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2007 Annual Report

Program Highlights

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellows 2007

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellows 2007

The Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded to young scholars to provide time for publication of major pieces of research and are the most competitive of the Wenner-Gren funding programs. In 2007 we received 120 applications and made 8 awards (success rate = 6.7%). The 2007 Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships were awarded to:

 Horwitz, Liora Rochelle Kolska

Institutional Affiliation: Hebrew U.
Award Date: April 25, 2007
Project Title: Horwitz, Dr. Liora Rochelle Kolska, Hebrew U., Jerusalem, Israel - To aid research and writing on 'Detecting Domestication: An Expose of the Archaeozoological Record of the Levant' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Abstract: The Near East served as the birthplace of animal domestication. Recent data has narrowed the nuclear region to the Euphrates Valley in the Northern Levant. However, the context, impetus and timing of this innovation during the Neolithic, the nature and rate of its development and dispersion, as well as the impact it had on all facets of human existence in this region, is still in need of elucidation. These issues will be explored through the documentation and definition of the archaeozoological record of the Northern Levant - the nuclear zone, compared and contrasted to that of the Southern Levant – a secondary locality of domestication. To attain a comprehensive understanding of the why, where, when and how of domestication, the faunal record will be integrated with current information from paleoclimatic, archaeological, botanical, genetic and physical anthropological studies, as well as ethnographic data. This will assist in a critical appraisal of the context and path of domestication both from a biological and a cultural perspective. A comprehensive approach such as that proposed here, should facilitate an in depth expose of the critical issues and events that characterize this momentous innovation, one which has marked humankind, for better or for worse.

 Karchmer, Eric Ivan

Institutional Affiliation: U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Award Date: October 29, 2007

Project Title: Karchmer, Dr. Eric Ivan, Independent Scholar, Weston, MA - To aid research and writing on 'Orientalizing the Body: Postcolonial Transformations in Chinese Medicine' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Abstract: This proposal is for funding to complete a book manuscript on why contemporary doctors of Chinese medicine in China have incorporated so many features of biomedicine into their clinical practice. One of the central claims of my study is that this integrationist trend challenges the very notion of 'Chinese medicine.' Based on extensive ethnographic observation and archival research, I assert that what most scholars have taken-for-granted as the basic theory and practices of 'Chinese medicine' only emerged in the early and mid 20th century in China as a response to the encounter with biomedicine. I propose that this modern transformation of Chinese medicine can be best understood in terms of the postcolonial power inequalities that exist between China and the West. My guiding theoretical claim about this postcolonial encounter is that it is defined by a tension between purified representations and hybridized practices. Doctors of Chinese medicine talk about 'Chinese medicine' and 'Western medicine' as if they are epistemologically incommensurate but use them as if they can be freely combined. By exploring key areas of Chinese medicine theory and practice, I demonstrate how the processes of purification and hybridization have transformed Chinese medicine.

Kelly Luciani, Jose Antonio

Institutional Affiliation: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Award Date: October 29, 2007

Project Title: 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

Abstract: This project is a political anthropology of indigenous health that analyzes the Venezuelan State's health system among the Yanomami. It is an ethnography that stretches from Amazonian communities through to Ministry offices. Two interwoven issues are addressed: First; The insertion of the State health system in Yanomami community life, eliciting how Yanomami cosmologically-grounded meanings of Yanomami-White relations determine the character of the health system. Indigenous perspectives and Amazonianist theorizing are given priority to understand Indian-State relations. Thematically this is about Amerindian cosmology shaping the State at community level; theoretically it contributes to Amazonian and medical anthropology. Second; the implementation of public health policies for indigenous people. Within the context of Venezuela’s nation rebuilding process, the State’s perspectives on Indians and the culture of the State itself are analyzed in terms of their impingement on indigenous people. Thematically this is about the State shaping Indian lives nationwide; theoretically it contributes to public health and the anthropology of the State. A monograph combining these issues will be written along with an article developing in greater theoretical depth specific aspects of Amazonian anthropology. This project is based on six years of work among the Yanomami and the health system.

Khlinovskaya Rockhill, Elena Vladimirovna

Institutional Affiliation: U. Cambridge
Award Date: April 25, 2007

Project Title: Khlinovskaya Rockhill, Dr. Elena Vladimirovna, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research and writing on 'Lost to the State: Family Discontinuity, Social Orphanhood and Residential Care in the Russian Far East' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Abstract: This book is an ethnographic study of social orphans, or children left without parental care, in the post-Soviet society. Currently their number stands at 800,000 with 260,000 of these children living in state residential care institutions despite having parents or close relatives. Using concepts of power, agency and voice, I explore tensions in the balance of power between the family and the state, whereby parents are judged as bad or good based on classic Soviet values, and state resources are directed towards separating a child from a family, rather than towards supporting family as a whole. Building on interviews and transcripts of court hearings in which parents are deprived of parental rights I analyze key terms and values in the discourse surrounding the process of separation. Later I explore the world of the child once separated from the family, as their 'Rake’s Progress' through successive institutions leads them into an irreversible institutional culture and onwards into a world of alienation from society and often to prison. Applying theories of deviance, witchcraft accusations and show trials I show how the current system of separating children from their families is sustained by a distinctive modern post-Soviet discourse of accusation and blame.

