Gamble, Dr. Lynn H., U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Shell Mounds, Landscape, and Social Memory Among Hunter/Gatherers: El Monton, Santa Cruz Island, California'
Preliminary abstract: The project goal is to investigate the emergence of sociopolitical complexity among the early hunters-gatherers of the Santa Barbara Channel region. The specific focus is on landscapes and the construction of places of social memory through depositional practices, issues linked to identity. Evidence of sociopolitical complexity between AD 1150-1804 in the region is well-documented and includes sedentism, high population densities, specialization, and shell bead currencies. Less is known about emergent complexity between 6000 to 2500 BP. An ideal site to investigate these topics is El Montón, an Early Period shell mound on Santa Cruz Island, the largest extant mound in the region. Forty-five house depressions are clustered on several terraces, and excavations at three cemeteries in the 1920s uncovered over 100 burials. Archaeological and geophysical methods will be used to address the occupational history of the mound, its formation, and its meaning. Archaeological investigations of shell mounds in other regions are generating new interpretations about the meaning of mounds and intentionality of their construction, but have not been a focus of research in southern California. With its many features and mortuary data, El Montón is an ideal site to investigate the significance of mounds within the context of hunter-gatherers.
Chase, Dr. Bradley Allen, Albion College, Albion, MI - To aid research on 'Pastoral Land-use and Social Change in Harappan Gujarat: Strontium Isotope Analysis at Gola Dhoro'
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates change in pastoral production and land-use practices coincident with the emergence and decline of the Indus Civilization (2600-1900 BC) at the Harappan settlement of Gola Dhoro, located in Gujarat, India. Although less than two hectares in areal extent, the coastal site of Gola Dhoro rapidly developed into a heavily fortified manufacturing center whose residents made and used Harappan material culture and were intensely involved with the crafting of highly valued shell bangles that were widely traded throughout the inland cities of the Indus Civilization. Eventually the intensity of industry declined and the residents of the site no longer participated in the interregional networks that had linked them to the inland cities. The large volume of faunal remains, mostly from herded domestic animals, recovered during the course of ten years of excavations demonstrates that pastoral products were integral to the practice of everyday life at the site. This study of strontium isotope ratios in the teeth of herded domestic animals consumed at Gola Dhoro throughout its long occupational sequence will allow for a determination of whether these animals were raised locally near the site, or if they had participated in long-distance, human-led migrations, and the extent to which these patterns of land use changed with the emergence and dissolution of the Indus Civilization in Gujarat. This Wenner-Gren supported research is the first application of this innovative methodology in the context of the Indus Civilization, which will allow South Asia's first urban society to be productively brought into broader debates regarding trajectories of socioenvironmental change in the context of state development and dissolution.
Menon, Dr. Kalyani Devaki, DePaul University, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Making Place for Muslims: Religious Practice and Placemaking in Contemporary India'
Preliminary abstract: This project will explore how religious practice enables Muslims residing in Old Delhi to construct identity, community, and national belonging in contemporary India. Exclusionary constructions of religion and identity have enabled extreme violence against Indian Muslims, and have resulted in their political and economic marginalization in the country. Living amidst such inequalities, exclusion, and violence, how do people construct alternative imaginaries that bridge difference and facilitate coexistence? Drawing on data gathered over eight months of fieldwork amongst Muslims who inhabit the religiously plural spaces of Old Delhi, I will explore how religious practice enables alternative and inclusive constructions of community in the face of violent assertions of exclusion in contemporary India. In exploring this question, my project speaks to broader anxieties generated by the pluralism that marks the contemporary moment and challenges constructions of Muslim difference that animate Islamophobia, thus making a significant contribution to scholarship on the place of religion in the modern world. In focusing on how individuals build communities across axes of difference, my project underscores the importance of studying identity, and indeed religion itself, not in isolation, but rather as always in relation to others and inflected by the pluralism that marks our world.
Robertson, Dr. Leslie A., U. of Windsor, ON, Canada - To aid research on 'Standing Up for Ga'axtalas' Communal Memory and Colonial History in Alert Bay'
DR. LESLIE A. ROBERTSON, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, was awarded funding in February 2005 to aid research on 'Standing Up for Ga'axtalas' Communal Memory and Colonial History in Alert Bay.' At the invitation of Namgis First Nation members, the researcher conducted a collaborative, inter-generational life story project on a high status Kwakwaka'wakw woman, Ga'axtalas /Jane Cook (1869 -1951). Her story intersects with critical moments in the administration of colonial affairs in Canada surrounding the suppression of aboriginal institutions, with important junctures in early Indigenous activism on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, and with the establishment of Boasian anthropology. Revisiting Jane Cook's story revealed rich historiographies complicating ideas about indigenous memory. The project documented on-going community dialogues about the Kwakwaka'wakw tradition of potlatching; discussions about problems involved in reconciling hybrid / colonial social identities across generations, and consideration of the social legacies of anthropological (and other scholarly) inscriptions. A culture-specific collaborative model for cross-cultural research and interpretation was generated throughout the research.
