Anand, Nikhil, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Water: The Limits of the Commodity and its Neoliberal State,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta
NIKHIL ANAND, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Social Life of Water: The Limits of the Commodity and its Neoliberal State,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta. The research focuses on the political ecology of urban infrastructures, and the social and material relations that they entail. Through an ethnography of 'The Social Life of Water' in one of Mumbai's many informal settlements, the grantee follows the anxious arrangements that informal residents made to get water, and the tenuous ways in which they established themselves as deserving urban citizens. Through eighteen months of fieldwork, Nikhil situated himself in one of Mumbai's many informal settlements to learn of the diverse social arrangements that residents made to get water. He also worked with city water engineers to understand the ways in which state functionaries responded to the petitions of the poor. Through conversations, interviews, and site visits, he learned of the ways in which they see themselves and the work of water supply. This research urges an attention to the ways in which informal residents petition and request community volunteers to mobilize the city's water department to carry out public works. Mobilizing social relations, the poor have made some measured urban gains over the last two decades. Such political practices are not those of rights-bearing citizens, but instead of a very personal, compromised politics that have been enabled by representational democracy and its leaky state.
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.
Porter, Natalie Hannah, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Threatening Lives: Controlling Avian Flu in Vietnam's Poultry Economy,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Ann Bowie
NATALIE H. PORTER, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Threatening Lives: Controlling Avian Flu in Vietnam's Poultry Economy,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Ann Bowie. This project uses comparative ethnographic research at three sites of avian influenza management in Vietnam to explore how expanding global health efforts against avian influenza alter Vietnamese poultry economies in ways that create new and contested boundaries between humans and animals. Participant-observation of two avian influenza interventions in Hanoi reveals how global health experts, state agents, and non-governmental workers construct bird flu risks according to varying political and economic positions, in which controlling disease emerges as one of several objects of concern. Further, ethnographic research in two socioeconomically distinct communities demonstrates how poultry producers reformulate official risk constructs according to distinct knowledge systems, which are based primarily upon interpersonal networks, kin hierarchies, and phenomenological experience. Central to the diverse understandings of bird flu risks in both global health arenas and in rural farming communities are contestations over the appropriate role of animals in human socioeconomic systems, and conflicts over the value of agricultural livelihoods in a standardizing, market-oriented economy.
Porter, Natalie. 2013. Bird Flu Biopower:Strategies for Multispecies Coexistence in Viet Nam. American Ethnologist 40(1):132-148.
Kortright, Christopher Michael, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Experimental Fields and Biotech Futures: The Politics and Histories of Scientific Rice Research,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit
CHRISTOPHER M. KORTRIGHT, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, was awarded a grant in April 2009 to aid research on 'Experimental Fields and Biotech Futures: The Politics and Histories of Scientific Rice Research,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Dumit. Through ethnographic fieldwork at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), this research focuses on how scientific research on rice has been motivated by scientists' assumptions about population growth and consumption, and how these motivations have changed with the advent of genetically modified (GM) rice. This research illustrates the ways in which experimental practices are shaped by scientists' 'visions of the future'-specifically overpopulation and agricultural underproduction. These future visions are historically located within the political economy and agricultural science. This research is a product of the archival collection of oral histories and scientific papers of researchers working on rice research and the production of 'new plant types' at IRRI. Alongside these oral histories, research focused on the study of one specific GM rice project called C4 Rice. The ethnographic research on the C4 Rice Project was conducted both in the laboratory and the experimental fields at IRRI while two large-scale experiments were under way, and the ethnographer accompanied C4 Rice researchers to scientific conferences, funding meetings, and presentations introducing GM science to the general public. Tracing out this specific scientific network of GM rice researchers, this project sheds light on an international science collaboration as it is manifested and articulated at a historically and politically controversial research locality. This research adds to the anthropological literatures on agriculture, science, political economy and futures. Alongside these contributions to the anthropological literature, this research opens up larger discourses on food and food security, specifically in the domain of genetically modified crops.
