Formanack, Allison Beth, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Mobile Precarity: 'Trailer Trash' and Risk in an American Zone of Abandonment,' supervised by Dr. Carla Jones
Preliminary abstract: How does the symbolic transference of material degradation and impermanence onto mobile home residents produce social precarity and financial risk? In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the manufactured housing industry continues to grow as foreclosed homeowners turn to mobile homes as a means to preserve their hold on middle-class respectability and the American dream. The growth of mobile home ownership is problematized by the closure of many mobile home communities (MHCs), particularly in urban areas where 'trailer trash' is seen to represent moral and physical decay as the result of widespread cultural stigmatization dating back to the 1950s. Following a series of national awards and accolades in 2011-2012, city officials in Lincoln, Nebraska have initiated redevelopment plans that will displace over 4,000 urban MHC residents in conjunction with the city's new 'rebranding' campaign. Despite community protest, mobile home residents' claims to ownership are rejected due to their inability to traditionally finance their homes. By considering the complexity of housing--as shelter, the symbolic realm of the domestic, or as a financial vehicle for upward mobility--my research examines the ways in which the immaterial and material intersect in the social imaginary of the (mobile) home.
Zhuang, Yijie, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Landscape Change and its Interaction with Prehistoric Human Activities- Geoarchaeological Investigation in North China,' supervised by Dr. Charles Andrew Ivey French
YIJIE ZHUANG, then a student at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2011, to aid research on 'Landscape Change and its Interaction with Prehistoric Human Activities: Geoarchaeological Investigation in North China,' supervised by Dr. Charles A.I. French. This study conducts geoarchaeological investigation on four early Neolithic sites in middle and lower Yellow River of North China. At the Cishan site -- a new dating project that pushes the earliest millet remains at the site back to 10,000 BP, or 2000 years earlier than previously thought -- has greatly stimulated archaeologists' enthusiasm in the search for the origin of agriculture in North China. The ongoing geoarchaeology at the site has contributed to the debate by providing geochronological evidence and detailed information concerning how these early farmers managed the landscape. The other three contemporary sites are dated to 8000-7000BP. Micromorphological examination and geo-physical analyses suggest a mixed pattern of land-use management at Guobei and Guantaoyuan in the middle Yellow River, which is also corroborated by a similar modern study in the same area using the same methods. Whereas at the lower Yellow River site (Yuezhuang) micromorphological and geo-physical analyses and settlement pattern study indicate that people were restricted to resource-rich environments, people were still frequently moving around in the landscapes and year-round occupation had not yet occurred. These conclusions chime with archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological studies that the establishment of agrarian landscapes in North China involves complicated processes.
Rakopoulos, Theodoros, U. of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Anti-Mafia Livelihoods: Work and Social Change in Sicilian Agrarian Cooperatives,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Goddard
THEODOROS RAKOPOULOS, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Anti-Mafia Livelihoods: Work and Social Change in Sicilian Agrarian Cooperatives,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Goddard. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork amongst people working in cooperatives that make use of assets the State confiscated from 'the mafia' in Alto Belice (western Sicily). Research focuses on the livelihoods of people connected to the 'antimafia' microoeconomy based in these cooperatives. Paying attention to local moralities of labor and politics, the grantee conducted participant observation in workers' everyday life to understand the range of accounts regarding 'antimafia' values, how they connect to social relations, and the extent to which they reflect or contradict legalistic discourses promoted within 'civil society.' Attentive to networks supporting this micro-economy, the project analyzes people's entanglements with the authorities (often patronage-based), discussing how State functionaries contribute to consolidating an 'antimafia gift-economy.' Specifically, research participants organize production relations across reciprocity chains connected to the State's 'gift:' the confiscated assets offered to them. The work presents an ethnographic account of responses to social changes triggered by State intervention in redistributing resources on claims to 'legality' basis. Investigating what mafiosi activity implies, the research contributes a dynamic, relational analysis of mafia/antimafia. Tracing people's discourses and experiences, the research locates 'mafia' in everyday activity and explores contradictions that confront individuals and collectives regarding claims to legality and commitments to moralities of kinship and friendship.
