Samarawickrema, Nethra Anjana., Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Trade and Trust Amongst Sri Lankan Trading Families in the Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Sharika Thiranagama
Preliminary abstract: During Sri Lanka's civil war, moments of spectacular violence--riots, mass displacements, and bombings--received much popular and scholarly attention, as did the claims of competing Sinhala and Tamil nationalisms that the island's ethnic relations were constituted by intractable conflicts. In this process, everyday economic exchanges across ethnic lines that persisted during and after the war have become occluded from view. Seeking to attend to such exchanges, my research focuses on gold and gem trading networks that draw a diverse range of actors--Muslim merchants, Sinhalese miners, and Tamil jewelers and goldsmiths--linking small costal and hinterland towns with the capital, and with markets in Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong. Through ethnographic research with gold and gem family firms and their local and transnational trading partners, my project will investigate how Sri Lankan traders build inter-generational commercial relations across multiple registers of affinity and difference. Examining these exchanges through wider frames than the nation state, and beyond the confines of war, it will also inquire how local commerce is shaped by traders' efforts to access transnational capital in the Indian Ocean. While doing so, my project places traders' notions of trust at the center of ethnographic inquiry. It asks how traders conceptualize trust, invoke it, employ it to maintain credit across ethnic lines, and use claims about trust to signal hierarchical relations of class, and caste. By focusing on trust, rather than on polarizing notions of ethnic conflict and cosmopolitanism, my research will contribute new frameworks to analyze the ambivalent and contingent social relations that shape trade in contemporary Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean.
Haanstad, Eric J., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
ERIC J. HAANSTAD, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Research pursued an ethnographic examination of the Thai police. To provide historical contextualization for the project, the grantee used archival sources to gather police histories, Thai-language works on police-related topics, and interviews with retired Thai police officers. This portion of the research is expected to result in the flrst extensive English language history of the Thai police. Using an 'incident-based' methodology, fieldwork focused on three major police social-order campaigns: a three-month drug suppression campaign, a three-month 'War on Dark Influence,' and the massive security preparations for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Bangkok. These campaigns culminated in a national public spectacle in December declaring a 'drug- free Thailand.' Ethnographic data was drawn from a wide variety of sources including more than a hundred interviews (with Thai police officers, DEA agents, taxi drivers, hospital administrators and the director of the Thai Forensic Science Institute); Thai TV news coverage of coundess police raids; anti-drug music recordings of classically-trained police singers; and issues of 'Top Cop' magazines with glossy centerfolds of SWAT teams and automatic weaponry. Using this data, research shows how social control is part of a local cultural-historical context and how the police are key performers/ symbols in the construction of order by the state.
Yuan, Xiao-bo, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Constituting the Three-Self Church: Official Christianity, the State, and Subjectivity in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar
Abstract: XIAO-BO YUAN, while a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Constituting the Three-Self Church: Official Christianity, The State and Subjectivity in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar. The resulting dissertation, 'Reform and Purification: The Politics and Practices of Ethical Cultivation in Chinese Christianities,' examined regimes of moral reformation and purification in Chinese Protestant churches through an ethnographic study of two different types of churches in metropolitan Nanjing: the state-authorized Three-Self Church (sanzi jiaohui) and the unauthorized 'urban underground church' (chengshi dixia jiaohui). These two types of churches have an antagonistic relationship and seemingly opposite orientations to the nation-state: the Three-Self professes to make Christianity Chinese, and the urban underground church movement aims to Christianize China. In tracing how Christians seek to reform their own and others' life-ways, the resulting dissertation explores how ordinary ethical practices produce different political imaginations, how Christianity can and should transform the nation-state, and concurrently analyzes how circulating assumptions about state interventions into religious activity, in the form of surveillance or coercion, shape various possibilities for ethical life. Through a comparative ethnography of above- and underground churches, the research shows how Christian groups are caught in a particular set of tensions with the state, in which vulnerabilities to state interference are unevenly and sometimes unexpectedly distributed.
Lowrie, Ian Patrick Macleod, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Building an Information Economy: Artificial Intelligence as Infrastructure in Russia,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer
Preliminary abstract: This project focuses on the ongoing attempts by Russian political and economic elites to enlist Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers in building a new, information-based economy. Despite the historically strong barrier between industry and academy in Russia, elites view AI researchers' academic expertise with data mining, natural language processing, and complex systems management as a unique foundation upon which to build the infrastructure required for this economy. As a consequence, these researchers have found themselves in the limelight of contemporary Russian statecraft, despite considering themselves as apolitical, fundamental researchers. Through participant observation, interviews, and archival research at three critical sites where elites are experimenting with new, hybrid forms of work and training, my research aims to develop an ethnographic understanding of how this large-scale elite project makes itself felt in the quotidian experiences of AI researchers. Engaging recent anthropological conversations about information, infrastructure, and education, my ultimate aim is to produce a theoretical framework adequate to the articulations of science, state, and market emerging in contemporary Russia.