Kortright, Chris. 2013. On Labor and Creative Transformations in the Experimental Fields of the Philippines. East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 7(4):557-578.
Ghassem-Fachandi, Parvis, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'The Political Use of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Vegetarianism in Post-Independent Ahmedabad,' supervised by Dr. James T. Siegel
PARVIS GHASSEM-FACHANDI, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in February 2005 to aid research on 'The Political Use of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Vegetarianism in Post-Independent Ahmedabad,' supervised by Dr. James T. Siegel. This project focused on the question, 'How can a doctrine of nonviolence become implicated in the production of violence?' by exploring the political use of the concept of ahimsa (nonviolence) in post-independence Ahmedabad. It followed the transformation of ahimsa -- from a magical technology that protects the sacrifier against the revenge of the animal victim, to an ethical doctrine of renunciation and prohibition of animal sacrifice, to a weapon against colonial domination, and finally, to a new form of politico-religious identification. Far from being only an abstract ethical ideal, ahimsa in Gujarat encompasses concrete cultural practices such as vegetarianism, cow- and animal protection, and forms of worship (sacrifice), all of which are implicated in caste upward mobility, Hindu-Muslim relations, and communal violence.
Ghassem-Fachandi, Parvis. 2010. Ahimsa, Identification, and Sacrifice in the Gujarat Pogrom. Social Anthropology 18(2):155-175.
Berman, Michael David, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Empathy and the Spread of Neoliberal Selves in the Volunteer Work of a Japanese Religion,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Hankins
Preliminary abstract:In my research, I examine the relationship between empathy and the spread of neoliberalism in contemporary Japan. The relation between new forms of caring engagement and alienation are poignantly expressed in the experience of Rissh? K?sei-kai (RKK), a new religion working to maintain families and communities in Japan. RKK was formed in 1938 as a way to form connections in a time of displacement caused by modernization and war. RKK's members see themselves as continuing this tradition of forming connections, but the ways that members are working to bring people together are different than they were in the past. Members are increasingly interested in short-term volunteering as a way to reach out to suffering others, particularly in areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. I will research the ways that empathetic volunteerism affects RKK on an individual and institutional level. I argue that empathetic relationships formed in volunteerism can, paradoxically, undo the types of relations that formerly sustained family and community in Japan. Understanding the effects of such volunteerism on people and groups trying to maintain a way of life based on family and community is vital for understanding the limits of empathetic engagement and the spread of neoliberalism.
Wang, Jun, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research and writing on 'A Life History of Ren Yinggiu: Historical Problems and Mythology in Chinese Medical Modernity' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
JUN WANG, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in June 2004 to aid research and writing on, 'A Life History of Ren Yinggiu: Historical Problems and Mythology in Chinese Medical Modernity.' This book aims to answer three related questions: What makes Chinese medicine Chinese and/or universal? Why is the life history of senior Chinese medicine doctors significant for understanding an institutional Chinese medicine. Why scholar physicians like Ren Yingqiu, who devoted their lives to the modernization of Chinese medicine, became critics of the modern product they themselves helped to create and at the same time were forgotten quickly by the younger generation of Chinese medicine doctors. Trained in the Confucian literati tradition and through apprenticeship to a village doctor, Ren Yingqiu (1914-1984) nonetheless actively participated in creating a modern Chinese medicine through translating, teaching, and writing about classical texts and theories. While presenting Ren Yingqiu's life from a number of points of view, this book nevertheless emphasizes that Chinese medical modes of writing are especially central. Writing, such as writing calligraphy and herbal prescriptions, which have been widely appreciated and practiced, constitutes an immanent theory of self and group identity for Chinese medicine doctors. However, the ideology of making Chinese medicine less obscure and comparable with Western medicine dominated the foundations of institutional Chinese medicine and has since the 1950s. Two forms of translation, i.e., from classical to modern, and from Chinese to universal, made significant contributions to Chinese medicine's modernization and globalization. Ren Yingqiu's life as a modern scholar doctor reflects these complicated transformation processes in Chinese medical modernity.
