Projects Funded in 2001

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Degree Program
Location Project Title & Abstract
Anthony Gualtieri
M.A. Anth
Texas Juneteenth: Academic, Folk, and Popular Conceptions of an African-American Emancipation Celebration

Advisor: Richard Grinker

Juneteenth is an African-American celebration from Galveston that represents the end of slavery in the United States. The research sought to locate and analyze the representations of Juneteenth and the individuals who created them while maintaining a focus on the relations of power involved, using a Foucauldian analysis. The results indicate that there were five principal actors involved in creating the representation, with three serving as protagonists, a fourth as a battlefield of contestation, and the fifth as the grassroots foundation — the "authentic" re-producer of "inauthenticity."

Kathleen Huvane
India (Leh) Impacts of "Exchange" in Ladakh

Advisor: David Gow

Forces such as colonialism and globalization have been associated with declines in cultural integrity, and one response has been an attempt to preserve and protect endangered cultures. Observable results lie predominantly in the material/physical aspects of culture, rather than in the mental/psychological domains. Disputes over authenticity highlight the difficulties faced by those who attempt to quantify or qualify culture. Mimesis, the tendency to imitate, is a process noted in the fields of biology, psychology, and anthropology. Research in Kashmir and Ladakh attempts to identify instances of mimesis that further confound the process of defining culture.

Andrew Johnson
M.A. Anth
Thailand (Chiang Mai) Educating Risk in Thailand: AIDS Education, Stigma, and the Sex Industry

Advisor: Barbara Miller

The explosion of the HIV epidemic in Thailand in the early 1990s prompted a large-scale response on the part of the government and NGOs. Although the overall incidence has fallen, HIV has been spreading rapidly among Thai youth. This paper examines three HIV youth education programs in the Chiang Mai region: the national approach promoted by the Thai Red Cross; the community-centered approach favored by the Thai Youth AIDS Prevention Project; and the Buddhist approach embraced by the Sangha Metta project. The paper analyzes the methodologies and discourses of the respective projects and how these relate to concepts of participation and development.

Christopher Kolb
M.A. Anth
Washington, DC Representing Reality or Creating Social Facts: The Economic Indicator as a Locus for Culturally Constructed Meaning within the Development Community

Advisor: David Gow

The "development" industry relies on a claim of legitimate authority in order to justify the institutional restructuring and social adjustment necessitated by its policy programs. Ostensibly, the implementation of policy is the result of a rational, objective process whereby the most "correct" or best-suited policies are implemented. However, concepts such as legitimacy, authority, rationality, objectivity, and "correctness" are culturally constructed. One facet of "development" relevant to the construction of these concepts is measurement. Indicators are powerful generative terms that structure the "development" discourse. This paper explores the implications of the structure of the "development" discourse itself on problemitization, prescription, and the way the "developing world" is imagined.

Heather E. Kyle
B.A. Soc
Washington, DC Do as Ye Will and Harm to None: The Ethical Foundations of the Neo-Pagan Movement in the 21st Century

Advisor: Joel Kuipers

This paper examines the relationship between neo-pagan ethics and the personal behavior of individuals within society, based on participant observation and interviews conducted at the largest neo-pagan gathering in the eastern United States. The research uncovered a recurrent thematic pattern which permeates the worldview of those interviewed. Their ideals concerning the nature of existence, ecology, sexual expression, and reflexivity echo the notions proposed by the evolutionary perennial philosophy of theorists such as Wilber and Ichazo as the inevitable progression of the social world.

Amelia Potter
B.A. Anth
Peru (Cuzco, Chua-Chua) Cross-Cultural Spirituality: A Case of a Meeting between Americans and Q'ero Indians of Peru

Advisor: Hoon Song

The paper is based on an ethnographic film made in Peru detailing how American spiritual tourists embark on self-explorations using indigenous spirituality. In particular, the film examines how Americans come to be interested in indigenous religion, how they learn about it, and what effects the practice of Andean spirituality has on their lives. The film also focuses on the importance of cultural interpreters in cross-cultural New Age worlds, and the significance of spirituality seekers traveling to foreign places, and the differences between how Americans and indigenous people practice Andean spirituality.

Elizabeth Rathgeb
M.A. Anth
Morocco (Ben Smim, Middle Atlas) The Implementation of Relevant Literacy and Training Programs in Rural Morocco: A Study of the Berber Women of Azrou

Advisor: Barbara Miller

In efforts to address the needs of illiterate women, the government and NGOs in Morocco have implemented numerous literacy programs. Although the village of Ben Smim has four registered programs, in reality only one is operational, and it ceased functioning by 2001. This paper will address attempts to uncover why these programs have not been sustainable. Research was conducted with the women affected by the program on their interest in literacy, their allocation of time, and their reasons for program failure. The paper will also offer recommendations for the sustainability of such programs in the future.

Dana Rosenstein
B.A. Anth
South Africa (Cape Town) Ceramic Production as a Reflection of Gender and Social Complexity in the Late Iron Age of South Africa

Advisor: Alison Brooks

Pottery manufacture was an important material technology in Late Iron Age societies of South Africa. Through geoarchaeological analyses of ceramics from Sotho/Tswana sites, this preliminary research examines the scale of pottery production and changes in methods of ceramic manufacture between two Late Iron Age phases. Evidence of greater efficiency or standardization would link to the documented shift in significance of pottery in society over time. Since pottery production is a gendered technology, changes in the mode or scale of ceramic use and manufacture could relate to transforming social and occupational roles of men and women.

Vanora Thomas
M.A. Anth
Tanzania (Dar es Salaam) Conservation, Dispossession, and Displacement: The Case of the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania

Advisor: David Gow

The creation of protected areas, such as national parks, restricts access to natural resources and frequently involves the displacement and resettlement of the resident population. The loss of access to land and natural resources has continually fueled conflict among communities that rely directly upon these areas for survival. This paper focuses on the long-term effects of land alienation and poverty caused by the forced eviction of Maasai pastoralists from Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania, illustrating some of the problems facing such communities.

Nicholas Udu-Gama
B.A. Anth
Mexico (Chiapas) Develop This! Women's Perceptions of and Attitudes towards Development in Chiapas, Mexico

Advisor: David Gow

"Being indigenous women means that we have thought, that we have dignity, and that we need rights." The words of Comandante Susana and the Zapatistas echo the hopes and dreams of the indigenous women of Chiapas. This paper seeks to discover how the current Zapatista revolution has empowered indigenous women, and the extent to which it has changed women's lives in different communities. The paper also examines how women believe that development can help them to realize their rightful place in contemporary Mexico.

Francesc X. Utset
Guatemala (Guatemala City, El Quiché) The Effects of Memory on Social Capital: The Case of Post-War Guatemala

Advisor: David Gow

The rural town of Santa María Nebaj in Guatemala was among the most viciously battered during the violent conflict of the 1980s and 1990s. During the war, fear and terror became a way of life for the local people, the nebajenses. When the conflict ended in 1996, memory, defined as a combination of fear, skepticism, and rancor produced by political terror, triggered countless cases of mental disorder, such as loneliness, silence, frustration, apathy, disengagement, or cynicism. This research examines whether the psychosocial effects of memory have an impact on the level of social trust among nebajenses, and the implications for the reconstruction of democratic civil society.