Kisin, Eugenia Carol, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Indigenous Sovereignties, Non-secular Modernities: The Market for Northwest Coast First Nations Art,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers
EUGENIA C. KISIN, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Indigenous Sovereignties, Non-Secular Modernities: The Market for Northwest Coast First Nations Art,' supervised by Dr. Fred R. Myers. Indigenous social movements have had long histories in settler states. But in recent decades, a new cultural politics has emerged that hinges on expressive culture -- art, music, and performance -- to assert sovereignty and contemporaneity. Within these movements, indigenous peoples have complex affiliations in relation to the commodity market, including community, pan-indigenous, religious, and professional identities. This project documents how contemporary indigenous cultural politics emerge around art, focusing on how the state, the art market, and religiosities are entangled with projects of indigenous self-determination in Vancouver, Canada. Exploring the ways in which First Nations artists take up the fluid categories of contemporary art while challenging modernist and secularist models of art's efficacies, this research shows how participants in this regional art world imagine new ways for aesthetics and politics to comingle in Indigenous practice, often amidst extractive state regimes. Through participant observation, life histories, social network analyses, and archival work in the many spaces of the art world, this research explores how the politics, discourses, and processes of contemporary First Nations art production have led to a $100 million market for Northwest Coast art, and how, on this market, cultural and monetary values are powerfully interlinked.
Doughan, Yazan, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Acting Like a Citizen: Language Practice and the Vicissitudes of Urbanism and Tribalism in (Neo)liberalizing Amman.,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
Preliminary Abstract: My project considers how notions of 'good' or 'real' citizenship are being negotiated and re-defined in Jordan under the conditions of neoliberalism. It looks at this issue through the lens of deliberations over urban development projects in the capital city, Amman, between urban planning professionals and the inhabitants of a particular neighborhood. The urban planners espouse neoliberal ideals of citizenship that stress entrepreneurialism, egalitarianism and abstract community. The inhabitants of the neighborhood, by contrast, couch their claims to citizenship in notions of indigenous rights and kinship ties.
Webb, Sarah Jayne, U. of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia - To aid research on 'Materials Reformed, Materials of Reform: Value and Forest Product Trade on Palawan Island, the Philippines,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram Dressler
SARAH J. WEBB, then a student at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Materials Reformed, Materials of Reform: Value and Forest Product Trade on Palawan Island, the Philippines,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler. This project traces how values of Palawan forest honey are produced through socio-economic relations between Tagbanua harvesters, middle traders, civil society, and, the state. Value-adding such non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is heralded as a market-based solution to sustainable forest use. The grantee's multi-sited ethnography highlights the need to consider the specificities and complexities of how value is made through everyday exchanges. Rather than relying on linear production-to-consumption models dominating forest product valuations, this study uses a commodityscape approach. Well established in anthropological studies of globalization, the approach suggests commodity values are contextually created within the networks of people, places, ideas, and, things through which products circulate. Data from participant observation, workshops, interviews, and, surveys were collated with secondary sources to document how a product with a relatively localised market is embedded within national, regional, and global value-making networks. This study contributes an analysis of how marginalizations of Tagbanua families from broader meanings made about honey value, and the romanticisms of forest-livelihoods which make it valuable are not abnormalities external to processes of 'value-adding,' which can be technically amended, but cultural politics endogenous to the creation and communication of value.
Parks, Maria Shannon, Texas A&M U., College Station, TX - To aid research on 'Testing the Subsistence Model for the Adoption of Ceramic Technology among Coastal Foragers of Southeastern Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lori Ellen Wright
MARIA SHANNON PARKS, then a student at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, was awarded funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Testing the Subsistence Model for the Adoption of Ceramic Technology among Coastal Foragers of Southeastern Brazil,' supervised by Dr. Lori E. Wright. This study tests two competing models for the adoption of ceramic technology among fisher-huntergatherers off the Atlantic coast of southeastern Brazil (5000 to 600 BP). The subsistence model argues that the adoption of pottery among hunter-gatherers signals a change in diet and/or food processing techniques. Conversely, the prestige model claims that pottery is introduced for social feasting, and as serving vessels for an elite segment of the populace. To test whether a significant change in diet occurred after the introduction of pottery at coastal sites in southeastern Brazil, a stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of skeletal remains from pre-ceramic and ceramic occupations was conducted. Preliminary results indicate no significant difference in mean diet between the pre-ceramic and ceramic occupations. Results also show that prehistoric groups from both time periods relied heavily on marine protein and plant foods from the nearby Atlantic Forest for their subsistence. At this time, these results lend greater support for the prestige model of the adoption of ceramic technology among hunter-gatherer populations.
