Billingsley, Krista E., U. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN - To aid research on 'Transitional Justice in Nepal: Endemic Violence and Marginalized Perspectives,' supervised by Dr. Tricia Redeker-Hepner
Preliminary abstract: It has been nearly ten years since Nepal emerged from a decade-long internal armed conflict, during which at least 13,000 people were killed. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2006, measures under the framework of transitional justice (TJ) have been implemented to redress human rights violations. The only mechanism that has been implemented, financial reparations targeting Nepalis under the age of 18 who lost one or both of their parents during the conflict, has thus far served to entrench structural inequality. Complicating the 'post-conflict' period, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015 killing more than 5,500 people. Therefore, my study interrogates the meaning of 'post-conflict' in a situation of ongoing structural inequality and in a country recently affected by an earthquake of great magnitude. The proposed research will answer the following questions: How do Nepalis targeted for reparations view the effectiveness of this program relative to their position in Nepali society? How do differences in social distinctions, such as gender, age, Varna/caste and ethnic group (social class), political and religious affiliation, and region of residence shape their ability to access reparations and their perspectives on the Nepali government, justice, reconciliation, the ongoing peace process, and other political dynamics in Nepal? How are concepts of finance capital and law/justice formations articulated by actors involved in processes of TJ in Nepal? What forms of governance are made possible at a global level by the 'post-conflict', and now, the 'post-disaster' context and how do global articulations of these labels engage and intersect with the perspectives of those most affected by Nepal's armed conflict?
Thomson, William Brian, New York U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Harmony under Construction: The Work of Building the Chinese Century,' supervised by Dr. Angela Zito
WILLIAM B. THOMSON, then a student at New York University, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Harmony under Construction: The Work of Building the Chinese Century,' supervised by Dr. Angela Zito. This research investigated how migrant construction workers in Xian, China, relate to the growing city that is being built through their labor. It explored how these workers negotiate the spatial and social gap between China's countryside and its cities, how their rural identities shape their prospects for work and life. This project documented how social, legal, and economic restrictions make it impossible for them to settle permanently in the cities, while at the same time foreclose the possibility of returning to farm work in the countryside. Some of the principal findings and directions that to be explored in the resulting dissertation include the masculine gender projects that motivate their sojourns in the cities, especially of material and social preparations for marriage, which include building or buying a house. The grantee is especially interested in how these attitudes are changed as younger generations spend more time in city environments and begin to cultivate different urban desires and urban pleasures than their parents' generation, and has focused research around the structure of the relationship between those who design and those who build the cities. The architectural industry relies on these very distinct and separate roles, and this research contends that understanding that relationship is a window into the way that new class divides are being structured in China along multiple axes of education, urban/rural identity and profession.
Porter, Dr. Natalie Hannah, U.of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN - To aid research and writing on 'Viral Economies: An Ethnography of Bird Flu in Vietnam' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: Viral Economies narrates the story of avian influenza in Vietnam. At this center of viral threats, pandemic control efforts are attracting multinational investment and expertise while sparking controversies over how to contain viruses in commercial and laboratory spaces. In this book I trace several bird flu interventions from their inception in transnational research and policy arenas through to their implementation in poultry farming communities. Throughout the analysis, I use 'viral economies' as a heuristic for understanding the political economies of pandemic planning. I suggest that viral economies are characterized by contested entitlements to the tools and devices of biosecurity - including pathogen samples, poultry vaccines, gene sequences, and antiviral therapies. In developing an ethnographic perspective on the economies surrounding viruses, I argue that the story of avian flu in Vietnam is not a simple one of dispossession from South to North, local to global. Instead, this manuscript reconsiders the direction of resource flows in pandemic planning, and signals emerging tensions between the resolutely 'public' ethos of global health and the increasingly proprietary devices of biosecurity. The book thus invites a consideration of property as a means to theorize contemporary knowledge and value production in the global life sciences.
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.
Chatterjee, Moyukh, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft
MOYUKH CHATTERJEE, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft. This project examines how mass violence unfolds across legal institutions of state redress and its implications for survivors and human-rights NGOs struggling for justice in India. Despite numerous official commissions of inquiry, human-rights activism, and civil society efforts, mass violence against minorities -- supported by state officials and militant rightwing organizations -- goes largely unpunished in India. By examining the production, circulation, and interpretation of police and legal documents within different state institutions, and victim and NGO efforts to challenge state impunity, this project examines state writing practices and its effects on legal accountability. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in lower courts, legal-aid NGOs, and survivors/complainants of the anti-Muslim violence in 2002, this project outlines how law courts obfuscate individual culpability, invalidate victims' testimony, and render sexual and gendered violence against minorities invisible. The study examines the role of legal and police documents in enabling the state apparatus to regulate what can be officially seen and said about public acts of mass violence involving ruling politicians and state officials, and its implications for survivors, human-rights activists, and NGOs fighting for legal justice.
von Hatzfeldt, Gaia, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Vernacular Justice: Adjudicating Corruption in Rural India,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Spencer
GAIA von HATZFELDT, then a student at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'Vernacular Justice: Adjudicating Corruption in Rural India,' supervised by Dr. Jonathan Spenser. Policy-making is not a static linear process, but rather, it is intrinsically dynamic, involving a broad constellation of variables, actors and activities. A significant variable in this dynamism of policy-making is the role played by civil society. This project examines the processes involved in the formulation of one of India's landmark social policies - the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) - through the lens of one particular civil society formation. Specifically, it focuses on the efforts of these civil society actors in institutionalising social audits, a mechanism for safeguarding transparency and accountability in NREGA. MKSS, an organisation active in rural Rajasthan, has over its two decades of campaigning against corruption, become widely recognised as pundits in the practice of social audits. By mobilising on various scales and performing multiple roles and affiliations, MKSS has played a significant role in drafting national transparency and accountability measures. The entry of MKSS into domains of decision-making in the formulation of NREGA indicates that policy-making is a porous and fluid process. By shaping the formulation of social audits for NREGA, MKSS contributes to the blurring of boundaries between state and society and the reconfiguration of policy-making processes in India.
Liebman, Adam Daniel, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Turning Trash into Treasure: Waste, Commodity Values, and Environmentalism in Postsocialist China,' supervised by Dr. Li Zhang
ADAM D. LIEBMAN, then a student at University of California, Davis, California, received a grant in October 2013 to aid research on 'Turning Trash into Treasure: Waste, Commodity Values, and Environmentalism in Postsocialist China,' supervised by Dr. Li Zhang. This project investigated the shifting moral and economic values associated with waste and recycling in Yunnan Province, China. Ethnographic research revealed that waste politics is a crucial site where notions of 'environment' and its relations with human activities are being contested and reformulated in postsocialist China. Recent entrepreneurial and NGO attempts to regulate and reform a variety of practices labelled huishou (literally, 'taking back') draw heavily on Western environmentalist notions of 'recycling.' As such, this research focused on the practices of cultural and linguistic translation deployed in attempts to build an equivalence between 'huishou' and 'recycling.' In order to overcome the historical and cultural specificity of huishou practices and their relation with socialist-era experiences of resource scarcity and thrift, these attempts emphasize the connections between garbage and human-produced toxins which can move across time and space through complex biosocial processes. Lastly, research with one company in southern Yunnan Province-which received government praise and support for their efforts to utilize excess rubber tree seeds and recycled plastic in the production of building materials-highlighted different social actors' uneven access to and accumulation of environmentalist morality along different links of the commodity chains that transform wastes into 'green' products.