Jernigan, Kevin A., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'A Study of Tree Identification among the Aguaruna Jivaro of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Brent Berlin
KEVIN A. JERNIGAN, then a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in January 2004 to aid research on 'A Study of Tree Identification among the Aguaruna Jivaro of the Peruvian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Brent Berlin. A year-long ethnobotanical study was carried out in several indigenous communities on the Nieva River, in the Peruvian Amazon, to determine how the Aguaruna Jivaro identify trees of their local environment. After eliciting freelists of tree names from community members, 65 trees were selected from the freelists for measuring identification methods. Interviews with eight key informants helped to determine how the identifications were made and voucher specimens were collected from the selected trees. This study made use of the Aguaruna concept of kumpaji, glossed as companion, which denotes species thought to be perceptually similar but not subsumed under a shared name. Questions designed to elicit identification methods included asking what distinguishes each tree from other trees informants consider to be its companions. Specimens collected in the study in combination with ethnobotanical data collected by Brent Berlin for the Aguaruna (1970) aided in obtaining accurate botanical determinations of the species in question and support the notion that these covert groupings correspond to tree species of the same botanical family. Results also indicate that the Aguaruna rely on both morphological and ecological clues to identify trees. Morphological clues appear to play a greater role than ecological ones.
Bocarejo, Diana, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Reconfiguring the Political Landscape: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff
DIANA BOCAREJO, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Reconfiguring the Political Landscape: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference in Colombia,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff. This research addresses a particular issue of legal multiculturalism: the manner in which it is set within a form of 'spatial exceptionalism,' that is how in the particular case of Colombia (although this is not the only one) indigenous peoples acquired a number of special rights that were circumscribed to a legally and physically bounded territory. As such, the exercise of customary law, education, and language was completely enclosed within each indigenous territory. This research is a socio-legal study that tries to address the relationship between multiculturalism and space through four different problematiques: First is an analysis of the manner in which ethnicity and territory were connected within the National Colombian Constitution. The second is a study of the jurisprudence of the National Constitutional Court to understand the instrumentality of reservations for Court verdicts. The third issue addresses how indigenous peoples are mobilizing the law to create a large agrarian reform by buying peasant land. This study includes ethnographic work in seven different villages of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Finally, this research followed a court's case ethnographically to understand what has happened to indigenous Evangelical Christians who lost a suit against the indigenous leaders of their community and were forbidden to practice their religion within the indigenous reservation.
Theidon, Dr. Kimberly S., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'States of Concern: Coca, Conflict and Control in the Apurimac and Ene Valley, Peru'
DR. KIMBERLY S. THEIDON, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in November 2004 to aid research on 'States of Concern: Coca, Conflict and Control in the Apurimac and Ene Valley, Peru.' This project was ethnographically grounded study of alternative development, the administration of conflict, and forms of governmentality in the foremost coca-growing region of Peru. It takes the Apurimac and Ene River Valley and the cocaleros' movement as an organizing frame for examining how coca eradication efforts and the alternative development programs that accompany them create the conditions for a resurgence of political violence in a region characterized by multiple armed actors and massive discontent. It argues for examining the structures of conflict and historicizing the violence in the VRAE. The grantee emphasizes the importance of regional histories when designing policy recommendations, convinced that 'theoretically informed particularity can lead to alternatives to alternative development. She considers this one of the most pressing social issues in the Andean Region. It can be said that current counter- narcotics and anti-terrorism policies create the conditions for escalating violence; thus this research has an explicitly preventive aim. By conducting research with both the cocaleros as well as the myriad national and transnational entities with which they interact, the grantee aims to build on people's struggle for the defense of life and livelihood by generating policy alternatives to current counternarcotics and antiterrorism interventions.
Lyons, Dr. Barry J., Wayne State U., Detroit, MI - To aid research on 'Race and Identity among Nonindigenous Schoolteachers in the Wake of Indigenous Resurgence in Contemporary Ecuador'
DR. BARRY LYONS, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Race and Identity among Nonindigenous Schoolteachers in the Wake of Indigenous Political Resurgence in Contemporary Ecuador.' This project involved ethnographic research on the indigenous movement's impact on notions of race and identity in highland Ecuador in 2007 and 2008. The research focused specifically on nonindigenous schoolteachers and their experiences in the two branches of the education ministry, the hispana directorate and the newer intercultural directorate, in which indigenous organizations have been very influential. The grantee and two research assistants worked alongside teachers in six schools and conducted 75 in-depth interviews with teachers and education officials. Preliminary analysis suggests that the indigenous movement has succeeded in pushing overt racism out of everyday interactions and in redefining racial differences as cultural distinctions. However, intercultural education and the new multicultural discourse have also had unintended effects and limitations. The category of mestizo, as contrasted with indigenous, has crystallized as the 'more or less' white side of an overarching mestizo vs. indigenous dichotomy, largely absorbing other nonindigenous categories. This dichotomy limits the indigenous movement's challenge to the supremacy of whiteness. Overt racism has declined, but the shift from racial discourses to multiculturalism has ironically left 'less white' mestizos without a discursive basis for linking their experiences of discrimination with indigenous experiences and struggles.
