Basnet, Govinda B., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'The Struggle for Water Rights in Contested Commons: Changing Institutional Landscapes in Upper Mustang, Nepal,' supervised by Dr. Robert E. Rhoades
GOVINDA B BASNET, a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia received funding in July 2005 to aid research on 'The Struggle for Water Rights in Contested Commons: Changing Institutional Landscapes in Upper Mustang, Nepal,' supervised by Dr. Robert E Rhoades. The research aimed at investigating how the struggle for water rights modifies the institutional landscape of agricultural resource management in a water scarce region of upper Mustang in Nepal. By integrating comparative and historical methods the research project investigated the dynamics of struggle for water rights in irrigation systems in six villages of upper Mustang through a fieldwork that lasted from October 2004 through July 2006. The project was designed to investigate the dynamics of struggle both within a village, and between villages sharing and not sharing water sources. The initial result form the field research shows that access to water is linked to impartible inheritance system, labor contribution, and types and growth stages of crop. Ownership claim is validated through exercising political power, narratives of local legends, and resorting to customary or state laws as appropriate. Struggle to be a part of decision making bodies for water management has ushered in changes in social institutions: In this arid region, water served not only as a bone of contention but also as a sticking glue to hold a society together.
Sampat. Preeti, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, - To aid research on 'Right to Land and the Rule of Law: Special Economic Zones in India,' supervised by Dr. David Harvey
PREETI SAMPAT, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Right to Land and The Rule of Law: Special Economic Zones in India,' supervised by Dr. David Harvey. The Special Economic Zones Act 2005 was enacted by the Parliament of India in two days amid total political consensus. Within two years, intense conflicts over land and resources erupted in SEZ areas across the country between corporate developers, the state, and peasant and citizens groups. The federal government designated SEZs' 'public purpose,' enabling forcible acquisition of land and resources; peasants and citizens groups contested transfers of land and resources to private developers. In the ensuing furor, Goa state unprecedentedly revoked its SEZ policy suspending thirteen approved SEZs, three with construction underway. Amid raging debates and accusations of corrupt real estate deals, the federal government attempted a new land acquisition policy. And the Ministry of Finance retracted critical financial incentives for SEZ investors. The enthusiasm for SEZs declined, from a whopping 747 approved SEZs in 2010 to 637 in 2013. This ethnographic and archival study of SEZs in India examines their legal genesis and evolution, successful peasant and citizen resistance to them in Goa, and emergent Indian jurisprudence around land and resources. It analyzes contemporary capital accumulation processes, development policy, property relations, social movements and negotiations of citizenship and the state refashioning the 'rule of law' in India's 'liberalizing' democracy.
Lee, Dr. AnRu, California State U., Sacramento, CA - To aid research and writing on 'In the Name of Harmony and Prosperity: Labor and Gender Politics in Taiwan's Economic Restructuring' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ANRU LEE, of California State University in Sacramento, California, received a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in June 2002 to aid research and writing on labor and gender politics in Taiwan's recent economy. Since the 1980s, Taiwan has grown into a global manufacturing powerhouse, a model of success that has inspired emulation throughout the developing world. Yet at the very peak of this expansion, Taiwan began to feel squeezed by changes both domestic and international. Lee's book, In the Name of Harmony and Prosperity: Labor and Gender Politics in Taiwan's Economic Restructuring, examines Taiwan's economic restructuring since the late 1980s. In it Lee discusses the latest phase of Taiwan's socioeconomic development-most importantly, the dialectical relationship between its export-oriented industrialization, changes in production processes, discourses on work ethics, and the subject formation of women workers-as it relates to conditions in the global economy. At the center of the study is the process by which labor-capital relations become fair and legitimate. The study contributes to the understanding of Asian capitalism and its role in the world economy.
