Bonilla, Yarimar, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Labor Struggles and the Search for a Local Politics on the Island of Guadeloupe,' supervised by Dr. Jean Comaroff
YARIMAR BONILLA, while a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in July 2003 to aid research on the role of labor struggles in the political landscape of Guadeloupe, under the supervision of Jean Comaroff. The research explored labor movements as sites of social struggle wherein the form, content, and meaning of Guadeloupe's postcolonial relationship to France become negotiated and redefined. It sought to look at how French traditions of syndicalism are transformed in the postcolonial space of the outre-mer and how labor movements are emerging as the inheritors of failed anti-colonial and nationalist struggles. Using participant observation, targeted interviews and archival research, Bonilla conducted research among labor activists, local bosses, government officials, and members of the local media in order to interrogate the privileged role of labor unions in the Guadeloupean public sphere. The research focused on how the regulation of labor, and the struggle for the application of French labor laws, becomes an important site where the contradictions and tensions of the French postcolonial project become materially evident. Bonilla investigated the ritualistic and performative aspects of labor strikes and negotiations, as well as the tactical strategies that inform these practices, such as the manipulation of fear, violence, myth, rumor, and memory. The project also explored how the violence of the past informs present-day contestations of the symbols of social order and legal authority, in order to understand how and why in Guadeloupe a labor demonstration can become a civil riot.
Wienia, Martijn, Leiden U., Leiden, The Netherlands - To aid research on 'Ritual and the Construction of Konkomba Autochthony,' supervised by Dr. Peter Pels
MARTIJN WIENIA, while a student at Leiden University, the Netherlands, was awarded a grant in January 2006 to aid research on 'Ritual and the Construction of Konkomba Autochthony in Northern Ghana,' supervised by Prof. Dr. Peter Pels. Political liberalization often brings along a violent obsession with belonging. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this often correlates with the tension between democratization and 'traditional' authority. This project studies how and why the Konkomba people of Northern Ghana seek and use tradition (land rituals, chieftaincy) to claim autochthony in an area where they are migrants (i.e. the Nanumba districts). This is studied in the historical context of democratization and peace-building in Northern Ghana. The granted fieldwork of almost five months was the project's second research period and it included six weeks of archive studies in the National, Regional and District Archives. Other research methods were ethnographic to verify and complement previous data, follow the ritual cycle, document chieftaincy case studies and collect conflict narratives. While in the field, there were serious threats of renewed ethnic violence, and the researcher had the chance to observe and analyze local and national responses to the tensions, e.g. in security meetings. These data are very helpful for understanding autochthony claims in Nanun and for the dynamics of the peace process in Northern Ghana, as well as peace studies in general.
Wienia, Martijn. 2010. Ominous Calm: Autochthony and Sovereighnty in Konkomba/Nanumba Violence and Peace, Ghana. African Studies Collection, Volume 21. African Studies Centre: Leiden.
Newberry, Derek Owen, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Sustainability in the Commodification of Brazilian Biofuels,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna
DEREK O. NEWBERRY, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The Politics of Sustainability in the Commodification of Brazilian Biofuels,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna. This study sought to determine how sustainability is defined and regulated in the context of the Brazilian biofuel industry, where the social and environmental impacts of producing this energy are a subject of concern, but ill-defined. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted on negotiations to create sustainable production standards for biofuels in São Paulo and abroad, as well as on implementation of these standards in a rural biofuel expansion region. It was found that there are two distinct networks of regulation for biofuel production that not only entail different monitoring and enforcement practices, but different ethics of truth and risk as well. Transnational standards are driven by ethical concerns about maintaining acceptable levels of quantitative impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions at a global scale. Locally, residents in frontier regions are much more concerned with qualitatively defined standards of working conditions and reducing the volatility of change associated with new biofuel companies entering their towns. The results contribute to our understanding of how social networks and personal experiences with a commodity significantly affect how different actors define and measure ethical production of that commodity, even within purportedly objective systems of regulation.
