Coelho, Dr. Karen, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid 'Of Engineers, Rationalities, and Rule: An Ethnography of Neoliberal Reform in an Urban Water Utility' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. KAREN COELHO, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in June 2005, to aid research and writing on 'Of Engineers, Rationalities, and Rule: An Ethnography of Neoliberal Reform in an Urban Water Utility.' During the fellowship year, the grantee produced two articles of very different character and style, and for very different audiences. One article was an analysis of the national trends in water sector reforms based on a case study of Chennai's water utility. A second published article explored collective, contentious and transgressive practices of urban citizenship as articulated in claims to water in the city of Chennai. The grantee was able to complete seven of eight chapters for a book manuscript and prospectus that will be sent to various publishing houses.
Coelho, Karen. 2005. The Political Economy of Public Sector Water Utilities Reform. Infochange Agenda, Issue 3. Center for Communication and Development Studies: Chennai.
Coelho, Karen. 2006. Tapping In: Leaky Sovereignties and Engineered Dis(order) in an Urban Water System. SARAI Reader 06. Center for the Study of Developing Societies: New Delhi.
Mookherjee, Nayanika, Lancaster U., Lancaster, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'Specters and Utopias: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. NAYANIKA MOOKHERJEE, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in June 2005 to aid research and writing on 'Specters and Utopias: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971.' 'Specters and Utopias' is a book-length project which aims to map out the public memories of sexual violence of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Situated within the context of anthropology of gender, violence, body, the state and South Asia this is rooted in the paradigm of political and historical anthropology. The study is discursive, is based on fieldworks in 1997-1998,2003,2005-2006 in Dhaka and Enayetpur, a village in west Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the end of the nine-month long war in 1971 found 3 million dead and 200,000 women raped by the Pakistani army and their local collaborators. After the war, in an attempt to rehabilitate the women raped, the state eulogised them as birangonas (war-heroines). Within the context of a transnational global language of human rights, in Bangladesh, the histories of rape exist on one hand, in the realms of the valorised, national imaginary among the state and civil society through the processes of documentation of narratives of rape. On the other hand, the lived-in experience of the war-heroines provides a reconceptualisation about the 'trauma' involved in the violence of rape vis-a-vis the natio,nal documentation of their history. The study concludes that these public memories of rape based on political, historical and social contingency, suppress the experiences and needs of birangonas. The focus on intersubjective lived experiences of the raped women can alone ensure an ethical exploration of the sexuality of war, its processes of gendering and its effect on the individuals affected by sexual violence.
Jung, Jin-Heon, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Post-Division Citizenship: The Christian Encounters of North Korean Refugees and South Korean Protestant Church,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Abelmann
JIN-HEON JUNG, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'Post-Division Citizenship: The Christian Encounters of North Korean Refugees and the South Korean Protestant Church,' supervised by Dr. Nancy Abelmann. Dissertation fieldwork, conducted at a church-sponsored training program, 'Freedom School,' for North Korean migrants in Seoul, Korea, from January to December 2007. This field research is an attempt to understand a historical juncture of the Korean peninsula when its people are simultaneously facing post-division, transnational, and multi-cultural flows of people, products, and capital at a rapid pace. This ethnographic study investigates Freedom School as a contact zone in which North Korean migrants and South Korean Christians are struggling to assimilate with each other in conditions simulating a reunified post-division community, where they encounter unexpected, multilayered cultural differences that problematize the very idea of ethnic homogeneity. Indeed, this analysis focuses on Christianity as the main medium that mediates this co-ethnic relationship. Both North Korean migrants and South Korean Christians invoke the concept of true Christianity in order to mediate their various differences and to promote their desire for national unity in religious terms. The grantee argues that while Christianity works to depoliticize the conflicted relationship between the migrants and South Korean Christians, it also highly politicizes the Church as a social space in which contrasting political ideologies and beliefs compete.
Tilche, Alice, U. of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Broken Frames? Adivasi Museums, Representation and Marginality in Contemporary India,' supervised by Dr. Edward Simpson
ALICE TILCHE, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Broken Frames? Adivasi Museums, Representation and Marginality in Contemporary India,' supervised by Dr. Edward Simpson. This research focused on Adivasis' ('Tribal') struggle for identity and recognition in contemporary India. It particularly examined the development of an Adivasi Museum of Voice in rural Gujarat, and its role in transforming historically rooted forms of marginalization. Adivasi identity emerged as extremely fragmented, at the core of contested projects of modernity, development, and nation building. Interrelated processes of dispossession, resistance to extractive industries, and enrollment within a 'Hindu Nation' were turning Adivasi areas into sites of intensifying conflict and political concern. In this context, the Museum of Voice aimed to generate an Adivasi counter-culture as a tool to redefine terms of inclusion. While young Adivasis were its curators, the museum was also centered within wider transnational networks of trade, social movements, and indigenous people. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork as participant and collaborator within this nexus, the research accounted for the daily work of cultural/political negotiation, and the complex dilemmas of representations involved in museum work. It examined how, while building something new, Adivasis continuously contended with the objectification of others as 'exotic Tribals,' as well as with 'internal' hierarchies and diverse aspiration for change within the community. In this last aspect, the research considered the creation of this new cultural space as a moment of contestation, where different projects of 'modernity' came together.
