Henig, Dr. David, U. of Kent, Canterbury, UK - To aid research on 'Indigenous Modernity in the Pamirs: Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge in Post-Soviet Tajikistan'
Preliminary abstract: The aim of the project is to examine power and its transformations in the post-Soviet Tajik Pamir region impacted by the disruptive history of the region over the past two centuries and local constructions of this history; present day influences of Soviet hegemony and other trans-regional actors; and changes in political ecology in part emerging from these.
Pandian, Dr. Anand Sankar, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Framing Feelings: Landscape and the Production of Affect in South Indian Cinema'
DR. ANAND SANKAR PANDIAN, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'Framing Feelings: Landscape and the Production of Affect in South Indian Cinema.' The project was anchored in an ethnography of filmmaking practices, working with diverse film technicians on location in studio sets and outdoor environments, as well as in production offices, post-production studios, and other settings of cinematic production. With the support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the grantee was able to lay the groundwork for this ethnographic work, to focus closely on the process of releasing one Tamil popular film in 2010, and to work closely with leading industry figures in the fields of editing, composing, art direction, and visual effects. Investigating the influence of cultural dispositions and commercial pressures, the aesthetic visions and imaginations of individual filmmakers, and the productive techniques by means of which places and other material elements are imbued with feeling, the project has revealed affective expression in this milieu as a matter of unforeseen emergence, concerning not only the subjective intuitions of Indian filmmakers but also the vitality of the worldly environments in which their images arise.
Khanduri, Dr. Ritu, U. of Texas, Arlington, TX - To aid research and writing on 'Caricaturing Culture: Cartoons, History, and Modernity in India' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. RITU KHANDURI, University of Texas, Arlington, Texas, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2010, to aid research and writing on 'Caricaturing Culture: Cartoons, History and Modernity in India.' During the fellowship tenure, the grantee completed the manuscript, revising chapters and incorporating new research completed in 2009 and 2010. The manuscript is currently under review.
Fong, Dr. Vanessa L., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Courtship and Wedding Rituals among Chinese Only Children'
DR. VANESSA L. FONG, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in November 2001 to aid research on 'Courtship and Wedding Rituals among Chinese Only Children.' Through the lens of courtship and wedding rituals, the grantee investigated the extent to which the radical demographic shifts caused by China's one-child policy have created new expectations about relationships between men, women, and their respective parents. Research looked at how singletons (only children) handled the conflicts and compromises involved in courtship and marriage after spending all their lives at the center of family life. It also looked at how parents dealt with marriages that could threaten the loyalties of their precious singletons, and how female singletons dealt with the patriarchal aspects of courtship and marriage traditions after growing up with all the rights and responsibilities traditionally reserved for sons. The grantee collected evidence about the roles, perspectives, and actions of participants at weddings, courtship and engagement rituals, the negotiations that occur during the planning of weddings, and the symbolic and monetary exchanges that take place before, during, and after the wedding. The grantee also spent time with other unmarried friends, learning about their courtship and engagement rituals, and asked people in the newlyweds' social circles about how their own weddings, and other weddings they have attended, were similar or different.
Fong, Venessa L. 2007. Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World. Stanford University Press: Stanford.
Fong, Vanessa L. 2007. Parent-Child Communication Problems and the Perceived Inadequacies of Chinese
Only Children. Ethos 35(1): 85-127.
Fong, Vanessa L. 2004. Only Hope: Coming of Age under China’s One-Child Policy. Stanford University Press: Stanford, CA
Fong, Vanessa L.. 2004. Filial Nationalism among Chinese Teenagers with Global Identities. American Ethnologist 31(4): 629-646.
Askew, Dr. Marc Richard, Victoria U., Melbourne, Australia - To aid research on 'Neighborhood in a Time of Danger: Buddhist and Muslim Villagers amidst Thailand's Southern Insurgency'
DR. MARC R. ASKEW, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Neighborhood in a Time of Danger: Buddhist and Muslim Villagers Amidst Thailand's Southern Insurgency.' Set in the environment of the ongoing violence afflicting the Muslim-majority border areas of southern Thailand, this ethnographic research explored webs of relationships, personal stories, and shared rumor in a group of neighboring Buddhist and Muslim villages in adjoining districts of the provinces of Songkhla and Pattani. Involving ten months' fieldwork, and building upon networks of informants from a previous pilot study, the project investigated local values about neighborhood, social and ethno-religious difference, and sought to determine how village leaders negotiate pressures imposed both by mysterious local insurgents as well as Thai state authorities. The researcher found that in the absence of effective state protection, villagers have draw on a range of networks and traditional social modes to maximize safety and manage relationships, patterns that reveal much about the relative strength of society and weakness of the state in Thailand. The research in the villages of this area highlights that in this strange 'war zone,' though people are dogged with suspicions of mysterious enemies and sometimes prone to vent their frustrations about the dangers surrounding them in terms of ethnic stereotypes, they still remain committed to affirming values and relationships of co-existence in a multi-ethnic space.
Askew, Marc. 2007. Landscapes of Fear, Horizons of Trust: Villagers Dealing with Danger in Thailand’s Insurgent South. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 40(1):59-86.
