated 'post-conflict' future. The grantee also extended the engagement project to Colombian audiences, as planned, with a few regional and national media outlets, and by sharing an initial cut of an ethnographic film about the psychological worlds of former guerrilla fighters.
Ponce, Tilsa, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on ''Potato Kings:' Indigenous Elites Challenging Social and Spatial Mobility in the Andes,' supervised by Dr. Gary Urton
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation project examines how 'potato kings,' an indigenous rural bourgeoisie who emerged with a potato boom in the 1950s in the Peruvian central highlands, challenge class, racial, and spatial boundaries. The mobility of this emergent elite is disruptive and traditional mestizo elites have found in the label 'potato kings' a way to 'root' them back in their Indian and peasant origins in the highlands. Through intense ethnographic engagement with two generations of 'potato king' families, wageworkers, and traditional mestizo elites, as well as archival research, my project challenges a 'romanticization' of the rural world and its traditional associations with marginality and poverty. By weaving together political economic studies of the peasantry with critical studies of race and space, my project will analyze different dimensions of mobility in the making of this class of 'potato kings,' in order to explain how struggles of class formation are predicated upon complex politics of racial and spatial belonging.