Ritchie, Jason, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing,' supervised by Dr. Matti Bunzl
JASON RITCHIE, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing,' supervised by Dr. Matti Bunzi. Research focused on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender -- or 'queer'-- Palestinians who live in or travel to Israel. The project is part of a broader interest in the relationship between sexuality and race in ostensibly democratic nation-states at the historical convergence of neoliberal capitalism and 'clash of civilizations' discourses, which have facilitated the increasing normalization of homosexuals and the increasing marginalization of racialized -- especially Arab -- others. Against this backdrop, the plight of queer Palestinians -- in Israel and in many Western countries -- has emerged as an effective tool for normalized queers to engage in nationalist politics and indirectly advocate for their own projects by constructing 'homophobia' as the sine qua non of the illiberal, non-Western/non-Israeli other. Rather than taking for granted the centrality of Palestinian homophobia or the benevolence of Israeli liberalism, the project utilized extended ethnographic research with queer Palestinians to explore the uses of sexuality and race in the disciplinary practices of the Israeli state and the possibilities -- or not -- of social change emanating out of spaces defined and constrained by those practices.
Kashanipour, Ryan Amir, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research and on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner
RYAN KASHANIPOUR, then a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A World of Cures: Maya Healing Systems in Colonial Yucatan,' supervised by Dr. Kevin M. Gosner. This project is an ethnohistorical examination of the role of medicine and healing in the eighteenth-century, Spanish Atlantic world. In particular, this project explores the role of healing systems in forging day-to-day connections between diverse social and ethnic groups in colonial Yucatan. These findings demonstrate how native peoples used central components to the human existence -- sickness and health -- to control their own lives and influence the broader colonial society. Funding supported primary source research in archives and libraries in Spain and the United States. Historical sources uncovered in this study -- such as six eighteenth-century manuscript books of medicine written in Yucatec Maya and Spanish -- show the broad series of connections within colonial society based on medicine and healing. These findings, in part, demonstrate that healing practices circulating widely in the colonies. In spite of prohibitions that attempted to limit the interaction between different social groups, natives, European, Africans, and people of mixed ethnicity regularly exchanged medical knowledge. Local healing practices were, therefore, the product of a widespread interaction and exchange. Furthermore, indigenous medicinal practices and knowledge empowered native healing specialists, which served to empower native communities.
Siegman, Jeremy Abraham Rosenberg, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Commercial Frontier: Normalizing Settler Colonialism in the Occupied West Bank,' supervised by Dr. Hussein Agrama
Preliminary abstract: This research explores commercial worlds emerging on Israel's West Bank frontier. Here, Jewish-Israeli itineraries of consumption and class aspiration not only cross military checkpoints, but commonly include occupied Palestinians: as low-wage workers with few rights in the settlers' stores and homes, and as shoppers and even protesters at their supermarkets. I suggest that these emergent commercial worlds are now key sites through which Israeli settler presence and state control in the West Bank become taken for granted (Hall 1988), in a process I provisionally call settler colonial normalization. This process unfolds through consumer practices of a middle-class good life, and through discourses and practices that configure Israeli-Palestinian relations as coexistence through markets. Yet the spaces where settler colonial normalization unfolds are also the spaces where it may be increasingly troubled--through tense workplace, consumer and security encounters between Israelis and Palestinians, and through the recent gravitation of Palestinian activism precisely to these commercial spheres. How do Israelis and Palestinians experience the normalization of settler colonialism, and its potential undoing, through these commercial and security encounters? With what effects on the political future? Ethnographic fieldwork will explore these and other questions by tracing commercial itineraries and encounters in and around a West Bank settlement.