James, Carwil Robert, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Claiming Space, Redefining Politics: Urban Protest and Grassroots Power in Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman
CARWIL R. JAMES, then a student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Claiming Space, Redefining Politics: urban Protest and Grassroots Power in Bolivia,' supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman. This dissertation analyzes the role of space-claiming protests by primarily indigenous-identified social movements in Bolivia's current political transformation. Participatory fieldwork, oral history taking, and documentary research undergird a rich historical examination of the politics urban spaces in Sucre and Cochabamba, two politically active, multiracial cities with contrasting histories of indigenous-mestizo relations. Space claiming includes protests that physically control or symbolically claim urban space through occupations of plazas and roads, sit-ins, and blockades; as well as the use, re-appropriation, and redesigning of state spaces, as authorized by the post-2006 government. This dissertation argues that social movements' appropriation of Bolivia's central physical, political, and symbolic spaces both justifies and embodies the political changes they demand. In particular, indigenous movements have sought to claim the right to enter and direct politics from the central urban spaces that once excluded them, provoking literal and figurative battles over ownership of the city and its streets. The research shows that space-claiming practices function as: 1) a tool for achieving political change in Bolivia; 2) a model for the relationship between state and society; and 3) a central element in ongoing political conflicts.
Thiels, John F., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Linguistic Repertoire Expansion and Ideologies of Multilingualism in Eastern Paraguay,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
JOHN F. THIELS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded funding in April 2005 to aid research on 'Linguistic Repertoire Expansion and Ideologies of Multilingualism in Eastern Paraguay,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. Ethnographic fieldwork in the multilingual frontier town of Nueva Esperanza, Paraguay, revealed a complex social field in which ideologies of linguistic difference and appropriate practice entered into everyday social relations between Brazilians and Paraguayans. While upper-status Brazilians commonly expressed ideologies of social dominance, other Brazilians expressed a variety of alignments towards and against Paraguay with various kinds of uptake by their Paraguayan interlocutors. Whereas many Paraguayans aligned themselves towards officialist ideologies of language and nation, transient workers often countered these notions with alternative histories and explicitly syncretic notions of language use. Ethnography of community radio and other media in this area approaches the question of multilingual publics in linguistic anthropology and notions of temporality and political change that are enacted in the relations of these media with municipal government. Community and commercial radio mediate between different publics and produce the notion of a multilingual public, performing multilingualism for a public that identifies itself with the language contact prevalent in the area.
Bordia, Devika, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Local Governance Through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen
DEVIKA BORDIA, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Local Governance through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen. This project examines the relationship between legal and governmental institutions of the state, tribal panchayats, local community institutions. The grantee conducted fieldwork in the 'tribal' region of Southern Udaipur, Western India, tracing cases related to murder, violence, land claims and domestic disputes. The ways in which these cases were addressed involved complex negotiations between leaders of tribal panchayats, the police, lawyers and magistrates. This revealed how supposedly distinct legal systems are in effect a range of overlapping institutions, actors, artifacts and languages that evoke various formations of individual and community. Articulations of crime and violence within legal codes, though abstracted from local contexts for the sake of objectivity, are reflective of people and place and assume certain ideas of what it means to be 'tribal.' The project also examines the way in which language and ideas of the law weave into the fabric of everyday life and are used by leaders of panchayats in their work of dispute resolution. The grantee conducted extensive interviews and traveled with local leaders to understand the different ways they gain visibility and derive legitimacy. An examination of state organizations, NGOs and different social movements demonstrate how ideas of indigeneity are generated through their work, and the ways these ideas find their way into every day legal processes.