Michael Sheridan Receives Dumbarton Oaks Grant
Michael Sheridan (Sociology-Anthropology) has received a Dumbarton Oaks Project Grant for a project titled Ethnobotany, symbolism, and property rights institutions in tropical agrarian societies. The grant will support his ongoing research on botanically similar plants that delineate property lines, mark graves, and symbolize peace throughout tropical Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania. During his 14-15 leave, he will revisit St. Vincent, Cameroon, and Tanzania for ethnographic fieldwork on these plants and expand the project to Polynesia. “Boundary plants” remain meaningful despite social and ecological change because they embed both property rights and social values into landscapes. The resulting work will describe the symbolic, social, and ecological commonalities of these plants in agrarian societies, and explore how these focal points of property, identity, and meaning shape tropical landscapes.