Girard- Buttoz, Cedric, German Primate Centre, Goettingen, Germany - To aid research on 'Costs of Mate-Guarding in Wild Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis),' supervised by Dr. Antje Engelhardt
CEDRIC GIRARD-BUTTOZ, then a student at the German Primate Centre, Goettingen, Germany, was awarded a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Costs of Mate-Guarding in Wild Tong-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis),' supervised by Dr. Antje Engelhardt. Little is known so far about how primate males cope with the costs arising from mate-guarding females in multi-male groups. The aim of the project therefore was to quantify these costs using long-tailed macaques as a model species. The study was carried out during two reproductive seasons on three groups living in the Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia. Research combined behavioral observations and non-invasive measurements of c-peptides as an indicator of male energetic status. Results indicate that males counterbalance reduced energy intake deriving from decreased feeding time and fruit consumption by decreasing their vertical locomotion and thus energy expenditure. Accordingly, no effect of mate-guarding on energetic status was found in the males studied. Results thus far are surprising in that they show alpha male long-tailed macaques do not monopolize all available females even when it may be possible. One explanation may be that results include rare empirical evidence of the concession model in primates. The constraints shaping the evolution of male reproductive strategy in primates might strongly differ between non-strictly seasonal species (such as long-tailed macaques) and strictly seasonal species and further studies on both ends of the spectrum are needed.
Pham, Yamoi, Binghamton U., Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The Value of Spit: The Natural and Social Life of Edible Birds' Nests,' supervised by Dr. Shelley Feldman
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the social life of edible swiftlet nests in their transformation from a centuries-old foraged commodity into a high-tech product of avicultural mass production. Originating as a tributary gift to Chinese emperors from Southeast Asia, the nests remain a highly praised commodity across the Chinese-speaking world. In the late 1990s, a new industry based on the semi-domestication of the swiftlets and the construction of special birdhouses has thrived to satisfy the appetite of China's burgeoning middle class. Through conducting a year-long ethnographic study of swiftlet farming in Malaysia, I trace the commodity career of the nests as entangled in the Southeast Asian socio-ecological environment, overseas Chinese trading networks, and Chinese medicinal beliefs about exotic ingredients. I am curious about a) the role of modern sciences, technology and practical forms of knowledge in this process of taming nature in production, b) how the new swiftlet farming industry reshapes the existing social-economic relations of trade and circulation and c) how traditional practices of consumption are sustained and transformed through commercialization. By examining the process of the diverse agents/actants who create, circulate and consume value through swiftlet nests, I ultimately hope to engage the anthropological theory of value to understand the socio-ecologically constituted process of valuation and the complexity of sources and forms of value.
Hu, Di, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Daily Life, Domestic Labor Organization, and Identity at the Textile Workshop Community of Pomacocha, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Christine Ann Hastorf
DI HU, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Daily Life, Domestic Labor Organization, and Identity at the Textile Workshop Community of Pomacocha, Peru,' supervised by Dr. Christine A. Hastorf. Through a historical and archaeological investigation of a Late Horizon 'mitimae' (Inka retainer) site and a major Spanish colonial era 'obraje' (textile workshop) in Pomacocha, this project asks whether there was a decline in the importance of Inka and pre-Inka forms of identification and social cohesion. To trace the relationship between imposed forms of labor organization and domestic (i.e. non-imposed) forms of labor organization from the Inka through the Spanish colonial eras, excavations were carried out in three sectors of the Pomacocha: the mitimae settlement, the obraje, and the historic residential area. Preliminary analysis of organization of domestic space, archival, ceramic, faunal, lithic, and botanical data suggests that there was more spatial prescription of domestic tasks through time. This suggests that the extreme division of labor of the obraje may have influenced the organization of domestic space in the historic-period community. Increasing spatial prescription of domestic tasks continues to the present day and may have accelerated after the overthrow of the obraje turned hacienda in 1962. While Inka and pre-Inka period forms of identification and social cohesion may have declined in the colonial and post-colonial period, other social divisions organized around labor and class became more salient in the community.
