Kantor, Hayden Seth, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Embodied Virtues: Local Strategies of Agricultural Production and Food Consumption in Bihar, India,' supervised by Dr. Stacey Langwick
HAYDEN S. KANTOR, then a graduate student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Embodied Virtues: Local Strategies of Agricultural Production and Food Consumption in Bihar, India,' supervised by Dr. Stacey Langwick. With increases in both food prices and crop yields, small-scale farmers in Bihar, India now experience the paradox of struggling to adequately provide for their families even as they produce more food. Green Revolution agricultural practices have boosted productivity, but this increased engagement with the wider food economy means that villagers are also more susceptible to the market fluctuations. Given these economic circumstances, what types of farming and eating practices do Bihari villagers deploy, and how have these practices changed over time? Further, how do villagers construct and enact notions of ethical eating at this time of heightened economic anxiety, and how do these ethical projects vary according to gender, age, class, and caste? This study examines these questions through participant-observation fieldwork in Nalanda District, Bihar, in order to address the anthropological literature on the capitalization of agriculture, food practices, and embodied ethics. This final report reflects on the findings related to some of the main research topics addressed during this four-month phase of fieldwork, including: 1) agricultural cropping strategies; 2) the dynamics of cooking and eating within the household; and 3) Chhath Puja, a major festival that sheds light on family and community feasting practices.
Fan, Dr. Elsa, Webster U., St. Louis, MO - To aid engaged activities on 'People, Profit and Prevention: Scaling-up HIV Testing in China,' 2015, Beijing China
Preliminary abstract: In recent years, the incidence of HIV infections has risen among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China, highlighting concerns of a more generalized epidemic. In response, the public health community has turned towards the scaling-up of HIV testing in this population as a means of reducing new infections. These interventions are increasingly tied to market-oriented approaches that focus on creating markets and cultivating consumers for HIV testing among MSM. Moreover, these models are intimately shaped by broader trends in global health towards more evidence-based outcomes in measuring HIV/AIDS interventions. To explore the impact of these interventions, this two-day workshop will bring together primary stakeholders (MSM groups, public health groups, donors) to discuss the effects, challenges, and progress of these testing projects and interrogate the ways in which the market has shaped HIV prevention in China.
Zhao, Jianhua, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Fashioning Change: The Political Economy of Clothing in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable
JIANHUA ZHAO, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Fashioning Change: The Political Economy of Clothing in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable. This project combined interpretive anthropology and political economy to examine the changes in Chinese clothing fashions and their social and cultural meanings, and the influence of local and global processes on China's clothing and apparel industry since the post-Mao economic reforms began in 1978. During the field research, the researcher gathered historical data in order to show the changes in clothing fashions and China's textile and apparel industries. By working with fashion professionals, including designers, executives, and journalists, the researcher also collected ethnographic data to illustrate the relationship between clothing and the state in China, to explicate how the Chinese clothing system works as a cultural system, and to elucidate the interconnectedness between the global and local processes in the production and consumption of clothing and fashion. This study contributes to an ethnographic understanding of clothing, to the study of the social and cultural impact of the economic reforms in post-Mao China, to the wider study of post-socialist societies in which the reconfiguration of the state and society articulates in the production and consumption of fashion and clothing, and to the anthropological critiques of 'globalization' as a simple and unidirectional economic process of 'westernization,' cultural imperialism, or cultural homogenization.
Arnavas, Ms. Chiara, London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'What is in a Land Right?,' supervised by Dr. Laura Bear
Preliminary abstract: The aim of my project is to advance the anthropology of citizenship through a study of a social movement for land rights among a peri-urban migrant community in Rajarhat, in the north-eastern periphery of Kolkata, India. This community of East Bengali origins has been dispossessed from houses and land to make way for a new modern high-tech township for commercial and residential use. By exploring the emergence of an anti-dispossession movement among this community, my research will explore concepts of rights within this movement, how they emerge and their consequences for engagements with the state. My research will focus on idioms of rights, practices of claim-making, and self-representations among the community. Using theoretical insights from recent work in the anthropology of politics and citizenship in neoliberalism, I will examine how rights to land are a contested and historically constituted social field. Moreover, I hope to show how, for refugees, land entitlements from the state can foster connections to the site of resettlement, which can become a place of refuge, of belonging, of political and social engagement. Therefore, focusing on this community's struggle against dispossession, I will examine to what extent citizen's concepts of land rights challenge the stability and inequality of neo-liberal notions of rights.
