Holzlehner, Tobias S., U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK - To aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer
TOBIAS HOLZLEHNER, then a student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, was awarded a grant in December 2003 to aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer. Street markets constitute a widely linked and condensed urban space in Vladivostok and are ideal sites to explore the cultural dynamics of ethnic interaction and consumption in a post-Soviet city in the Russian Far East. These markets and the routes to and from them constitute a complex condensed niche economy, where entrepreneurs from China and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, occupying marked spatial positions, monopolize whole categories of consumer goods, and leave Russian traders on the sidelines. The networks of ethnic entrepreneurs and their condensed appearance in the markets present a surface for projections of xenophobic anxieties. Local discourses about foreign traders suggest the intricate relationships among alien bodies, dangerous substances, and consumption. Yet, the spatial frame of the interethnic encounter, as well as the social and economic symmetry of the relationship, shape its quality. The emergence of cross-border trade and ethnic entrepreneurs after the breakdown of the Soviet Union has given rise to notions of repulsion, but has also created nodes of attraction. New ties and exchange relationships with China, Korea, and Japan have created new economic possibilities. The flow of goods, ideas, and people at this metropolitan periphery of the Russian state has created focal points of interaction. Economic as well as social mobility and the willingness to engage with the other, the central idea underlying the notion of cosmopolitanism, have emerged in Russian Far East discourse as a crucial characteristic for success in coping with the effects of globalization and transnationalism. Economic incentives have emerged as a strong deterrent of xenophobic sentiments.
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.
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
PROVIDE A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE AIM AND SCOPE OF YOUR MEETING IN PLAIN ENGLISH (UNFORMATTED -- WITHOUT BULLETS OR NUMBERED LISTS -- 200 WORD MAXIMUM).
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.
Morton, Micah Francis, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Negotiating the Changing Zomia of Mainland Southeast Asia: Akha Identitarian Politics,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
MICAH F. MORTON, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Negotiating the Changing Zomia of Mainland Southeast Asia: Akha Indentitarian Politics,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Between June 2011 and May 2012, the researcher conducted twelve months of fieldwork with certain members of the Akha indigenous group in Thailand who are involved in efforts to promote a more formal sense of belonging among Akha throughout the Upper Mekong Region - including East Burma, Southwest China, Northwest Laos and North Thailand. It was found that a growing number of Akha are participating in various activities being arranged as part of the movement and that a cross-border sense of belonging is developing. These activities ranged from Akha literacy training workshops to cultural festivals and formal meetings held to discuss how to go about preserving and modifying 'traditional' Akha culture. It was further found, however, that the cross-border sense of belonging that is developing exists beneath the various national level senses of belonging that different Akha communities have depending upon their particular country of residence. In short, Akha in Thailand for the most part see themselves as being Thai first and foremost and members of an international Akha community only second. Last, it was found that the cultural and linguistic emphasis of the movement fails to address the more practical concerns faced by the general Akha community.
Johari, Radhika, York U, Toronto, Canada -To aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani
RADHIKA JOHARI, then a student at York University, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Endangered Forests, Enterprising Women: The Politics of Conservation and Livelihoods Development Programs in Himachal, India,' supervised by Dr. Shubhra Gururani. This doctoral research critically examined how environmental perceptions and practices have been shaped at the interface of past and current paradigms of conservation and resource-based livelihoods development within the recently concluded Indo-German Changar Eco-Development Project in Himachal, India. Adopting a multi-sited ethnographic approach, it has contextualized these articulations of environment and enterprise building within a wider framework of historical and current resource rights and property regimes. It has demonstrated how an increasingly influential paradigm of neoliberal market-centered development has structured project interventions, and how in turn these interventions have been refracted by a deeply entrenched and intersecting politics of knowledge, identity and place. The research identified and explored these points of refraction, for example, within project discourses and practices of knowledge production and valuation and in plantation and livelihoods development strategies. In doing so, it revealed how environmental and entrepreneurial knowledges and practices have intersected with existing social, economic, and political relations, as well as property relations, in ways that have significantly shaped perceptions, norms, and practices around environmental resources. In sum, the research provides a grounded critique of prevailing efforts to converge conservation and resource-based livelihoods and the reasons for their disjunctures in practice.
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.
Tsuda, Dr. Takeyuki, U. of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid conference on 'Diasporic Homecomings: Ethnic Return Migrants in Comparative Perspective,' UC San Diego, 2005
'Diasporic Homecomings: Ethnic Return Migrants in Comparative Perspective,' May 20-21, 2005, University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California -- Organizer: Takeyuki Tsuda. This conference examined various groups of ethnic return migrants - diasporic peoples who return to their ancestral homelands after living outside their countries of ethnic origin for generations. Conference participants compared the ethnopolitical reception and experiences of ethnic return migrants in different European and East Asian countries. Diasporic return migration has often been enabled by extraterritorial citizenship and immigration policies of homeland governments based on imaginings of a broader ethnic nation beyond state borders that encompasses diasporic descendants abroad. Nonetheless, ethnic return migrants frequently receive an ambivalent reception in their homelands and are often marginalized as immigrant minorities because of their cultural differences and low socioeconomic position, forcing them to reconsider their national identities and loyalties and their previously idealized images of the ethnic homeland.
