Golitko, Mark Louis, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Chemical Characterization of Linienbandkeramik (LBK) Ceramics by ICP-MS,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Harold Keeley
MARK LOUIS GOLITKO, then a student at University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Chemical Characterization of Linienbandkeramik (LBK) Ceramics by ICP-MS,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence Harold Keeley. Funding was utilized to collect Linienbandkeramik (LBK) culture (c. 5200 BC) ceramic samples housed at the Institut Royal de Sciences Naturelles in Brussels, Belgium during July/August of 2006, which were chemically and petrographically analyzed during 2006-2007 at the Field Museum Laboratory for Archaeogeochemistry to determine their production region. LBK villages founded in the Hesbaye region of Belgium exhibit village level production specialization that Keeley and Cahen have argued served to maintain military alliances along an expanding frontier of farming-there may have been two such networks, corresponding to different stream valleys, which traded in different axe raw materials. During initial settlement of the region, there is little evidence of conflict, while during later settlement there is both evidence of conflict in the form of fortifications, and evidence that production specialization was the norm. While analysis is ongoing, preliminary results suggest that the region became generally more economically integrated as conflict increased, and that the patterns evident in other forms of material culture are not mirrored by ceramic trade. In particular, one village received almost all its ceramics from villages it was hypothesized to have been conflict with. This suggests that models of trade in the region must be reformulated.
Samet, Robert Nathan, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Writing Crime: Journalism, Insecurity, and Narratives of Violence in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Junko Yanagisako
ROBERT N. SAMET, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on Writing Crime: Journalism, Insecurity, and Narratives of Violence in Caracas, Venezuela,' supervised by Dr. Sylvia Yanagisako. The overarching objective of the dissertation research is to describe the social processes through which violent events are framed as journalistic narratives by focusing on the everyday practices of crime reporters in Caracas. While there is a wealth of social scientific material that refers to news coverage of crime and violence, there have been surprisingly few attempts to understand the processes of cultural production from the inside out. This project set out to accomplish four specific goals: 1) examine the culture of crime reporters; 2) describe the key factors shaping the day-to-day practices of journalists who cover the crime beat; 3) explain what influences the selection and composition of images and stories of crime; and 4) show the larger context in which these images and stories circulate. Together, these strands of inquiry will provide a nuanced understanding of how journalist and journalism have helped to shape 'the politics of security' in Venezuela during the Hugo Chavez era.
Fly, Jessie Kimmel, U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Unnatural Disasters: Coping Strategies and the Legacy of Agent Orange in the Mekong Delta,' supervised by Dr. Ted L. Gragson
JESSIE K. FLY, then a student at University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Unnatural Disasters: Coping Strategies and the Legacy of Agent Orange in the Mekong Delta,' supervised by Dr. Ted Gragson. Much of the recent literature on strategies for coping with food insecurity emerges from communities with subsistence-based economies and highlights the importance of a diversity of resources, or 'capitals,' from which households can draw to procure food. This research project, conducted over a one-year period from 2007 to 2008, sought to understand how people cope with food insecurity in a rapidly changing natural and economic environment. The research focused on three coastal hamlets in Tra Vinh, Vietnam, that were swept into world shrimp markets in the late 1990s. Now, with aquaculture crops failing, mixed messages from the government about environmental conservation, the rising costs of inputs, and the falling price of shrimp, many households find themselves coping not only with regular seasonal food shortages but also with mounting debt and variable access to the necessary resources to cope with those food shortages. This project used a combination of ethnographic methods, including oral-history interviews, livelihoods surveys, and a weekly food frequency survey that captured data on dietary diversity and household methods of food procurement, in order to document changing coping strategies across space and time.
Zorbas, Konstantinos, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Interactions Between Shamans and Clients in a Siberian City,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
KONSTANTINOS ZORBAS, while a student at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, was awarded a grant in March 2003 to aid research on interactions between shamans and clients in a Siberian city, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. Zorbas studied episodes of illness and performances of shamanic healing in the city Kyzyl, Republic of Tyva, Russia. Focusing principally on healing interactions between shamans and their clients, he found that occurrences of psychosomatic suffering were effectively managed by being explained as results of witchcraft or curses practiced by an enemy. Follow-up evaluations of patients' post-treatment conditions led to the conclusion that shamanic healing entailed therapeutic effects, even for clients who reported prior recourse to professional medical treatment with partial or no positive results. The efficacy of shamanic healing was seen to lie in the use of certain literal and metaphoric elements of ritual language that engaged both shaman and patient in a process of recollecting and restructuring traumatic memories. Similarities in the responses elicited from shamans and patients regarding their experiences of the therapeutic process suggested that the experience of healing was embodied through culturally mediated sensory modes of attention to the performance. Zorbas concluded that the meaning the experience of illness held for the patient derived from a psychologically embedded preoccupation with cursing and its implications. Shamanic healing went beyond the limits of the consultation to evoke an overall transformation in the patient's awareness of self.
