Projects Funded in 1997

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Recipient,
Degree Program
Location Project Title & Abstract
Shelley Beirouk
M.A. IDS
Algeria Saharawi Refugee Women: Nationalism, Identity and Education in Exile, Algeria

Advisors: Ruth Krulfeld and David Gow

Refugees from Western Sahara, known as Saharawis, have been living in exile in southern Algeria for 22 years following an invasion by Morocco and Mauritania in 1976. From their first days in exile, the Saharawis prioritized education in the refugee camps. Their education system has become the major vehicle for the creation and maintenance of Saharawi identity and nationalism, specifically by teaching children about the homeland they have never seen. It is the Saharawi women who manage and control the whole system, from kindergarten through adult education. Research conducted in the camps in 1993 and 1998 indicates that while the primary place of identity and nationalism formation is the home, the strongest reinforcement comes from the schools, through which Saharawis learn Western Saharan history, culture, geography, and the reasons why they are refugees. Hence, it is the Saharawi women in the home and in the schools who are the creators and reinforcers of Saharawi identity and nationalism in exile.

Sarah Ganiere
B.A. Anth
China (Zhoukoudian) Organization of Zhoukoudian Micro-Faunal Specimens for Dating Purposes, China

Advisors: Alison Brooks and Xing-Qing Shao

In the summer of 1996, researchers at Zhoukoudian Locality 26 discovered several microfaunal specimens, which included a wide range of rodent mandibles. Although the site is believed to from the Pleistocene epoch (1.6 million to 700,000 years ago), to this point actual dating of the site has been problematic.  Radiocarbon and uranium-series dating cannot be used due to their limiting dating ranges, and Zhoukoudian does not have the volcanic rock necessary for potassium-argon dating. Faunal dating is a useful method for the Pleistocene, and the proposed research will attempt to organize the collected mandibles and possible new finds from Locality 26 into species categories, which will lay the groundwork for dating the site.

Andrew Hurd
M.A. IDS
Costa Rica (Tortuguero) The Effects of the Indigenous Ceramic Industry on Community Identity in San Vicente de Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Advisors: David Gow and Barbara Miller

Costa Rica has received international recognition for its conservation efforts. However, the creation of protected areas can have adverse effects on the people living there in the forms of diminished access to resources and the rapid influx of outsiders. In the village of Tortuguero, I propose to assess the impacts of park creation, increased tourism, and in-migration from outlying areas, and the presence of two non-governmental organizations on the local populace. I will focus on how the local people are defined and operationalized by the outsiders as well as how the local people define themselves and perceive the outsiders in an attempt to assess the extent to which local people are integrated into, benefiting from, and affected by tourism and conservation efforts.

Heather McFarland
M.A. Anth
Chile (Santiago) Communities and Ethnographic Exhibitions: Aymará and Mapuche Participation at El Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Chile

Advisor: Robert Humphrey

The goal of this project is to examine new methodology in ethnographic exhibition at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile. I will work with museum curatorial and collections management staff to examine what new demands are faced by the museum in regards to ethnographic exhibitions and two indigenous groups, the Mapuche and the Aymará. Through exploration of the museum's ethnographic holdings, involvement of indigenous groups with the museum, and exhibition techniques past and present, this project will result in a comparative study of ethnographic exhibition in a U.S. institution and El Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino.

Willamarie Moore
M.A. Anth
Boston, MA Ethnography of an Asian Women's Shelter

Advisor: Ruth Krulfeld

In the U.S., within the last 20 years, battered women's advocates have significantly increased services available to many victims of domestic violence. However, these issues are now also being confronted in the refugee and immigrant communities in the United States, and activists and scholars have only begun to recognize the extent to which culture affects the experience of domestic violence. Recent establishment of Asian women's shelters for refugee and immigrant women suggests that in-depth study of ethnically-specific intervention strategies may be one way to explore these different experiences. My project will examine these different experiences of domestic violence through ethnographic interviews and the collection of life histories of Asian refugee and immigrant women, during intensive participant observation at an Asian women's shelter.

Kennan Rapp
M.A. IDS
Paraguay The Effect of the Yacyretá Hydroelectric Project in Paraguay on Local Community Organizations

Advisors: David Gow and Barbara Miller

This project proposes to study new political organizations that have emerged in different communities affected by the construction of the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam, located on the Paraná River between Paraguay and Argentina. It will employ original, systematic interview and observation research, complemented by data from primary and secondary sources, to compare organizing and protest strategies and structures within and across communities, and to test the link between levels of community involvement in the Yacyretá Resettlement Program and of popular discontent. The results could serve as the basis for a follow-up study of institutional constraints faced by planners of large-scale development projects.

Nancy Scola
B.A. Anth
Kenya (Nairobi) The Effect of Gender on Help-Requests in One Nairobian Primary School, Kenya

Advisor: Joel Kuipers

This research will investigate the nature of the English language used by one population of primary school students in Nairobi, Kenya. I will examine the alterations, or creolizations, that have been made to the language used by these students, the causes behind these alterations, and their effect on the perceptions of these students. This research will focus on gathering information on the use of language by these students, and will produce extensive recordings, with background and context, of their English in performance.

Jennifer Sleboda
M.A. Wom Stu
Malaysia Sisters in Islam: Women's Resistance to Islamic Revivalism in Malaysia

Advisors: Barbara Miller and Ruth Krulfeld

I propose to study a women's public advocacy organization called Sisters in Islam (SII), based in Kuala Lumpur, which is working to counteract the oppressive influence of the Islamic revivalist movement (dakwa) on women's rights in Malaysia. The dakwa movements stress women's subjection to male authority and woman's role as a wife and mother as symbols of religious nationalism for Malays. Besides learning about the activities, organization, goals, and membership of SII, I would like to learn from the members what their motivations are for political activism in the group. Do they feel politically empowered by Islam to fight for women's rights, did their education and/or personal experience inspire them to be politically active, and were they influenced by feminist philosophies?

John Temm
M.A. IDS
Zimbabwe (Hwange Natl. Park)

A Study of Conflict over Park Resources: Hwange National Park

Advisor: David Gow

My preliminary research indicates that there are many protected areas/parks in East Africa that have experienced conflict between resource managers and local people. I propose to conduct a study in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, in order to develop a framework for advocating increased local control over natural resource conservation activities and park income. I will examine the different (and often conflicting) perceptions and goals of the several groups concerned about access to and conservation of park resources to determine their commonalities and disparities. I will also attempt to verify which perceptions about resource use and conservation practice are based in fact.

James Todd
M.A. Anth
Mexico (Yucatan) Development, Discourse and the Politics of Maya Identity

Advisor: David Gow

For the last five years, the community of Punta Laguna, Yucatan, Mexico has been involved in a conservation/ecotourism development project in conjunction with the non-governmental organization PRONATURA. Currently, PRONATURA is attempting to expand its project into a federal or state reserve which will encompass the terrain of two rival neighboring communities, and relations between all groups have been strained. The proposed research will investigate the current development discourse of both residents and PRONATURA in order to determine the conflicting and competing perceptions of development. An analysis of the resulting data will provide an improved understanding of the politics of Maya identity in the context of a development project and the current economic reforms in Yucatan and Mexico.