Cesarino, Pedro D., U. of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - To aid research on 'Translation and Study of Marubo Oral Tradition,' supervised by Dr. Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro
PEDRO D. CESARINO, then a student at University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Translation and Study of Marubo Oral Tradition,' supervised by Dr. Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro. This project was conducted in the Indigenous Reservation Vale do Javari (Amazonas State, Brazil) to analyze verbal arts related to shamanism, cosmology, and death conceptions of the Marubo, speakers of a Panoan language from the upper Ituí River. The research resulted in a substantial collection of recorded chants, narratives, and interviews, as well as drawings done by three elderly shamans. A selection of translations, drawings, and research data will be used to illustrate the notions of social and cosmological transformation involved in Marubo mythology and shamanism, as well as the characteristics of the synesthetic poetics (inter-relation of distinctive aesthetic domains) developed by this culture. Fieldwork, conjugated with the work of translation of a corpus originated from oral tradition, led to the recognition of an encompassing and live system of cosmological reflection and ritual action regarding death and disease, which was the focus of this research.
Winchell, Mareike, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Ayllu Justice: Translations of Tradition and Law among Quechua Activists in Cochabamba, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Charles Hirschkind
MAREIKE WINCHELL, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Politics of Ayllu Justice: Translations of Tradition and Law among Quechua Activists in Cochabamba, Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Charles Hirschkind. Research focused on the ways recent legal reforms reshape existing practices of historical consciousness and ethical subjectivity in Bolivia, with emphasis on the frictions between the Bolivian state's vision of revolutionary change, on the one hand, and rural experiences of state reform among Quechua and Spanish-speaking descendents of landowners, and servants in ex-hacienda regions on the other. Through research with land reform officials and rural Quechua-speakers, the study shed light on: 1) how emergent ideals of revolutionary citizenship and temporal change become institutionalized; and 2) the ways institutional efforts coexist uneasily with a set of vertical relational practices that rural residents imbue with ethical significance.
Nelms, Taylor C.N., U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Making Change and Valuing Difference: Dollarization and the Plurinational State in Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Bill Maurer
TAYLOR C.N. NELMS, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Making Change and Valuing Difference: Dollarization and the Plurinational State in Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Bill Maurer. This research investigates how projects of state transformation in Ecuador -- dollarization, on the one hand, and the institutionalization of 'alternative' economic values, on the other -- are articulated, instantiated, and contested through an ethnography of: 1) two forms of socioeconomic organization, family- and neighborhood-based savings and credit associations and an association of urban market vendors; and 2) encounters between these institutions and actors charged with making them visible to the state. During twelve months of fieldwork, more than 90 semi-structured and informal interviews were conducted across field sites in and around Quito, Ecuador: an urban marketplace; four savings and credit associations; and government offices at the national and municipal level. Participant observation was also carried out in these sites and at conferences, meetings, seminars, protests, and rallies. Archival research and document collection was also conducted. This research shows how dollarization and contemporary state transformation in Ecuador are interconnected, especially in discourses of change and stability. It demonstrates the emic importance of 'trust' in vernacular institution-building and how discourses of solidarity, sovereignty, and suspicion are linked to institutional practice, which then provides the infrastructure for political participation. Finally, this research highlights the role of money in debates about legal and institutional change, the scope of government, and 'representation,' political and semiotic. It does so by exploring the pragmatics of money's diverse uses.
Dias, Paula Strickland Sauer, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Petro-Politics at the Grassroots: Big Oil, Environmental Education, and Governance in Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Jessaca B. Leinaweaver
Preliminary abstract: Oil extraction has pervasive environmental, economic, and political impacts on a global scale. This project will determine how oil extraction affects local political practices and social dynamics. State regulation of oil in Brazil is reshaping the ways in which local communities do politics through mandatory Environmental Education (EE) projects funded by oil companies. Since 2009, leaders of Quilombo da Rasa, a 'maroon' community of afro-descendants in the city of Búzios, have made claims on the state for land rights and educational opportunities using resources and networks provided by Shell Oil's EE project. Shell's EE has also become the main arena where notions of community belonging and leadership are debated. The intersection of EE and local politics is a productive site for examining how the outsourcing of state activities may paradoxically result in corporate actors becoming new pathways of access to the state, as opposed to merely substituting for state services in a form of privatization. At the same time, the prominence of EE as a site of contestation of local history raises questions about how novel forms of political practice shape - and are shaped by - local processes of collective identity and representation. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Quilombo da Rasa, this project will trace the political implications of EE and how these may be reconfiguring local political practices and social dynamics. Drawing on participant observation, interviews, and archival research, I will ethnographically explore how Shell's EE work is conducted, how Rasa leaders appropriate it into novel forms of political practice, and how these political practices are understood and experienced by the people of Rasa as they negotiate belonging and representation in their community.
Friederic, Karin Ulla, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Violent Frontiers: Women?s Rights, Intimate Partner Violence, and the State in Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Linda Buckley Green
KARIN FRIEDERIC, then a student at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a grant in December 2007 to aid research on 'Violent Frontiers: Women's Rights, Intimate Partner Violence, and the State in Ecuador,' supervised by Dr. Linda Green. This dissertation utilizes the lens of historical anthropology to investigate the articulation of political, economic, and social processes that underpin gender norms and produce a normalized 'culture of gendered violence' in a rural frontier region of northwestern Ecuador called El Páramo. In Phase I, ethnographic fieldwork explored how increasing awareness of women's rights affected local women's perceptions and experiences of (as well as their responses to) intimate partner violence. Phase II incorporated institution-based interviews, oral history, and archival research to enable an historically specific examination of the political and economic context from which El Páramo colonists originated. In this case, historical perspective and methodologies help make sense of regnant gender norms and their role in the normalization of violence. This dissertation demonstrates how domestic violence is produced both interpersonally, nationally, and internationally, thus challenging static conceptions of culture that underlie most analyses of violence. The analysis employs a longitudinal perspective not only to understand how experiences and manifestations of family violence change over time (in response to newly circulating discourses of 'rights'), but also to undercover the relationship between family violence and historically particular social, economic and political conditions.