Goldfarb, Kathryn Elissa, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'National-Cultural Ideologies and Medical-Legal Practices: Infertility, Adoption, and Japanese Public Policy,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar
KATHRYN E. GOLDFARB, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'National-Cultural Ideologies and Medical-Legal Practices: Infertility, Adoption, and Japanese Public Policy,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar. Only 9% of the 40,000 children in Japanese state care live with foster parents, and there are less than 500 annual adoptions in which an adult adopts an unrelated and unknown child. Many people claim that fostering and adoption will never be common practices because Japanese people prioritize blood relationships in families. This research is an effort to separate ideologies surrounding blood relationships from factors within the child welfare system that shape family practices, and to understand, on a systemic level, the relationships among people, institutions, and legal structures that shape contemporary family practices in situations where 'family' cannot be taken for granted. This project is a multi-sited ethnographic study based on participant-observation and interviews with people involved in three distinct constructions of family: couples that pursue infertility treatment; families with adopted or foster children; and people involved in institutional care and these care recipients. The grantee argues that cultural ideologies valorizing blood relationships are institutionalized within the child welfare system itself, particularly in the ways that notions of 'parental rights' effectively prevent children's placement in foster or adoptive care. Rather than solidifying kinship, it is posited that blood relationships can be a very real source of danger and dissolution.
Bordia, Devika, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Local Governance Through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen
DEVIKA BORDIA, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Local Governance through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen. This project examines the relationship between legal and governmental institutions of the state, tribal panchayats, local community institutions. The grantee conducted fieldwork in the 'tribal' region of Southern Udaipur, Western India, tracing cases related to murder, violence, land claims and domestic disputes. The ways in which these cases were addressed involved complex negotiations between leaders of tribal panchayats, the police, lawyers and magistrates. This revealed how supposedly distinct legal systems are in effect a range of overlapping institutions, actors, artifacts and languages that evoke various formations of individual and community. Articulations of crime and violence within legal codes, though abstracted from local contexts for the sake of objectivity, are reflective of people and place and assume certain ideas of what it means to be 'tribal.' The project also examines the way in which language and ideas of the law weave into the fabric of everyday life and are used by leaders of panchayats in their work of dispute resolution. The grantee conducted extensive interviews and traveled with local leaders to understand the different ways they gain visibility and derive legitimacy. An examination of state organizations, NGOs and different social movements demonstrate how ideas of indigeneity are generated through their work, and the ways these ideas find their way into every day legal processes.
Shneiderman, Dr. Sara Beth, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Restructuring Life: Citizenship, Territory and Religiosity in Nepal's State of Transition'
Preliminary abstract: How do we imagine the ideal state that we aspire to live in? I address this question in anthropological terms through a multi-sited ethnography of state restructuring in Nepal since 2006. In the wake of a decade-long civil conflict between Maoist and state forces in this erstwhile unitary Himalayan kingdom turned secular democratic federal republic of nearly 30 million, I transpose Victor Turner's long-standing 'invitation to investigators of ritual to focus their attention on the phenomena and processes of mid-transition' (1967: 110) to the political realm. Despite a 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, a new constitution has yet to be promulgated, making 2014 the eighth year of Nepal's 'mid-transition'. I ask: In this temporally protracted liminal state, how do discourses and practices of restructuring articulated at the national and global level work to produce affective experiences of transformation for ordinary citizens in a range of locales outside the political center of Kathmandu? How do these experiences of transformation shape the political consciousness and aspirations of individuals and collectivities? How are such aspirations expressed in discursive and material terms, and what do they tell us about the structural and functional dimensions of the imagined state of the future? Finally, how do such localized imaginaries of ideal state structure intersect with national and transnational visions of order as articulated by both Nepali and international institutional actors? I address these questions through a focus on the domains of citizenship, territory and religiosity as spaces within which imaginaries of the state's functions and structures in transition are revealed in both material and discursive terms.