Jensen-Seaman, Dr. Michael Ignatius, Duquesne U., Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Comparative Proteomics of Hominoid Seminal Plasma'
DR. MICHAEL I. JENSEN-SEAMAN, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a grant in October 2009 to aid research on 'Comparative Proteomics of Hominoid Seminal Plasma.' Humans and their closest relatives differ tremendously in their social grouping and mating systems, which are reflected in their physiology including the composition of semen, presumably due to adaptations related to levels of sperm competition. Using several complementary approaches, the complete protein constituents in human, chimpanzee, and gorilla semen were quantitatively characterized. Chimpanzees possess the most complex mixture of proteins, many of which are hypothesized to play a role in sperm competition, predicted to be greatest in chimps among hominoids. Several proteins were identified in chimpanzees that may have rapidly evolved by regulatory changes driven by sexual selection. These proteins include proteases, protease inhibitors, structural proteins, and those involved in energy production. In contrast, gorilla semen is a simpler mix, consistent with a loss of function of many male reproductive genes in this species with very low levels of sperm competition. Human semen appears somewhat intermediate in levels of complexity, while at the same time possessing several uniquely regulated proteins. The adaptations of each species to their mating systems appears to be facilitated more by regulatory changes than changes to protein-coding portions of genes. This general conclusion may hold true for other adaptive phenotypes in human and hominoid evolution.
Grant, Dr. Bruce M., New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Cosmos and Cosmopolitanism in the Azeri Caucasus'
DR. BRUCE M. GRANT, New York University, New York, New York, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Cosmos and Cosmopolitanism in the Azeri Caucasus.' Despite centuries of participation in Silk Road trade and evidence of intense linguistic, religious, and cultural pluralisms, the mountainous Caucasus region has long been thought of as a 'closed society,' unwelcoming to outsiders. Through a project on the life of a small but regionally famous village in rural northwest Azerbaijan over the course of the twentieth century, the grantee combined extended field and archival research to consider the manifold but rarely documented ways that the Caucasus region has deeply embedded in economic, political, religious, and social networks across Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond. The research found fresh accounts of Sufi-style networks across Azerbaijan, and worked with a number of local religious leaders who considered that the hard-won religious traditions preserved in the late Soviet period compare in some respects more favorably, paradoxically, to those practiced today in a time of expanded religious tolerance. With this ethnographic approach to cultural history, the goal of this research was to better understand the Soviet project itself, as well as the logics of sovereignty in a world area too long known only for its violence.
Valeggia, Dr. Claudia Rita, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Life History Transitions among the Toba of Argentina'
DR. CLAUDIA R. VALEGGIA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Life History Transitions among the Toba of Argentina.' The study is part of a five-year, longitudinal project that evaluates the interaction among biocultural variables underlying key life transitions in humans. The project takes place in an indigenous population in northern Argentina. Biological and ethnographic data are collected to evaluate the somatic, developmental, cultural, and hormonal correlates of three life history transitions: weaning, puberty, and menopause. This particular study focused on the hormonal changes associated with the peri-menopausal transition and on the association between infant growth trajectories and infectious disease. Preliminary results show differences between levels of ovarian hormones, FSHB, and adiponectin between pre- and post-menopausal women. Menopausal Toba women had higher levels of FSHB and adiponectin than menopausal non-indigenous women. Toba infants with reports of sickness had slower growth trajectories than infants with no reports of sickness. Fever, GI infections, bronchitis, and flu during first nine months were negatively correlated with length velocity. Additionally, fever, cold, and flu during the first three months were negatively correlated with weight velocity. Results from this research will contribute directly to issues of evolutionary anthropology, the biodemography of aging, and clinical medicine, as they relate specifically to patterns of child growth and women's aging.
Abbots, Dr. Emma-Jayne, U. of London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Shaping Migrant/Peasant Bodies: Nutrition Education, Class Subjectivities and Regulatory Power in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes'
DR. EMMA-JAYNE ABBOTS, University of London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Shaping Migrant/Peasant Bodies: Nutrition Education, Class Subjectivities and Regulatory Power in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes.' The research examined how 'healthy eating' programs, instigated by the state and implemented by local health and education professionals, are experienced and negotiated by 'peasant' households in the southern Ecuadorian Andes. The findings demonstrate that these programs are entangled with a broader range of 'rural development' initiatives that also promote the region's cultural heritage, and encourage the peasantry's economic self-sustainability through small-scale agriculture. This echoes globalized sustainability discourses, but is also unique in that it appears to be used in response, by the professional classes, to the peasantry's outward migration, their increasing reliance on remittances, and their resulting conspicious consumption. Healthy eating programs, then, are more far-reaching and complex than an individual's relationship with food; they provide a way of publically condemning, and countering, practices that are seen to be damaging to society, the environment, and cultural heritage, and they help create an idealized image of 'peasant' livelihoods and foodways. Yet, while peasant households do not appear to be publically challenging these models, and continue to defer to health professionals, there is little evidence to suggest they change their eating habits as a result. Rather, they continue to consume imported and processed foods. They do not regard this as oppositional to 'healthy eating' but rather appropriate it and view it as interplaying, and at times reinforcing, 'traditional foods.'