Kim, Ji Eun, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Building the Future and Mapping the Past: Urban Regeneration and Politics of Memory in Yokohama, Japan,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer Robertson
JI EUN KIM, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Building the Future and Mapping the Past: Urban Regeneration and Politics of Memory in Yokohama, Japan,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer Robertson. Based on eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Kotobuki district, Yokohama City, this research project delved into the institutionalization of a marginalized enclave shaped around the enterprise of protecting and managing the lives of the homeless in Japan. In order to understand the malleability and constancy of Kotobuki district as an urban underclass enclave, this research delved into three aspects: 1) the historical junctures that led to the institutionalization of the homeless support activities in Kotobuki based on the agenda to secure 'the right to survive;' 2) the spatial politics that places Kotobuki district at the hub of the homeless rescue regime that stretches out to the city, and the place-making activities within the district shaping it as an asylum town; and 3) the emergent social critique and alternative aspirations of life amidst the dialogic learning among diverse actors (the homeless, welfare recipients, activists, volunteers, welfare and medical experts) in Kotobuki.
Ran-Rubin, Michal, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Nature of Citizenship: Cultivating Political Subjects in Israel-Palestine,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff
MICHAL RAN-RUBIN, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Nature of Citizenship: Cultivating Political Subjects in Israel-Palestine,' supervised by Dr. John L. Comaroff. This research explores the use of visual, material, and spatial practices involved in fashioning alternative geographic imaginaries in Palestine-Israel. Ethnographic fieldwork included eighteen months of multi-sited research with ecologists, urban planners, architects, NGOs, secondary schools, and three youth groups in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Research was conducted in two distinct parts. Phase one investigated the rise of environmental discourses and pedagogies in Palestinian schools. Intensive classroom observation at two, mid-size public schools demonstrated that, although the curriculum did not succeed in its objective of honing a depoliticized ethic of individual conservation, it did provide students with novel visual strategies for conceptualizing the larger political forces that structure their access to nature and public resources. This research elucidates the importance of graphic technologies in enabling individuals to visualize their relationship to water, land, and space, as a means for orienting them within the broader political landscape. Phase two focused on a variety of explicitly political, civil-society organizations pursuing spatial strategies for commemorating the 1948 Nakba and planning for the return of Palestinian refugees. Ethnographic fieldwork at architectural offices, participatory mapping workshops, public planning sessions, commemoration events as well as tours of destroyed Palestinian villages yielded a wealth of data about the significance of spatial and architectural interventions in shaping individual perceptions of politics, the state, and the built environment. Combined, these two phases of research elucidate the role of visual, material, and sensorial politics in generating awareness of state violence and producing alternative geographic imaginaries in Palestine-Israel.
Villagra, Analia, City U. of New York, Queens College, Flushing, NY - To aid research on 'Cadê o Mico? (Where is the Tamarin?): Locating Monkeys in the Politics of Land and Conservation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. John Francis Collin
ANALIA VILLAGRA, then a student at City University of New York, Queens College, Flushing, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Cadê o Mico? (Where is the Tamarin?): Locating Monkeys in the Politics of Land and Conservation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,' supervised by Dr. John Francis Collin. The project sought to explore the intersection between land rights and conservation politics in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest region of southeastern Brazil. Inspired by classic work in ecological anthropology and recent studies of scientific practice, the research is interested in how people understand and emplace themselves in a world configured as natural, as well as with how these understandings impact global politics today. More specifically, the project analyzes how a burgeoning concern with conservation alters contemporary struggles over rights to land and land use. The investigation is organized around the efforts to save the Golden Lion Tamarin (GLT), a monkey species endemic to the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Henry, Eric, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Speaking English in China: Second Language Learning and the Construction of Cosmopolitan Identities,' supervised by Dr. P. Steven Sangren
ERIC HENRY, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Speaking English in China: Second Language Learning and the Construction of Cosmopolitan Identities,' supervised by Dr. P. Steven Sangren. One question that seems to aggravate foreign English teachers and linguists in China is why educational institutions and students seem uninterested in a 'proper' way to teach English. Their resistance has been attributed to everything from Confucianism to plain stubbornness. The grantee conducted a year of fieldwork in the northeastern city of Shenyang to examine the social and cultural contexts in which English-language learning takes place, and the structures and processes in which English is embedded in Chinese society. In other words, the research attempts to redirect the question from 'Why do English learners not listen to experts?' to 'What are Chinese learners attempting to accomplish through their study of English?' Data gathered through interviews with language learners, school administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders located English-language learning within a set of self-fashioning technologies that are designed to advance alternative notions of identity in a globalizing medium of social relations. Knowledge of English allowed proficient learners to participate as dominant partners in what Bourdieu has called a 'language market.' The research also served to highlight affinities between the processes of English-language learning and specific local concerns, such as the status of the local dialect and fears of being cheated in relations with others.
