Lin, Emily Xi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Disability's Star-Children: Autism and the Remaking of Urban China's Moral Order,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich
EMILY XI LIN, then a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Disability's Star-Children: Autism and the Remaking of Urban China's Moral Order,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich. This research contributes a multi-sited ethnography of the social life of autism as a psychiatric category in contemporary China. Based on multi-sited ethnography in homes, clinics, autism rehabilitation centers, and philanthropic organizations, the project pays attention to the social meanings and practices of autism caregiving in contemporary China amidst social, educational, and urban-rural healthcare disparities. It is argued that autism illuminates moral crises in three domains: parent-child relations, rural-urban healthcare disparities, and citizens' disquiet with Chinese society's apparent lack of humanity. This thesis investigates how citizens themselves perceive deficiencies in Chinese morality, civility, and scientific literacy, and how these deficiencies are thrown into relief by the needs of autistic persons. While China's biomedical institutions and humanitarian organizations foster novel autism parental practices and ethics in the name of true parental love and scientific modernity, the grantee argues that these efforts shift the burden of care of autistic persons from the state to families, thus increasing the burden of care on rural families in China. In paying attention to how disabled citizens are nurtured or neglected due to choices made by 'good' or 'selfish' parents, findings demonstrate how moral categories are key to post-socialist governmentality-the art, techniques, and practices of governance-in China.
High, Mette M., U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid 'A Study of Gold Mining, Pastoralism, and Changing Working Lives in Rural Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Caroline Humphrey
METTE M. HIGH, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'A Study of Gold Mining, Pastoralism and Changing Working Lives in Rural Mongolia', supervised by Prof. Caroline Humphrey. The research objectives were to understand the practical and cosmological issues that arise for pastoralists when mining comes to occupy a visible social and physical space and presents them with new subsistence opportunities. Fieldwork consisted of 10 months' participant observation and interviews with people who are taking part in the current gold rush as well as herders who distance themselves from the environmentally damaging mining practices. By examining narratives about industrialization and collectivization in the socialist era as well as the recent advent of the gold rush, the research concerned how notions of collectivity, responsibility and individualism were related to transformational historical processes and changing subsistence economies. Focusing on how people reconcile cosmological concepts related to the landscape with working practices that transgress fundamental taboos about the underground and water resources, moral commentaries and discourses of fear and suspicion highlighted people's negotiation of status and social interaction. The research demonstrates that emerging subsistence economies may not only be fuelled by economic incentives but also by particular socio-cultural mechanisms.
High, Mette M. 2013. Polluted Money, Polluted Wealth: Emerging Regimes of Value in the Mongolian Gold Rush. American Ethnologist 40(4):676-688.
High, Mette M. 2013. Cosmologies of Freedom and Buddhist Self-Transformation in the Mongolian Gold Rush. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(4):753-770.
Coelho, Dr. Karen, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid 'Of Engineers, Rationalities, and Rule: An Ethnography of Neoliberal Reform in an Urban Water Utility' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. KAREN COELHO, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in June 2005, to aid research and writing on 'Of Engineers, Rationalities, and Rule: An Ethnography of Neoliberal Reform in an Urban Water Utility.' During the fellowship year, the grantee produced two articles of very different character and style, and for very different audiences. One article was an analysis of the national trends in water sector reforms based on a case study of Chennai's water utility. A second published article explored collective, contentious and transgressive practices of urban citizenship as articulated in claims to water in the city of Chennai. The grantee was able to complete seven of eight chapters for a book manuscript and prospectus that will be sent to various publishing houses.
Coelho, Karen. 2005. The Political Economy of Public Sector Water Utilities Reform. Infochange Agenda, Issue 3. Center for Communication and Development Studies: Chennai.
Coelho, Karen. 2006. Tapping In: Leaky Sovereignties and Engineered Dis(order) in an Urban Water System. SARAI Reader 06. Center for the Study of Developing Societies: New Delhi.
Weir, James M., City U. of New York, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Popular Social Practices in the Context of Conflict: Chess, Music, and Gardening in Herat, Afghanistan,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
JAMES M. WEIR, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in May 2004 to aid research on 'Popular Social Practices in the Context of Conflict: Chess, Music, and Gardening in Herat, Afghanistan,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano. This study presents the life stories of five 'ordinary'Afghans and examines the processes of self-presentation and self-identification in these narratives for what they reveal about the speaker's experience of recent Afghan history. This project queries these life stories at two distinctly different levels. The first is an existential/phenomenological reflection on the process of life narration itself. This is an examination of narrators as they engage their memories to spontaneously create a life story and asks what meanings and patterns emerge from this process of remembering, editing, summarizing and representing a life. The second level of examination explores the individual narrator's relationship to and interpretation of the historical and cultural context of his life. In comments interspersed in the text of the actual interviews and at greater length after each interview, this study considers the dispositions and sensibilities of individual Afghans as they recall and summarize their lives, with particular attention to the expectations and disappointments expressed as they recount their experiences of living through three troubled decades of Afghan history.
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.
