Bentley, Dr. Gillian R., U. College London, London, United Kingdom; and Dr. Farid U. Ahamed, Chittagong U., Chittagong, Bangladesh - To aid collaborative research on 'Influences on Male Migrant/Nonmigrant Bangladeshi: Female Body Shape Preferences'
Lau, Chi Chung, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Imitation by Design: The Politics of Shanzhai in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Hugh Raffles
Preliminary abstract: 'Shanzhai,' a word drawn from classical Chinese literature that originally describes mountain villages occupied by rebellious bandits, now refers to an unusual form of fakes and counterfeits in China. What people call a 'shanzhai iPhone,' for example, is not exactly a fake. Instead, the unique design features that come with the knockoff product arguably make the shanzhai iPhone an even better product (at least in some respects) than its original counterpart. While these shanzhai products imitate, they show surprising innovation and creativity. The unusual strategy of manufacture and design of shanzhai, together with its surprising (and sometimes illegal) tweaks and local customizations, not only make the shanzhai product extremely popular in China, it has also made the shanzhai into a form of totem. Rather than merely being a copy of established (Western) brands or products, the shanzhai is often regarded in China as 'design for the people,' 'grassroots innovation,' or even as a rebellious response to power and the establishment. This research intends to understand: 1.The emergence of shanzhai electronics manufacturing in China. 2.The relationships between shanzhai manufacturing and the cultural history of modern China. 3.The political space and forms of opposition and accommodation created and expressed by shanzhai design.
Zhang, Amy Qiubei, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Recycled Cities: Remaking Waste in Post-reform Urban China,' supervised by Dr. Helen F. Siu
Preliminary abstract: China's post-reform cities have transformed from centers of production to centers of consumption, and large urban centers like Guangzhou and Beijing currently face a mounting waste crisis as official treatment facilities near capacity. This project follows the circulation of waste objects as they move through official schemes of Waste-to-Energy (WTE incineration), formal recycling programs, protests, and informal scavenging practices and uncovers the entangled values, aspirations, and desires of three groups of actors in their divergent but intersecting attempts to transform waste into something of value in urban China. By examining the debate over how waste is handled by waste experts, waste activists, and the resourcefulness of informal scavengers in their efforts to manage waste, this project addresses what state technological projects, grassroots environmental initiatives, and everyday survival practices suggest about how the urban environment is being remade in contemporary China and in the rapidly developing cities of the global south. This project will inquire into the following three questions: (1) What are the diverse forms of material engagements, meanings, and values (for livelihood and the environment) implicit in various strategies of waste management? (2) How do state-driven waste management schemes, such as WTE incineration and the formalization of recycling, draw on scientific knowledge to win public support, and how do alternative ways of knowing waste challenge these claims? (3) What can the interactions between waste experts, activists, and informal scavengers tell us about governance, ingenuity, and contestation in the re- making of China's urban environment?
Hampel, Amir, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Changing Selves in a Transforming Society: How Shy Chinese Learn the Virtues of Self Assertion,' supervised by Dr. Richard Allan Shweder
Preliminary abstract: Recent reports from China suggest that shy and reserved behavior, which used to be accepted and even encouraged, is increasingly regarded as an undesirable obstacle to personal advancement. Books, websites, and seminars teaching people how to become more assertive and outgoing have become extremely popular. Relating new norms of behavior to changes in economic, social, and moral life, I will study how shy students and alumni from universities in Beijing understand themselves and the social world and how self-confidence training groups and psychological education classes in schools promote the virtues of self-assertion. In a society built around enduring social bonds, shy and reserved behavior was interpreted as an intelligently cautious and commendably selfless social strategy. However, following the collapse of traditional society and the communist economy, individuals have been largely disentangled from collective ties to the family and the work unit. In the new market economy, people are forced to compete for their livelihoods, and new opportunities for consumption and modes of interaction force people to define their style and their social identity and to pursue their desires. To understand these social changes, this study will examine how Chinese people are learning that shyness and reserve are problematic.
Sheldon, Victoria Lynne Charlotte, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The 'Natural' is Political: Transforming Cancer, Temporality, and Ethical Relations Through 'Nature Cure' in Kerala,' supervised by Dr. Michael Lambek
Preliminary abstract: My project examines how alternative therapeutic expressions of cancer transform in relation to moral and political imaginaries in Kerala, south India. Despite having a rich history of holistic therapy, the last fifteen years has seen a dramatic rise in what is locally called 'Nature Cure' (prakriti chikitsa). In opposition to the state 'Medical Mafia', 'natural' therapies have been increasingly used to manage Kerala's rising chronic 'lifestyle' illness: cancer. At 7-day 'cure camps' held throughout India's 'cancer capital', patients within early and advanced stages of cancer practice a diverse set of non-invasive therapeutic modalities, linked together through their common idiom of being 'natural' and through explicit reference to Gandhian virtues of nonviolence (ahimsa), self-rule (swaraj) and 'truth force' (satyagraha). It has been argued that Gandhi's somatic politics have declined in public significance since Indian Independence, due to the market logic of mass media (Alter 2000; Mazzarella 2010). Yet in Kerala, Gandhian theories of the body and temporality have become central to 'Nature Cure.' This is not a revival: during the late colonial period, caste movements and communism in Kerala informed politics far more than did Gandhian nationalism (Menon 1994). My research question is: how do investments in particular forms of 'natural' therapy for the rising regional issue of cancer reimagine the body and serve as symptoms of social ferment and sites of post-colonial political action?
