Jones, Kyle Ellis, Purdue U., West Lafayette, IN - To aid research on ''Uniting All of Peru Isn't Easy': Youth and Transurban Spaces of Hip Hop in Peru,' supervised by Dr. Brian C. Kelly
KYLE JONES, then a student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, was awarded a grant in October 2013 to aid research on ''Uniting All of Peru Isn't Easy:' Youth and Transurban Spaces of Hip Hop in Peru,' supervised by Dr. Brian C. Kelly. Grassroots organizations, such as the Cusco Hip Hop Cultural Association and the Hip Hop in the Park Collective, have become a fixture of hip hop culture in Peru. This project examined the ways these organizations have taken shape across the country's cities, and the roles they play in young people's lives. Carried out in the Andean cities of Cusco and Huancayo, as well as the capital of Lima, research utilized ethnographic methods of participant-observation, interviewing, and Photovoice or 'participatory photography' (a group analysis method combining photography with grassroots social action). Oral histories revealed that new communication technologies and the migration of people within the country were central to how these organizations initially formed. Members of these organizations saw their participation as a way to 'improve themselves' and 'get ahead,' through self-education and expression, creating new social relationships, and developing professional skills and potential economic opportunities. These factors were all brought together through the production of events, such as weekly gatherings, workshops, or large festivals, which comprised a central activity of hip hop organizations. For many youth, hip hop organizations offered an emotionally satisfying alternative form of family and constructive way to participate in urban life. As such, these hip hop organizations reflect both the challenges and opportunities youth face in contemporary Peru.
Brunnegger, Dr. Sandra, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid engaged activities on 'Engaging with Indigenous Legal Systems in Colombia,' 2015, Colombia
Preliminary abstract: The proposed project is concerned to share research findings from my fieldwork at an indigenous tribunal established by the Consejo Regional Indígena del Tolima (Regional Indigenous Council of Tolima), and a law school, sponsored by ACIN (the Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca or Association of Indigenous Cabildos of Northern Cauca) in Colombia through the medium of a workshop. The workshop shall bring together a select group of leaders from these organizations, ACIN and CRIT, and other interested representatives of indigenous organizations.
Tate, Winifred, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Suffering in the Public Sphere: Human Rights Claims and Counter Claims in Columbia, ' supervised by Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie
WINIFRED TATE, while a student at New York University in New York, New York, received a grant in November 2001 to aid research on human rights claims and counterclaims in Colombia, under the supervision of Dr. Thomas A. Abercrombie. Most contemporary scholarship on human rights activism has assumed that nongovernmental organizations have an exclusively antagonistic relationship with the state and that they unquestioningly accept the imposition of international rights frameworks for their domestic policy advocacy and activism. Tate argued that this unidirectional approach was deficient and misleading and that the agency of local groups in defining what constituted a human rights agenda, along with their ongoing relationships with other actors, including state institutions, was a central factor in understanding transnational activism. Through a study of Colombian human rights institutions, Tate examined the ways in which strategic interactions between local groups, state agencies, and international actors, together with these groups' political cultures, shaped both the ways local groups mobilized action using human rights claims and the outcomes of their activism. She conducted ethnographic research into Colombian nongovernmental human rights groups, state human rights agencies, and military human rights offices, both in Colombia and during their lobbying efforts at the United Nations Human Rights Commission. The research contributed to a better understanding of transnational activism and the role of political culture in constituting human rights organizations.
Lyons, Kristina, U. of Califorina, Davis, CA - To aid engaged activities on 'Soil Practitioners and Vital Spaces: Agricultural Ethics and Life Processes in the Colombian Amazon,' 2013, Bogota, and Putumayo, Colombia
KRISTINA LYONS, University of California, Davis, California, received an Engaged Anthropology Grant in February 2013 to aid 'Soil Practitioners and Vital Spaces: Agricultural Ethics and Life Processes in the Colombian Amazon,' Bogota and Putumayo, Colombia. Agricultural practices in southwestern Colombia have been a site of contention since the 1980s when illicit coca production soared and provoked state and foreign policy military-led responses aimed at its eradication. Though USAID export-oriented strategies to substitute coca crops prove attractive to many rural families, a growing network of farmers and scientists have begun to counter these 'official solutions' in the pursuit of alternative agricultural-based life projects in the Amazonian region. This project contributed to academic and public debates about the 'agrarian question' and 'peace with social justice' at a moment when a national peace process is underway to end the fifty-year armed conflict in Colombia. Given the 24-day National Agrarian and Popular Strike that occurred during the time of this grant, this project supported the socialization of local alternatives to military-led development paradigms and the emergence of new ecological notions of territoriality and health among over three thousand small farmers, government representatives, and leaders of social organizations in Putumayo. Furthermore, it returned photography and documentation of technical and political proposals to the organizations, individuals, and institutions with which dissertation fieldwork was conducted, and allowed for long-terms collaborative ties to be forged with other researchers accompanying social processes in the Amazon.
