Projects Funded in 2004

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Degree Program
Location Project Title & Abstract
Mikael Castro
B.A. Anth
Brazil (Mataganza) The "Dance of Life" (Xirê) and the Forces of Nature (Orixás) in the Umbanda Tradition of Templo Guaracy

Advisor: Barbara Miller

This project gathers archival and interview-based information on the concepts of Xirê and the Orixás, determining the origins of these concepts and how they relate to temple rituals and healing ceremonies and function in temple members' everyday life. The work will be carried out in one Umbanda temple to provide an in-depth case study. Templo Guaracy, a temple of Umbanda in São Paulo, Brazil, has organized the diverse manifestations of nature into what is known as the concept of the Xirê. Roughly translated as the "dance of life," the Xirê is an elaborate cosmogony that presents the Orixás, the forces of nature and their roles.

Bophany Chea
B.S. Bio Anth
Puerto Rico (San Juan) Development of Phalangeal Morphology in Macaques: Sensitive to Activity?

Advisor: Brian Richmond

This research examines whether toe bone shape changes according to changes in locomotion throughout growth. Because macaques go from being primarily arboreal to mostly terrestrial during growth, we expect their toe bones to be curved early in development, then straighten out by adulthood. The macaque skeletal collection at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, is extensive and well documented. The results from this research will allow us to interpret whether the curved toe bones of early hominins indicate that they climbed in trees, or were more fully committed to bipedalism.

Mohamed Elmeshad
B.S. Economics
Alexander Ponsen
B.A. International Affairs
Lebanon (Beirut) From the Reconstruction of Cities to the Reconstruction of Minds: Beirut's Identity in Repair

Advisor: Alexander Bauer

The reconstruction of post-war Beirut is an endeavor of gigantic proportions. Although a tremendous effort has been put forth to revitalize Beirut's Central District (BCD), much of the city has further deteriorated since the cessation of violence. Using a multi-sited approach, we will assess various perceptions of national identity. We will employ a comparative study based on three areas: The BCD, Ashrafiyya (in East Beirut), and Janah (in West Beirut). The study will concern the views of inhabitants of these areas regarding their national identity and how much of a factor cultural heritage has been in the reconstruction of Beirut's built environment. Furthermore, we will analyze the dialogue between the general public and those directly involved in the reconstruction effort.

Arianna Fogelman
M.A. Mus Stu
Ghana (Legon, elsewhere) Sankofa: Tradition, Urbanity and Colonial Legacy at the Ghana National Museum

Advisor: Richard Grinker

This project uses archival research, collections analysis, visitor surveys, and semi-structured interviews to describe continuity and change in collections and exhibitions at the Ghana National Museum. Data will be analyzed to address the relationship between material culture and colonialism, with special attention to the question of whether the museum has broken with its colonial legacy. It will also document two additional processes: first, the museum's recent efforts to redefine itself as an urban institution and second, the role of the museum in current debates about the place of "tradition" in individual and national identity constructions.

Doris Grage
M.A. Anth
China (Shanghai) Agents, Victims, or Just Lucky? Involuntary Resettlement and Reconstruction in Shanghai

Advisors: Michael Cernea and Barbara Miller

The objective of this research is to determine key issues in the process of involuntary resettlement as experienced by Shanghai residents who are forced to relocate homes or businesses due to development projects. Participant observation and interviews with a diverse group of internally displaced people (IDPs) will be used to determine whether they have a sense of agency, feel victimized, or consider resettlement an opportunity to better their lives. Michael Cernea's model of impoverishment risks and reconstruction (IRR) will be applied in the analysis.

Nicole L. Griffin
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Virginia (Harrisonburg) Testing the Relationship between Cross-Sectional Geometry and In Vivo Plantar Pressure of the Human Forefoot

Advisor: Brian Richmond

The primary goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between cortical bone geometry and in vivo plantar pressure data of the human forefoot for the purpose of understanding in what ways and the extent to which the forefoot skeleton responds to ground reaction force during standing, walking, and running. To date, there are no studies that have attempted to link these two methods. Establishing the nature of this relationship will provide a basis for using cross-sectional geometry on fossil hominin and hominoid foot bones.

Amanda Henry
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Kenya (Olorgesailie) Three Field Projects at Olorgesailie, Kenya

Advisors: Alison Brooks and Richard Potts

This research will increase knowledge about the emergence of modern humans in Kenya by further excavation of a possible Sangoan "living floor" in the post-Acheulean "New Formation" and by attempting to refit the stone artifacts and debitage found there. It will also benefit the excavations at Olorgesailie by surveying outcrops of the later Oltepesi formation where Middle Stone Age points have been found on the surface, in order to find MSA concentrations suitable for excavation. A log of the excavation will be recorded and published on the Internet to increase public access to the information. [For further information on excavations at Olorgesailie, click here].

Ian Kerrigan
M.A. Anth
New York, NY Contemporary Galleries and Traditional Boutiques: The Commodification of Authenticity in the New York African Art Market

Advisor: Catherine Allen

The gallery and the boutique are distinct urban art centers that mediate value and authenticity of ethnic objects in the art market. Using the Contemporary African Art Gallery in Manhattan and the Ties That Bind traditional African art store in Brooklyn as models, this research explores how African art is valued and commodified within for-profit art centers. This study also examines how art, via production, display, and sale, serves as a transnational link between New York City and Africa for artists, buyers, sellers, and viewers.