Chattaraj, Durba, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Between the City and the Sea:Transport and Connectivity in West Bengal,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Blom Hansen
DR. PARTH R. CHAUHAN, Stone Age Institute, Gosport, Indiana, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Palaeoanthropological Surveys and GIS Mapping in the Narmada Basin, Central India.' Due to future extensive submergence from large-dams in the Narmada Basin, the project's goal was to carry out a systematic survey for palaeoanthropological occurrences in stratified contexts and also create multi-layer GIS maps of known and new find-spots, sites, and localities, and associated stratigraphic sections in relation to geological formations of the valley. The field strategy involved locating, mapping and documenting as many sites as possible within an area of 60 sq-km, between the Tawa and Sher tributaries. Using multidisciplinary data, the research team constructed models of land-use patterns during the Paleolithic. For example, the Early Acheulean and Late Acheulean and Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic are geographically separate, despite shared raw material preference and locations (fine-grained Vindhyan quartzite). Additional work involved preliminary test-excavations or test-trenching at promising sites to understand the stratigraphic context of the associated material (e.g. lithics, fossils, geological features) and absolute dating possibilities. The most significant discoveries include: 1) high density of artifacts at Dhansi (the oldest-known site in the Basin and possibly in India); 2) Late Acheulean artifacts associated with an extensive paleochannel; 3) rare stratified Early Acheulean occurrences; 4) and the most complete Late Pleistocene elephant recovered in buried context.
Chatterjee, Moyukh, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft
MOYUKH CHATTERJEE, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft. This project examines how mass violence unfolds across legal institutions of state redress and its implications for survivors and human-rights NGOs struggling for justice in India. Despite numerous official commissions of inquiry, human-rights activism, and civil society efforts, mass violence against minorities -- supported by state officials and militant rightwing organizations -- goes largely unpunished in India. By examining the production, circulation, and interpretation of police and legal documents within different state institutions, and victim and NGO efforts to challenge state impunity, this project examines state writing practices and its effects on legal accountability. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in lower courts, legal-aid NGOs, and survivors/complainants of the anti-Muslim violence in 2002, this project outlines how law courts obfuscate individual culpability, invalidate victims' testimony, and render sexual and gendered violence against minorities invisible. The study examines the role of legal and police documents in enabling the state apparatus to regulate what can be officially seen and said about public acts of mass violence involving ruling politicians and state officials, and its implications for survivors, human-rights activists, and NGOs fighting for legal justice.
Maitra, Saikat, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Labouring to Create Magic: New Worker-subjectivity, State and Capital in Kolkata,' supervised by Dr. Kaushik Ghosh
SAIKAT MAITRA, then a student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Laboring to Create Magic: New Worker-Subjectivity, State and Capital in Kolkata,' supervised by Dr. Kaushik Ghosh. The project investigates the formation of a new worker-subjectivity among youth populations employed in upscale retail spaces in Kolkata, India. Under the liberalizing effects of a formerly socialist government in Kolkata and private investments flowing into the organized retail sector of the city, a large number of jobs are being created in this sector. Most of the employees in the lower segments of this sector are from socially under-privileged backgrounds for whom jobs in such spaces offer them the thrills of participating in a global lifestyle of high-end consumption, otherwise unavailable to them. However, with the reluctance of the state to intervene in the protection of labor rights in private retail institutions, these young workers have to negotiate with increasingly precarious work environments demanding constant flexibility, pressures to maintain sales targets and the ever-present threat of job loss. The dissertation fieldwork focuses on the ways in which the subjectivity of these workers are being molded through negotiations between the institutional forces of the state and corporate capital trying to produce malleable and self-regulated workers and the employees' subjective desires for class mobility and better ways of inhabiting the urban space.
Huang, Dr. Shu-min, Iowa State U., Ames, IA; and Rakariyatham, Dr. Pong-In, Chiang Mai U., Chiang Mai, Thailand - To aid collaboration on Chinese diasporic communities in highland northern Thailand: ecology, identity, and transnationalism
Su, Hsiao-Ling, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Counterfeit Goods, the State, and Intellectual Property Rights: An Ethnography of Legal Consciousness in Post-Socialist China,' supervised by Dr. Yongming Zhou
Preliminary abstract: China, upon its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, became obliged to abide by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Property Rights (TRIPS) that protects intellectual property. The concept of private ownership embedded in Intellectual Property Rights, however, contrasts with vaguely defined local property relations and contradicts practices of reciprocity common in China. Through an ethnographic study of the Xinyang Market and Haining China Leather Market in the Yangtze River Delta, this study investigates the emergence and formation of a legal consciousness of intellectual property rights in a context where legal reforms enforce private ownership and yet long-practiced customs of reciprocal exchange continue. I will examine the processes by which retail shopkeepers, sales staff, and owners of legitimately registered brands in the two markets experience, interpret, and negotiate their understandings of copyright and trademark laws, ideas as property, and property in general while they engage in the practices of selling counterfeit goods and building local brands. By studying the positions and the daily lives of shopkeepers, sales staff, and brand owners-many of whom are at the margins of legality, the proposed activity will lead to the first empirical study that examines legal consciousness of IPR in a society undergoing a post-socialist transition in Anthropology. This study will make valuable intellectual contributions--to the theoretical development of anthropology of law, to the cultural analysis of property, to ethnographic approaches to the state, and to the cross-disciplinary study of IPR as part of globalization--by revealing the power and limits of the Euro-American-based law in a different cultural context through the mediation of the state and cultural practices. With this project I intend to enhance our understanding of the contemporary Chinese state and to enrich scholarly understanding of the phenomenon labeled 'counterfeiting'.