A collection of stories as viewed through the lens of Oulipo methodology.
A collection of stories as viewed through the lens of Oulipo methodology.
A variety of studies have shown that the tendency toward nicotine dependence has a genetic component. The work described in this thesis addresses three separate questions: i) are there unidentified SNPs in the nicotinic receptors or other genes that contribute to the risk for nicotine dependence; ii) is there evidence of ongoing selection at nicotinic receptor loci; and, iii) since nicotine dependence is unlikely to be the phenotype undergoing selection, is a positive effect on memory or cognition the selected phenotype. I first undertook a genome –wide association scan of imputed data using samples from the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Nicotine Dependence (COGEND). A novel association was found between nicotine dependence and SNPs at 13q31. The genes at this newly associated locus on chromosome 13 encode a group of micro-RNAs and a member of the glypican gene family. These are among the first findings to implicate a non-candidate gene in risk for nicotine dependence. I applied several complimentary methods to sequence data from the 1000 Genomes Project to test for evidence of selection at the nicotinic receptor loci. I found strong evidence for selection for alleles in the nicotinic receptor cluster on chromosome 8 that confer risk of nicotine dependence. I then used the dataset from the Collaborative Studies on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) and looked for an association between neuropsychological phenotypes and SNPs conferring risk of nicotine dependence. One SNP passed multiple test correction for association with WAIS digit symbol score. This SNP is not itself associated with nicotine dependence but is in reasonable (r 2 = 0.75) LD with SNPs that are associated with nicotine dependence. These data suggest at best, a weak correlation between nicotine dependence and any of the tested cognitive phenotypes. Given the reproducible finding of an inverse relationship between SNPs associated with risk for nicotine dependence and cocaine dependence, I hypothesize that the apparently detrimental phenotype of nicotine dependence may confer decreased risk for cocaine dependence. As cocaine use impairs the positive rewards associated with social interactions, reducing the risk of cocaine addiction may be beneficial to both the individual and the group.
Museums are gaining increasing attention throughout the world for their ability to foster social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, and collaboration in practices of heritage management, exhibition, and interpretation. This dissertation aims to contribute a critical perspective on museums as agents of social change through an exploration of new museological practices in contemporary China. Through an ethnography of the ecomuseum, I unravel the assumptions and expectations of implementing a Western concept based on notions of community participation, empowerment, and the democratization of heritage in the context of a transforming China.
In my ethnographic account of the multifaceted politics faced by ecomuseums, I question how power and authority are mediated through these civic institutions and how central aspects of museum and heritage practices are being redressed in Chinese society. This study exposes how ecomuseums in China are a result of global processes and positioned as part of a heritage protection movement and museum development boom to promote cultural nationalism, a "civilized" China, and state edicts of rural development in impoverished ethnic minority regions. Detailing the implications of government-led ecomuseum development in ethnic villages in southwest China, and the specific case of Huaili ecomuseum, in Guangxi, I interrogate the institutionalization of heritage and cultural landscapes through processes of exhibition, museumification, and the revaluing of culture. I explore the ecomuseum as a social space of cross-cultural encounter and friction through which local actors grapple with conditions of cultural governance and the entanglements cultural difference and a national heritage discourse. In my critical analysis of collected ethnographic narratives over 15 months of fieldwork from state-directed interest groups, Chinese technocrats, and villager informants involved in the institutionalization of heritage, I present the complex arrangements and interactions that take place through the ecomuseum context and how subject positionalities shift and claims to heritage, identity, and voice are negotiated, regulated, and contested. This study contributes to the anthropology of China and museum and heritage studies, and aims to push new directions in the study of community heritage and museums, in offering a critical perspective of the political nature of ecomuseums in non-Western contexts, such as China.
The causes and consequences of stylistic change have been a concern of archaeologists over the past several decades. The actual process of stylistic innovation, however, has received less attention. This project explores the relationship between the process of stylistic innovation on decorated pottery and the social context in which it occurred in the Hohokam area of south-central Arizona between A.D. 800 and 1300. This interval was punctuated by three episodes of reorganization, each of which was characterized to varying degrees by significant shifts in ideology, economics, and politics. Each reorganization episode was also accompanied by a rapid profusion of stylistic innovation on buff ware pottery. The goal of this study was to build a framework to understand the variation in the process of innovation as a response to different incentives and opportunities perceived in the changing social environment. By bringing stylistic analyses and provenance data together for the first time in Hohokam red-on-buff studies, I investigated how the process of innovation was variously influenced by social reorganizations at three different periods of time: the 9th, 11th, and 12th centuries A.D. Four variables were used to evaluate the process of innovation at each temporal period: 1) The origin of a stylistic invention, 2) the rate of its adoption, 3) the pattern of its adoption, and 4) the uniformity of its adoption among all buff ware potting communities. To accomplish the task, stylistic innovations and provenance were recorded on over 3,700 red-on-buff sherds were analyzed from 20 sites in the Phoenix Basin. The innovation process was found to vary with each reorganization episode, but often in different ways than expected. The results revealed the complexity and unpredictability of the process of stylistic innovation among the Hohokam. They also challenged some assumptions archaeologists have made regarding the scale and extent of the changes associated with some of the reorganization episodes. The variables utilized to measure the innovation process were found to be effective at providing a composite picture of that process, and thus warrant broader application to other archaeological contexts.