Nancy Maaty
B.A. Anth
Egypt (Cairo) Gender Status in an Egyptian Qahwah

Advisors: Barbara Miller and Hussein Fahim

The purpose of this research is to examine gender status, particularly that of women, in an Egyptian qahwah (pl. qahawy). I will attempt to discover patterns of involvement of women in these coffee houses that reflect particular movements of the time. The increasing influence from the West may be a factor affecting the growing number of women found in qahawy, but there are other Islamic movements that are on the rise. By looking at this continually changing area of the world, I plan to study mainly people's perceptions and opinions on the growing involvement of women in qahawy on the small scale, and how that reflects their involvement in society on a larger scale.

Paulina Orchard
B.A. Anth, Intl Aff
Northern Ireland (Belfast) Building Peace through Urban Women's Centers in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Advisor: Barbara Miller

Despite the recent decline of violence in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, a great deal of division remains between Protestant and Catholic communities, particularly in the less affluent urban areas of Belfast. This project is a mini-ethnography of three women's centers that provide women in these neighborhoods with much-needed services and support. The research will focus on the centers' efforts to encourage women to take more active roles in building peaceful communities and will attempt to ascertain the role that women's centers play in the lives of local women and in the broader effort to establish lasting peace in Northern Ireland.

Vincenzo Pasquantonio
B.A. Anth, Intl Aff
New Orleans, LA The Serpent and the Swamp: Voodoo and Tourism in New Orleans

Advisors: Barbara Miller and Susan Johnston

This research explores the relationship between tourism and local culture using New Orleans, Louisiana, as a case study. It seeks to examine local religious practices unique to the region, with a specific focus on voodoo in New Orleans. How these traditions are marketed for tourists and the differences (if any) between the ways they are presented to the public and how they are practiced by co-religionists are explored.

Diana Santillán
Ph.D. Hum Sci
Peru (Lima, Loreto) Local-Global Negotiations: Women's Organizations and Reproductive Health in the Peruvian Amazon

Advisor: Stephen Lubkemann

The goal of this multi-site research is to explore how local knowledges and practices intersect with global discourses and processes in the reproductive health community. The study will employ a case study of Minga-Peru, one of the leading women's organizations working on reproductive health issues in the Peruvian Amazon, and will investigate how Minga-Peru interacts with international, national, and local actors and agendas. The analysis of local-global negotiations will examine women's collective action and mobilizations as an interplay between women's agency and the structural and discursive constraints that frame the contexts in which women's actions are deployed.

Matthew Skinner
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Valley Forge, PA Analysis of Morphological Co-Variation in the Enamel-Dentine Junction and Enamel Crown with Special Reference to Carabelli's Trait Using MicroCTM

Advisor: Bernard Wood

The first objective of this project is to utilize microCT to develop a nondestructive methodology to image and analyze the three-dimensional morphology of the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) and the overlying enamel cap of human maxillary molars. The second objective is to apply this methodology in an assessment of the morphological co-variation between the EDJ and the enamel cap in maxillary molars expressing the Carabelli trait. Specifically, the taxonomic and phylogenetic signals attributed to this trait will be evaluated by assessing the degree to which the EDJ reflects the morphology of the Carabelli trait on the enamel cap. If it does, then by means of molecular developmental biological techniques, it should be possible to relate the Carabelli trait and other potentially similar traits to gene expression. The non-destructive methodology developed by this project would provide a new tool for assessing the taxonomic and phylogenetic valence of variation in enamel cap morphology.

Perundevi Srinivasan
Ph.D. Hum Sci
India (Tamil Nadu) The "Modern" as the Ritual Context: Ammai and its Healing in Tamil Nadu

Advisors: Alfred Hiltebeitel and Amanda Weidman

This study (1) inscribes the Tamil ethnography of ammai (poxes and measles) and associated healing traditions organized around the cult of the goddess Mariamman; (2) records and interpret the specific contemporary exchanges the healing traditions have with Western medicine and to examine the role of the goddess in these exchanges; (3) interrelates the symbols, myths and rituals marking the discourses with the reality of affliction and its cure; and (4) investigates, as occasioned by the discourses, the "genealogy" of the human body in Tamil culture and locate it in the "modern" context.

Robin Teague
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
China (Beijing) Intercontinental Dispersal of Plio-Pleistocene Hominins: A Faunal Perspective on Early Hominin Sites in China

Advisor: Richard Potts

This project compares the faunal contexts of Homo erectus from Chinese sites recording the initial hominin dispersal to East Asia with Plio-Pleistocene habitats in East Africa to assess the degree of hominin behavioral flexibility in adapting to different paleocommunities. First, this project will consider whether the faunas of these regions are significantly different by comparing the taxonomic composition of fossil faunas from Plio-Pleistocene East Asian and East Africa sites. Assuming that meat-eating was important for a dispersing hominin, differences in scavenging opportunities and competition potential will be assessed by comparing the functional morphological feeding adaptations of carnivores between the two regions.