Jennifer Silver

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10630

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Silver, Jennifer (California, Berkeley, U. of) "Development Visions, Migrant Aspirations, and the Emergence of Singapore’s Migrant Poetry Collective"

Understanding the link between migration and development has been a concern of researchers from a range of fields, including geography, economics, development studies, and anthropology. Although their methodological and normative approaches to this question diverge significantly from other fields, anthropologists have tended to examine how state-initiated economic and labor policies impact the lives of migrants, therefore maintaining the central focus on the material outcomes of development which dominates cross-disciplinary conversations on the topic. By contrast, this project asks how development, as an array of state and non-state practices based on a core set of principles, morphs beyond the intent of those institutions and individuals who have deep commitments to it. It does so by examining the aspirational identities and collective ambitions of Indonesian domestic workers who are members of a transnational migrant poetry community established by low-wage migrant workers in Singapore. Through twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork with migrant poets in Singapore, this project seeks to elucidate how migrants continue to interpret and reimagine the idea of development to generate new identities and social collectives that may be unrecognizable to sending and receiving states as development outcomes.