Paredes, Oona, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Converting Conflict: Religion and Raiding in Northeast Mindanao in the Early Colonial Period (1596-1811),' supervised by Dr. James F. Eder
OONA T. PAREDES, while a student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded a grant in May 2004 to aid research on the impact of missionization on indigenous social organization in the southern Philippines during the early Spanish colonial period, supervised by Dr. James F. Eder. From July 2004 to April 2005, Paredes studied primary sources archived in manuscript, microfilm, and digitized formats, and housed in five different collections in the United States and Spain. The object of this ethnohistorical study was to understand how religious conversion in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, and the missionary presence in general, may have produced major changes in local warfare, settlement patterns, political interaction, and demography - and as a consequence significant transformations in ethnic identity - among non-Muslim peoples in northeast Mindanao. Data was collected from a wide range of original mission and colonial administration documents in Spanish, including: two centuries worth of notarized papers establishing the encomienda (land grant or trust) infrastructure of northeast Mindanao; petitions from local leaders (datu) negotiating vassalage with the King of Spain in exchange for military assistance; and reports of the ongoing conflicts with neighboring indigenous Muslims. Because they are routinely portrayed and treated as people who exist outside of the Philippine colonial experience - viz., meaningless to the nation's modern cultural milieu except as precolonial icons - a related aim of this study was to recognize the proper historical and cultural provenience of Mindanao's indigenous non-Muslim peoples, whose descendants now use the Cebuano term Lumad ('born from the earth') for self-reference.
Labrador, Angela Marie, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton
ANGELA M. LABRADOR, then a student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Entrusting the Commons: Agricultural Land Conservation in Post-Industrial New England,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Chilton. This research explored how a rural New England community has leveraged the legal instrument of the conservation easement to protect their cultural landscapes and associated cultural identities and values. The fieldwork documented the social impacts of conservation easements, framing their application as part of a wider social ethic, deeply embedded in local cultural heritage. Traditionally, the protection of heritage is conceptualized as a 'preservation' process enacted by experts using etic standards of cultural and material 'authenticity.' However, this approach has alienated communities from their heritage. This research contributes a dynamic framework of heritage as a creatively shared component of community life and its safeguarding as an ethos informed by emic values and enacted by a broader base of stakeholders. The resulting ethnography -- which combined archival research, participant observation, and Photovoice -- actively engaged with the social ethic that supports the landscape protection program. Two sets of findings resulted: one assessed the potential and shortcomings of the heritage commons created through the usage of conservation easements and the other proposed a methodology for facilitating community-based and deliberative reflection on the past and future in rural places struggling with the socio-economic transformations of modernity.
Szanto, Diana, U. of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary - To aid research on 'Engaging with Disability: NGOs between Global and Local Forces in the Post-conflict Reconsolidation of Sierra Leone,' supervised by Dr. Gabor Vargyas
DIANA SZANTO, then a student at the University of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Engaging with Disability: NGOs between Global and Local Forces in the Post-Conflict Reconsolidation of Sierra Leone,' supervised by Dr. Gabor Vargyas. This research project investigates the interplay between local and international NGOs in the context of the Sierra Leonean post-war reconstruction focusing specifically on the field of disability. The grantee employs the term 'project society' to describe a particular type of governmentality produced by the strategic linking of 'international development' with 'civil society,' where both notions are to be understood as fallacies to be deconstructed. The overall objective of the research is to obtain a better understanding on how 'project society' functions in Sierra Leone in general, and to describe how it affects the nascent disability movement, in particular. The project describes the strategies of different categories of actors within this framework as exposed in everyday performances, exploring the outcomes affecting the actors themselves as well as the movement. The grantee contends that the dynamics observed in the field of disability are part of a more wide-ranging transformation, that of the 'normalization' of conflicting ideas about the nature of the desirable modernity to be achieved in Sierra Leone. Such a project can only be accomplished at the price of denying its internal contradictions.