Pant, Ketaki, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Homes of Capital: Merchants and Mobility in the Indian Ocean,' supervised by Dr. Engseng Ho
Preliminary abstract: This dissertation project is concerned with the long history of Gujarati merchant mobility in the Indian Ocean. While scholars of globalization have considered the movement of global capital as a new phenomenon, this project studies the itinerant merchant--historically engaged in the long-distance oriented textile trade--as an early iteration of the global capitalist. Merchant homes, which also function as warehouses, workshops and offices, are central to these networks, and historically connected the textile trade from its point of origin in the interior to the shores of the Indian Ocean. These homes, and descendents of merchant families within them, continue to exist today and allow me to ethnographically study how a history of merchant mobility, coordinated through the home, continues to persist in contemporary society. In studying Gujarati merchant networks from its interiors, this project analyzes how kinship and religious networks, routed through the home, are central to capital mobility. I am concerned therefore with how a seemingly stationary space--the home--helps us to understand the flow of capital across an oceanic space. In analyzing this dynamic of enclosed mobility this project seeks to demonstrate that unlike the contemporary multinational corporation, which though independent of, operates under the umbrella of imperial states and their mobile armies, Gujarati merchants, through a long history, have protected capital without the use of force and the help of a strong state.
Kendall, Dr. Laurel, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; and Nguyen, Dr. Van Huy, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam - To aid collaborative research on the sacred life of material goods: museum objects revisited, 2004
DR. LAUREL KENDALL, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, and DR. VAN HUY NGUYEN, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in June 2004 to aid collaboration on 'The Sacred Life of Material Goods: Museum Objects Revisited.' This project wed material culture studies to the anthropology of religion, the practical work of museums to the ethnography of popular religion and magic. It qualified the vague and problematic concept of a 'sacred object' with several ethnographically contingent understandings of how material things become and how they cease to be sacred in different communities of religious practice, demonstrating the utility of Alfred Gell's notion that relationships between people and things can be studied much as anthropologists study relationships between people. The original donors, members of their communities, ritual specialists, and artisans described how six objects in the collection of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME) -- votive statues and amulets (Kinh majority), diviners' bundles (Tai minority), a shaman's stringed instrument (Tay minority), and a ritual tree (Tai minority) -- and others like them were produced, what powers were imputed to them, and how human users properly interact with these things in their sacred, potentially sacred, and no longer sacred states. In the new market economy, the relationship between production technology and magical power has been modified and practitioners make ritual improvisations when they bring sacred material into new contexts such as secular performance and museum collections.
Finnis, Elizabeth, McMaster U., Hamilton, Canada - To aid research on 'The Political Ecology of Water Resource Management and Food Security in the Kolli Hills,' supervised by Dr. Tina Moffat
ELIZABETH FINNIS, then a student at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, received funding in July 2004 to aid research on 'The Political Ecology of Water Resource Management and Food Security in the Kolli Hills,' supervised by Dr. Tina Moffat. The adoption of cash crops by small farmers is shaped by complex economic, environmental, and political factors. This research used a political ecology perspective that highlights local agency to examine how tribal villagers in the Kolli Hills, south India, utilize economic aspirations and perceptions of environmental security in their agricultural decision-making. Decisions to grow the cash crop tapioca are conscious and active, reflecting experiences of environmental insecurity and changing economic goals. At the same time, these decisions are constrained by external factors such as market variability and geographical isolation. Tapioca cultivation has implications for food security and dietary diversity; it is also important to labor issues, political agency on the part of villagers, and community development. Although tapioca is linked to economic problems such as debt cycles, the income earned has been used by villagers to further both household and community aspirations. These include the extension of electricity to the area, the ability to access a wider variety of commodity goods and services, and community-based political struggles to improve transportation infrastructure. However, tapioca cultivation can also be linked to decreased dietary diversity and an increasing dependence on external, market, sources of food.
Finnis, Elizabeth. 2006. Why Grow Cash Crops? Subsistence Farming and Crop Commercialization in the Kolli Hills, South India. American Anthropologist 108(2):363-369.
Finnis, Elizbeth. 2008. Economic Wealth, Food Wealth, and Millet Consumption: Shifting Notions of Food, Identity, and Development in South India. Food, Culture and Society 11(4):463-485
Finnis, Elizabeth. 2007. The Political Ecology of Dietary Transitions: Changing Production and Consumption Patterns in the Kolli Hills, India. Agriculture and Human Values 24:343-353
Finnis, Elizabeth. 2006. Why Grow Cash Crops? Subsistence Farming and Crop Commercialization in the Kolli Hills, South India. American Anthropologist 108(2):363-369.