Patterson, David Burch, George Washington U., Washington, DC - To aid research on 'Ecological Niche Evolution in Homo and Paranthropus at East Turkana, Northern Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Rene Bobe
Preliminary abstract: The fossil record suggests that our genus, Homo, originated in eastern Africa around 2.4 million years ago (Ma), at which time our ancestors would have shared the environment with a closely related species, Paranthropus boisei. However, the record indicates that by 1.3 Ma the Paranthropus lineage went extinct and Homo had expanded outside of Africa. Although we understand they coexisted, we lack a relevant framework for testing hypotheses related to their ecologies during this period. The objective of this project is to use the quantitative methods of community ecology and stable isotope geochemistry to contrast the ecological niches of Homo and Paranthropus within a localized paleoecosystem. This study will use data collected directly from hominin localities and archaeological sites between 2 -- 1.4 Ma at East Turkana in northern Kenya to test a series of hypotheses related to the following research question: What role did ecological conditions play in the different fates of Homo and Paranthropus between 2 Ma and 1.4 Ma? This study will create the first high-resolution reconstruction of the niches of these two taxa and provide key insights into the mechanisms behind the survival of our genus on landscapes that witnessed the extinction of our close fossil relatives.
Jabloner, Anna, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Archiving Humanity: The Politics of Classification in U.S. Gene Databases,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco
ANNA JABLONER, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Archiving Humanity: The Politics of Classification in U.S. Gene Databases,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Masco. From within a frontier scientific culture in northern California, this project examines how Americans deploy genomic information to organize their lives in the early 21st century -- in terms of identity, health, and futures framed through risk. As private and public genetic databases are growing, data-oriented genomics promises the transition of medical and criminological practices into more rational and predictive forms. This project investigates the uses of human genetic databases by looking at their applications in genetic counseling and in court cases in California. Focusing on the everyday uses of genetic databases, it examines genetic counseling as a rapidly growing domain in which data is being interpreted and communicated to medical patients and the consumers of health genomics products. Through ethnographic research, the project asks how genetic counseling practices mobilize genomic information and carve out new claims to direct life courses. As genomic data is communicated to non-scientists invested in health, kinship, and biological and cultural connections, possible meanings of healthy or risky futures are re-made in and through classificatory practices. The project investigates how growing genomic infrastructures and a new genomic governance, which emerges alongside them, variably implicate subjects and their risky or healthy life courses in genetic databases.
Thompson, Niobe S., Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Belonging in the North: Migrant Experiences and Identity in Northeast Siberia,' supervised by Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky
NIOBE S. THOMPSON, while a student at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, received funding in August 2002 to aid research on migrant experiences and identity in northeastern Siberia, under the supervision of Dr. Piers G. Vitebsky. In the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug (Chukotka) of northeastern Russia and in regions of central Russia, Thompson conducted fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork on non-native senses of belonging. The research was intended to explore the negotiation of identity in a traditionally migrant, transient population, an issue with implications for the future of communities in the Russian Far North and the success of planned programs of northern depopulation and resettlement. The coincidence between Thompson's project and a major program of modernization initiated in 2001 by a new administration under the leadership of wealthy governor-oligarch Roman Abramovich was intentional, because the challenge of an outsider-led program of change was expected to galvanize local identity in unexpected ways. Research findings revealed that a strongly localist sense of belonging and a rejection of mainstream Soviet and Russian life had characterized the settler community since its emergence, and that authority and entitlement through 'northern experience' were key features of local discourse. The challenges of outsider-led modernization to the established population met discourses of resistance long cultivated in Chukotka and endangered its long-term sustainability.