Mykytyn, Courtney E., U. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Executing Aging: An Ethnography of Anti-Aging Medicine,' supervised by Dr. Cheryl Mattingly
COURTNEY E. MYKYTYN, while a student at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Executing Aging: An Ethnography of Anti-Aging Medicine,' supervised by Dr. Cheryl Mattingly. The project examines the growth and development of the anti-aging medicine movement in the United States. Focusing on questions of the movement's rationale and consequences, this study attends to the reframing of aging in light of new biotechnological advances and shifts in scientific objectives that speak to goals of optimization of health and bodily experience. Studying anti-aging medicine has involved ethnographic interviews with medical practitioners of anti-aging, scientists of aging, activists, and opponents. Another integral facet of this research entailed observations in anti-aging clinics and attendance at conferences hosted by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the Gerontological Society of America and locally sponsored seminars and focus groups. The project involved studying the scores of publications - both popular and scientific - and analyzing websites and list-serves devoted to anti-aging medicine. As the President's
Council on Bioethics involved itself with this topic, this research paid particular attention to the ways in which aging and anti-aging medicines were framed in federal discourse. Additionally, a professional genealogy database was designed to track individuals, publications, companies, conferences, websites, organizations and clinics and their interrelations. Analyzing how these varying 'actors' in the anti-aging medicine movement are connected, this genealogy refines traditional anthropological kinship work to apply it to complex socio-scientific movements. Shaping the way life and humanity are understood and experienced, an anti-aging medicine challenges the framework of nature and scientific objectives and 'Executing Aging ' has explored the nuances and contours of this movement at a particularly controversial and foundational moment.
Mykytyn, Courtney Everts. 2005. Anti-Aging Medicine: A Patient/Practitioner Movement to Redefine Aging. Social
Science & Medicine 62:643-653.
Mykytyn, Courtney Everts. 2006. Anti-Aging Medicine: Predictions, Moral Obligations, and Biomedical
Intervention. Anthropological Quarterly 79(11): 5-31.
Mykytyn, Courtney Everts. 2006. Contentious Terminology and Complicated Cartography of Anti-Aging Medicine.
Flood, David Nottoli, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Old-Time Values:Classed and Raced Cultural Practice as Activist Politics,' supervised by Dr. Ira Bashkow
Preliminary abstract: Based on research in southern Appalachia, I describe a situation in which middle-class leftists seek out and learn from working-class 'Locals' in North Carolina. Through participation and apprenticeship with Locals in a variety of areas like traditional music, farming, and handicrafts, leftist in-migrants seek to cultivate a distinctly working-class set of cultural attitudes and skill sets. Preliminary fieldwork suggests this is part of a broader political project: the search for viable cultural alternatives to what they describe as the exploitative, hierarchical, and consumerist sociality that characterizes late capitalism. In pursuit of this project, they focus on class-based notions of cultural alternatives to capitalism, and are therefore seeking to emulate, in some ways, white, rural working-class people as a kind of left political praxis. However, the encounter of nominally middle-class in-migrants in long-term contact with nominally working-class Locals in a historically-poor region is fraught, particularly because Locals have historic experience with outside culture workers like folklorists and revivalists. I ask, how do both groups conceive of and evaluate class in this situation? I draw on notions of 'boundary work' as an ongoing, semiotic process that maintains and legitimizes categories like race, class, and gender to frame my research question. My project recognizes that movement between classes is fraught; I recognize that while class is an intellectual model, it is one which shows significant overlap between academic and lay usage. In this sense, like race, it comes to have profound effects in the real world. Most observers recognize that people can move upwards in class status partly by 'acting right,' but the situation I describe focuses attention on two questions: what does it mean to pursue voluntary downward mobility as part of a political project; and what can the encounter between these groups of people reveal about lived experiences of class in late capitalism?