Deomampo, Daisy Faye, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The New Global 'Division of Labor': Reproductive Tourism in Mumbai, India,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings
DAISY FAYE DEOMAMPO, then a student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'The New Global 'Division of Labor': Reproductive Tourism in Mumbai, India,' supervised by Dr. Leith Mullings. This research examines the social, cultural, and policy implications of 'reproductive tourism,' briefly defined as the movement of people across national borders for assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). In recent years, India has emerged as a global 'hub' for this kind of medical travel, in part because of lower costs but also due to minimal regulatory frameworks for the provision of ARTs. This research considers medical travel for reproductive health care as a critical case study for understanding the procreative process in transnational contexts, as human reproduction increasingly involves collaborating actors in the lab, clinic, travel agency, and courtroom. At the same time, grounded in Mumbai, this project provides an important opportunity to examine how policy and legislation relate to the increasing numbers of couples -- from the United States and around the world -- traveling to India for ARTs. By studying 'on-the-ground' the diverse motivations and experiences of key actors involved in reproductive tourism, research findings reveal how the practice of transnational surrogacy both challenges and reinforces notions of kinship, family and parenthood in both Indian and Western contexts. In so doing, it offers an important empirical contribution to our understanding of assisted reproduction law and policy from a social science perspective.
Pandian, Dr. Anand, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid engaged activites on 'Engaging Vernacular Publics in an Anthropology of Cinema,' 2013, Chennai, India
Preliminary abstract: My engaged anthropology project builds on the results of the Post-PhD grant I was awarded in 2008. Working closely with diverse filmmakers in south India, I undertook an ethnography of film production processes in the Tamil-language popular film industry. My engagement project has two components. First, I propose to work closely with a Tamil translator to produce a Tamil edition of the monograph that has grown out of my Wenner-Gren research. Second, I propose to undertake a book release strategy for a second edited book project that has grown out of this research, one that uses a single film as a medium to put forward the project's essential themes
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
Fly, Jessie Kimmel, U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Unnatural Disasters: Coping Strategies and the Legacy of Agent Orange in the Mekong Delta,' supervised by Dr. Ted L. Gragson
JESSIE K. FLY, then a student at University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Unnatural Disasters: Coping Strategies and the Legacy of Agent Orange in the Mekong Delta,' supervised by Dr. Ted Gragson. Much of the recent literature on strategies for coping with food insecurity emerges from communities with subsistence-based economies and highlights the importance of a diversity of resources, or 'capitals,' from which households can draw to procure food. This research project, conducted over a one-year period from 2007 to 2008, sought to understand how people cope with food insecurity in a rapidly changing natural and economic environment. The research focused on three coastal hamlets in Tra Vinh, Vietnam, that were swept into world shrimp markets in the late 1990s. Now, with aquaculture crops failing, mixed messages from the government about environmental conservation, the rising costs of inputs, and the falling price of shrimp, many households find themselves coping not only with regular seasonal food shortages but also with mounting debt and variable access to the necessary resources to cope with those food shortages. This project used a combination of ethnographic methods, including oral-history interviews, livelihoods surveys, and a weekly food frequency survey that captured data on dietary diversity and household methods of food procurement, in order to document changing coping strategies across space and time.
Ramachandran, Vibhuti, New York U., New York, NY, - To aid research on 'Producing 'Trafficked' Victims: Protection and Prosecution in Neoliberal India,' supervised by Dr. Sally Engle Merry
Preliminary abstract: Rather than a phenomenon to be taken for granted, my project approaches sex trafficking as a construct that emerges through specific institutional sites and practices. My research will track the practices through which state agencies and NGOs in India define and manage 'trafficked' women as victims of sexual exploitation, distinguishing them from other possible forms of identity such as commercial sex workers who might willingly engage in 'immoral traffic'. I will explore the implications of these constructions at a time when private and transnational entities are increasingly involved not just in the welfare functions of the postcolonial Indian state, but also in trying to 'fix' its law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Given the long history of the Indian state's protectionist stance towards victimized women, my project will examine how new global pressures to combat trafficking efficiently might intensify or rework the compassion one such victim figure elicits. My fieldwork will focus on two kinds of sites in New Delhi and Mumbai -- courts where the testimony of victims, sometimes in person and more often through NGO activists speaking 'for' them, is brought in against suspected traffickers, and an NGO-run shelter to which trafficked victims are brought after being rescued from brothels and held in protective custody. At these sites, I will also explore the tensions that might emerge between the complexity of 'victims'' lives and official assumptions that are made about them, and how such situations are managed.
Anand, Nikhil, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Water: The Limits of the Commodity and its Neoliberal State,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta
NIKHIL ANAND, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Social Life of Water: The Limits of the Commodity and its Neoliberal State,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta. The research focuses on the political ecology of urban infrastructures, and the social and material relations that they entail. Through an ethnography of 'The Social Life of Water' in one of Mumbai's many informal settlements, the grantee follows the anxious arrangements that informal residents made to get water, and the tenuous ways in which they established themselves as deserving urban citizens. Through eighteen months of fieldwork, Nikhil situated himself in one of Mumbai's many informal settlements to learn of the diverse social arrangements that residents made to get water. He also worked with city water engineers to understand the ways in which state functionaries responded to the petitions of the poor. Through conversations, interviews, and site visits, he learned of the ways in which they see themselves and the work of water supply. This research urges an attention to the ways in which informal residents petition and request community volunteers to mobilize the city's water department to carry out public works. Mobilizing social relations, the poor have made some measured urban gains over the last two decades. Such political practices are not those of rights-bearing citizens, but instead of a very personal, compromised politics that have been enabled by representational democracy and its leaky state.