Roberts, Dr. Mary Nooter, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Images of Efficacy: Devotional Diasporas of Shirdi Sai Baba in the Indian Ocean World'
DR. MARY N. ROBERTS, University of California, Los Angeles, California, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Images of Efficacy: Devotional Diasporas of Shirdi Sai Baba in the Indian Ocean World.' Visual images are integral to the devotional practices of a dynamic contemporary religious movement based upon the life and teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba, a South Asian saint who lived from the mid-1800s to 1918 in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. Baba defied religious nationalism, refused to self-identify as either Hindu or Muslim, and accepted the devotions of people of all castes and creeds, thus offering an alternative to communal ideologies. Funding supported multi-sited field research in 2009: on the island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean; on an ashram in Germany headed by a Mauritian swami devoted to Baba and the Virgin Mary; and in Mumbai, Pune, and the holy pilgrimage city of Shirdi in India. The research explored how images actively shape devotion and impact this fast-growing movement's presence and expansion both in India and in the Indian Ocean littoral. In addition to documenting the history, production, and dispersal of images central to the movement, it focuses on the efficacy of the images -- as understood through locally defined concepts of indexicality -- and their radical performative materiality that ensures the presence and proximity of the Saint despite diasporic dislocations.
Lau, Chi Chung, New School for Social Research, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Imitation by Design: The Politics of Shanzhai in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Hugh Raffles
Preliminary abstract: 'Shanzhai,' a word drawn from classical Chinese literature that originally describes mountain villages occupied by rebellious bandits, now refers to an unusual form of fakes and counterfeits in China. What people call a 'shanzhai iPhone,' for example, is not exactly a fake. Instead, the unique design features that come with the knockoff product arguably make the shanzhai iPhone an even better product (at least in some respects) than its original counterpart. While these shanzhai products imitate, they show surprising innovation and creativity. The unusual strategy of manufacture and design of shanzhai, together with its surprising (and sometimes illegal) tweaks and local customizations, not only make the shanzhai product extremely popular in China, it has also made the shanzhai into a form of totem. Rather than merely being a copy of established (Western) brands or products, the shanzhai is often regarded in China as 'design for the people,' 'grassroots innovation,' or even as a rebellious response to power and the establishment. This research intends to understand: 1.The emergence of shanzhai electronics manufacturing in China. 2.The relationships between shanzhai manufacturing and the cultural history of modern China. 3.The political space and forms of opposition and accommodation created and expressed by shanzhai design.
Haines, Dr. David W., George Mason U., Fairfax, VA - To aid workshop on 'Wind Over Water: An Anthropology of Migration in an East Asian Setting,' 2008, U. of California-Berkeley
'Wind Over Water: An Anthropology of Migration in an East Asian Setting'
November 17-18, 2008, the Institute for East Asian Studies at UC-Berkeley, Berkeley, California
Organizer: Dr. David W. Haines (George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia)
Developing an inclusive anthropology that bridges national, cultural, and linguistic divides is a difficult process, but one that promises a far broader intellectual and practical platform from which anthropology can engage with truly global social issues. As a test case of that kind of inclusive anthropology, this workshop examines the dynamics, trends, and meanings of East Asian migration, with particular attention to the ways an understanding of migration grounded in Asian experience and Asian thought can complement and challenge a body of migration research, theory, policy, and practice that has been largely based on the North American and European experiences-and on North American and European ways of viewing those experiences. This choice of East Asia as a test case has both topical and procedural advantages. In terms of topic, the East Asian material is especially helpful in indicating the interaction between internal and international migration, the degree to which out and in-migration are often offsetting, the frequency with which migration is of unclear duration, and the varying configurations through which national and local governments, citizens, migrants, and activists work toward some balance of social inclusion and cultural diversity. In terms of process, the East Asian case permits the inclusion of scholars whose voices are often absent from the English-language literature but who represent well-developed societies in economic and political terms, and also long-established anthropological tra