Projects Funded in 2000

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Degree Program
Location Project Title & Abstract
Maureen Devlin
M.A. Anth
Israel (Mt. Carmel, Tel Aviv) The Natufian of Hilazon Tachtit Cave

Advisor: Daniel Lieberman

The Natufian was a period of transition from foraging to agriculture in the Levant. This study investigates human skeletal robusticity during that time to test the hypothesis that changes in subsistence behavior, and hence in mechanical loading, can be inferred from long-bone morphology.

Jessica Falcone
India (Dharamsala, Bodh Gaya) Buddhist Development in India: New-Age Missions, or a New Twist on an Ageless Mission of Compassion?

Advisor: Barbara Miller

Engaged Buddhists are Buddhist practitioners who believe that the philosophy of the Buddha is a socially relevant paradigm that should be actualized through community development work. This paper presents the results of research conducted on three Engaged Buddhist organizations working to improve Indian society and provides insights into whether their claims are realistic, specifically whether the indigenous nature of the philosophy generates social capital that improves the outcome. The case studies offer glimpses of Buddhist development projects working on the environment, health care, income generation, and education.

Christie Getman
M.A. Anth
Senegal Grass Roots in the Sahel? Top-Down Power Structures vs. Local-Level Voices among an NGO's Staff in Senegal

Advisors: Barbara Miller and Patricia Delaney

Non-governmental organizations aiding the Third World are diverse, but are often seen as more culturally sensitive than government- or bank-sponsored groups. This paper focuses on an NGO in Senegal, specifically the power structures and participation roles of the NGO staff and the benefiting community members.

Alison Haight
Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, Mwanzaa) Microfinance: A Tool for Empowerment?

Advisor: Patricia Delaney

This comparative study of two microcredit programs in Tanzania, one with a focus on alleviating poverty and the other on reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, tentatively concludes that microcredit does not alter the patriarchal ideology dominating gender conceptions in that country.

Robert C. McCarthy
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Seattle, WA Constraints on Growth and Evolution of Primate Skull Form

Advisor: Daniel Lieberman

This study compares relationships reconstructed from skull traits using cladistic methods (which factor out shared primitive traits) and phenetic methods (which do not) and concludes that the former robustly support the prediction that Homo sapiens evolved from a single population in Africa.

Nicole J. Silverman
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Israel (Tel Aviv) The Hominid Mandible and Its Potential for Providing Taxonomically Useful Information

Advisor: Bernard Wood

To test the traditional assumption that the body of the mandible is a poor source of taxonomic information, this study investigates whether linear measurements of the corpus can discriminate between closely related hominid and fossil hominin taxa.

Maria E. Ulfe
Ph.D. Human Sci
Peru (Ayacucho Dept.) Alcamenca: Ethnohistory and Displacement

Advisor: Catherine Allen

This paper deals with the construction of local identities through courtship rituals in the communities of Alcamenca and Sarhua located in the Province of Victor Fajardo in the Department of Ayacucho in the Peruvian Southern highlands. Courtship is vividly manifested during ritual times, especially during festivals that enhance the fertility of the land and the animals. These are carnivals and water festivals. Throughout the department of Ayacucho, as well as in other regions of the Andes, these two moments are considered the periods when the Pachamama, or mother earth, is alive, waiting to be fertilized. Courting, the most private ritual action, integrates the two moieties into which these two communities are organized socially, politically, economically, and spatially. These festivals are special moments when people come together to eat, dance, sing, and drink. The integration of the group itself is manifested through contests, songs, clothes, and flowers, symbolic features that enhance the encounters and communion of the fragmented population, of men with women, and humankind with the universe. This paper focuses on contests in which songs, dances, clothes and drinks are the primary sources in this interrelation of gender divisions, moieties and places.

Stephen E. Voss
B.A. Computer Sci
17 U.S. locations Community in Brewing: The Role and Social Dynamics of the Coffeehouse in Contemporary America

Advisor: Joel Kuipers

This research explores the function of coffeehouses in contemporary America as gathering places and public meeting spaces, and whether they are meaningful places for the community where none existed before.

Felicitas B. Wiedemann
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Jordan (Amman) The Measurement of Seasonal Environmental Variability in the Near East Using Stable Isotope Analyses in Herbivore Teeth from Jordan

Advisor: Daniel Lieberman

Since the reliability of stable isotope analyses (SIA) in teeth for the investigation of seasonality is poorly tested, this paper compares teeth and plant samples collected in Israel and Jordan to see whether teeth can be used as a seasonality record.

Nicole Zdrojewski
India (Tamil Nadu) A Micro-Ethnography of Women's Self-Help Groups in Tamil Nadu

Advisor: David Gow

This research examines the effects of development activities on two tribal women's self-help groups, specifically exploring how the women view the programs, their perceptions of group membership, and how their lives have changed. Despite the fact that the programs have been underway for the past seven years, only minimal social change has occurred. The women all feel that the most important thing their daughters can do is to marry, and many are still nervous about questioning their husbands or family members. The paper concludes with recommendations for improving the situation.