Boyle, Michael James, City U. of New York - Graduate Center - To aid research on 'Declining City, Born-Again Citadel: The Evangelical Reconstitution of Urban Life in Postindustrial America,' supervised by Dr. Donald Keith Robotham
MICHAEL JAMES BOYLE, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2008 to aid research on 'Declining City, Born-Again Citadel: The Evangelical Reconstitution of Urban Life in Postindustrial America,' supervised by Dr. Donald Robotham. The forces and the constraints characteristic of neoliberal globalization have transformed class relations and intensified need in postindustrial American cities. At the same time, increasing numbers of Protestant evangelicals have come forward, both individually and collectively, to help ameliorate deteriorating urban conditions. This dissertation research examined-through multi-sited ethnography, interviews, and textual research-whether and how the efforts of evangelical social service ministries are serving to reconstitute class relations in the small postindustrial city of Canton, Ohio. In addition to representing valuable sources of aid to the hard-pressed, the flows of goods and services channeled through evangelical ministries constitute social relationships that cross the class lines dividing affluent from struggling sectors of the city. These flows and relationships have, however, developed in a geographically uneven manner, a fact inextricably linked to the persistence of racial segregation and the legacy of urban renewal in Canton. Moreover, the relationships that are constituted through the work of evangelical ministries embody characteristically neoliberal asymmetries of power. Rather than asserting a straightforward affinity between evangelical religiosity and liberal modernity, however, this dissertation argues that, in addition to comprehending contradictory tendencies, evangelical ministries are decisively animated and structured by secular premises.
Raucher, Michal Soffer, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'A Womb of One's Own? How Jewish Women Know What to Expect When They are Expecting,' supervised by Dr. Helen B. Schwartzman
MICHAL SOFFER RAUCHER, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'A Womb of One's Own? How Jewish Woman Know What to Expect When They Are Expecting,' supervised by Dr. Helen B. Schwartzman. This research was based on the hypothesis that given the prominent cultural and religious rejection of fetal personhood by Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) women in Jerusalem, anthropological theories on the effect of fetal ultrasound on personification did not apply. This project sets out to unravel the relationship between medicine, religion, and the individual in Israeli prenatal care. The phase of research supported by Wenner-Gren resulted in the collection of interviews with doctors, nurses, midwives, and doulas (labor-coaches) who work with Haredi women in Jerusalem. This phase also included extensive observations in a Haredi prenatal clinic and in the fetal ultrasound department of a major hospital in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the researcher spent a year observing the daily operations at the Jewish pro-life organization in Jerusalem. Findings from this phase of research highlight the ways in which doctors and rabbis act in concert in order to control the prenatal experiences of Haredi women; however, bolstered by their embodied experiences of pregnancy and the value given to their reproductive capabilities by the religious culture, Haredi women manipulate this system of control in order to conform to their requests and desires regarding prenatal medical care.
Garvey, Bradford J., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Gift of Rule: Political Legitimacy and Arab Tribal Arts in the Sultanate of Oman,' supervised by Dr. Jane C. Sugarrman
Preliminary abstract: In my project, based in the political and cultural heart of the Sultanate of Oman in Dakhiliyyah province, I study the production of state legitimacy through performances of tribal arts suites that have historically formed an important mode of political activity amongst Omani Arabs. These performance suites, composed of al-'azi, a choral ode, and al-razah, a communal war-dance, have functioned as forums for panegyric poetry, social commentary, legitimating authority and affirming social orders. Historians have noted that since the dissolution of the interior Ibadi Imamate and the rise of the modern Sultanate in the 1950s, there has been a profound continuity in the ways in which governance operates in interior Oman, primarily through the Sultan's political gifting, his payment of stipends to tribal leaders (shar?), and his granting infrastructural developmental awards to former Imamate regions. I hypothesize that interior Omani Arabs continue to present these performance suites to the Sultan, especially on state holidays and during his 'open parliament' visits, as a formal, political, and reciprocal response to those gifts. Why have these performances in particular continued to be politically relevant, and how has their efficacy shaped participation in Omani political life? What role do group performances play in the legitimation of the state? Based on new insights in the anthropology of the state (Steinmetz 1999; Sharma and Gupta 2006), ethnography of the Middle East (Feldman 2008; Rabi 2009) and ethnomusicology (Brown 2006; Cross 2012), I argue that the Omani state has pursued traditional, locally legible modes of governance in order to integrate the former Imamate and that these performance suites constitute a vital acknowledgement of that form of governance.
