Chudakova, Tatiana, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Institutionalization of Tibetan Medicine in Post-Soviet Buryatia,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar
TATIANA CHUDAKOVA, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'The Institutionalization of Tibetan Medicine in Post-Soviet Buryatia,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. This research focused on efforts to institutionalize, scientize, and commercialize the practices of Tibetan medicine in Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation located in southeastern Siberia. In so doing, it interrogates the emergence in Russia's state--sponsored and private health care institutions of what appears to be a kind of 'biocosmopolitan' imaginary -- a set of rhetorics and practices that attempt to combine and blend together disparate therapeutic cosmologies, diagnostic techniques, and possible ways of managing bodies and subjectivities under a single logic of 'optimizing' and 'revitalizing' health through the 'integration' (integratzia) of 'Eastern' and 'Western' medical knowledge. This project looks at the ways in which Tibetan medicine in Buryatia has been closely entangled with local scientific and biomedical practices, entanglements that both predate strictly post-Soviet logics of cultural and religious revival, and give rise to new kinds of knowledge practices, forms of expertise, and modes of care and health management. In this sense, this research focuses on the ways in which Tibetan medicine in Buryatia is both transformative of the efforts to 'rationalize' it, and constantly informed by them.
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.
Shreeniwas, Dr. Sudha, U. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC - To aid research on 'Traditions in Transformation, New Reproductive Technologies, and Gender Bias'
DR. SUDHA SHREENIWAS, of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in June 2003 to aid research on new reproductive technologies and gender bias among members of two castes in India. Shreeniwas examined two hypotheses: (1) Social changes that enhance the productive roles of men more than those of women, together with the rise of patrilineality and dowry systems among formerly matrilineal-matrilocal communities, will increase families' preference for sons. (2) The motivations and means adopted to achieve newly emergent gender-biased reproductive goals will be similar to those operating in places where such goals have been long-standing. Shreeniwas studied members of the Nair caste or community in Kerala state and compared them with members of the Jat caste or community in peri-urban Delhi. The results supported the first hypothesis and partially supported the second. Patrilineal descent, residence, and inheritance, along with dowry practices, had become widespread in Kerala. These trends appeared to be associated with a verbalized preference for sons, although there was little evidence of prenatal sex selection among Nairs. The Jat community had long been patrilineal, with dowry, seclusion and educational limitations for females, strong son preference, and widespread prenatal sex selection. The main similarities between Nairs' and Jats' reasons for son preference were concerns about dowries and women's upbringing. The main differences were encouragement of education and paid work among Nair women and a 'memory of matriliny' that protected them from the worst forms of gender bias. Thus, despite high contraceptive use and low fertility, use of sex selection technology was almost nonexistent among Nairs.
Mikhalova, Vera, Ulan-Ude, Russia - To aid preparation of the personal research materials of Taras Mikhaylov on Siberian Shamanism for archival deposit with the Historical Museum of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, Russia
Jian, Ge, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'The Impact of Global English in Xinjiang, China: Linguistic Capital and Identity Negotiation among the Han and Ethnic Minority Students,' supervised by Dr. Laada Bilaniuk
Preliminary abstrat: This research will investigate the power dynamics between the international lingua franca English, the national dominant language Mandarin Chinese and the local ethnic minority language Uyghur (a Turkic language) in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China, a geopolitically contested area at the crossroads of Eurasia. This research explores two set of questions: 1)How do ethnicity, regional difference, class and gender factor into the uneven and unequal processes of linguistic capital acquisition among the ethnic minority and Han young people in Xinjiang, China? 2) What existing ideologies and identities does the English language disrupt? How do Han and minority ethnic groups negotiate their linguistic and cultural identities during the acquisition of English? The proposed research that requests for Wenner-Gren funding is the last phase (Phase III) of a seventeen-month fieldwork project. In the last phase I will be carried out in smaller cities (Gulja, Aksu, and Kashgar) in Xinjiang to find out the regional difference in English education in comparison to the capital city Urumqi, which is the focus of the ongoing Phase II research.