Starting from 21st century BC, China has had strong but isolated philosophies for making things, which dominated the style and spirit of Chinese design. With globalization, however, contemporary Chinese design fell under the influence of Western design including design practice, design theory, and education. Today, by improving capacity for independent innovation, and creating its own brand, China may be able to change its current practices of production that are defined by high consumption of resources, high pollution and low value-add. The search for high-quality Chinese design, which is both original and innovative with unique and identifiable features, has become a vital challenge for the Chinese government, organizations, and companies. Promoting original Chinese design with adding cultural values, in the past decade, has become prominent in various design fields because of the growing need to support economic development, upgrade industrial infrastructure, and promote national identity. In this context, many small-medium, creative and design-focused companies have been established with the goal of pursuing original Chinese design all the while concentrating on Chinese culture and users. In order to understand the present scenarios of original Chinese design, this research examines furniture design in select SMEs in China by studying relevantly critical issues: the motivation of designers for pursuing original Chinese design; the design ideas, practices and business strategies of these SMEs to build original and influential design brand; the challenges and opportunities in the furniture design industry while promoting original Chinese design; and the emerging picture of future Chinese design. This research applies the methodological framework of grounded theory with qualitative research methods including semi-structured interview and in-depth case studies. As a result, regarding interaction among Chinese culture, original design, and entrepreneurship, the research reveals three key findings regarding the interaction among Chinese culture, original design and entrepreneurship. First, “reflect Chinese culture”, particularly essential traditional Chinese culture, is a common ground of original Chinese furniture design, which has been shown both from design ideas and practices of the select SMEs. Second, insufficient entrepreneurship influences the promotion of original design brands both in domestic and international market. Third, innovative design among contemporary furniture designers is constrained by a morass of Chinese culture impediments, such as lacking critical thinking and overemphasizing on inheritance of traditions. Moreover, the research presents a theoretical framework with key implications for developing and promoting Chinese design that is original, innovative and socially impactful. The insights gained from the research also provide a foundation and possible direction for future studies on design, culture, entrepreneurship, and other creative industries both for China and other nations.
This dissertation research examines the impact of migration on the emotional well-being of temporary, low-wage workers who migrate from the Global South to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Unlike previous research in the UAE, this study’s sample reflects a far broader diversity of nationalities and occupations, and focuses on those earning in the lowest wage bracket. Their experiences revealed the systemic attributes of precarity and the violent structures that perpetuate them.
My research addresses several substantive debates. I found that rather than emigrating for rational reasons—as neoclassical theory of migration posits—the migrants in my study tended to rationalize their reasons for emigrating through processes of cognitive dissonance. Further, where previous scholarship has tended to conflate issues of national, ethnic, and racial discrimination, I disentangle the processes that motivate discriminatory behavior by showing how seemingly innocuous references to “nationality” can be driven by a desire to hide racial prejudices, while at the same time, conflating all as “racism” can reflect a simplistic analysis of the contributing factors. I show how past historical structures of colonialism and slavery are manifest in current forms of structural violence and how this violence is differentially experienced on the basis of nationality, perceived racial differences, and/or ethnicity. Additionally, my research expands theories related to the spatial dimension of discrimination. It examines how zones of marginalization shape the experiences of low-wage migrant workers as they move through or occupy these spaces. Marginalizing zones limit workers’ access to the sociality of the city and its institutional resources, which consequently increase their vulnerability.
Individual well-being is determined by stressful events that one encounters, by personal and external sources of resilience, and by perceptions of oneself and the stressful events. For the migrants in my study, their stressors were chronic, cumulative, and ambiguous, and while they brought with them a sufficient amount of personal resilience, it was often mitigated by non-compliance and lack of enforcement of UAE laws. The result was a state of well-being defined by isolation, fear, and despair.
In this dissertation, I examine how social perceptions of physical disability shape interactions in healthcare. Drawing upon the lived experience and insights of Diné (Navajo) individuals with physical disabilities, family members, and Diné
on-indigenous healthcare workers and service providers, I explore the interrelationship of social perceptions of physical disability with understandings of identity and performance of personhood. Embedded within discourses and critiques of ableism/disablism, narratives highlight the interconnection of constructs of personhood and productivity.
Findings show that social perceptions of physical disability are closely linked to broader cultural norms surrounding concepts of health/illness. I offer a critical analysis of contemporary impacts of colonization and historical trauma on the physical, emotional, sociocultural and economic wellbeing of Diné people and those who fill service provision roles for this diverse population. Situated within broader contexts of defining constructs of ‘Whiteness’ and ‘Indigeneity’, the role of culture and discourses regarding stereotypes are particularly prominent factors in shaping relationships.
