Oral Presentations - Session 2A: UC 326


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Friday, April 12th
1:40 PM

The End of an Era: The Last King of Siam

Neal Lynch, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

1:40 PM - 2:00 PM

It has been since 1238 that Thailand has had a monarch reigning as head of state. Today’s King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Royal House of Chakri began the world’s longest reign in 1946, and although the coup of 1932 transformed Thailand into a constitutional monarchy, and the King a symbolic figurehead, he is nevertheless a unique head of state. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is revered and nearly deified by his people. He holds many powers, such as the head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, the power of royal assent in order for a bill to become law, and the power of pardon. He is a great influential force in his country and the region. Yet, he is aging rapidly and his health is failing. Ultimately his death is imminent. Drawing on historical texts, contemporary literature, as well as other documentary resources, I will investigate how his death will impact Thailand politically and socially. South East Asia is currently a region of emerging social, economic, and political climates, with Thailand being the central influential entity in this region. Therefore, it is important to understand the cultural dimensions of the political leadership of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and to appreciate the extraordinary transition of this great monarch’s passing.

2:00 PM

Eastern European Migrations: The Craniometric Perspective

Matthew Burgess, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM

The origins of Eastern European populations presents a complex picture of ancestral lineages with many groups sharing different aspects of their culture and genes. The Slavic peoples have contributed much to the Eastern European landscape. Their ancestral homeland of the Slavic peoples remains unknown but has been hypothesized to be one of two places, the Middle Dnieper region of Ukraine or the plains of Poland. This study will test these hypotheses using cranial measurements. There have also been migrations of Asian Steppe peoples who have contributed cultural practices and place names in Eastern Europe. The degree of genetic admixture between the Eastern European peoples and the Asian Steppe peoples has not been resolved, but a common hypothesis is that there was considerable contribution from Asian Steppe gene pools into the populations of Eastern Europe. This study will also test this hypothesis using cranial measurements.

I gathered published data from five Slavic and four Asian steppe populations and tested their relationships using means for six cranial measurements (Maximum Cranial length, Maximum cranial breadth, Zygomatic Breadth, Upper facial height, Orbital height, and Orbital breadth). I used the UPGMA phylogenetic method (statistical cluster analysis) to probe morphological relationships between the nine populations. The results suggest that the Slavic homeland might be the Upper Dnieper region of Western Russia, rather than either Ukraine or Poland. Further, the Slavic Peoples and at least some of the Asian Steppe peoples may be descendants of separate branches of the Scythian peoples of the Bronze Age. The relationship between Asiatic Steppe peoples and Eastern Europeans suggests that while the Steppe peoples have contributed substantial cultural features to Eastern Europe the direction of admixture seems more from Eastern European population into Asiatic Steppe populations.

2:20 PM

Reconstructing Coloma Ghost Town's Demographic Landscape

Jenna Franklin, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

2:20 PM - 2:40 PM

For the past six years, the University of Montana has been researching the mining ghost town of Coloma, Montana. During this long-term research, various M.A. thesis and dissertation projects have helped Coloma become more than just a “mystery camp.” Yet, there are still mines of knowledge left untapped. Coloma offers a unique opportunity to study how humans adapt to a new landscape at a late nineteenth-and-early-twentieth-century mining town of the American West. Anglo-American settlers and European immigrants intermingled in Coloma, fostering a complex community of individuals attempting to scrape a living from the rugged Garnet Range. They would have carried with them traditional cultural practices, beliefs, and social relations. This traditional knowledge would have contributed to the adaptive community’s building of a meaningful place in a new space. How ethnicity and identity factored into an allocation of landscape meaning by the settlers of Coloma is the object of my study. Through an interdisciplinary combination of primary sources, archaeological evidence, and historical structure analysis, this research project attempts to reconstruct the ethnic make-up of Coloma. The results will contribute to a fuller understanding of Coloma’s demographic landscape and bolster further interpretations of landscape learning in mining town communities of the American West.

2:40 PM

Without a Roof: Why Some Missoulians Don't Have Shelter

Travis Tikka, University of Montana - Missoula
Noah Sohl, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

Every night in Missoula, even in the dead of winter, dozens of people, mostly men, sleep outside. They sleep in various locations including alleys, under bridges or construction scaffolding, in vehicles, by the river and in front of local businesses. While emergency shelter exists for adult men and women at the Poverello Center, these individuals cannot or choose not to take advantage of it. This presentation will present results from a variety of data sources to identify the different reasons that some homeless people are not taking advantage of a warm place to sleep. The data we will draw upon includes: ethnographic field notes documenting approximately 50 hours of participant observation at the Poverello Center, two interviews with people experiencing homelessness, Missoula’s 2010 Homeless Needs Assessment report, and other pertinent literature. We expect to find that there are several reasons for people not staying at the shelter. Some may have violated the policies regarding drugs, alcohol, or violence, while others may make a deliberate choice to sleep outside. We believe we will find a myriad of reasons for these decisions. Our findings will inform policy makers, service providers and the general public about the realities and needs of our homeless citizens.

3:00 PM

Tenselessness in Tagalog

Kelsey Fanning, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 326

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM

“Tenseless” languages are typically defined as those which lack obligatory tense morphemes. English would be considered a tensed language because it requires a morphological distinction between past (-ed) and present (-s). Tagalog verbs obligatorily encode for aspect and focus, features that convey how an event occurs and who or what is the most important participant in that event. However, Tagalog does not require tense marking, giving rise to the contested claim that Tagalog is a tenseless language. Resolving this debate requires answering the question as to whether the lack of obligatorily realized tense morpheme truly qualifies Tagalog as tenseless. Because context (and not overt morphology) dictates the temporal interpretation of a verb, I argue that it is unlikely that tense functions as a feature built into Tagalog syntax. I propose that Tagalog lacks the syntactic feature tense, distinguishing it typologically from languages like English which do morphologically encode temporal information.

The Parametric Substantiation Hypothesis (PSH), proposed in Ritter and Wiltschko (2009), states that tense itself is not a universal inflectional feature across the world’s languages. Instead, tense exists as one of several possible inflectional categories that help speakers interpret their relationship to the events described in a discourse. Following the PSH, I propose that Tagalog speakers employ focus to convey relationships between participants in described events and participants in a discourse. In other words, verbal inflection in Tagalog orients speakers with respect to which noun in a clause is most perceptually salient to participants in the discourse, rather than conveying when an event occurred. My analysis contributes to the ongoing discussion of the syntax of tenselessness both in Tagalog and cross-linguistically and offers further support for the PSH.