Srivastava, Dr. Sanjay, Deakin U., Melbourne, Australia - To aid workshop on 'In Relation To. New Cultures of Intimacy and Togetherness in Asia,' 2009, New Delhi, India, in collaboration with Dr. Brinda Bose
'New Cultures of Intimacy and Togetherness in Asia'
February 5-7, 2009, Nehru Memorial Library, Delhi, India
Organizers: Sanjay Srivastava (Deakin University) and Brinda Bose (University of Delhi)
This conference sought to initiate an interdisciplinary dialogue between anthropologists and those working in areas such as gender studies, film/media studies, popular culture, and urban studies in order to explore emerging cultures of intimacies and friendship in contemporary non-Western contexts. It was held on the premises of the Nehru Memorial Library and Museum in Delhi. Countries represented included China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as scholars from the United Kingdom and United States. There was wide ranging discussion over the three days on a diverse range of topics. These included intimacies and new forms of public transport in India, urban queer cultures in Delhi, sexualities and the public sphere in Thailand, non-heterosexual intimacy in contemporary Indonesian cinema, 'informal' marriages in Indonesia, transvestite cultures in Burma, and the marriage-brokering business in Taiwan. The diverse background of the
audience—anthropologists, sociologists, historians, literature specialists, media scholars, and representatives from NGOs—also enhanced the nature of the interaction. January is a 'conference-heavy' month in Delhi; however, notwithstanding several competing engagements, attendance on all days of the event was extremely high (60 to 70 persons). The organizers are negotiating with Routledge for publication of conference proceedings.
Novellino, Dr. Dario, U. of Kent, Canterbury, UK - To aid research on 'Assessing the Dynamics of Local 'Knowledge Hybridization' in the Context of Conservation-Development Projects,'
Novellio, Dario. 2010. The Role of 'Hybrid' NGO's in the Conservatoin and Development of Palawan Island, The Philippines. Society and Natural Resources 23:165-180.
Novellino, Dario. 2009 From 'Impregnation' to 'Attunement:' A Sensory View of How Magic Works. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15(4):735-776.
Novellino, Dario. 2009. From Museum Collections to Field Research: An Ethnographic Account of Batak Basket-Weaving Knowledge, Palawan Island, Philippines. Indonesia and Malay World 37 (108):203-224.
Novellino, Dario. 2007. Cycles of Politics and Cycles of Nature: Permanent Crisis in the Uplands of Palawan (the Philippines). In Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies: Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia (R. Ellen, ed.). London and New York: Berghahn
Novellino, Dario. 2007. Talking About Kultura and Signing Contracts: The Bureaucratization of the Environment on Palawan Island (the Philippines). In Sustainability and Communities of Place, (Carl Maida, ed.), Berghahn Books: United States.
Kikon, Dr. Dolly, U. of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia - To aid engaged activities on 'A Foothill Sanrhutav: Sharing Experiences of Women Traders in Northeast India,' 2016, India
Preliminary abstract: More than 50% of tribal women in Nagaland participate in jhum (swidden) cultivation in the hill state of Nagaland. Many women cultivators from Nagaland trek down to the weekly markets in Assam to sell their produce. These women traders constitute an integral part of the weekly markets along the foothills of Assam. These rural markets, however, do not have any mechanisms to address the grievances of indigenous women traders, necessitating the foothill Sanrhutav. My ethnographic study shows that these women face several challenges and hardships. The women traders generally operated in small groups and lacked collective bargaining power to get good prices. Many items like chilies, cherry tomatoes, and edible flowers were unevenly priced and unorganized. Some of them used measuring scales to weigh the items while others used plastic cups or their fists to measure the same items. Majority of the women are regularly harassed, and in some cases cheated inside these market places in Assam.
Mr. Gaerrang, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh
GAERRANG, then a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh. In the 1990s, seeing an increasing slaughter rate of livestock from Tibetan households and the suffering of livestock in transportation to Chinese markets, the influential Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933-2004), began the anti-slaughter movement. Tibetan pastoralists across the Tibetan Plateau, including those in the study site of Rakhor Village, Hongyuan County, Sichuan, took multiple years' pledges to stop selling livestock to markets. This took place at the same time as the Chinese state was seeking to intensify its economic development agenda in Tibet, trying to shape its citizens to become rational market actors who prioritize commodity production, including by encouraging pastoralists to sell more livestock. This resulted in the negotiation by herders of two very different views of what constitutes development. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork on lamas' motivations and herders' decision-making about the campaign, in order to shed light on the culturally specific, religious idioms through which development is negotiated, and the relationship between markets, subjectivity, and religious revival.
Bentley, Dr. Gillian R., U. College London, London, United Kingdom; and Dr. Farid U. Ahamed, Chittagong U., Chittagong, Bangladesh - To aid collaborative research on 'Influences on Male Migrant/Nonmigrant Bangladeshi: Female Body Shape Preferences'