Shirley, Meghan, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Body Composition and the Brain: Investigating Life History Trade-offs in Living Humans,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Wells
Preliminary abstract: Energy resources in any given environment are finite. Life history theory examines trade-offs between competing functions such as maintenance and reproduction across an organism's life course. For early humans, the evolution of a metabolically expensive brain was likely associated with reorganized energy investment and/or alterations in life history strategy and behavior. Insight into how the human brain was afforded may be most readily achieved with attention directed to investment 'decisions' at the level of organs and tissues. For example, Aiello and Wheeler's (1995) 'expensive tissue' hypothesis proposed that a reduction in the size of the human gut enabled encephalization. Research has demonstrated tissue trade-offs in a range of animals, yet empirical studies of human investment strategies remain rare. With the collection of MRI and body composition data from healthy adults, this project will investigate trade-offs between the human brain and other 'expensive' tissues of the body, trade-offs between the brain and adipose tissue, and also positive brain-body phenotype associations. Further, the study will examine the effect of early life experience on phenotype. This data will add to knowledge of the variability with which modern humans 'strategically' manage energy investment and lead to more robust inferences concerning hominin life history evolution.
McComsey, Melanie, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Bilingual Spaces: Socialization to Spatialized Practice in Spanish and Juchitán Zapotec,' supervised by Dr. John B. Haviland
Preliminary abstract: How do bilingual children conceptualize and verbalize spatial information relative to monolinguals, and how are they socialized to particular spatialized practices? This project will address this central question, exploring spatial language use among a particular group of bilingual children, the effects of language contact on their communication about space, and the implications of these effects for language change. The research will take place Juchitán, a city of 71,000 people located in Oaxaca, Mexico, where residents are mostly bilingual speakers of Spanish and the local indigenous language, Juchitán Zapotec. Some scholars, however, have argued that Juchitán has begun a process of language shift from Zapotec to Spanish. In light of these claims, I hypothesize that the competing language systems of Spanish and Zapotec will be associated with competing gestural-conceptual systems. Furthermore, I hypothesize that young bilingual speakers of Spanish and Zapotec will be socialized to use their gestural-conceptual system in different ways--relating acts of spatial orientation to the physical and interactional context differently--and that this will have implications for the children's communicative competence in each language. This project will employ a combination of participant observation associated with 'microethnography' and elicitation tasks derived from linguistics and cognitive science. This theoretical intersection of spatial language, bodily communication, and bilingual acquisition represents a burgeoning area of research that is wide open for original, creative scholarship, but that nonetheless is rooted in many of the core questions about language, thought, and culture long of fascination to linguistic anthropologists.
Hollenback, Kacy LeAnne, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'Disaster, Technology, and Community: Measuring Responses to Smallpox Epidemics in Historic Hidatsa Villages, North Dakota,' supervised by Dr. Maria Nieves Zedeno
KACY LEANNE HOLLENBACK, then a student at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Disaster, Technology, and Community: Measuring Responses to Smallpox Epidemics in Historic Hidatsa Villages, North Dakota,' supervised by Dr. Maria Nieves Zedeno. Disasters are prevalent phenomena in the human experience, having played a formative role in shaping world cultures. The anthropology of disaster recognizes that these processes have the potential to affect every facet of human life, including biological, technological, ritual, political, social, and economic aspects of a society. How groups react to and cope with these processes dramatically shapes their cultural histories. Using theoretical assumptions from the anthropology of technology, this research explores the social impacts of disaster at the household and community levels by drawing on method, theory, and information from across subdisciplinary boundaries to incorporate archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic datasets. Specifically, this research explores how Hidatsa potters located near the Knife River of North Dakota responded to the smallpox epidemics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and how these women maintained or modified their daily practice in light of these catastrophic events. Research findings indicate complex and heterogeneous responses with lasting legacies among contemporary descendants. Significantly this research suggests that in order to fully understand disaster processes a broad temporal lens is necessary.