Venkatesan, Dr. Soumhya, U. of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Makers of Gods: Materials, Processes and Rituals in Tamil Hindu Life'
DR. SOUMHYA VANKATESAN, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Makers of Gods: Materials, Processes and Rituals in Tamil Hindu Life.' The research project sought to explore the common-sense distinction between persons and things through ethnographic research among sculptors and potters in Tamilnadu, South India. Acknowledged as ritual experts, the sculptors and potters make images of gods that are worshipped as gods in Hindu temples within and beyond India. The research question was posed as follows: If persons are social actors possessing agency and intentionality, then how do we understand/theorize manufactured artefacts that possess both capacities and are treated as full social actors? Fieldwork produced interesting and complex answers to this question. A further research question sought to unpack a puzzle: why is it that stone sculptors who make pan-Indian, high-status Hindu gods retreat from the images once their work is completed whereas potters who make Tamil 'village gods' remain connected to the gods they make as priests? The answer it was found partly lies in the ascribed natures of the different gods and in indigenous theories about materiality that also critique hierarchies derived on the basis of caste. Fieldwork for the project was carried out in India over four trips of varying length.
Rasidjan, Maryani Palupy, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on 'Reproductive Difference: The Construction of Race in the Indonesian Family Planning Program in Papua,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams
Preliminary abstract: In Papua, Indonesia's most eastern and recently acquired province, women's reproductive health is entangled with histories of political violence, international development efforts and Indonesia's massive family planning program. Much scholarship focuses on one of these aspects, but few focus on the complex relationship between these histories. My research seeks to address this gap by examining the family planning program in Papua against the backdrop of an active and well-known separatist movement, in which accusations of racism and genocide on the part of the Indonesian state by a number of local and international activists persist and form a basis for reproductive decision-making. This research will examine the ways in which notions of difference and identity emerge as problems of race within women's reproductive health. This research questions how race is constructed, contested and mobilized in and through the family planning campaign in Papua and how this in turn affects reproductive health choices and outcomes.
Kurian, Amrita Achamma, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Science to the Rescue?: Role of Agrarian Science in Resolving the Tobacco Epidemic in India,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Doyle Hankins
Preliminary abstract: The Indian government's obligation to decrease the production and use of tobacco as per the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) contradicts with the increasing institutional support for tobacco production in India. At stake are the livelihoods of millions of people employed in the tobacco commodity chain and significant revenues from export and sales. Anti-tobacco activists and health experts now look towards agrarian scientists and state officials in the agricultural sector to resolve this issue. Agrarian scientists working on the physiology of tobacco in government-funded research labs in India are already engaged with farmers at all phases of tobacco cultivation to improve quality and productivity of the crop. My dissertation project looks at how these conflicting demands on tobacco production in India are addressed by state officials and experts in the health and agriculture sector. How do these demands get translated into questions of science and scientific research among agrarian scientists working in the government funded research labs, and affect their experimental interventions in farms cultivating tobacco? In studying this, I aim to shed light upon the relationship of the Indian Nation-State to science and technology, as well as on the process of knowledge formation among scientists engaged in a lab and field science. On a broader scale, this project is a commentary on the state-building processes engaged by developing nation-states such as India, competing for economic supremacy in global economic markets, on the one hand, and upholding restrictions imposed upon them by global and trans-national organisations on the other.
Gill, Dr. Harjant Singh, Towson U., Towson, MD - To aid filmmaking on ''Sent Away Boys' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: 'Sent Away Boys' is a 30-minute documentary film that provides an intimate look at the gendered process of transnational migration as captured through the journey of a young Indian man named Pali moving from a village in Punjab to the urban metropolis of Toronto. Pali, like many of peers, does not see a secure economical future in India. His definition of being a successful man include being able to migrate and settle abroad, remit money home, sponsor the migration of other family members, and thereby acquiring the social and cultural capital associated with being a transnational migrant. While obtaining a visa to Canada is a celebratory occasion for Pali and his family, his departure is marked simultaneously by a sense of sorrow and loss as his parents make the incredibly difficult decision to send their son away. We see Pali leave his childhood home, his neighborhood and his German shepherd named Rocky behind, knowing that he will not return for many years. We see Pali's parents, driving him to the airport knowing that they will not see their beloved son for a while. Even though South Asian men enjoy the privileges that accompany being a man, the film reveals the tremendous pressure migrant men experience to live up to certain gendered expectations to be successful. 'Sent Away Boys' reflects on the journeys migrants undertake, the sacrifices families make, and the social and economic conditions that necessitate such decisions. It also shows how a particular geographical and cultural space is transformed when an overwhelming number of young men have left or aspire to leave.
Bordia, Devika, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Local Governance Through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen
DEVIKA BORDIA, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Local Governance through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen. This project examines the relationship between legal and governmental institutions of the state, tribal panchayats, local community institutions. The grantee conducted fieldwork in the 'tribal' region of Southern Udaipur, Western India, tracing cases related to murder, violence, land claims and domestic disputes. The ways in which these cases were addressed involved complex negotiations between leaders of tribal panchayats, the police, lawyers and magistrates. This revealed how supposedly distinct legal systems are in effect a range of overlapping institutions, actors, artifacts and languages that evoke various formations of individual and community. Articulations of crime and violence within legal codes, though abstracted from local contexts for the sake of objectivity, are reflective of people and place and assume certain ideas of what it means to be 'tribal.' The project also examines the way in which language and ideas of the law weave into the fabric of everyday life and are used by leaders of panchayats in their work of dispute resolution. The grantee conducted extensive interviews and traveled with local leaders to understand the different ways they gain visibility and derive legitimacy. An examination of state organizations, NGOs and different social movements demonstrate how ideas of indigeneity are generated through their work, and the ways these ideas find their way into every day legal processes.