Chien, Jennifer, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph Litzinger
JENNIFER CHIEN, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph Litzinger. From September 2010 to July 2011, this research investigated the forms of collective identities emerging within migrant communities along with the phenomenon of Corporate Social Responsibility or 'CRS' in Beijing, China. Research findings gathered from participant observation as a volunteer with three different social organizations engaged in CSR partnerships showed the following: 1) the solidification of a 'migrant' identity and culture; 2) distinct divergences in how 'migrant' and 'community' are conceived of by different CSR partners; 3) the basis of these divergences as two different principles of integration and scission,; 4) the social impact of CSR grasped at the level of socialized production; and 5) the importance of culture as a site of antagonism. These research findings helped to address the following research questions: How is CSR reconfiguring forms of collective identity in China, and what political claims are enabled or precluded within its discourses and practices? How do migrants in China, associated with agricultural or factory production, affect a global economy increasingly driven by cultural and informational production? How does 'community' as code for forms of common production become both desirable and risky for business practice?
Shin, Layoung, Binghamton U., Binghamton, NY - To aid research on ''Performing Like a Star': Pop Culture and Sexuality among Young Women in Neoliberal South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Deborah Elliston
Preliminary abstract: This dissertation project traces the intertwining of neoliberalism and sexuality through ethnographic study of young women's engagements with fan-cos in Seoul. After South Korea's 1997 economic crisis, the state introduced sweeping neoliberal economic and political reforms affecting most industries. The entertainment industry developed the commercial star system during the post-1997 recovery, producing boy bands that became enormously popular among teenage young women, including some who began styling themselves to look like their favorite male singers. This was the beginning of fan-costume-play (or fan-cos), which was further developed by young women, many of whom identified as iban (lesbian). By 'performing like a star,' consuming and re-representing male pop singers' images, these young women incorporated alternative (masculine) gender stylings as well as non-normative sexual desires (for other young women) into their self-understandings. They were also, however, roundly critiqued in public discourse as being overly influenced by the media and 'inauthentic' in their same-sex sexual desires. This research project examines the emergence of fan-cos, the discourse of 'inauthentic' sexuality, and young women's same-sex sexuality in relation to neoliberal economic reform and attendant discourses of freedom and democracy in South Korea. Engaging with scholarship on media and consumption, queer subjectivity, performance theory, and neoliberalism, this project investigates the material interactions between subjectivity formation and media consumption, the interrelationships between capitalism and 'homosexuality,' and the hierarchies of sexuality and exclusion of queer subjects in South Korea's liberal social reconstruction.
Harman, Eva Margaret, Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Desire for Education and 'Ties that Lift': Schooling, Movement, and Social Regeneration in Post-War Liberia,' supervised by Dr. Carol Greenhouse
EVA M. HARMAN, then a student at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Desire for Education and 'Ties that Lift': Schooling, Movement, and Social Regeneration in Post-War Liberia,' supervised by Dr. Carol Greenhouse. This project is a study of schooling and post-war social life in Liberia. Liberia's fourteen-year conflict (1989-2003) forced a third of the population into exile and displaced another third. The war caused widespread social fragmentation; many families were separated; generations were internally divided; some young people took part in the fighting, others fled as refugees or were internally displaced. Following a peace settlement, the United Nations and other humanitarian actors demobilized combatants and resettled populations. As in other post-war settings, schooling was embraced as a vehicle for re-integrating communities and generations fractured by war. Schooling is a source of social connection, but also of division: in the post-war context, young people, often with their own dependents in tow, leave rural communities in order to pursue schooling in larger towns and cities. Through ethnographic fieldwork in rural and urban areas, this project examined how school pursuits and desire for education are intertwined with rural-urban movement and migration, kinship relations, gendered and generational conjunctures, legacies of war and exclusion, and post-war economies. The research sheds light on the relationship between investment in education and the re-shaping of social, political, and aspirational geographies in post-war Liberia.