Daulatzai, Anila, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid 'Ethnography of Widowhood and Care in Kabul,' supervised by Dr. Jane I. Guyer
ANILA DAULATZAI, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Ethnography of Widowhood and Care in Kabul,' supervised by Dr. Jane I. Guyer. This project takes the category of 'widow' as a site from which to address the social realities faced by the many women in Afghanistan whose husbands have disappeared or died as a result of war and prolonged conflict. The care and protection of widows occupies a special concern in Islamic societies; particular notions of care also guide the specific modes of intervention by international aid agencies within Afghan society. With respect to Afghan widows, the concept and practice of 'care' thus emerges as particularly salient, and provides a lens that brings into focus otherwise disparate actors and influences such as kinship, community, the legal structures of the state, and the humanitarian efforts of international aid agencies. The project circulates around three major domains of investigation: 1) subjectivities of widows in Kabul, Afghanistan; 2) notions of care as mobilized by various social institutions, and as transformed by widows; and 3) the discursive construction of the category of widowhood. This project explored the social forms and relationships created by and around widows through in-depth ethnographic research conducted over a two-year period among Afghan widows in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Sundar, Dr. Nandini, Delhi U., Delhi, India - To aid workshop on 'Civil War in South Asia: Ethnographic Perspectives,' 2010, Delhi U., in collaboration with Dr. Aparna Sundar
Preliminary abstract: This workshop proposes to examine civil wars in South Asia, especially from the perspective of civilians. While internal wars in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan have made headlines in 2009, all countries in South Asia have experienced longstanding armed conflicts, with significant implications for their political culture. Civilians are generally conceived of as participants in militias, whether state-sponsored or against the state; as supporters or opponents of either incumbent or insurgent parties; as collateral damage, or as innocent victims of civil war and objects of humanitarian intervention. Only very rarely are they seen as citizens whose choices and predicaments influence the course of the civil war. Shifting the focus to civilians as citizens introduces new normative and theoretical concerns, having to do with sovereignty, democracy and accountability. Most research on civil war is carried out by security experts or comparative political scientists. Unlike Africa or South America, there has been little research on civil war in South Asia, and practically none keeping the entire region in perspective. The workshop will bring a new perspective to ongoing conflicts, and contribute to both political anthropology and the ethnographic study of South Asia.
Nygaard-Christensen, Dr. Maj, U. of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark - To aid research on 'Policy in the Thick of Politics: Democracy Promotion in Timor-Leste'
DR. MAJ NYGAARD-CHRISTENSEN, University of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark, was awarded a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'Policy in the Thick of Politics: Democracy Promotion in Timor-Leste.' Based on fieldwork carried out during the latter phase of the UN mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), this project focuses on the social and material practices of 'democracy promoters'-a collective reference to foreign political advisors, experts, and observers. Since its separation from Indonesia in 1999, Timor-Leste has regularly been described as a 'laboratory of democracy'-a reference to international experiments with new approaches to state-building and externally guided democratization-in connection with the half-island's transition to independence. The starting point of this project however, has been that democracy promotion projects are not implemented in 'laboratories' or vacuums, but in the thick of local political life. The fieldwork focused on democracy promotion as a political as well as material practice, highlighting the messy effects of the massive presence of international advisors in Dili, the capital city. In continuation of this, the project has pointed to the humanitarian intervention as a materical and political, rather than external presence, which has transformed the urban and political space of the new nation. Engaging the commonplace notion of interventions as external and impartial in relation to the political settings intervened upon, the fieldwork thus contributed to the outline of an approach to the study of interventions as an integrated part of political dynamics in post-conflict nations.
Fernando, Wiroshana Nuwanpriya Oshan, U. of California, Santa Barbara, CA - To aid research on 'The Effects of Evangelical Christianity on State Formation in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock
OSHAN FERNANDO, then a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California, was awarded a grant in October 2006 to aid research on 'The Effects of Evangelical Christianity on State Formation in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hancock. Funding supported twelve months of research in Sri Lanka with the objective of studying the effect of evangelical Christianity on the formation of the developmentalist, post-colonial state. Ethnographic research was carried out in Tissamaharama, a town in southern Sri Lanka central to hegemonic formations of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, the power base of a Marxist political party, and also the location of a burgeoning evangelical Christian church. Data were collected through participant observation, the collection of life-history narratives, and archival research. Initial analysis of the data shows that people's everyday practices are infused with religious meaning in the context of their conversion to evangelical Christianity, a process which also greatly influenced their political decision making. Furthermore, the cultural framework acquired by people as they accommodated an evangelical Christian discourse conflicted with the role they were expected to play as animators of the state's Sinhala-Buddhist agrarian vision of modernity, showing that state-formation and political agency need to be understood in the context of locally-situated cultural processes.