Ibrahim, Amrita, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on ''Truth on Our Lips, India in Our Hearts' Television News and Affective Publics in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
AMRITA IBRAHIM, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on ''Truth on Our Lips, India in Our Hearts:' Television News and Affective Publics in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Television news in India is characterized by an excess of audio, visual, and narrative tropes that draw from popular film, pulp fiction, and mythology. As a form of storytelling that borrows from and builds on these, news also circulates among its audiences in everyday conversation, rumor, and gossip. These forms of talk often find their way into the news as 'sources' in themselves. During 18 months of fieldwork, the grantee observed the inner workings of three news studios, interviewed channel heads, production teams, and reporters and also followed selected stories into the neighborhoods where they had occurred. This dissertation explores how the line between fiction and fact is negotiated in India's television news through three field encounters: first, the television news crime genre that builds on themes from Hindi film and pulp fiction; second, the force of rumor in shaping the contours of a news story in the studio and also among local residents; and third, the unexpected appeal of reality television as a form of news. The study will attempt to show how the repetitive loop of visuals, music, and narrative enhances the affective intensity of news stories such that they become forces, among others, in the constitution of contemporary public culture.
Ibrahim, Amrita, 2013. Who is a Bigger Terrorist than the Police? Photography as a Politics of Encounter in Delhi's Batla House. South Asian Culture 11(2):133-144.
Ibrahim, Amrita. 2012. Voyeurism and Family on Television. In Cambridge Companion to Modern Indian Culture. Vasudha Dalmia and Rashmi Sadana, eds. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Truitt, Allison, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Open Doors: The Appearance of Money in Urban Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. John Borneman
ALLISON TRUIT, while a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in April 2001 to aid research on 'Open Doors: The Appearance of Money in Urban Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. John Borneman. Like currencies in other socialist countries, the Vietnamese dong has suffered numerous crises of confidence from inflation in the 1980s and then its devaluation in the 1990s. Although people prefer to hold U.S. dollars or gold in reserve, they insisted that the dong be used in everyday exchanges. How reforms of Vietnam's economy may be engendering new ways of thinking about money and its place in society, especially in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi, was the basis of this project. This project drew upon ethnographic inquiry and semi-structured interviews. It investigated how people construct money's mediums -- Vietnamese dong, gold, and U.S. dollars and even spirit offerings -- as vehicles for meanings and associations other than mere market valuation. It then documented individual and social efforts to master what Simmel called the negative trait of money in different functions such as everyday exchanges, ritual practices, and gift exchanges. Through interviews with government officials, bankers, employees in overseas remittance companies, and petty traders, it then examined transformations in institutional techniques that seek to govern money. Finally, it sought to understand how money mediates the imaginary and symbolic integration of Vietnam into the 'world at large.'
Truitt, Allison. 2013. Dreaming of Money in Ho Chi Minh City. University of Washington Press: Seattle.
Ficek Torres, Rosa Elena, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Migration and Integration Along the Pan American Highway in Panama's Darien Gap,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing
ROSA FICEK TORRES, then a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Migration and Integration along the Pan American Highway in Panama's Darien Gap,' supervised by Dr. Anna Tsing. The researcher's dissertation examines how a powerful road-building dream of physical connection created regions at national and hemispheric scales in Latin America. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in Darien province, Panama, where the Pan American Highway remains an on-going but unfinished project. The researcher mapped the changing social geography of Darien in relationship of the highway- how people, plants and animals move in, out, and through Darien, and how this has changed over time since the highway's construction. Oral community histories focused on the twentieth-century migrations of Afro-Darienita, indigenous Choco, and mestizo settler ethnicities. Participant-observation focused on current movements of people, cattle, logs, and agricultural products along the highway as well as everyday experiences of marginality in Darien. By tracing and historicizing mobility along the Pan American Highway, this research suggests that region-making does not happen through the unfettered movement of people and things. In Darien, these movements are controlled by state and foreign organizations. What matters is not that things move, but how they move. Data on mobility and on marginality in Darien, will enable the researcher to theorize how regions are made at the national (Panmanian) level and hemispheric (Latin American) level through the analysis of a single road-building project.