De Cesari, Chiara, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Cultural Heritage Beyond the 'State'/Palestinian Heritage between Nationalism and Transnationalism,' supervised by Dr. Ian R. Hodder
CHIARA DE CESARI, while a student at Stanford University, California, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'Cultural Heritage Beyond the 'State'/Palestinian Heritage Between Nationalism and Transnationalism,' supervised by Dr. Ian Hodder. This research focuses on the relationship between patrimonialization processes and the new forms of governmentality that have emerged during the past decade in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - a political (dis)order characterized by the coexistence of novel forms of Israeli colonial rule, a quasi-state, the Palestinian Authority, as well as the significant presence of international and donor agencies. Taking as starting point the activism of Palestinian civil society organizations, and the relevance of material remains of the past as sites of high discursive density, the research explored heritage discourses and practices, the conditions of their emergence, and the effects of heritage projects on affected local communities. During tenure of the Wenner-Gren grant, the researcher carried out ethnographic fieldwork chiefly within UNESCO and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, a Palestinian semi-governmental organization responsible for a major urban rehabilitation project in the old city of Hebron, as well as in the old city itself. Fieldwork indicates the proliferation of different cultures of memory/heritage in the lacerated space of Palestine, rooted in a desire for continuity and roots against dispossession and displacement. While global languages of heritage are appropriated by local actors in the making of a relived Palestinian past, the politics of donors' aid tend to direct flows of monies to restricted, accessible areas, thus reinforcing the current process of bantustanization of the Occupied Territories.
De Cesari, Chiara. 2010. Creative Heritage: Palestinian Heritage NGOs and Defiant Arts of Government. American Anthropologist 112(4):625-637
Katz, David Charles, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Universality and Biological Mechanisms of Subsistence-Driven Craniofacial Reduction,' supervised by Dr. Timothy D. Weaver
Preliminary abstract: It is widely hypothesized that early agriculturalists have reduced craniofacial features relative to hunter-gatherers because agricultural foods and processing technologies resulted in decreased masticatory loading demands for prehistoric farmers. The geographic scope of this subsistence-driven craniofacial reduction (SDCR) hypothesis is global: dispersed agricultural transitions produced convergent changes to craniofacial morphology. Yet studies testing SDCR are restricted to comparisons of local groups. Further, qualitative syntheses of these results often do not account for variation in the dimensions along which SDCR has been observed. In order to study SDCR on the global scale at which it is thought to have occurred, my project examines cranial and mandibular 3-D landmark data from 7 geographically paired forager-farmer groups. To test the significance and shape of subsistence effects on craniofacial morphology, I use geometric morphometrics methods, multivariate statistics which partition variation among predictors, and a study of whether divergence between forager and farmer mandibular ontogenetic trajectory reflects incorporation of hard foods into the diet of recently weaned subadults. The results will improve understanding of morphological evolution across a critical behavioral transition in human prehistory, and more broadly, of the relationship between technology, behavior, and skeletal gracilization during the evolution of the genus Homo.
Tzib, Fernando Maximino, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Land Tenure Discourses and Mayan Identity in Belize,' supervised by Dr. Frank Salomon
FERNANDO M. TZIB, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, was awarded funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Land Tenure Discourses and Mayan Identity in Belize,' supervised by Dr. Frank Saomon. The study examined the discursive relationship between Maya customary land tenure and Belizean national statutory land tenure systems among the Mopan and Kekchi Maya in southern Belize. Study of Maya claims of rights to lands that Mayas have traditionally occupied and managed through customary land tenure systems demonstrates strong relationships between land tenure and Maya political and socio-economic structures and daily relations with the land and annual events such as ceremonies and festivals. These relationships with the land, the spirit world, the Government of Belize, and the Development Agencies also shape the construction of Maya identity. During conflicts over land use with the Belizean state, it was clear that Maya customary law is also constituted through broader networks of interactions with the state and the spiritual wor1fi. Tuulak in Kekchi and pulyah in Mopan are terms for a form of punishment that befalls a wrongdoer, a construct that reinforces the proscriptions of customary law. This construct is given weight by its perceived links with the ancient Maya, credited by both Mayas and non-Maya. Its temporally transcendent nature strengthens contemporary Mayan identity albeit at the cost of fomenting some social fears.