Martin, Melanie Ann, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Maternal Factors Influencing Variation in Infant Feeding Practices in a Natural Fertility Population,' supervised by Dr. Michael Gurven
MELANIE A. MARTIN, then a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, California, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Maternal Factors Influencing Variation in Infant Feeding Practices in a Natural Fertility Population,' supervised by Dr. Michael Gurven. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for two years or longer promote optimal infant health and growth. Globally, however, many mothers introduce complementary foods and wean earlier than recommended. This study examined factors associated with variation in infant feeding practices in an indigenous population, the Tsimane of Bolivia. During 2012-2013, interviews and anthropometric measurements were collected from 147 Tsimane mothers and infants aged 0-36 months, with 47 mother-infant pairs visited repeatedly over eight months. Half of Tsimane infants were introduced to complementary foods by four months of age, although 75 percent were still breastfed at two years. On average, male infants were exclusively breastfed longer and weaned later than females. No other maternal, infant, or household factors measured influenced the duration of exclusive breastfeeding duration. Age at weaning, however, was increased by the number of family members over the age of 10, and decreased by a mother's subsequent pregnancy and total number of living offspring. Poor growth was evident in only two percent of infants aged 0-6 months, but increased markedly after twelve months. Earlier weaning and/or the quantity or quality of complementary foods may more significantly impact Tsimane infant growth and health outcomes than does early complementary feeding.
Brennan, Vicki L., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Singing the Same Song: Music, Migration, and Translocality in Yoruba Churches,' supervised by Dr. Andrew H. Apter
VICKI L. BRENNAN, while a student at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, received funding in February 2002 to aid research on music, migration, and translocality in Yoruba churches, under the supervision of Dr. Andrew H. Apter. Brennan was concerned with the musical construction of Yoruba Christian identities within Nigerian networks of religion, class, and ethnicity, as well as within the transnational circuits of the African diaspora. She conducted twelve months of research in Ibadan and Lagos, Nigeria, guided by two interrelated objectives: to trace the history and development of Nigerian Christian music as a genre, including a case study of the aesthetics and practice of Aladura ritual music, and to identify local (Nigerian) networks and transnational circuits of people, music, and religious ideas, as well as of objects, money, and information, through the collection of demographic data, life histories, and media representations pertaining to Yoruba migration and Aladura churches. Research activities were centered on the following areas: the social, economic, and political context in which Yoruba Christian music occurs; the overall religious spectrum in Nigeria; the Nigerian gospel music industry; and, as an in-depth case study, a particular church in Lagos, the Cherubim and Seraphim 'Ayo ni o' Church.
Ruigrok, Inge Mariette, Free U., Amsterdam, The Netherlands - To aid research on 'Negotiating Governance: Politics, Decentralization, and Cultural Ideology in Post-War Angola,' supervised by Dr. Jon Abbink
INGE MARIETTE RUIGROK, then a student at Free University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was awarded funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Negotiating Governance: Politics, Decentralization and Cultural Ideology in Post-War Angola,' supervised by Dr. Jon Abbink. The aim of this multi-sited ethnography is to come to an understanding of the changing political relations and identities in Angola in explicit connection with the current negotiation process of governance and power. Angola's political world is not being reordered by State structures alone but equally by complex and interlinked global forces and localized struggles over redistribution and recognition. The national capital as the centre of mobilization and modernity, and Huila province, where the State's political reconstruction strategy is implemented and contested, are the research's main sites. At the local level, the research compares three types of 'redistributive' struggles: the surfacing of local elite associations; the political rebuilding of a former war zone in the north of Huila province; and civil society's attempt to enlarge the public sphere beyond the state through the creation of spaces of dialogue with local state administrators. By comparing the rebuilding efforts at the local level to the national dynamics, the research analyzes a correlative relationship: what is political justice at the local level, and how does it interact with the State's project of dispensing justice and reconciliation? With this focus on the functioning of the body politic, the (un)making of identity, and the small history and memory of a region emerging from one of the bloodiest 'low intensity' conflicts Africa has ever known, the research hopes to contribute to current debates on State-formation, power and political identity, and more generally, to theory formation on the intertwining of politics and culture in a changing world order.
Ruigrok, Inge. 2010. Facing Up to the Centre: The Emergence of Regional Elite Associations in Angola's Political Transition Process. Development and Change 41(4):637-658.
Goebel, Alison Day, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Reconfiguring Middle-Class Whiteness: Global Capitalism, Race, and U.S. Small Cities,' supervised by Dr. Alejandro Lugo
ALISON D. GOEBEL, then a student at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, received funding in October 2007 to assist research on 'Reconfiguring Middle Class Whiteness: Global Capitalism, Race, and US Small Cities,' supervised by Dr. Alejandro Lugo. This ethnographic research investigated how middle class dominance and white racial privilege are being altered under global capitalism and the significance of urban space in these changes. The grantee conducted twelve months of fieldwork in Mansfield, Ohio -- a small, deindustrializing, multiracial, city in the United States -- and utilized discourse analysis to interpret data gathered through participant observation, fieldnotes of everyday talk, unstructured and semi-structured recorded interviews, mapping exercises, and archival research. This case study indicates that small city space brings inhabitants of a range of economic and racial backgrounds together in close residential, occupational, and social proximity. Residents' racial and class worldviews derive from this familiarity. However, ethnography analysis indicates that despite city-wide anxiety over constrained economic opportunities, middle class white Mansfielders are relatively insulated from the debilitating effects of economic restructuring. The grantee concluded that although structures of racial and class advantages have not significantly diminished in Mansfield, middle class whiteness constantly adjusts and recalibrates to changing economic political processes and social formations.
