Karis, Timothy Daniel, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Home and Hanoi: Migration, Native-place, and Urban Citizenship in the Red River Delta,' supervised by Dr. Suzanne A. Brenner
TIMOTHY KARIS, then a student at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, received funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Home and Hanoi: Migration, Native-Place, and Urban Citizenship in the Red River Delta,' supervised by Dr. Suzanne A. Brenner. This research aimed to explore the economic, social, and symbolic connections maintained by Hanoians to native-places (que huong) in the Red River Delta, targeting: 1) the roles of native-place networks in supporting urban migration among citizens lacking legal rights in the city; 2) the operations of 'hometown associations' (hoi dong huong) currently proliferating in Hanoi; and 3) practices of 'returning home' to native villages for events, holidays, and ceremonies. Based on formal and informal interviews and travels between city and countryside, findings demonstrate the substantial and ongoing importance of native-places among both 'unofficial' urban migrants trying to access the necessities of urban life (work, housing, education) absent state support, as well as long-term residents of Hanoi interested in maintaining ancestral identities. Findings also show how native-place relationships change over time: recent migrants reported more material interdependence with rural villages and networks of kin and friends in Hanoi, while established urbanites reported more symbolic relationships based on ritual obligations and organized forms of benefaction.
Duthie, Laurie M., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'White-Collar China: Professionalism and the Making of the New Middle-Class in Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. Yunxiang Yan
LAURIE M. DUTHIE, then a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'White Collar China: Professionalism and the Making of the New Middle-Class in Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. Yunxiang Yan. This project sought to understand the meaning of professionalism for white collar executives employed by foreign-invested corporations in Shanghai, China. Research activities included participant-observation with two foreign-invested corporations, extensive interviews with business professionals, and participant-observation at various business association events. The results of this research highlight the multi-scalar process of identity formation under global capitalism. White collar executives understand their social position through comparison to both their compatriots working for state-owned corporations and also their corporate colleagues from other countries. On a national level, the values of professionalism and essentially 'the meaning of work' is understood in contrast to the state-owned business sector. On a global level, Chinese business professionals are marginalized and face glass ceilings within the global corporations. The reasons for this glass ceiling include geopolitical factors, regional economic trends, as well as the positioning of China as a new and emerging market. From a more qualitative perspective, there is not only a glass ceiling, but moreover a glass wall between Chinese business professionals and their foreign colleagues created through a mutual lack of cultural understanding. To date, this research has resulted in two conference papers, two seminar talks, and a published journal article.
Porter, Dr. Natalie Hannah, U. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH - To aid research and writing on 'Viral Economies: An Ethnography of Bird Flu in Vietnam' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: Viral Economies narrates the story of avian influenza in Vietnam. At this center of viral threats, pandemic control efforts are attracting multinational investment and expertise while sparking controversies over how to contain viruses in commercial and laboratory spaces. In this book I trace several bird flu interventions from their inception in transnational research and policy arenas through to their implementation in poultry farming communities. Throughout the analysis, I use 'viral economies' as a heuristic for understanding the political economies of pandemic planning. I suggest that viral economies are characterized by contested entitlements to the tools and devices of biosecurity - including pathogen samples, poultry vaccines, gene sequences, and antiviral therapies. In developing an ethnographic perspective on the economies surrounding viruses, I argue that the story of avian flu in Vietnam is not a simple one of dispossession from South to North, local to global. Instead, this manuscript reconsiders the direction of resource flows in pandemic planning, and signals emerging tensions between the resolutely 'public' ethos of global health and the increasingly proprietary devices of biosecurity. The book thus invites a consideration of property as a means to theorize contemporary knowledge and value production in the global life sciences.
Kleyna, Mark A., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Spectacles of the Modern: Technology, Development, and the Imagination of the Indian Nation, 1947-1965,' supervised by Dr. Nicholas B. Dirks
Mr. Gaerrang, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh
GAERRANG, then a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh. In the 1990s, seeing an increasing slaughter rate of livestock from Tibetan households and the suffering of livestock in transportation to Chinese markets, the influential Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933-2004), began the anti-slaughter movement. Tibetan pastoralists across the Tibetan Plateau, including those in the study site of Rakhor Village, Hongyuan County, Sichuan, took multiple years' pledges to stop selling livestock to markets. This took place at the same time as the Chinese state was seeking to intensify its economic development agenda in Tibet, trying to shape its citizens to become rational market actors who prioritize commodity production, including by encouraging pastoralists to sell more livestock. This resulted in the negotiation by herders of two very different views of what constitutes development. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork on lamas' motivations and herders' decision-making about the campaign, in order to shed light on the culturally specific, religious idioms through which development is negotiated, and the relationship between markets, subjectivity, and religious revival.