Field, Amy Leigh, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Capital, Creatures, and Care: Farm Animal Protection Law and Human-Animal Relationships in Eastern Germany,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
Preliminary abstract: Animal protection regulations have produced tremendous change in practices of farm animal care in Germany. Since the nineteenth century, urbanization has created a base of consumers who are distant from the work of animal care, yet desire its reform. Farmers are the targets of this pressure, and local agricultural officials must oversee the implementation of these reforms. Eastern Germany, unlike Western Germany, has only had these laws since the Berlin Wall fell. This project investigates how the introduction of animal protection law shapes human relationships with farm animals in eastern Germany. It will be conducted in Thuringia, an eastern German state which is the site of an intense new focus on reforming animal farming. With methodologies including participant-observation, life history interviews, document analysis, and analysis of discourse practices in both formal and informal sites of interaction between farmers, consumers, officials, and animals, I ask how farmers and officials understand the new laws, mobilizing their understandings of animals' needs, and those of the consuming public. My analysis takes neither humans nor animals for granted as categories, but instead investigates the mechanisms by which participants talk about and imagine the contradictory nature of animals as both commodities and living beings.
O'Hara, John Francis, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Social Geographies of Personal Ornamentation in Late Glacial Franco-Cantabria,' supervised by Dr. Randall White
Preliminary abstract: This project will explore the complex social geographies of Late Glacial Franco-Cantabria through the analysis of personal ornamentation. Franco-Cantabrian societies attributed to the Magdalenian cultural complex were the population source for the re-establishment of human population across much of Europe following the Last Glacial Maximum, however they are often conceived of as a rather homogeneous cultural reservoir. This project will explore the actual relationships which existed between what were in fact diverse bands of foraging groups, and how these relationships change as these societies expand and spread into formerly abandoned regions, while also confronting extreme climatic change. Typological, technological, and geochemical analyses of personal ornaments will allow the reconstruction of spheres of identity and interaction, and enable the reconstruction of aspects of Magdalenian social organization, mobility and networks of exchange. This project will also allow exploration of Magdalenian cultural logics of how identity was understood, enacted and asserted.
Zhao, Jianhua, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Fashioning Change: The Political Economy of Clothing in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable
JIANHUA ZHAO, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Fashioning Change: The Political Economy of Clothing in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable. This project combined interpretive anthropology and political economy to examine the changes in Chinese clothing fashions and their social and cultural meanings, and the influence of local and global processes on China's clothing and apparel industry since the post-Mao economic reforms began in 1978. During the field research, the researcher gathered historical data in order to show the changes in clothing fashions and China's textile and apparel industries. By working with fashion professionals, including designers, executives, and journalists, the researcher also collected ethnographic data to illustrate the relationship between clothing and the state in China, to explicate how the Chinese clothing system works as a cultural system, and to elucidate the interconnectedness between the global and local processes in the production and consumption of clothing and fashion. This study contributes to an ethnographic understanding of clothing, to the study of the social and cultural impact of the economic reforms in post-Mao China, to the wider study of post-socialist societies in which the reconfiguration of the state and society articulates in the production and consumption of fashion and clothing, and to the anthropological critiques of 'globalization' as a simple and unidirectional economic process of 'westernization,' cultural imperialism, or cultural homogenization.
Hare, Elizabeth Maree, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Haunting the Future: Tracing the Production of Climate Forecast Models,' supervised by Dr. Andrew S. Mathews
Preliminary abstract: This project aims to further understanding of climate science through an ethnographic investigation of the development of a regional forecast model. I will conduct one year of fieldwork among an interdisciplinary network of climate scientists who are working to strengthen the validity of simulation models using high-resolution paleoecological data. This fieldwork will allow me to follow the process of developing a model, including both the material practices and the experiential and embodied knowledge that are necessary for successfully translating a landscape into computer code. This research will be attentive to political concerns as a part of the knowledge making process, rather than assume they are corruptive. The resulting ethnography will strengthen the claims of mainstream climate science by showing how it works to produce robust information through the interface of scientific objects, models, and political concern.