Closser, Svea Hupy, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter John Brown
SVEA CLOSSER then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown. This case study of a public health project focused on Pakistan, one of the last four countries in the world with endemic polio, and explored the reach, limits, and complex negotiation of the power of UN and bilateral agencies over the Pakistani health system. This research revealed that because the Polio Eradication Initiative is a 'partnership' of donors and UN agencies with country governments, officials at places like the WHO in Geneva have no direct control over the actual implementation of immunization activities. Polio vaccination campaigns are carried out in Pakistan by highly political district health offices along with very poorly paid and largely disgruntled workers. The WHO uses a number of tactics to put pressure on Pakistani government officials, but they are unable to make polio the priority in a nation beset with other, more politically pressing problems. However, due to the donor-directed culture of optimism that pervades upper levels of the project, these issues are never discussed in official publications. These tensions between the culture of global health institutions and local political cultures threaten to undermine the 20-year, six-billion-dollar initiative.
Closser, Svea. 2010. Chasing Polio in Pakistan: Why the World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail. Vanderbilt University Press: Nashville, TN.
Raspberry, Kelly A., U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'A Cultural Analysis of Assisted Reproduction Practices in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar
KELLY A. RASPBERRY, while a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received funding in July 2002 to aid research on 'A Cultural Analysis of Assisted Reproduction Practices in Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. The focus of this research was to examine the roles of local circumstances and histories in the production of and public demand for knowledge and practices of assisted reproduction technologies in Argentina. By exploring how reproductive technologies are transformed according to local conditions of practice, this research addressed the common assumption that global 'technology transfer' is a culturally neutral process. Fieldwork for this project involved 15 months of ethnographic interviews and archival research, primarily conducted in Buenos Aires from November 2002 until January 2004. These ethnographic methods have provided data on, (a) current understandings of infertility and reproductive technologies in relation to constructions of family, the moral status of an embryo, and the global commerce of medicine; (b) the social, economic and political factors involved in the production and reception of assisted reproduction services in Argentina. Preliminary findings indicate that local conditions of the practice of assisted reproduction in Argentina - such as claims for modernity and legitimacy, restrictive Catholic values, and economic instability - produce local forms of science, medicine and choice. These findings will provide insight into how the production and consumption of assisted reproduction in Argentina, as an example of a rapidly-growing medical technology, is both a 'local' and a 'global' process.
Martin, Keir J., U. of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Housebuilding in Rabaul: The Reconstruction of Sociality in a Papua New Guinean City,' supervised by Dr. Karen M.Sykes
KEIR J. MARTIN, while a student at University of Manchester, Manchester, England, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on 'Housebuilding in Rabaul: The Reconstruction of Sociality in a Papua New Guinean City,' supervised by Dr. Karen M. Sykes. The research supported fieldwork to research transactions centered around land and house building at Matupit, Papua New Guinea, as a focus for examining the commodification of Melanesian social life. Research began with a survey of house building at Matupit, and at the Matupit-Sikut resettlement camp where many villagers had moved after Matupit was damaged by volcanic activity in 1994. The survey found out how people had mobilized labor, land, and materials as they rebuilt after the eruption, and asked why so many people had returned to Matupit despite the risks. This survey was followed by in-depth case studies of eight persons building houses during the fieldwork period. This involved continuous re-visiting over a two year period. This enabled a much more detailed analysis of the attitudes towards the transactions outlined in the initial survey. In particular it was possible to examine the extent to which compensating others for their assistance was presented as 'payment' for labor in different contexts. This work was complemented by case studies of a number of land disputes at Matupit and Sikut. As with the house building case studies, this enabled an examination of the different moral perspectives taken towards different relationships or transactions depending upon the person's relationship to others involved in the dispute. For example, the extent to which some people attempted to 'commodify' the customary land transaction of kulia in order to secure their rights over a piece of land was made clear in the context of this research.
