Projects Funded in 2012

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Recipient,
Degree Program
Location Project Title & Abstract
Kathryn Barca
M.A. Anth
U.K. (London, Liverpool) The Meaning of Style: An Analysis of Tobacco Pipes from Mount Vernon, Virginia

Advisor: Jeffrey Blomster

This project aims to study the meaning and active role of material culture through a stylistic analysis of eighteenth-century tobacco pipes recovered from Mount Vernon, Virginia. Data collected from the Museum of London and the National Pipe Archive in Liverpool will be critical to a discussion of pipe length, maker’s marks and decoration. This research will demonstrate that the style of quotidian objects can be linked to larger social concepts, including identity and class.

Rebecca Biermann
B.A. Anth
Washington, DC Methods for Investigating the Biomechanics of Stone Tool Production: Manual Pressure Sensors and Kinematics Motion Capture Techniques

Advisors: Brian G. Richmond and Erin Marie Williams

Stone tool behaviors have had a significant impact on the course of human evolution, particularly on upper limb anatomy. However, questions regarding the relationship of anatomy to stone tool behavior function still exist. The goal of this proposed research is to learn methods for analyzing upper limb biomechanics as they relate to stone tool behaviors. Methods include the use of manual pressure sensors and kinematics motion capture equipment. All experimentation will take place in the MOCA laboratory at GW.

Greyson Brooks
M.A. Anth
Uganda Gay Identity and Indigenous LGBT Rights NGOs as Sociopolitical Resistance to State-Sponsored Homophobia in Uganda

Advisors: R. Richard Grinker, Sean R. Roberts, Barbara D. Miller, Stephen C. Lubkemann

This research project will investigate the motivations and perceptions of sexuality and modernity that frame the actions of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), an indigenous LGBT rights NGO opposed to pending anti-homosexual legislation, through an internship with them in Kampala. Through reviews of existing literature and participant observation and interviews with members of SMUG and other NGOs, this project will bolster the discourse on LGBT rights, modernity, and the anthropology of development, all in the context of a global ‘gay’ identity.

Lucas Epp
B.A. Anth
Buffalo, NY, and Washington, DC Racism and Sexism in a Virtual World

Advisors: Barbara D. Miller and Alexander S. Dent

My research will focus on how anonymity online affects the way in which online communities interact and what social norms and taboos develop with differing levels of anonymity. I will study Facebook, Reddit, and 4chan as websites with no anonymity, pseudo-anonymity, and complete anonymity respectively. By studying the social interactions, norms, and taboos on each of these websites I will be able to learn about anonymity’s role in the online experience.My research will focus on how anonymity online affects the way in which online communities interact and what social norms and taboos develop with differing levels of anonymity. I will study Facebook, Reddit, and 4chan as websites with no anonymity, pseudo-anonymity, and complete anonymity respectively. By studying the social interactions, norms, and taboos on each of these websites I will be able to learn about anonymity’s role in the online experience.

Clare Kelley
M.P.H. Global Public Health, M.A. Intl Dev Studies
Peru (Tacna) Hegemonic Femininity and the Embodied Culture of Alcohol in Tacna, Peru

Advisors: Elanah Uretsky and Barbara D. Miller

This mini-ethnography aims to describe how the changing embedded alcohol culture in Tacna, Peru, alters women’s practices and beliefs about use, abuse, and abstention. Recent changes in the status, availability, and commoditization of alcohol in Tacna have changed its symbolic function. Changing the embodied culture of alcohol modifies hegemonic feminine attitudes and expectancies of consuming alcohol. Taking a phenomenological stance, I will collect data through participant-observation, informal conversations, and in-depth interviews in the Pocolloy district of Tacna.

Michael Kern
M.A. Anth
Washington, DC Talus Morphology in Relation to Locomotor Behavior in Old World Monkey Species

Advisor: Matthew Tocheri

Studies examining hand and foot morphology of primates in relation to the activities they regularly engage in provide clues as to how this morphology may be driven within our own lineage, and what behaviors are implied in fossil hominins. This project uses 3D scanning of talus bones to elucidate morphological differences in locomotor behavior between Papio sp., Macaca mulatta, Colobus guereza, Nasalis lavartus and species yet to be determined. Specimens are found at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Cecily Marroquin
M.A. Anth
Trinidad and Tobago (Port-of-Spain), U.S. (Washington, DC) Marketing Health: The Social Marketing of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Caribbean

Advisors: Frances Norwood and Alain Touwaide

Using ethnographic methods, the proposed fieldwork will investigate the efficacy of social marketing as a HIV/AIDS intervention strategy employed by the Society of Family Health in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. The social marketing strategy is used by organizations despite scholars' assertions that it does not adequately incorporate community involvement (Pfeiffer 2004). The Caribbean has the second highest rate of prevalence, making it an important site of study (Allen 2010). Through interviews, participant observation, and survey, I hope to understand the efficacy and impact of SFH’s social marketing strategy.

Christopher Payette
B.S. Bio Anth
New Haven, CT The Effects of Locomotor Category and Sex on the Ontogeny of Skeletal Robusticity in Two Strepsirhine Species (Lemur catta and Propithecus verreauxi)

Advisors: Robin Bernstein and Lynn Copes

The goal of this research is to examine the effects of locomotion on, and evaluate sex differences in, the skeletal development of two strepsirhine species. The project will use CT scans and bone material analysis to measure the robusticity and density of the long bones. The results of this research will have broad applications in physical anthropology and archaeology by providing a more nuanced understanding of the effects of locomotor category and sex on the skeletal development in nonhuman primates.

Kathryn Ranhorn
Ph.D. Hom Paleo
Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, Makonde Plateau) The Archaeological Context of Early Homo sapiens in Southeastern Tanzania

Advisor: Alison S. Brooks

The goal of this project is to explore the archaeological context of early Homo sapiens in southeastern Tanzania. I will conduct the first systematic archaeological study in the Makonde Plateau, near the border of Mozambique, to better understand early human migration patterns out of Africa. Recent discoveries suggest that early humans emerged in South Africa and traveled northward along the coast, yet the archaeology of the region is virtually unexplored.

Evy Vourlides
M.A. Anth
Greece (Athens) Vernacularization of the Global Financial Crisis in Athens, Greece

Advisors: R. Richard Grinker, Michael Herzfeld

This project analyzes how global discourses on the contemporary financial "crisis" are vernacularized among student activists at Panteion University in Athens, Greece. Drawing on interviews, participant observation, cultural consensus analysis, and existing literature, this research will explore how students interpret global discourses and incorporate them into their own. More broadly, this research connects an ethnography of media, social media and activism with the theoretical problem of how local actors and acts articulate large-scale, reified abstractions, such as "the crisis."