Maunaguru, Sidharthan, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Brokering Marriage: War, Displacement, and the Production of Futures among Jaffna Tamils,' supervised by Professor Veena Das
SIDHARTHAN MAUNAGURU, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in November 2006 to aid research on 'Brokering Marriage: War, Displacement, and the Production of Futures among Jaffna Tamils,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Three decades of prolonged war in Sri Lanka has devastated the social and economic landscape of Sri Lankan communities, making their lives insecure and disrupting their social relations. Under these conditions of enforced dispersion this research is designed to look at ways in which marriage has emerged as one of the most significant ways by which people are not only moved out of places of insecurity, but also by which people are brought together. Specifically, the project focuses on the role of marriage as a way of building alliances between dispersed members of Tamil communities, and the manner in which these communities secure a future from the fragments of their devastated habitus through marriage. The research has concluded that: 1) in this process, the renewed expertise the marriage broker, in consultation with priests, astrologers and official legal instruments, is a primary character in negotiating these fragments, even as states constantly work to block and prevent the movement of newly married couples across border; and 2) in this process of negotiation traditional categories of kin, family, and marriage are transformed and rearticulated to adjust both to the context of an altered landscape and to the demands of hosting states.
Hasinoff, Erin, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall
ERIN L. HASINOFF, a student at Columbia University, New York, received funding in December 2005 to aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall. The grant was used to study the Missionary Exhibit, a fragmentary collection of ethnological artifacts that was accessioned by Franz Boas of the American Museum of Natural History following the close of the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions of 1900. The project assessed how the Burmese portion of this unstudied collection inventoried Burma (today, Myanmar), and traced its legacy: the production of Burmese identities in contemporary cultural museums in Myitkyina, Putao, Hkamti and Layshi. By critically engaging the object biography approach, this investigation looked at how the Missionary Exhibit materialized and continues to shape inventories of Burma, now at the periphery of anthropological knowledge. This research considered how artifacts were not just expressions of a new context, but were also technologies that created the context anew. This is premised on the idea that objects came to embody information about Burma, while also acting as agents in the relationships that developed between specific Burmese missionaries and anthropologists. Research followed the contours of the Exhibit's collection history back to Burma by considering how identities are produced in cultural museums. The study contributes to our understanding of the missionary imagination and its material entanglements over time, as well as to the politics and performance of cultural identity in museums today.
Chen, Junjie, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'When the State Claims the Intimate: Population Control and Constructions of Rural Identity in China,' supervised by Dr. Alma Gottlieb
JUNJIE CHEN, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received funding in June 2004 to aid research on 'When the State Claims the Intimate: Population Control and Constructions of Rural Identity in China,' supervised by Dr. Alma Gottlieb. This dissertation fieldwork project explores how a prolonged series of discursive constructions of peasants as 'backward' subjects by the Chinese government has served to legitimize the state's sustained intrusion into the seemingly private event of reproduction in rural China, and in turn how rural residents respond to and interpret this intrusion. The fieldwork was conducted in and around a multi-ethnic Manchu-Han village in northeastern China from July 2004 to August 2005. Data was collected mainly through intensive interviews, participant observation, and household surveys. Reading villagers' subjective experiences of reproduction against the state's hegemonic claims in shaping rural lives, this project aims to chart how rural citizens think about, talk about, and manage their fertility strategies and habits in the face of the state's continuing claims on their most intimate practices. In so doing, this project further explores complex situations and predicaments that both Manchu and Han peasants have faced, and continue to face, due to the state's sustained intrusion into the private event of reproduction at the intersection of gender, class, ethnicity, and urban-rural spaces over the past three decades.
Swart, Patricia L., New School U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Film Practices, Globalization, and the Public Sphere in Kerala, India,' supervised by Dr. Rayna Rapp
PATRICIA L. SWART, while a student at New School University in New York, New York, was granted an award in December 2002 to aid research on film practices, globalization, and the public sphere in the state of Kerala, India, under the supervision of Dr. Rayna Rapp. Swart examined the ways in which globalization processes had transformed the portrayal of women in popular and art films and women's spectatorship of films in Kerala. Changes in film texts and spectatorship were found to be linked to shifts in gender identity, concepts of citizenship, and the shaping of the public sphere-all unique reactions to globalization in Kerala. Although the state had a long history of global trade and cultural assimilation, the newest wave of globalization had inspired violent protests and demonstrations. The Malayalam-language cinema of Kerala responded to global changes by making films that reverted from formerly more liberal and enlightened portrayals of women to a kind of traditionalism that glorified patriarchal behaviors and attitudes. Swart conducted fieldwork in several primary areas: spectatorship practices, film institutions, and film texts. Interviews, participant observation, and a study of archival sources indicated that despite Kerala's reputation as a model of development, women in the state were subjected to increasing restrictions on their mobility and participation in public events and to increasing violence and sexual harassment. Research on film and gender showed the links between globalization, inequality, and repression by revealing some of the tensions extant in Kerala, including high unemployment, increasing consumerism, and a high rate of suicide among women.