Doll, Christian Joseph, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'South Sudan Emerging from 'Ground Zero': State-Making Amidst Precarity in the World's Newest Nation,' supervised by Dr. James H. Smith
Preliminary abstract: Shortly after gaining independence, members of the newly sovereign Government of South Sudan (GOSS), announced plans to move South Sudan's capital from the established economic and political center, Juba, to Ramciel, a remote village in the geographic center of the country. Why, considering the plethora of state-building challenges facing the new nation-state, would GOSS propose to build a new capital city from the ground up? A partial answer is that Ramciel's centrality would allow GOSS to bureaucratically cater to and symbolically unify South Sudan's disconnected and divided populace. A further motivation for the move is the historically thick reality, violent history, and bitter land politics of Juba, which planners hope to escape in the forests of Ramciel. Since independence, Juba has become home to a hetoroglot populace of nationals from throughout the country and entrepreneurs and aid workers from throughout the world--all seeking to gain from and contribute to the formation of the world's newest nation. Meanwhile, Ramciel's Dinka pastoralists see equal possibility of their empowerment or disenfranchisement through the relocation of the capital to a place that will be more hospitable to them than Juba ever was. What are the particular understandings of the state, and what the state should be, that are emerging in Juba and Ramciel? How will they be sustained and materialized in the midst of failure, delay, and overarching precarity? To answer these questions, I will conduct multi-sited fieldwork on the interactions between state actors and civilians, in Juba and Ramciel, as they express and enact their visions of the South Sudanese state, and its potential future, in their divergent state-making discourses and practices.
Weiner, Talia Rose, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Home of the Blues: The Political Economy of Mood Disorder Self-management in 21st Century Chicago,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer Cole
Preliminary abstract: In the face of a depression epidemic in the U.S., 'self-management'--a therapeutic protocol originally developed to help patients control their own physiological diseases--is gaining popularity as a cost-effective treatment for mood disorders. Many laud this approach, claiming it 'empowers' patients to objectify and independently control their conditions. But if this ideal of rational self-management is perhaps attainable for physiological diseases like arthritis or diabetes, it appears particularly unrealizable in the case of mood disorders, where the patient's rationality is always in question (Martin, 2009) and the disease to be managed coincides with the self. During pilot research, I observed that attempting to self-manage a mood disorder as an autonomous individual produced distress and uncertainty rather than empowerment. In their efforts to practice self-management, my informants demonstrated individual agency and self-control to be partial at best. Moreover, those who were able to successfully 'self-manage' did so by relying heavily on outside supports, whose accessibility varied according to the group member's resources. These findings suggest that while expert discourses portray mood disorder self-management as a technology that any patient can learn and practice on her own, to be effective the protocol in fact must implicate actors and institutions beyond the diagnosed individual. If so, then self-management is likely to be differently instantiated, with divergent consequences, depending on the resources available in the socioeconomic context in which it is utilized. My research investigates this proposition by comparing how mood disorder self-management is envisioned, practiced, and experienced across a socioeconomically diverse range of settings in Chicago.
Buchbinder, Mara Helene, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Communication and Subjectivity among Adolescent Chronic Pain Sufferers in Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Elinor Ruth Ochs
MARA BUCHBINDER, then a student at University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Communication and Subjectivity among Adolescent Chronic Pain Sufferers in Los Angeles,' supervised by Dr. Elinor Ochs. This ethnographic and linguistic study examines how care for adolescents with chronic pain is organized across clinical and family settings. During 2008-2009, fieldwork was conducted in a university-based multidisciplinary pediatric pain program in southern California. Data include open-ended interviews with 22 families and 30 pediatric pain clinicians; observations of medical consultations in the pain clinic and of the pain team's weekly meetings; and longitudinal video-recordings of four focal families in a range of clinical and community settings. The grantee documented: 1) how families implement care and respond to adolescents' suffering in their everyday lives; 2) how the multidisciplinary clinical team instantiates collaborative care for adolescent patients; and 3) how the team socializes adolescents and their families into institutionally organized ideologies and practices concerning pain management. By combining interview and observational data, the research considers not only narrativized responses to pain, but also the ways in which such responses and their corresponding logics of care are enacted and transformed in unfolding social interactions.
Buchbinder, Mara. 2011. Personhood Diagnostics: Personal Attributes and Clnical Explanations of Pain. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(4):457-478.