Wang, Yu, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Naturalizing Ethnicity, Culturalizing Landscape: The Politics of World Heritage in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph A. Litzinger
YU WANG, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in September 2005 to aid research on 'Naturalizing Ethnicity, Culturalizing Landscape: The Politics of World Heritage in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph A. Litzinger. In the past ten years, more than twenty sites in China have been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. This growing World-Heritage 'fever' has manifestly transformed the lives of people living in these sites. It also raises questions about the changing relationships between culture and nature, local and global, and development and conservation. Based on an ethnographic account of the tourism development, ethnicity construction, and heritage protection on a potential World Cultural Heritage Site in Yunnan Province of China, the research investigates how the world-heritage system generates debates about cultural (ethnic) authenticity and creates new sites of struggle over control of local resources in this particular site of Yunnan. In a context where both global and state policies continue orchestrating developments in contemporary China, and where local struggles over identification and poverty increasingly haunt the policies, this research particularly tackles the problems of development and conservation by offering a case that is centrally engaged with international and state-based modes of governmentality. This project aims above all to put in question assumptions about the simple relationship between the development agenda of the state and the conservation mission of UNESCO.
Kudlu, Chithprabha, Washington U., University City, MO - To aid research on 'Journey from Plant to Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Commodity Chains in Kerala,' supervised by Dr. Glenn Davis Stone
CHITHPRABHA KUDLU, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in October 2007 to aid research on 'Journey from Plant to Medicine: A Study of Ayurvedic Commodity Chains in Kerala,' supervised by Dr. Glenn Stone. The study investigates current developments in commodification of Ayurvedic medicine in Kerala, India, and their effects on knowledge and livelihood of actors in the commodity chain for Ayurvedic herbs. Fieldwork has allowed identification of key nodes in the commodity chain and has revealed changes ranging from the routine to the transformative. On one hand, increased commodification has caused predictable shifts in the nature of knowledge contributions and livelihood outcomes for actors at the manufacturing, consuming, and practitioner nodes. On the other, developments associated with globalization, health tourism, and changing demands of domestic consumers have contributed to a dynamic new climate of commodification. The entry of non-traditional stakeholders is causing new paths and diversion for Ayurvedic commodities, sometimes threatening commodity boundaries and causing conflict between the old and new value systems. The industry's interest in globalizing Ayurveda has also brought in pressures of regulation and standardization that sometimes conflict with traditional practices. Although the dynamisms do not extend to the upstream supply, chain which continues to depend on a gathering economy, fledgling developments in farming and industrial cluster projects portend future potentials and constraints. The study examines the responses of various respondents in this context with special attention to changes in the roles and contributions of nodal actors; changes in power relationships between different stakeholders; changes in consumption patterns; and changes in the medicine commodity itself.
Bardolph, Dana Nicole, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'Exploring Migration, Identities, and Inequalities through Foodways in the Moche Valley of North Coastal Peru,' supervised by Dr. Amber VanDerwarker
Preliminary abstract: The goal of this project is to examine the relationships between food, identity, and social inequality through a paleoethnobotanical perspective. Specifically, this project seeks to reconstruct household culinary practices in order to address the roles that food played in the migrant experience of highlanders that settled in a traditionally coastal river valley just prior to the consolidation of the Southern Moche polity of north coastal Peru. Archaeologists have long recognized that highland-coastal interaction resulted in new forms of sociopolitical organization that shaped the development of the Southern Moche polity, one of the largest and most complex prehistoric political systems to have developed in the New World; however, the historical details of highland colonization are not well understood. The proposed project will examine household foodways during the Gallinazo/Early Moche phases (A.D. 1-300) through a synchronic analysis of paleoethnobotanical data from recent large-scale excavations of highland and coastal residential compounds in the middle Moche Valley. Macrobotanical data, along with starch/phytolith and ceramic residue analyses, will be used to reconstruct the resources targeted by highland migrants; the staging of foodways within a highland colony; and the ways in which migrant highland agricultural strategies differed from those of local coastal groups. Through detailed contextual analysis at the microscale, this project aims to evaluate the ways in which labor related to the production, processing, and consumption of foodstuffs may have reinforced gender and status-based inequalities in the tumultuous sociopolitical environmen