Projects Funded in 1998

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Degree Program
Location Project Title & Abstract
Lee Ann Adams
Paraguay (Bañado Sur) Seeking Solidarity in Bañado Sur, Paraguay

Advisors: David Gow and Barbara Miller

This research will focus on the process of constructing community identity through collective action as a form of resistance to induced urban resettlement in a marginal neighborhood of Asunción, Paraguay. The catalyzing forces behind this new social movement, including the discourse utilized, will be identified and analyzed to determine how and why community members participate. Is this "new social movement" self-producing or is it a creation of other actors such as liberation theology?

David Bendana
Nicaragua (Matagalpa dept.) Acting Out Development: Popular Theater and Development Discourse, Nicaragua

Advisor: David Gow

For more than 10 years, popular theaters have been used in Nicaragua as a vehicle to bring self-awareness and local participation in rural communities in the northern department of Matagalpa. This approach involves traditional media, songs, and story-telling by members of the community who are involved in several stages of the theater process: data gathering and analysis, actual theater performance, post-performance discussion, and action on proposed solutions to the problems exposed by the theater. Popular theaters create junctures where the development discourses of local participants and outside actors interact and transform each other. This research explores how development discourses in these encounters create spaces for dialogue and action based on the goals, perceptions, values, interests, and relationships from both sides.

Karen Berelowitz
Costa Rica (San Vicente de Nicoya, Guanacaste) The Effects of the Indigenous Ceramic Industry on Community Identity in San Vicente de Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Advisor: David Gow

In a country known more for its natural beauty than its indigenous culture, the people of San Vicente de Nicoya, Costa Rica, have been creating traditional Chorotegan Indian ceramics for thousands of years. Once predominantly utilitarian in nature, the ceramics produced during the past two decades have been smaller, decorative pieces geared toward the growing demand for ethnic crafts spurred by increased international tourism. This study will analyze the extent to which the peasant community's participation in the ceramics industry is a means of asserting their cultural identity. I will examine the possibility that the marketing of indigenous ceramics is simply a profit-oriented mechanism for tapping into Costa Rica's lucrative tourist market. I will also explore the changing gender roles resulting from the ceramic industry's shift from the domestic to the economic sphere and show how this affects the self-identity of people in the community of San Vicente.

Hayley Hendrickson
M.A. Anth
Washington, DC Behavioral Response to Spatial Constriction: Activity Patterns in Captive Orangutans, National Zoo

Advisors: David Strait and Geza Teleki

Captive non-human primates face an existence that is significantly unlike that found in the wild. Free-ranging orangutans regularly spend 60.1% of their daily activity foraging, whereas captive individuals are regimentally fed. This displaces species-typical foraging behavior. This study investigates time budgets and activity patterns of eight socially housed orangutans at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. The focus was on increases in species-typical behaviors that are seldom observed in free-ranging apes and the frequency of stereotypies (self-stimulation response to lack of mental enrichment likened to neurosis). This information can be used to create a model for other zoo and primate facilities, and can serve to predict patterns of behavioral adaptation in wild populations as they increasingly face spatial constriction due to habitat destruction.

Nancy Parrish
M.A. Anth
Peru (Ica Valley) Wari Imperial Impact on Coastal Peru: Paleoethnobotanical Analysis from the Ica Valley

Advisor: Anita Cook

An eight-week lab study season is proposed to conduct microscopic analysis and identification of archaeobotanical remains excavated from the site of Casa Vieja in the Lower Ica Valley, Peru, and housed in Ica. This analysis is one component of a larger interdisciplinary project directed by Dr. Anita Cook of the Catholic University of America to investigate the Wari imperial impact on Southern Coastal Peru. Identification and analysis of plant material recovered from this domestic site will inidicate local resource utilization versus imported food use, providing indispensable data on the nature and extent of imperial intrusion on the southern coast during the late Middle Horizon (AD 550-1000).

Sarah E. Stanfield
B.A. Anth
Ecuador (Quito) When Latin American Is Not Latin American: Defining Male Homosexuality in Quito, Ecuador

Advisor: Barbara Miller 

Several anthropologists have postulated a model of Latin American male homosexuality based on the differentiation between active and passive roles during male-to-male sexual intercourse. This project will examine that model, and the proposed difference between "North American homosexuality" and "Latin American homosexuality," through directed interviews with both homosexuals and non-homosexuals on such topics as what behaviors characterize homosexuals.

Matthew Wolfgram
M.A. Anth
India (Kerala State) Popular Theater in Kerala: Lessons in Performance Context, Process, and the Public Discourse

Advisor: Joel Kuipers

In the south Indian State of Kerala, Hindu children are actively socialized through a gradually progressive method employing implicit and habit models of learning. This is most salient within religious spaces, where children and caretakers engage in a learning process involving practices such as observation, imitation, practice, and corporeal modeling.  This study examines how embodied learning can be a mechanism of social control.