Masood, Ayesha, Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Doctor in the House: A Study of Career Experiences of Women Doctors of Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Takeyuki Tsuda
Preliminary abstract: Under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers is a global problem. Despite multiple policy interventions, social and institutional barriers to women's participation, retention and success in STEM careers still persist. Women in Pakistan are a minority in the education and career of all STEM fields except medicine where, paradoxically, women medical students and graduates overwhelmingly outnumber men. Yet, this increase in number of graduates has not translated into a concomitant rise in practicing women doctors. This paradox raises important questions related to evolving gender relations in Pakistani society. To analyze the underlying dynamics of this issue, this dissertation empirically examines the individual, institutional and social factors which enable or affect the career choices of Pakistani women doctors. Through the methodological focus on the lived experiences, attitudes and practices of the women doctors in Pakistan, along with the cultural and social formations which intersect with them, this research will also provide a better understanding of the relationship between social agents and structure. In doing so, this dissertation will draw from and contribute to the anthropology of subjectivity, gender, and social justice. By integrating individual and structural perspectives in a person-centered ethnography in a non-western context, this research also contributes to literature on women in science, which usually keeps these perspectives apart and is mostly based on studies in western, industrialized societies. Focusing on the experiences of educated women in Pakistani society, this project aims to problematize the usual understanding of ideas like freedom and barriers.
Joffe, Ben Philip, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'White Robes, Matted Hair: Tibetan Renouncers, Institutional Authority, and the Mediation of Charisma in Exile,' supervised by Dr. Carole Ann McGranahan
Preliminary abstract: What is the relationship between institutional authority and religious power in Tibetan exile? My research focuses on how the charisma and legacy of Ngagpa Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, the former official weather controller of the Tibetan exile government - are being institutionalized and mediated in exile following his death. Ngagpa (m) and ngagma (f), are non-celibate, professional Buddhist renouncers who specialize in esoteric ritual traditions. Simultaneously existing in and straddling lay and monastic worlds, they reside in a shifting third space of accommodation and resistance to mainstream structures. With the invasion of Tibet by China in 1950, Tibetan refugees in India have struggled to make a sovereign nation legible and legitimate in exile, and to rebuild political and social institutions away from home. The once de-centralized religious traditions of virtuoso ngagpa/mas are now being preserved in durable institutions, fixed in texts, and taught increasingly to foreigners. Researching Yeshe Dorje's institution in India and its resident ngagpa/mas, I examine how the politics of ritual power are playing out in exile communities. Using ngagpa/mas' charisma as a lens through which to explore unfolding politics of reform in diaspora, I show how the forging of cultural coherence in exile involves both creativity and contradiction.
Deomampo, Dr. Daisy Faye, Fordham U., New York, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Transnational Reproduction: Kinship, Power, and Commercial Surrogacy in India' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: The proposed book project examines the global surrogacy industry in India, in which would-be parents from around the world travel to India in order to obtain assisted reproductive technology procedures such as gestational surrogacy and egg donation. Across transnational and local socioeconomic hierarchies, how do commissioning parents, surrogate mothers, and egg donors understand and articulate their relationships with one another as they collaborate in the creation of babies? In addressing this question, I show the diverse ways in which actors attempt to conceal, or misrecognize, the commercial and commodifying aspects of transnational reproduction. My book, Transnational Reproduction: Kinship, Power, and Commercial Surrogacy in India, grapples with disparate acts of misrecognition, arguing that such processes of misrecognition ultimately obscure broader patterns of stratification, while reinforcing socioeconomic hierarchies. I draw critical attention to global relations between and among countries, systems of commerce, and global regulatory systems, as well as the local conditions that make possible the kinds of transnational relationships I describe. Without such an analysis, ongoing debates around policy and bioethics remain problematically focused on abstract principles or rigid rules. Instead, this project calls for a practice-oriented approach that accounts for the multiple perspectives and experiences of those involved in transnational surrogacy. Based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this book will make an important contribution to the fields of medical anthropology, science and technology studies, feminist studies, and bioethics.
Yang, Xiao-Hui, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Actively Aging in Traditional Chinese Medicine,' supervised by Dr. Joseph S. Alter
DAISY XIAO-HUI YANG, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Actively Aging in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM),' supervised by Dr. Joseph S. Alter. In her research project, the grantee conducted fieldwork in Wuhan, China, focusing on how TCM enables elderly Chinese to exercise more control over their bodies than is allowed when aging is treated as a problem through exclusive medical intervention. Aiming to compare aging experiences in institutionalized and non-institutionalized contexts, Yang examined five overlapping settings: 1) a local 'University for the Aged'; 2) informal, semi-structured elderly social health-promotion groups; 3) commercialized TCM practice settings; 4) traditional Chinese medical institutions; and 5) biomedical institutions. Through participant observation and extended interviews, she examined the issues of: 1) the attitudes of the elderly toward aging and their understandings of healthy aging; 2) how people classified as elderly actively control the way in which they experience aging as an embodied process. 3) how TCM based self-care enables individuals to exercise agency and thereby construct a life based on heal