Guffin, Matthew Bascom, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Space and Identity Formation among Programmers in Hyderabad's Urbanizing Periphery,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas
BASCOM GUFFIN, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was granted funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Space and Identity Formation among Programmers in Hyderabad's Urbanizing Periphery,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas. The grantee conducted fieldwork with infotech professionals living and working in the western periphery of Hyderabad. The grantee stayed in a gated community to track how rituals and celebrations, daily interactions, and an active email list helped to create a strong sense of community. Visiting informant's apartments and workplaces, research documented how new spaces of work built by multinational and Indian IT companies have created a new sense of comfortable living. The grantee participated in dance and aerobics classes, played soccer, and went to nightclubs, examining the gender dynamics inherent in the body cultures of each space. Traveling in the city and talking with commuters provided a sense of traffic culture in Hyderabad where order is maintained chiefly by concrete constraints like speed bumps, medians, and the relative size and speed of oncoming vehicles. The grantee also accompanied informants to view under-construction apartments and saw how their aspirations were placed in negotiation with the concrete realities of these spaces-in-formation. Preliminary findings reveal that a new kind of society is rising in this periphery, one that valorizes individual socioeconomic and geographic mobility and affirms individual aspirations in part through the construction and use of new concrete spaces.
Collins, Rodney W., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Coffeehouse Circulations: Everyday Masculinities and Urban Spaces in Contemporary Tunis,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick
RODNEY COLLINS, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Coffeehouse Circulations: Everyday Masculinities and Urban Spaces in Contemporary Tunis,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick. The research project was envisaged as an ethnographic and archival study of the spatial forms, everyday practices and social imaginings specific to coffeehouses in Tunis since the republic's independence in 1956. It not only sought to examine the historical and transnational circulatory processes that have rendered this institution ubiquitous in contemporary Tunis, but also to interrogate the background of theoretical privilege granted to the institution in the social sciences. The socio-spatial distribution of everyday practice was surveyed and mapped with especial attention for the effects of gender, kinship, class, and confession. Tunisia's post-colonial social history was charted and documented in the oral narratives of governmental officials, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, unemployed youth, and retired men. Interviews and data gleaned from popular, official, and specialized media sources localize the discursive effects of translocal, transnational, and global forces in the context of political, economic, and social reform in contemporary Tunisia. As such, the dissertation to be produced from this research seeks to provide an ethnographic interrogation of contemporary habitudes and practices of public-ness.
Nalley, Thierra Kennec, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Suspensory Locomotion and the Neck: Analysis of Cervical Vertebrae in Living Primates and Fossil Hominins,' supervised by Dr. William H. Kimbel
THIERRA K. NALLEY, then a student at Arizona State University, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Suspensory Locomotion and the Neck: Analysis of Cervical Vertebrae in Living Primates and Fossil Hominins,' supervised by Dr. William H. Kimbel. This project examines the functional morphology of cervical vertebrae (i.e., the bony neck) of extant primates, with the goal of using the cervical spine to test hypotheses regarding positional behaviors in early hominins. Three biomechanical models guided the study's extant component: the suspensory, postural, and head-balancing models. Broadly, results were equivocal and no specific predictions were supported across all vertebral levels for both sexes. However, some patterns did emerge from the results. Specifically, analyses demonstrated that the suspensory and postural models received more support in the lower half of the cervical spine (C4-e7) compared to the upper (CI-e3). Results also revealed that the head-balancing model received the strongest support; in contrast to the suspensory or postural models, this evidence was concentrated in the upper half of the cervical spine. Fossil analyses revealed that early hominins, including Homo erectus, were clearly distinct from modern humans. Univariate analyses found that fossil morphology could generally not be distinguished from other anthropoid taxa, but multivariate analyses of overall cervical shape demonstrated that fossil taxa were most similar to extant apes. Overall, these results suggest that modern human cervical morphology did not appear in the hominin fossil record until late into the Pleistocene.