Mullard, Jordan C., London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'Where the Water Flows: Suffering, Illness, and Human Rights in Rajasthan India,' supervised by Dr. Christopher J. Fuller
JORDAN C. MULLARD, then a student at London School of Economics, London, England, was awarded a grant in March 2005 to aid research on 'Where the Water Flows: Suffering, Illness, and Human Rights in Rajasthan India,' supervised by Dr. Christopher J. Fuller. This research is a study of caste, class, and religion. Particularly, how all are utilized as strategies for social mobility for India's low castes. Research was carried out in a village containing a high class, yet low (untouchable) caste, ruling elite in Rajasthan State. The ethnographic data is divided into four key institutional arenas: caste and the village, economics and class, public sector and politics, and religion. Relations within and between these arenas are articulated through social networks comprising of both achieved (class) and ascribed (caste) status distinctions. These can overlap to form open networks but can also close into enduring groups. Findings indicate that change is characterised, in the village, by the networks undergoing a process of dialectical expansion and contraction resulting from contradictions presented by visible upward social mobility. Explicitly, it is the malleability of the said dichotomous relationship between caste and class, popular in both political discourse and in some village social relations, that provides the form and texture to the process of change. These antagonistic and contradictory unions represent the way in which social mobility in India, as never before, is perhaps challenging the basis of the naturalisation of hierarchy upon which the society has rested.
Lee, Seung-Cheol, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Financialized Ethics: Governing Individual Bankruptcy in South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Elizabeth Povinelli
Preliminary abstract: In the wake of the 1997 financial crisis, South Korea quickly moved from being a nation of notoriously high savers to a country with one of the highest ratios of household debt to disposable income. By illuminating this process in the context of financial neoliberalization and the fall of the developmental state, my project will explore South Korea's governance of personal bankruptcy in order to understand the profound transformations in social, subjective, and ethical life that have attended and underwritten this transition. By excavating multi-layered and even contradictory features of neoliberalization, my research will examine the emergence of new forms of governing power that now surround bankrupt individuals, which can be called 'financialized ethics' or 'moral neoliberalism' based on the grafting of ethics onto economy. First, my research will trace how individual bankruptcy is problematized as a 'moral/ethical' issue and thus how the bankrupt are constructed as an object of 'moral' government. Second, I will investigate how the bankrupt are trained and disciplined to embody the ideal of 'ethical entrepreneurship' during the rehabilitation process. Third, this project examines how present-day governing practices produce depoliticized effects by mobilizing morality as the antidote to a crisis that requires political/economic solutions. As it achieves these goals, my research will challenge the conventional understanding of neoliberalism that equates it with the domination of market and calculative rationality and instead illuminate how new forms of ethicality and sociality are intrinsically linked to the intensification of financial neoliberalism.
Morino, Luca, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'Behavioral and Hormonal Correlates of Male Reproductive Strategies in the Siamang,' supervised by Dr. Ryne A. Palombit
LUCA MORINO, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received a grant in November 2007 to aid research on 'Behavioral and Hormonal Correlates of Male Reproductive Strategies in the Siamang,' supervised by Dr. Ryne Palombit. The research focuses on the social behavior and endocrinology of a small, arboreal and prevalently monogamous Southeast Asian ape, the siamang. In particular it explores how hormones and behavior interact in the following contexts: dominance relationship between males within a social group; defense of the territory/mate from neighboring groups; impact of female's choice and reproductive status on intra- and inter-group dynamics; male parental care. Behavioral data were gathered on eleven groups over two years, and 1005 hormonal samples were non-invasively collected from 38 individuals. The resulting hormonal profiles are determined for the first time in this primate family. This research will improve existing theoretical models by providing data on an arboreal monogamous/polyandrous species, since most of the previous testing was conducted on terrestrial polygynous ones. Data will also allow the testing of hypotheses regarding mechanisms of non-aggressive sexual competition, specifically the inhibition of sexual function of subordinate individuals, by means of pheromonal cues from dominant ones. Information on the endocrinological mechanisms underlying the pair bonds of an ape species will allow inferences on the evolution and maintenance of human pair bonds, monogamy, mate guarding and paternal care.
Morino, Luca. 2009. Observation of a wild marbled cat in Sumatra. Cat News 50:20.
