Sandesara, Utpal Niranjan, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Prenatal Kinship and Selective Reproduction: The Process of Sex Selection in an Indian Community,' supervised by Dr. Philippe Bourgois
Preliminary abstract: Over the past three decades, the selective abortion of female fetuses has emerged as a prominent form of gendered violence in northwestern India. While state institutions have attempted to combat the practice, the number of sex-selective abortions has remained constant or risen in most regions during the past twenty years. I propose to explore this situation by conducting twelve months of multi-sited ethnographic research on the process of sex selection in Mahesana, Gujarat. Tracing the process across household, clinical, and governmental settings will allow me to connect the views, experiences, and practices of reproductive-aged women with those of husbands, senior relatives, clinicians, brokers, and government officials, thereby elucidating the gendered power relations that sustain sex selection despite efforts to combat it. My project will empirically link gender-kinship norms with medicalized reproduction and state governance by exploring three key questions: What norms and practices underlie desires for sons over daughters in the present sociohistorical context? How do biomedical practitioners come to participate in sex selection, and how do different clinical actors manage the technical, economic, and moral ambiguities in the process? And how do state policies construct, engage, and impact sex selection as a social crisis? Through a focus on the simultaneous reproduction of individual bodies and the social order, and using the analytic of gendered violence, my project will generate a framework for exploring gender, kinship, and violence in the prenatal period. (This submission requests funding for the second phase [last six months] of the project.)
Lee, Hyeon J., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Suicide Intervention and Gendered Subjectivity in Rural China,' supervised by Dr. Bradley P. Stoner
HYEON JUNG LEE, while a student at Washington University in St. Louis, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Suicide intervention and gendered subjectivity in rural China,' supervised by Dr. Bradley P. Stoner. The aim of the research was to explore local meanings of suicide as understood by different social actors, such as local officials, doctors and nurses, NGO activists, religious practitioners, and male and female villagers, as well as perceptions of gendered subjectivity related to the different practices and discourses of suicide. Specifically, the researcher focused on how suicide prevention programs construct new concepts of gender as they seek to change local ideas about suicide in rural areas. Fieldwork was carried out from July 2005 through September 2006 in two rural villages in northeastern China, one that has a suicide prevention program and another that does not. Data were gathered through multiple complementary methods, including participant observation, focus groups, in-depth and life story interviews. Additionally, the researcher collected media sources related to suicide and gender in order to develop a more complete understanding of the discourses in Chinese society relating to suicide and gendered subjectivity. Findings reveal that local discourses and practices of suicide are closely related to local conceptions of gender. Suicide prevention programs in rural areas thus focus on changing indigenous ideas about of gender among rural village residents.
Haanstad, Eric J., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
ERIC J. HAANSTAD, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Research pursued an ethnographic examination of the Thai police. To provide historical contextualization for the project, the grantee used archival sources to gather police histories, Thai-language works on police-related topics, and interviews with retired Thai police officers. This portion of the research is expected to result in the flrst extensive English language history of the Thai police. Using an 'incident-based' methodology, fieldwork focused on three major police social-order campaigns: a three-month drug suppression campaign, a three-month 'War on Dark Influence,' and the massive security preparations for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Bangkok. These campaigns culminated in a national public spectacle in December declaring a 'drug- free Thailand.' Ethnographic data was drawn from a wide variety of sources including more than a hundred interviews (with Thai police officers, DEA agents, taxi drivers, hospital administrators and the director of the Thai Forensic Science Institute); Thai TV news coverage of coundess police raids; anti-drug music recordings of classically-trained police singers; and issues of 'Top Cop' magazines with glossy centerfolds of SWAT teams and automatic weaponry. Using this data, research shows how social control is part of a local cultural-historical context and how the police are key performers/ symbols in the construction of order by the state.
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.
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.
Shi, Lihong, Tulane U., New Orleans, LA - To aid research on 'Embracing a Singleton-Daughter: An Emerging Transition of Reproductive Choice in Rural Northeast China,' supervised by Dr. Shanshan Du
LIHONG SHI, then a student at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, was awarded funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Embracing a Singleton-Daughter: An Emerging Transition of Reproductive Choice in Rural Northeast China,' supervised by Dr. Shanshan Du. This dissertation field research was conducted in a rural community and the surrounding areas in Liaoning in northeast China from August 2006 to August 2007. The grantee explored an emerging transition of reproductive choice in rural northeast China where a substantial number of peasant couples have chosen to have a singleton-daughter (only one child, a daughter), rather than take advantage of the modified birth-control policy that allows them a second child if their first birth has produced a girl. Based on intensive interviews, surveys, participant observation, and archival research, the grantee examined the scope and the socio-cultural underpinnings of the emerging transition of reproductive choice. The field research reveals that an emerging transition of peasant couples embracing a singleton-daughter is taking place in rural Northeast China. This transformation of reproductive preference is closely associated with a gendered shift of old-age support, a weakened dedication to the patrilineage, and women's empowerment in making decisions concerning their own reproduction.