Whitt, Clayton Abel, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on 'Climate Change and Spatial Transformations in the Bolivian Highlands,' supervised by Dr. Gaston R. Gordillo
Preliminary abstract: This project analyzes the impact of human-induced climate change in an indigenous community in the highlands of Bolivia, focusing on local people's perceptions, reactions, and adaptations in the face of spatial and environmental changes that are mainly induced by global forces beyond their control. This region is particularly vulnerable due to high rates of rural poverty, reliance on subsistence agriculture with little irrigation, and dependence on surface water fed by rapidly melting glaciers. Additionally, scientific studies show that the projected impact of climate change in highland Bolivia will be severe, including large temperature increases and drastic shifts in precipitation and frost patterns. These vulnerabilities suggest that the people of the region face a difficult road ahead as the world warms. Drawing from my previous experience living in the area in 2005-2007, I will conduct ethnographic fieldwork in a village on the Bolivian high-altitude plateau, conducting participant observation of daily practices and interviewing community members in order to understand their responses to changing environmental patterns. Engaging with the literature on space and place, scientific studies of climate change, and different approaches to the environment and nature, I will examine the ways in which these transformations affect people's sense of place, their memories of the landscape, and their daily practices.
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.
Duin, Dr. Renzo Sebastiaan, Leiden U., Leiden, The Netherlands - To aid research and writing on 'Ritual Economy: Historicities, Materiality, and Power in the Eastern Guiana Highlands (Northern Amazonia)' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: Duin's research in Guiana (northern Amazonia, northern Lowland South America), leading to this book proposal, is a contribution to Neil Whitehead's (1956-2012) advocacy that it is necessary to reconceptualize basic social and historical processes in the region, rather than just add 'new data' to the 'old theory.' Elsewhere in Amazonia, there is a growing number of archaeologists unearthing man-made structures that evidence supravillage organizations prior to the arrival of the Europeans. In Guiana, however, the perception of indigenous settlements as politically autonomous, reigns supreme. Duin's in-depth research among the Wayana indigenous people of the Upper Maroni Basin (Suriname and French Guiana) with a focus on (1) settlement patterning and organization and (2) biographies of ritual objects, provides new insights into the dynamics and the central role of ritual in the socio-political arena of tropical forest cultures. Amazonian supravillage organization manifests in ritual performance, and therefore it is hypothesized that host villages have a stronger claim to a higher rank by manipulating the flow of ritual objects and thus managing the socio-political process. Accordingly, socio-political relations in the region are articulated through ritual objects, and the road to power is situated within a ritual economy. The Hunt Fellowship provides a period to assess and write on this interdisciplinary research (archaeology, history, and ethnology) acknowledging elements of regional organization in the socio-political aspects of tropical forest cultures; exposing a hitherto inconceivable dynamism to the origins and development of indigenous Amazonian societies in Guiana, and thus proposing a much needed reconceptualization of basic social and historical processes in the region.
Furman, Carrie A., U. of California, Riverside, CA - To aid research on 'Re-Channeling Power: Water Resource Management in Rural Bolivia After Decentralization,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Patterson
CARRIE A. FURMAN, then a student at University of California, Riverside, California, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Re-Channeling Power: Water Resource Management in Rural bolivia after Decentralization,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Patterson. Recent access to irrigation in the arid valleys of Bolivia is providing rural families with increased agricultural productivity, manifesting in greater food security and income from agricultural markets. In addition, the management of this valuable resource has altered the political systems and social dynamics of this region. This research studies the Lahuachama irrigation system and the way it is altering water management practices, community organization, participation in markets, and local politics. More specifically, the themes explored during field research consisted of investigating the economic and agricultural marketing activities of the irrigation associates, the role of NGO's in capacity building, and the participation of women. Data was collected through the combined use of formal and informal interviews, participant observation, archival research, and the creation of a GIS georeferenced map of the irrigation system. The data collected significantly shaped the direction and scope of the grantee's dissertation research. Foundation support enabled the researcher to reach remote regions in the study area, use more complex technologies, and hire consultants, and the research findings are beginning to illuminate many of the profound changes in regional social organization as well as alterations in community and household agricultural practices.