Wang, Jing, Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation, Hong Kong, P.R. China - to aid training in social/cultural anthropology at Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH, supervised by Dr. Melvyn Goldstein
Abelmann, Dr. Nancy, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and Dr. Hae-Joang Cho, Yonsei U., Seoul, South Korea - To aid collaborative research on 'The Anxious South Korean Student: Globalization, Human Capital, and Class'
Pham, Yamoi, Binghamton U., Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'The Value of Spit: The Natural and Social Life of Edible Birds' Nests,' supervised by Dr. Shelley Feldman
Preliminary abstract: This project investigates the social life of edible swiftlet nests in their transformation from a centuries-old foraged commodity into a high-tech product of avicultural mass production. Originating as a tributary gift to Chinese emperors from Southeast Asia, the nests remain a highly praised commodity across the Chinese-speaking world. In the late 1990s, a new industry based on the semi-domestication of the swiftlets and the construction of special birdhouses has thrived to satisfy the appetite of China's burgeoning middle class. Through conducting a year-long ethnographic study of swiftlet farming in Malaysia, I trace the commodity career of the nests as entangled in the Southeast Asian socio-ecological environment, overseas Chinese trading networks, and Chinese medicinal beliefs about exotic ingredients. I am curious about a) the role of modern sciences, technology and practical forms of knowledge in this process of taming nature in production, b) how the new swiftlet farming industry reshapes the existing social-economic relations of trade and circulation and c) how traditional practices of consumption are sustained and transformed through commercialization. By examining the process of the diverse agents/actants who create, circulate and consume value through swiftlet nests, I ultimately hope to engage the anthropological theory of value to understand the socio-ecologically constituted process of valuation and the complexity of sources and forms of value.
Kim, Ji Eun, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Building the Future and Mapping the Past: Urban Regeneration and Politics of Memory in Yokohama, Japan,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer Robertson
JI EUN KIM, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Building the Future and Mapping the Past: Urban Regeneration and Politics of Memory in Yokohama, Japan,' supervised by Dr. Jennifer Robertson. Based on eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Kotobuki district, Yokohama City, this research project delved into the institutionalization of a marginalized enclave shaped around the enterprise of protecting and managing the lives of the homeless in Japan. In order to understand the malleability and constancy of Kotobuki district as an urban underclass enclave, this research delved into three aspects: 1) the historical junctures that led to the institutionalization of the homeless support activities in Kotobuki based on the agenda to secure 'the right to survive;' 2) the spatial politics that places Kotobuki district at the hub of the homeless rescue regime that stretches out to the city, and the place-making activities within the district shaping it as an asylum town; and 3) the emergent social critique and alternative aspirations of life amidst the dialogic learning among diverse actors (the homeless, welfare recipients, activists, volunteers, welfare and medical experts) in Kotobuki.
Gerkey, Andrew Patrick, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'From State Collectives to Local Commons: Koryak Salmon Fishers and Reindeer Herders in the Russian Far East,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk
DREW GERKEY, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received a grant in June 2007 to aid research on 'From State Collectives to Local Commons: Koryak Salmon Fishers and Reindeer Herders in the Russian Far East,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk. This project examined cooperation and collective action among Koryak salmon fishers and reindeer herders living on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. The grantee completed eleven months of research (October 2007-August 2008) at several locations, including the regional capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and three villages in the Oliutorsky District (Tilichiki, Khailino, and Vyvenka). The primary goals of this project were to understand how contemporary fishers and herders negotiate cooperative relationships, and how differing cultural norms and values embodied in collective institutions affect these negotiations. The grantee worked with fishers and herders in two kinds of collective institutions: 1) government owned and managed collectives formed during the Soviet era (sovkhoz); and 2) privately owned and managed collectives created during the post-Soviet era (obshchina). A variety of qualitative and quantitative ethnographic methods were used to collect data on cooperation within these collectives, including participant observation, interviews, surveys, and experimental economic games. These ethnographic data can be synthesized to understand the conditions that foster cooperation within sovkhoz and obshchina collectives and the factors that cause cooperation to break down.
Wu, Ifan, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Doing Qigong in Malaysia: Religious Healing and the Production of Chinese Identities,' supervised by Dr. Steven Sangren
Preliminary abstract: Qigong, an ancient Chinese healing practice, has become increasingly popular among the female Chinese minority in Malaysia. Grounded on the belief that cosmic energy is polluted and stagnant and therefore 'blocks' one's physical energy, qigong heals by allowing practitioners to clear 'blockage,' a diagnosis that covers everything from a stiff neck to frustrations with the pursuit of personal success. As a reliever of individuals' dissatisfactions, qigong may bear traces of social anxieties suffered under culturally repressive regulations and economic structures associated with, on the one hand, Chinese patriliny and, on the other, the New Economic Policy, which prioritizes the Muslim Malay bourgeoisie's social welfare while reifying ethnic and class boundaries. To track how expressions of distress and qigong solutions are related to practitioners' social experiences and interactions, I will conduct one year of fieldwork in Penang. In describing how, based on gender roles, class, and ethnicity, practitioners address and work through their somatic frustrations and existential quandaries by using diverse knowledge systems that are transmitted across cultural contexts, my research will examine how individual practitioners, indirectly expressing their internalized political and social frustrations during qigong practices, produce desires and identities that simultaneously accommodate and resist patriliny and the state's agenda.
Bauer, Kenneth M., Oxford U., Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Land Use Change and Socio-Economic Transformations among Nomads in Porong, Central Tibet,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Rival
KENNETH M. BAUER, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in September 2003 to aid research on 'Land Use Change and Socio-Economic Transformations among Nomads in Porong, Central Tibet,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Rival. This field research investigated land use change and the impacts of government development policies among Tibetan pastoralists during the second half of the twentieth century. This work describes and analyzes the rhetoric and implementation of development policies by the Chinese government in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This history of land use dynamics, socio-economic change, and policy phases, is grounded in a case study of Porong Township (Nyelam County, Shigatse Prefecture, TAR, PRC). The grantee gathered several kinds of evidence, which will be interpreted using a multi-disciplinary approach. Support enabled the grantee to collect and translate historical texts describing land use and to interview pastoralists, government agents, and NGO workers, as well as work with local pastoralists to map historical and contemporary pasture boundaries.
Haanstad, Eric J., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
ERIC J. HAANSTAD, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Research pursued an ethnographic examination of the Thai police. To provide historical contextualization for the project, the grantee used archival sources to gather police histories, Thai-language works on police-related topics, and interviews with retired Thai police officers. This portion of the research is expected to result in the flrst extensive English language history of the Thai police. Using an 'incident-based' methodology, fieldwork focused on three major police social-order campaigns: a three-month drug suppression campaign, a three-month 'War on Dark Influence,' and the massive security preparations for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Bangkok. These campaigns culminated in a national public spectacle in December declaring a 'drug- free Thailand.' Ethnographic data was drawn from a wide variety of sources including more than a hundred interviews (with Thai police officers, DEA agents, taxi drivers, hospital administrators and the director of the Thai Forensic Science Institute); Thai TV news coverage of coundess police raids; anti-drug music recordings of classically-trained police singers; and issues of 'Top Cop' magazines with glossy centerfolds of SWAT teams and automatic weaponry. Using this data, research shows how social control is part of a local cultural-historical context and how the police are key performers/ symbols in the construction of order by the state.