Zee, Jerry Chuang-Hwa, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihw Ong
JERRY CHUANG-HWA ZEE, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. Environmental problems, like desertification, which now afflicts more than a quarter of China's territory, have stood as a powerful site for the discussion of the consequences of the breakneck pace of Chinese development. China's rise has, in recent years, been understood not merely as a challenge to the international economic and geopolitical status quo, but as an ominous ecological threat to the planet itself. The threat of environmental degradation has challenged the Chinese state to take on the management and maintenance of sustainable environments as part of its governmental purview, and this new demand for the state to manage nature itself has showed the limits to existing techniques of governance when presented with this new task. In China, as the effects of 'socialist marketization' -- environmental disaster, social instability -- continue to surface, a confluence of political events and environmental disasters has seen a shift in state rhetoric toward 'sustainable development' and 'scientific' governance. This project explores how, in the PRC, programs to combat massive desertification, have made desertified regions zones of experimentation, where ecological research is applied to social-environmental governing. In so doing, it is argued, places zoned as environmental problem areas have seen local governments operating with reference to concepts derived from the ecological sciences, increasingly casting the task of government as the creation and management of ecological relations. This has transmuted the Maoist task of ideological transformation and mass organization into a matter of 'adjusting human and environmental relations' -- social management is framed as an ecological-governmental process by local governments, and informed by new research from the ecological sciences. This reframes how the state enacts relations with minority pastoralists, coal and commercial interests, and territory. Ongoing research tracks how local governments experiment with 'ecological' governance, and how manipulation of markets in land and employment are re-figured as techniques for creating new physical environments.
Leon, Andres, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Agrarian Conflict and the 2009 Honduras Coup d'état: Global Land Grabbing, Dispossession and Peasant Resistance in the Bajo Aguán,' supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman
ANDRES LEON, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Agrarian Conflict and the 2009 Honduras Coup d'état: Global Land Grabbing, Dispossession and Peasant Resistance in the Bajo Aguán,' supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman. The grantee investigated the relation between the current agrarian conflicts in the Aguan Valley in northern Honduras, and the 2009 coup d'etat that ousted democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya. Research included extensive fieldwork in various peasant communities located in the valley and employing extended participant observation and oral history recuperation to document and reconstruct the history of the valley and the set of peasant cooperatives that were created during the 1970s. Based on fieldwork, interviews, archival and other documentary data, research investigated the process by which organized groups of peasants were brought to the deemed 'empty' Aguan Valley during the 1970s to form a set of cooperatives dedicated mainly to the production of African Palm. Based on this combination of ethnographic and historical research, the study argues that this case complicates the argument presented by most of the current literature on the global land grab that presents the African Palm boom as something relatively new, and as creating a conflict between palm-producing large landowners and subsistence-oriented poor peasants. In the Aguan Valley, the expansion of African Palm began in the 1970s and this expansion has been as much the result of increasing transnational investment through large landowners, as that of peasant cooperatives investing their meager resources into the production of the crop.
Barr, William Andrew, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Early Hominin Paleoenvironments in the Hadar and Shungura Formations: Insights from Bovid Ecomorphology,' supervised by Dr. Denne Reed
Preliminary abstract: Global climate change has long been seen as an important force driving human evolutionary change. This project uses links between anatomy and ecology in fossil antelopes in order to reconstruct paleoenvironments at Hadar and Shungura, two sites of great importance to understanding human evolution. Previous environmental reconstructions have not fully resolved the timing of ecological transitions in these deposits. This project targets skeletal elements known to preserve at high frequency under diverse geological conditions in an effort to refine paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Furthermore, the project expands on an existing method, ecomorphology, by applying phylogenetic statistics to reconstruct paleoenvironments. Together, these innovations will result in a refined paleoenvironmental chronology for the Hadar and Shungura formations that will help resolve long-standing questions about faunal turnover patterns and the timing of key environmental transitions in early human evolution.