Murphy, Daniel Joseph, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little
DANIEL J. MURPHY, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little. This project investigated the ways in which increasing rural inequality in post-socialist Mongolia has altered common-property resource management institutions, access to pastoral resources, and resources use patterns. The researcher carried out this project in the third bag (Uguumur district) of Bayankhutag soum (county), Khentii aimag (province) in eastern Mongolia and employed a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (including participant observation, surveying, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing, and case-study analysis) to investigate the research questions. The project found that general socio-economic inequality and commercialization in pastoral society, rather than solely absentee herd-ownership as hypothesized, has fostered divergent herd management practices and resource use strategies. Moreover, the research has found that these changes, in combination with neo-liberal governance reforms such as decentralization, have altered community dynamics and the effectiveness of community level institutions to regulate resource use. This research will contribute to: 1) new understandings of common property systems and theories of 'community;' 2) expansion of anthropological investigations of property relations under post-socialism to common-property systems; and 3) anthropological studies of pastoral inequality.
Hui, Dr. Yew-Foong, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore - To aid research & writing on 'Strangers at Home: History, Mobility, and Subjectivity Among the Chinese Communities of West Kalimantan, Indonesia' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. YEW-FOONG HUI, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2009, to aid research and writing on 'Strangers at Home: History, Mobility, and Subjectivity among the Chinese Communities of West Kalimantan, Indonesia.' This is a book project based on an anthropological-historical study of Chinese communities from West Kalimantan, Indonesia. While most studies of the Chinese diaspora take China as the point of origin and departure for Chinese overseas, this study looks at the migratory trajectories of Chinese communities by situating West Kalimantan as the starting point. From this perspective, the book examines events such as the departure of Chinese for Communist China in the 1950s to participate in the socialist construction of the homeland, the mass exodus of Chinese during 1959-1961 as a result of economic nationalism and ethnic discrimination in Indonesia, and the eviction of Chinese from the West Kalimantan hinterland due to ethnic violence in 1967. Whether such trajectories are inspired by desire for a mythical homeland, or actuated through symbolic or real violence, they demonstrate the impact of history and mobility on the Chinese subject. Through such historical events, the notions of 'stranger' and 'home' -- and what they imply for the Chinese subject -- is examined. In turn, this book argues for the centrality of history and mobility in the production of subjectivity among the Chinese overseas, particularly in the context of the emergence of post-colonial nation-states.
Cook, Ian Michael, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'The City as a River: A Rhythmanalysis of Mangalore,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Monterescu
IAN M. COOK, then a student at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'The City as a River: A Rhythmanalysis of Mangalore,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Monterescu. This project proposes a novel approach to the anthropology of time and space through a relational inquiry into the practical rhythms of urban life -- rhythms that mediate and constitute realities in urban India. The research folds class and power into urban spaces and times by embedding the inquiry in everyday life. India's ongoing rapid urbanization, in part linked to the economic liberalization begun in the mid-1980s, is producing a multitude of overlapping rhythms that open up both possibilities and constraints for urban dwellers across the country. The proposed research examines how the river-like rhythms 'dress' a city's inhabitants and, in doing so, increase and diminish opportunities to exercise 'urban agency.' The research argues that the (in)ability to harness the city's rhythms, which leads to greater and lesser degrees of urban-agency, rests upon certain combinations of repetition and difference. Research was conducted amongst moving vendors, auto rickshaw drivers, and housing agents. These groups are a means through which to understand the city more generally -- though necessarily partially -- from the bottom up; to explore how their many different rhythms combine and contrast with the wider rhythms of the city.