Wang, Jing, Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation, Hong Kong, P.R. China - to aid training in social/cultural anthropology at Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH, supervised by Dr. Melvyn Goldstein
Gupta, Hemangini, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'After-Work: Class, Gender and Public Culture in Neoliberal Bangalore, India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Freeman
HEMANGINI GUPTA, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'After-Work: Class, Gender and Public Culture in Neoliberal Bangalore, India,' supervised by Dr. Carla Freeman. This project examines how the turn to neoliberal market privatization is produced and shaped by local understandings of class and gender in India. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted for fifteen months in Bangalore, India's 'Information Technology' capital, now an emergent center of flexible start-up businesses. Drawing from participant-observation and in-depth interviews at diverse sites of the new economy, and immersive fieldwork at a particular entrepreneurial site, this project shows how widespread neoliberal approaches to global business premised on notions of risk and flexibility are interpreted and experienced through everyday understandings of gender, class, and caste. The project traces how professionalizing women embody and creatively employ neoliberal approaches to labor by drawing on an analysis of their labor practices, urban circulation, and after-work lives. While middle-class women in India have typically marked their class belonging by remaining in the domestic sphere, the country's turn to neoliberal market privatization in the 1990s produced a large new middle class of professionals. The project shows how employment in the new entrepreneurial economy infuses a spirit of neoliberal risk-taking into everyday life-across labor and leisure-challenging what it has historically meant to be a middle-class woman in India. In turn local and shifting understandings of class and gender norms in this postcolonial context offer an understanding of neoliberalism very different from the advanced economies in which it has typically been analyzed.
Buyandelgeriyn, Dr. Manduhai, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Election Campaigns: Women’s Engagement in Neoliberal State Formation in Mongolia'
DR. MANDUHAI BUYANDELGERIYN, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Election Campaigns: Women's Engagement in Neoliberal State Formation in Mongolia.' This research was conducted during Mongolia's parliamentary elections of 2008 and explored the circumstances and experiences of female candidates' advancement from local-level nominations to the parliament as a lens through which to investigate the structures of the glass ceiling, the populace's understanding of gender, and women's maneuvering within the male-dominated election campaigns. Despite women constituting more than half of the university-educated population and dominating in mid- and upper-mid level positions in most professions, there has been an escalation in discrimination against women in all spheres, and in their exclusion from decision-making posts. The campaigns of thirteen female candidates from five different organizations were studied in the city of Ulaanbaatar and other provinces using participant observation, in-depth interviews, and discourse and cultural analysis. A broader study of media, advocacy cells, polling stations, and other venues provides context for understanding the gendered politics of elections. In addition to tangible circumstances (such as the repealing of a quota for female candidates prior to the campaigns and the implementation of new electoral structures and rules), the project traces the nuanced, less visible, day-to-day activities and systems that facilitate the uses of women's expertise, but without empowering them in the same way as it does men.
Wouters, Jelle Joseph Pieter, North-Eastern Hill U., Meghalaya, India - To aid research on 'Exploring State and Nonstate Approaches to Socio-Economic Development in Nagaland,' supervised by Dr. Tanka B. Subba
Preliminary abstract: This project explores the tension between state and nonstate approaches to socio-economic development in Nagaland, India. It applies a political ecology framework to study changing land relations, which I suggest provide a lens through which one can study how state and indigenous, nonstate views on the envisaged socio-economic future differ, compete and interrelate. The common property regime of land forms 'traditionally' the key area of indigenous governance in the Naga Hills. This approach now collides with the views of the state and aspiring indigenous elites, whose socio-economic ambitions have inflated since the 1997 Indo-Naga ceasefire. There are now indications that land is rapidly becoming capitalized, resulting in an internal tendency towards private landholdings, unprecedented competition over land, and the emergence of a landless indigenous class. This is resented by those who defend what they call are Naga values and principles and who object to, and morally condemn, the privatization and state appropriation of land. In this context, this project looks at what happens when a state structure is imposed on a previously nonstate population. How the development state manifest itself in a contested space, and what aspirations, anxieties, imaginative alternatives and moral judgments develop on the local population?
Saria, Vaibhav, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
VAIBHAV SARIA, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The grantee conducted fieldwork in rural Orissa in the districts of Bhadrak and Kalahandi among the hijras, investigating the various ways in which same-sex intimacy and desire is imagined outside the city, and what were the freedom and restraints offered to this population now labeled as a sexual minority, by the globalizing of categories, narratives and desire through the AIDS International. The grantee collected narratives not only of desire, love, sex, intimacy, seduction, and flirtation to see how actions, aspirations and failures of the hijra are organized, but also collected data related to their work -- which involves, begging, prostitution, dancing and singing -- to see how the relationship between poverty and sexual desire are configured and how the carnality of both gain expression in the hijra body. These questions were studied by conducting fieldwork on different various sites -- a local NGO, mosques, the natal family in which some hijra reside, and in trains and train stations. The grantee participated in religious festivals and accompanied hijras as they performed on the occasions of birth and marriage and also as they were recruited to act in music videos and films. The grantee collected narratives about fields where sexual relations occur for pleasure and money, outside the ordered domains of family and village, and was thus able to systematically investigate the relationship between poverty and sexual desire. Given the agenda of a global program to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has brought anal sex into such scrutiny while also trying to legitimize its existence, this research addresses the contradictions that redraw the erogenous zones of the hijra through the traffic between global categories and locally embedded practices.
Lynch, Damon Frederick, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Time Frameworks and Peacebuilding in Tajikistan, ' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman
Preliminary abstract: My anthropological research is on the time frameworks Tajiks use as they build peace after the 1992-97 civil war in Tajikistan. War typically forcefully penetrates subjective time imaginaries and experiences, affecting what people do long after the physical violence has ended. Who among a postwar population use which time frameworks? Surprisingly little is known about this. Scholars have identified time frameworks prevalent during and after war, but what we do not know are the ways in which these and other time frameworks occur within a postwar population. Can we identify any patterns? For example, are non-combatant widows more likely to use a particular framework compared to ex-combatants? Theoretically I combine cutting-edge research on spatial time concepts from cognitive science with a concept of self found across the social sciences dating back to William James that distinguishes between I and Me. This combination is innovative, and is likely genuinely unique among contemporary approaches to the anthropology of time. My research has implications for our understanding of conflict transformation and peacebuilding, trauma, memory, and the anthropology of violence. It also promises new directions in the study of time in the social sciences.
Henry, Eric, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Speaking English in China: Second Language Learning and the Construction of Cosmopolitan Identities,' supervised by Dr. P. Steven Sangren
ERIC HENRY, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'Speaking English in China: Second Language Learning and the Construction of Cosmopolitan Identities,' supervised by Dr. P. Steven Sangren. One question that seems to aggravate foreign English teachers and linguists in China is why educational institutions and students seem uninterested in a 'proper' way to teach English. Their resistance has been attributed to everything from Confucianism to plain stubbornness. The grantee conducted a year of fieldwork in the northeastern city of Shenyang to examine the social and cultural contexts in which English-language learning takes place, and the structures and processes in which English is embedded in Chinese society. In other words, the research attempts to redirect the question from 'Why do English learners not listen to experts?' to 'What are Chinese learners attempting to accomplish through their study of English?' Data gathered through interviews with language learners, school administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders located English-language learning within a set of self-fashioning technologies that are designed to advance alternative notions of identity in a globalizing medium of social relations. Knowledge of English allowed proficient learners to participate as dominant partners in what Bourdieu has called a 'language market.' The research also served to highlight affinities between the processes of English-language learning and specific local concerns, such as the status of the local dialect and fears of being cheated in relations with others.