Baig, Noman, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Capital-extraction: Esoteric Islam, Counter-terrorist Surveillance, and Corporate Finance in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Ali
Preliminary abstract: Since the early 1990s, Pakistan's economic policies have been geared towards integrating unregulated money circulation with global financial networks by privatizing banks, developing capital markets, micro-credit lending, and attracting foreign exchange (Nasim 1992). However, after 9/11, under the rubric of security and counter-terrorism, the Pakistani state has further intensified its efforts to discipline vernacular financial practices, particularly the informal money transfer system, generating tensions among local merchants and impacting laborers sending remittance to their country of origin. Against this backdrop, I will conduct an ethnographic study of Bolton Market (in Karachi, Pakistan) to investigate the confluences and cultural-political consequences arising from esoteric Islamic practices, the state's counter-terrorist surveillance, and emerging corporate finance. Moreover, my central argument is that there is a close convergence between the state's counter-terrorist efforts and the way it promotes corporate interests in Pakistan. Conventionally, Pakistan is studied through the over-exhaustive tropes of terrorism, violence, and ethnicity. This research will offer theoretical analysis of emerging cultural forms shaped by competing financial models. Although grounded in Pakistan, my research speaks to a growing body of anthropological work on occult economies, finance, and security as they relate to market forces, globalization, and neoliberalism.
Rofel, Dr. Lisa Beth, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Made in China, Designed in Italy: The Twenty-First Century Silk Road'
DR. LISA ROFEL, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Made in China, Designed in Italy: The Twenty-first Century Silk Road.' This project addressed three questions: 1) how is the cultural contact zone between China and Italy constructing a historically specific form of transnational capitalism in China?; 2) how has this cultural contact zone with Italy enabled changing moral valuations of labor and social inequality in China?; and 3) how has the Italy-China high-fasion textile production led to a culturally and historically specific understanding of desire and 'cosmopolitanism' in China? The field research, conducted in both China and Italy, found that: 1) both subcontracting and changes in the temporality of production and marketing have both arisen out of the cultural contact zone with Italian fashion design firms; 2) most managers have not put the recent socialist past fully behind them and are quite articulate about the poor treatment of workers; and 3) Chinese involved in the textile industry see themselves as successfully cosmopolitan to the extent that they can succeed in all aspects of the textile industry, including those aspects in which the Italians still predominate -- design, and marketing in Europe and the U.S.
Grayman, Jesse Hession, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Localizing the Global Discourse on Humanitarianism: Indonesian NGO Workers and Tsunami Relief in Aceh,' supervised by Dr. Byron Good
JESSE GRAYMAN, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Localizing the Global Discourse on Humanitarianism: Indonesian NGO Workers and Tsunami Relief in Aceh,' supervised by Dr. Byron Good. The earthquake and tsunami disasters of 26 December 2004 ushered in a critical historical moment for the Indonesian province of Aceh, a moment tied inextricably to the arrival of many local and international humanitarian relief organizations working in the region. The purpose of this research is to observe and analyze the social effects of the humanitarian presence in Aceh following this unprecedented natural disaster. The research is situated within anthropological debates about humanitarian interventions that have arisen alongside the growth and increasing importance of humanitarian organizations in the management of world affairs. In particular, this study identifies the Indonesian staffs of international organizations providing tsunami relief and post-conflict assistance in Aceh as a 'site' for ethnographic inquiry into these debates. An ethnography of local NGO staffs sits within and potentially connects a triad of established ethnographic sites that characterize the humanitarian narrative: ethnographies of the bureaucratic state, the voiceless refugee, and the international humanitarian. The NGO worker is not merely a link between the three corners of this triad, but also an embodiment and bearer of local logics of intervention, always tailoring the demands of the humanitarian narrative to contingencies on the ground, often with unexpected outcomes.
Brandisauskas, Donatas, Aberdeen U., Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'Beliefs and Practices among Hunters and Gatherers in the Zabaikalja Region, Russia,' supervised by Dr. David G. Anderson
DONATAS BRANDISAUSKAS, then a student at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland, received funding in January 2005 to aid research on 'Beliefs and Practices among Hunters and Gatherers in the Zabaikalja Region, Russia,' supervised by Dr. David G. Anderson. Ethnographic research was conducted among Orochen-Evenki hunters' and reindeer herders' communities from January to December 2005 in the northern part of Chita district and Buriatiia Republic in Eastern Siberia (Russia). The research explored how Orochen relationship between cosmology and environment has changed because of external stresses such as the establishment of the Soviet! Post-Soviet policies. It focused on the everyday activities and discourses of indigenous Siberians as they hunt, herd reindeer, and fish to explore the concept of 'odiun.' (master, ruler) which is crucial to understanding the way in which the indigenous relate to places. 'Odiun' is a 'root metaphor' for the social power configuration of the world in Orochen realities that is also found widely throughout Siberian natives. 'Odiun' can designate spiritual entities like the masters of mountains, lakes, or rivers and it can be explained as a 'ruler' or a 'host' of a particular place, referring to any sentient being. Research discovered that 'masterhood' can be used as analytical concept to tie together many disparate concepts such as cosmological knowledge, power, perception of landscape and animals, and recent political discourses. It can serve as excellent explanatory concept crucial to many Asian societies.