Baca Marroquin, Ancira Emily, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Provincial Economy in Chinchaysuyo: Imperial and Local Ceramic Distribution and Consumption, Asia Valley, Central-Coast, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Partick Williams
Preliminary abstract: My project investigates the multidirectional core-periphery interplay with focus on theories of expanding empires and provincial economy. More specifically, I will examine the differing economic participation that intermediate elites and commoners of a non-state coastal society engaged with The Inca empire (A.D. 1400-1532), the largest ancient economic system ever recorded in the Americas. To examine economic participation, I focus on imperial and local ceramic distribution and consumption patterns of intermediate elites and commoners at the site of Quellca, Asia Valley, Peru. The questions that guide my research can be summarized as follows: To what extend intermediate elites and commoners in the Asia Valley consume imported imperial, provincial, and regional ceramics, or did they exclusively consume local wares? Are there qualitative/quantitative differences in the ceramic distribution and consumption patterns between these social groups? To what extent and in what ways did intermediate elites and commoners participate to imperial economic policies? Working under the assumption that provincial economies reflect arrangements between empires and provincial societies, my investigation into the differing distribution and consumption patterns of imperial goods between intermediate elites and commoners offers opportunities to expand developing theories of imperial expansion and provincial economy in modern and ancient settings.
Mehari, Asmeret Ghebreigziabiher, U. of Florida, Gainesville, FL - To aid research on 'Decolonizing the Pedagogy of Archaeology in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Peter R. Schmidt
ASMERET G. MEHARI, then a student at University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, received funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'Decolonizing the Pedagogy of Archaeology in East Africa,' supervised by Dr. Peter R. Schmidt. This dissertation research explores the nature of archaeology in postcolonial East Africa using Tanzania and Uganda as case studies. Its main focus is analyzing the history and development of practicing and teaching archaeology by African scholars. Particularly, it examines what constitutes local archaeological research and how emerging local professionals contribute towards decolonizing archaeology in the region, meaning creating archaeological practices and pedagogies that are liberated and locally relevant. The methods for collecting relevant information include in-depth interviews with archaeologists, students, local communities, and antiquities and museum officials; archival research at university libraries, museums, and national research clearance institutions; participant observation -attending field schools and class-room based lectures, occasionally delivering lectures to undergraduate students, and living with local communities who reside around archaeological sites. Research findings show that most archaeological research is performed under collaborative projects that are mainly run by European-descendant Africanist scholars. Local Ugandan and Tanzanian scholars are most likely to have a profound influence on decolonizing archaeology through their own self-initiated and administrated projects. The contributions of local scholars vary but predominantly their efforts have been directed to the final product of archaeological research - primarily in the rewritings of African history.
Chatterjee, Moyukh, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft
MOYUKH CHATTERJEE, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft. This project examines how mass violence unfolds across legal institutions of state redress and its implications for survivors and human-rights NGOs struggling for justice in India. Despite numerous official commissions of inquiry, human-rights activism, and civil society efforts, mass violence against minorities -- supported by state officials and militant rightwing organizations -- goes largely unpunished in India. By examining the production, circulation, and interpretation of police and legal documents within different state institutions, and victim and NGO efforts to challenge state impunity, this project examines state writing practices and its effects on legal accountability. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in lower courts, legal-aid NGOs, and survivors/complainants of the anti-Muslim violence in 2002, this project outlines how law courts obfuscate individual culpability, invalidate victims' testimony, and render sexual and gendered violence against minorities invisible. The study examines the role of legal and police documents in enabling the state apparatus to regulate what can be officially seen and said about public acts of mass violence involving ruling politicians and state officials, and its implications for survivors, human-rights activists, and NGOs fighting for legal justice.
Hubbard, Amelia R., Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'A Re-examination of Biodistance Analysis Using Dental and Genetic Data,' supervised by Dr. Debra J. Guatelli-Steinberg
AMELIA R. HUBBARD, then a student at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded funding in April 2009, to aid research on 'A Re-Examination of Biodistance Analysis Using Dental and Genetic Data,' supervised by Dr. Debra J. Guatelli-Steinberg. Bioarchaeologists utilize biodistance analysis to better understand the nature of biological change through time. Population structure, a form of biodistance analysis that examines the relative contributions of gene flow and genetic drift to the biological 'structure' of a population, has recently gained popularity because it allows researchers to explore the possible effects of cultural behaviors like migration and trade. Due to refinements in models for assessing population structure, bioarchaeologists have begun to use discrete dental traits to estimate population structure among archaeological populations. These studies are predicated on the assumption that dental trait frequencies reflect underlying genetic frequencies and can be used in place of DNA to assess population structure, though no research has been undertaken to formally test the agreement between such estimates using data from the same sites and same individuals. This project uses data from living populations occupying Kenya's coastal province to test the concordance between estimates of population structure based on genetic and dental data. Because dental remains are the most commonly preserved skeletal element, do not remodel during an individual's life, and are relatively cheap to analyze, the opportunity to make refinements to existing methods would provide an invaluable tool for researchers.