Sheryl L. Beach– “Environmental Change and Ancient Maya Wetland Fields in Northern Belize”
Jo-Marie Burt– “Truth and Justice? A Study of the Peruvian Truth & Reconciliation Commission and its Implications for Democracy in Peru and for the Theory and Practice of Truth Commissions Worldwide”
Mark Goodale– “Globalization and the Consolidation of Neoliberalism in Latin America: An Interdisciplinary Study of the Transborder Conflict Between Bolivia and Chile”
David W. Haines– “Migration in East Asia”
Sumaiya Hamdani– “From Dar al-Islam to Diaspora: Exploring Muslim Communal Identity in India”
Associate Professor of Geography & Computational Sciences
School of Computational Sciences
“Environmental Change and Ancient Maya Wetland Fields in Northern Belize”
Scholars have studied polygonal the wetland patterns of Central America for almost 40 years, but there is still much debate on how they formed. Previous studies have interpreted these features as natural features or ancient Maya wetland fields built in either the Preclassic period (1200 BC-AD 250) or in the Classic period (AD 250-850). By the 1980s, wetland agriculture had become the orthodox but contested answer to Maya subsistence during the Late Classic period (AD 550-850), when population reached its maximum. Thus far, too few studies exist to build a consensus. For four seasons Dr. Beach’s multi-disciplinary team has examined the debate around the site of Blue Creek, Belize; with this grant they will undertake a new series of excavations over the least disturbed wetlands features far removed from large escarpment sites. She will sample artifacts and ecofacts and examine them with a range of chemical, physical, and botanical analyses. These new excavations will help resolve the questions regarding the timing and causes of field and canal formation and regional sedimentation, and develop a better understanding of both the ancient environment and the impacts of modern farming on the region’s modern environment.
Assistant Professor of Public & International Affairs
College of Arts & Sciences
“Truth and Justice? A Study of the Peruvian Truth & Reconciliation Commission and its Implications for Democracy in Peru and for the Theory and Practice of Truth Commissions Worldwide”
“Civil wars strike deepest of all into the manners of people. They vitiate their politics; they corrupt their morals; they pervert even the natural taste and relish of equity and justice.” Sir Edmund Burke’s reflection on the deeply negative consequences of civil wars has been born out in many modern post-conflict societies. One increasingly common response to overcome these ills is the formation of official bodies charged with investigating the abuses of the past, also known as truth commissions. This research project will analyze the current debates and issues in the burgeoning literature on truth commissions, particularly the issue of whether there is an inherent trade-off between truth and justice in post-conflict societies, by examining the recent experience of Peru in comparative context. The Peruvian case offers valuable insights into the complexities of post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation because unlike previous commissions that prioritized truth over justice, the CVR sought both. The difficulties in achieving the latter, however, may in fact serve to highlight the inherent difficulties of achieving retributive (criminal) justice in divided societies, and may bolster the case for restorative justice (truth-telling, reparations). This project will analyze the specificities of the Peruvian case while drawing lessons for the theory and practice of truth commissions worldwide.”
Assistant Professor of Conflict Anaylisis & Anthropology
Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution
“Globalization and the Consolidation of Neoliberalism in Latin America: An Interdisciplinary Study of the Transborder Conflict Between Bolivia and Chile”
This project will expand existing research (begun in 1996) on issues of globalization, law, economics, and culture in Latin America. Over the last five years, Bolivia has been wracked by political and economic upheaval. These events have revolved around a series of decisions made by successive governments officially committed to neoliberalism, which in Bolivia refers to social, legal, political, and economic policies that privatize key economic sectors and incorporate liberal legal regimes like human rights, while ostensibly decentralizing power and decision-making authority to regional, provincial, and local levels of government. This project will combine ethnographic methods with political-economic and critical analysis to study the most recent conflict–over a proposed natural gas pipeline to Chile–as an expression of broader trends of global late-capitalist consolidation, the emergence of new imperial logics after the end of the Cold War and the possibilities for effective resistance to labor exploitation, wealth extraction, and the privatization of national patrimonies.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
College of Arts & Sciences
“Migration in East Asia”
This project grew out of Dr. Haines’ senior Fulbright lectureship at Seoul National University last fall. It will use existing anthropology and sociology conference meetings to foster an internationally-based framework for understanding the social and political dimensions of migration from, to, and within East Asia. It aims to integrate the work of scholars in China, Japan, and Korea without imposing Euro-American theoretical models. This kind of project is a powerful mechanism for increased cross-national cooperation, especially since the issue of migration is so central to many aspects of social change, economic restructuring, and political debate in East Asia. The East Asian experience with migration is profoundly different from that of either North America or Europe and its potential for grounding a more multilateral assessment of the meaning of globalization is therefore particularly high. East Asia has far less permeable physical and cultural borders than do North America or Europe, the issues of internal versus external migration are more intertwined, and the very economic structures are more variable–both within the region and within China as a country.
Assistant Professor of History & Art History
College of Arts & Sciences
“From Dar al-Islam to Diaspora: Exploring Muslim Communal Identity in India”
Dr. Hamdani will be continuing research at the British Library in London, UK for a book manuscript exploring the formation of minority identity in Islam. The book will explore the transition of the Ismaili Shia Bohra community from a ruling community in Egypt in the medieval period to a diaspora community in India in the modern period. She will trace how Muslim communal identity was shaped and reshaped by three stages of dislocation and global diaspora: from Egypt, to Yemen, and finally to India. At all three stages literature generated by the community reflected its relationship with the larger Muslim, and then Hindu context. Her CGS research will cover the Bohra experience in India under the British and then independent secular nationalist Indian state. Court records found in the India Records Office of the British Library and Delhi National Archives reflect the interventions of the British and Indian state in defining communal identity for religious groups in India in the 19th and 20th centuries. In offering an historical analysis of identity formation in Islam which distinguishes between the experience of majority Muslim and minority Muslim communities, her book will provide two perspectives overlooked in the burgeoning field of Islamic studies. Most recent scholarship fails to distinguish between majority and minority identity in Islam, nor has it explored how pre-modern processes of globalization have previously alienated Muslim communities. The Bohra community’s experience serves as an important case study in this regard in understanding the construction of communal identity in Islam.