This interdisciplinary ethnography brings together contributions from Anthropology, Disability Studies, and Indigenous paradigms. Placing a particular emphasis on the social dynamics in two urban centers in the state of Arizona, this ethnography centers on analyzing areas of medical practice that work well, as well as gaps in the provision of healthcare services, with a particular focus on systemic and infrastructural barriers. These concerns are shared not only by Diné individuals with
physical disabilities and family members, but also by non-indigenous service providers and healthcare professionals.
Invasive plants harm the ecological properties of natural systems, human health,
and local economies. However, the negative impacts of invasive species are not always
immediately visible and may be disregarded by local communities if social benefits of
control efforts are not clear. In this dissertation, I use a mixed-methods approach to
investigate the drivers of invasive plant distribution, potential financially feasible
management techniques to control invasion, and community forest user perceptions of
those techniques. In this work, I aim to incorporate the diverse perspectives of local
people and increase the long-term success of invasive species control activities in socio
economically vulnerable populations.
Integrating a spatially and temporally diverse data set, I explore the social and
ecological drivers of invasive plant abundance across 21 buffer zone community forests
in the Western Chitwan Valley of Nepal. I evaluate to what extent forest user and
collective manager activities, the legacies of historic activities, and ecological properties
influence present-day invasive plant abundance. I built upon this study to identify areas
with critically high levels of invasion then initiated a three-year, community-based
management intervention to evaluate traditional and adaptive land management
approaches to control invasive plants. I found that both approaches reduced invasive
plant abundance relative to the surrounding, untreated forest. I then interviewed focus
groups to investigate their perceived efficacy of the various treatment types and found
that almost all forest users and managers preferred the adaptive approach over the
traditional management approach. Notably, forest users cited the importance of the
availability of forest resources and lack of harmful plants in the plots that had undergone
this method. Understanding how forest users relate to and experience invasive plants has
been relatively understudied but can influence forest user engagement in different
management approaches. For this reason, I performed in-depth ethnoecological
interviews to explore how forest users perceive, how they utilize, and to what extent they
value invasive plants. This mixed-methods approach contributes to a more holistic
understanding of the role that local people play in invasive plant management and
Power relations among cultural, socio-economic, and political groups have been dynamic forces shaping American history. Within that changing world, relations between indigenous and non-indigenous groups have been complicated by a fundamental difference often ascribed to Western philosophy versus Native American spiritual traditions. In 1990, Congress codified that difference when it passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) stipulating that Indian tribes and Native Hawaiians are unique among United States cultural groups. At the same time, NAGPRA began breaking down the Western vs. indigenous paradigm. The legislative process of NAGPRA strongly encouraged cooperation among indigenous peoples and the non-indigenous peoples who had collected their bones and belongings under earlier policies. NAGPRA required museums and other agencies accepting federal monies to inventory any collections of Native American items with the intent of giving control to tribes over the disposition of culturally affiliated human remains and certain classes of objects. In the rearranging power relations NAGPRA instigated, people maneuvered for power over the "truth," over whose memory, meaning, and spiritual worldview held authenticity. This dissertation considers cases that pushed or broke the limits of cooperation fostered by NAGPRA. Ignoring the bones and related funerary objects, Tangled Truths analyzes repatriation disputes over cultural artifacts to illuminate changing power relations among cultural groups in the United States. The repatriation negotiations in which people would not compromise were cases in which there existed strong differences in spiritual worldviews, cultural memories, or material interests. Congress could encourage cooperation, but it could not legislate acceptance of others' spiritual worldviews, nor could it persuade people to relinquish engrained cultural memories. And without solid enforcement, the NAGPRA process could be outmaneuvered by those intent on pursuing their own material interests.
Culture informs ideas about healthy and acceptable body types. Through globalization the U.S.-European body model has become increasingly significant in local contexts, influencing local body models. While Puerto Ricans have historically valued plump bodies - a biocultural legacy of a historically food scarce environment - this dissertation investigated shifts in these ideals across generations to a stronger preference for thinness. A sample of 23 intergenerational family triads of women, and one close male relative or friend per woman, were administered quantitative questionnaires. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of women from 16 triads and 1 quintet. Questions about weight history and body sizes were used to address cultural changes in body models. Findings indicate the general trend for all generations has been a reduction in the spectrum of acceptable bodies to an almost singular idealized thin body. Female weight gain during puberty and influence of media produced varied responses across age groups. Overall, Puerto Ricans find it acceptable to gain weight with ageing, during a divorce, and postpartum. Thin bodies are associated with beauty and health, but healthy women that do not resemble the thin ideal, submit themselves to dangerous weight loss practices to achieve self and social acceptance. Further research and direct interventions need to be conducted to alter perceptions that conflate beauty with health in order to address the `normative discontent' women of all ages experience. Weight discrimination and concern with being overweight were evident in Puerto Rican everyday life, indicated by the role of media and acculturation in this study. Anti-fat attitudes were stronger for individuals that identified closely with United States culture. Exposure to drama and personal transformation television programs are associated with increased body image dissatisfaction, and increased exposure to variety shows and celebrity news shows is associated with increased anti-fat attitudes and body dissatisfaction. In sum, the positive valuation of fat in the Puerto Rican cultural body size model in the 1970s has shifted toward a negative valuation of fat and a preference for thin body size.