Lohokare, Madhura, Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'Articulating Public Space to the Public Sphere: A Study of Neighborhood Associations in Pune, India,' supervised by Dr. Cecilia Van Hollen
MADHURA LOHOKARE, then a student at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Articulating Public Space to the Public Sphere: A Study of Neighborhood Associations in Pune, India,' supervised by Dr. Cecilia Van Hollen. This research describes the myriad ways in which the working class/urban poor imagine themselves to be a part of the city of Pune in western India and relevance of these ways for questions of citizenship, by focusing on two disparate sites: a working class neighborhood in the old part of the city, and on the collective process of an incipient resistance of slum dwellers of the same city to state-sponsored slum rehabilitation programs. An ethnographic investigation of these sites demonstrates how modes of belonging to and claiming the city are structured by embodied and affective identities rooted in the physical and social spaces of the neighborhood; while a radically different mode of belonging is engendered for slum dwellers as they locate themselves in the city in legal, political, and economic terms, through their explicit struggle to defend their dynamic living spaces. This ethnography illustrates how modes of belonging to the city are linked to questions of citizenship and participation in the public sphere for the urban poor in contemporary urban India.
Lau, Timm, Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'The Development of Moral Knowledge and Identity Formation in a Tibetan Community in Baijnath, India,' supervised by Dr. James A. Laidlaw
TIMM LAU, while a student at Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in March 2004 to aid research on 'The Development of Moral Knowledge and Identity Formation in a Tibetan Community in Baijnath, India,' supervised by Dr. James A. Laidlaw. This research, undertaken for the duration of 15 months from March 2004 until July 2005, set out to investigate the development of moral knowledge in a Tibetan settlement in North India, and its relationship to the formation of identity in this exile community. Ethnographically, it contributes to existing research in providing an in-depth description of Tibetan exiles in India, which includes interaction with the Indian host population. The most notable of these outside the Tibetan settlements is widespread itinerant trading in the Indian marketplace. Descriptions of Tibetan refugees' evaluations of Indians sheds light on issues of morality and identity: negative moral evaluations are often constructive of Tibetan identity through ascription of difference. They are also shown to be instrumental in dealing with contradictions in the lives of Tibetan refugees, which are largely shaped by Tibetan cultural preservation, but to some extent influenced by the pop-cultural sensibilities of their Indian host nation. Furthermore, the ethnography of the Tibetan emotional notions of harmony and shame establishes them as effective in moral development, through the construction of moral emotions, and also as instrumental in the construction of relationships within the family and the wider community.
Gouez, Aziliz, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'Dwelling in Debt: Mortgage Debt and the Making of the Future in Contemporary Ireland,' supervised by Dr. Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov
Preliminary abstract: This research proposes to study the hold of financial debt on domestic time frames in contemporary Ireland by focusing attention on the role of debt in configuring the future, a domain of human life which remains underexplored in anthropology. The objective is to investigate the characteristics of the particular temporal regime fostered by a financial instrument which the Irish version of late capitalism made available to the many -- that of the mortgage loan. Taking my cue from Jane Guyer's notion of 'punctuated time', I shall examine how the domestic future is assembled and rendered intelligible (or perhaps, on the contrary, obscured) through the projection of dates that encapsulate distinct horizons and categories of obligations. This will entail looking at various temporal devices related to household budgeting strategies, such as wall calendars, family account books and mortgage repayment schedules, as a site from which to grasp the nesting of conflicting obligations as well as temporal disjunctures, when the round of monthly mortgage payments disrupts the unfolding of anticipated personal and intergenerational trajectories, or when it intersects with provisions made for a child's communion or one's own funeral. I shall also delve into the moral discussions arising from the weighing up of mortgage debt against other types of debt, including those binding citizens to the state, and those obligating the Irish government towards its international creditors.
Bridges, Sarah Ann, Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH - To aid research on 'Challenged Lives: The Experience of Disability in a Himalayan Buddhist and Muslim Community,' supervised by Dr. Charlotte Ikels
SARAH ANN BRIDGES, then a student at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Challenged Lives: The Experience of Disability in a Himalayan Buddhist and Muslim Community,' supervised by Dr. Charlotte Ikels. This study examines the subjective experience of disability, focusing on the interaction between the physical and social domains of experience and how they are shaped by local cultural constructions of disability. Research took place over a period of twelve months in Ladakh, India. The research consisted of three overlapping phases including an in-depth study of a local disability organization, a village study, and a series of interviews with a variety of other people about the topic of disability. Extensive participant observation and interviews were conducted during all phases. This research will explore how norms, values and customs interact with characteristics of the natural and man-made environment, to shape experiences of disability. Analysis of the role of religion in Ladakhi culture will serve as a way of demonstrating this interaction. Further aims of the study are to examine variations in experiences of disability, challenge contemporary thinking in disability studies and the anthropology of the body, and to explore how more holistic approaches can benefit both theoretical and applied approaches to disability issues.