 Kilshaw, Susie

Institutional Affiliation: U. College London
Award Date: October 29, 2007

Project Title: Kilshaw, Dr. Susie, U. College London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'Friendly Fire: An Anthropological Account of Gulf War Syndrome' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Abstract: There is no doubt that Gulf service has affected the well-being of some of the members of the UK armed forces who served in that conflict, yet the reason for this remain unclear. At present, the debate surrounding Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) has become stagnant and highly polarized. This book argues that an anthropological perspective is needed to further improve our understanding of the problem and uses data generated from 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the UK. Although necessary to contextualize GWS through situating it among other emergent illnesses and widespread health beliefs, this book shows there is a need to bring back the particular. This work makes sense of the cultural circumstances, specific and general, which gave rise to the illness. Building upon anthropology's unique way of understanding somatic symptoms, it is shown that GWS can be seen as an idiom of distress. GWS is a vehicle to draw attention to and a means to communicate concerns of the people it affects; issues such as trust, life within a dramatically changing military, gender roles and toxicity. The symptoms of GWS, such as Burning Semen Syndrome and impotence, can be seen as a shared bodily language.

 Klappa, Stefanie Anja

Institutional Affiliation:U. Kent [honorary]
Award Date: October 29, 2007

Project Title: Klappa, 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

Abstract: This project will disseminate my thesis that conventional concepts of human–environment relations exhibit agrocentric bias, as revealed by the principles of tropical agroforestry. I argue that the standard notions of land and resource use—e.g. ‘hunting-gathering’, ‘cultivating’—constitute less universally valid propositions than agricultural folk models; that therefore description and analysis of subsistence in these terms must remain ethnocentric; and that this precludes meaningful comparison of cases, obstructs development of a unifying theory of subsistence in human ecology, and hampers interpretation of the archaeological record on human settlement and transformation of rainforest areas. I developed this argument in my PhD dissertation, through integrating 1) a detailed analysis of my field data from lowland Papua New Guinea, 2) a systematic review of existing models for tropical land use past and present, and 3) a critical discussion of conceptions of human–environment relations in science and anthropology. For the present project, I will use this material to prepare a) a monograph which emphasizes 1 and 2; b) a journal article which emphasizes 3. Together, they will contribute to both New Guinea ethnography, the study of tropical land use, archaeological modeling, and the advancement of theory in human ecology.

 Potter, Ben Austin

Institutional Affiliation: U. Alaska, Fairbanks
Award Date: April 25, 2007

Project Title: Potter, Dr. Ben Austin, U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK - To aid research and writing on 'Site Structure and Organization in Central Alaska: Archaeological Investigations at Gerstle River' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Abstract: This fellowship will be used to complete and publish a monograph on my dissertation research, which focuses on within-site spatial patterning of well-preserved fauna, tools, and numerous hearth features from multiple components in deeply stratified contexts at the Gerstle River site (dating between 11,250 and 9,000 years ago). The lack of disturbance at the site enabled a thorough spatial analysis, with a level of detail unprecedented in the region. This research presents the first detailed analysis of archaeological fauna during this period, and allows inferences to be made about hunting strategies, economy, transport decisions, and butchering activities. A model of faunal processing indicates how space was used to process multiple individuals of bison and wapiti. Specialized microblade technology is shown to be structurally complex, reflecting different modes of manufacture, use and disposal. Hypotheses regarding microblade function are tested, suggesting use as insets in thrusting spears associated with bison hunting. The structure of the monograph will conform closely to the finished dissertation, and the proposed work will primarily involve rewriting for clarity and for more general audiences.

 Shaw, Susan Judith

Institutional Affiliation: U. Arizona
Award Date: October 29, 2007

Project Title: Shaw, Dr. Susan Judith, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research and writing on 'Identity, Community and the Governmentality of Primary Health Care in the U.S.' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Abstract: This manuscript analyzes social contestation over community health, governance, citizenship, and identity formation, drawing on research conducted between 1998-2004 in Springfield, Massachusetts, a New England city with a minority-majority population. Struggles over community health become settings in which variously positioned actors make claims on the state for how best to achieve the good life on a collective level and how the 'conduct of conduct' should be managed. Three related ethnographic projects explored social and political contestations over health: 1) community-level struggles over syringe exchange programs to control HIV transmission among people who inject illicit drugs; 2) a welfare-to-work program that sought to produce active citizens; and 3) health care for recent immigrants and other culturally diverse populations who are seeking care at a community health center. In the course of these struggles, new concepts of community and new forms of identity are elaborated, constructed and administered both in the primary health clinic and the wider community. This project extends the concept of biosociality from the level of individual biology into new domains populated by low income and marginalized members of U.S. society in order to show how ethnic identities are constructed in and through political struggles that mobilize health as a discursive resource.