Markkula, Johanna Sofia Kristina, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Navigators of the Social Ocean: Filipino Seafarers and Coastguards in the Global Maritime World,' supervised by Dr. Liisa Malkki
Preliminary abstract: My research is a study of the maritime world and the people who occupy it as workers. Through ethnographic fieldwork with Filipino seafarers on international merchant ships, with coastguards in the Philippines involved in the South China Sea conflict, and with the actors and institutions that make up the global maritime world, this project takes the sea seriously as a social, political and legal space that is of great importance to our contemporary society, yet paradoxically seems to exist outside of it. I will explore how the sea as a social and political space influences the everyday lives of maritime workers in specific ways and also how these maritime workers shape and reproduce global processes through their everyday practices of labor and social relations. Finally, I will also map out the complex system of capitalist strategies, legal logics and regulatory forces of states and institutions that make up the global maritime world and articulate in complex ways with the life-worlds of its workers. By engaging critically with theories of globalization, global governance, territoriality and sovereignty, my research will show how such abstract concepts and processes exist in the concrete as 'work' carried out by people such as seafarers and coastguards.
Holzlehner, Tobias S., U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK - To aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer
TOBIAS HOLZLEHNER, then a student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, was awarded a grant in December 2003 to aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer. Street markets constitute a widely linked and condensed urban space in Vladivostok and are ideal sites to explore the cultural dynamics of ethnic interaction and consumption in a post-Soviet city in the Russian Far East. These markets and the routes to and from them constitute a complex condensed niche economy, where entrepreneurs from China and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, occupying marked spatial positions, monopolize whole categories of consumer goods, and leave Russian traders on the sidelines. The networks of ethnic entrepreneurs and their condensed appearance in the markets present a surface for projections of xenophobic anxieties. Local discourses about foreign traders suggest the intricate relationships among alien bodies, dangerous substances, and consumption. Yet, the spatial frame of the interethnic encounter, as well as the social and economic symmetry of the relationship, shape its quality. The emergence of cross-border trade and ethnic entrepreneurs after the breakdown of the Soviet Union has given rise to notions of repulsion, but has also created nodes of attraction. New ties and exchange relationships with China, Korea, and Japan have created new economic possibilities. The flow of goods, ideas, and people at this metropolitan periphery of the Russian state has created focal points of interaction. Economic as well as social mobility and the willingness to engage with the other, the central idea underlying the notion of cosmopolitanism, have emerged in Russian Far East discourse as a crucial characteristic for success in coping with the effects of globalization and transnationalism. Economic incentives have emerged as a strong deterrent of xenophobic sentiments.
Chudakova, Tatiana, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Institutionalization of Tibetan Medicine in Post-Soviet Buryatia,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar
TATIANA CHUDAKOVA, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in October 2008, to aid research on 'The Institutionalization of Tibetan Medicine in Post-Soviet Buryatia,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. This research focused on efforts to institutionalize, scientize, and commercialize the practices of Tibetan medicine in Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation located in southeastern Siberia. In so doing, it interrogates the emergence in Russia's state--sponsored and private health care institutions of what appears to be a kind of 'biocosmopolitan' imaginary -- a set of rhetorics and practices that attempt to combine and blend together disparate therapeutic cosmologies, diagnostic techniques, and possible ways of managing bodies and subjectivities under a single logic of 'optimizing' and 'revitalizing' health through the 'integration' (integratzia) of 'Eastern' and 'Western' medical knowledge. This project looks at the ways in which Tibetan medicine in Buryatia has been closely entangled with local scientific and biomedical practices, entanglements that both predate strictly post-Soviet logics of cultural and religious revival, and give rise to new kinds of knowledge practices, forms of expertise, and modes of care and health management. In this sense, this research focuses on the ways in which Tibetan medicine in Buryatia is both transformative of the efforts to 'rationalize' it, and constantly informed by them.