Ha, Guangtian, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Reshaping Governance in a Liberalizing China: A Study of the Ethnically Unmarked Chinese Hui Muslims,' supervised by Dr. Myron L. Cohen
GUANGTIAN HA, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Reshaping Governance in a Liberalizing China: A Study of the Ethnically Unmarked Chinese Hui Muslims,' supervised by Dr. Myron L. Cohen. In contrast to the admiration the Chinese government often receives from the world for its impressive economic achievement, its treatment of religion and ethnic minorities has come under incessant attack from around the globe in the name of human rights protection. This research studies a particular minority group in China that is situated between religion and ethnicity. The Hui are ethnically unmarked (physically and, to a large extent, culturally indistinguishable from the majority Han) and stand in a disputed relation to Islam (some Hui find their identity defined solely by their Muslim identity, while others vociferously reject this religious definition and insist on a secular ethno-nationalist one). This research is based upon two years of fieldwork in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, and Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The research addresses how the separation between the religious and the secular socio-ethnic affairs is discursively constructed by a series of governmental regulations on religion and ethnicity and how this separation affects the ordinary Hui. It also analyzes the history and the current forms of the United Front (the major strategy deployed by the Communist Party to cope with religion and ethnic minority in contemporary China), the intricate ways this strategy works either for or against the logic of governance formulated more openly by the State Council, and how this strategy produces internal conflicts within the Hui, producing peculiar forms of subjectivity on the side of the Hui officials. The research examines the complex history of Hui-Han interaction, especially the debate on Hui ethnicity in the Republican period, how this history is inscribed on the body of the Hui, etched into its depth, and how this history puts the newly converted Han Muslim in a paradoxical situation. And, finally, it addresses Chinese intellectual and scholarly discourses on the politics of ethnic minority, especially those that draw an analogy between neo-Confucianism and US liberal constitutionalism as the framework for multi-culturalism.
Butt, Wagas Hameed, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Antagonism, Intimacy, and Tolerance: The Morality of Religious Syncretism among Christian Minorities in Lahore, Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Steven M. Parish
Preliminary abstract: Anthropological work has focused attention on the role of tolerance and antagonism between religious groups in bringing about religious syncretism. In contemporary Pakistan, antagonism between Christians and Muslims has arisen out of Islamic reforms of the political and legal system, violent attacks, and caste discrimination. However, residing as neighbors, both groups share a number of spaces, giving them intimate knowledge about each other's lives and religious traditions. Yet, it is Christians who draw upon the Islamic traditions of their neighbors. Thus, my project investigates how experiences of both antagonism and intimacy with the Muslim majority and its religious traditions lead to a form of Christianity that has appropriated Islam. Focusing on assessments Christians make of their own religion and community, as well as that of the majority, my research explores the social and subjective dimensions of religious syncretism. This approach refines the anthropology of religious syncretism, which has kept these approaches separate. Examining interactions Christians have with the Muslims in both formal and informal contexts, my project also contributes to discussions of religious pluralism in nation-states where groups differentiated by religion occupy unequal positions of sociopolitical power and the governance and tolerance of religious difference are critical political issues.
Zhang, Yinong, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Embodying Memory: Transforming Religious Practices of a Tibetan Village in Post-Reform China,' supervised by Dr. David H. Holmberg
YINONG ZHANG, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in June 2003 to aid research on 'Embodying Memory: Transforming Religious Practices of a Tibetan Village in Post-Reform China,' supervised by Dr. David H. Holmberg. This project was carried out primarily in a Tibetan village, Taktsang Lhamo, (Chinese: Langmusi) located on the contemporary provincial border of Gansu and Sichuan in western China between October 2003 and April 2005. After more than fifty years of incorporation into China, Tibetan society has experienced significant social transformations - from the overall attack on its culture and religion during the Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976) to the economic and social reform since the 1980s. Focusing on the revival of religious practices after the 1980s, when religious expression was again allowed by the Chinese government, this research was based on both the practical and emotional aspect of the everyday life in this village. In particular, the grantee observed religious and ritual events, festivals, language expressions, and ethnic interactions between Tibetan, Chinese, and Muslims. These practices constitute a significant body of social memories through which new ethnic identities have been reconstructed within the context of a rapidly changing Chinese state. Furthermore, by looking at the embodying process of social memories in these daily practices, the research also shows an internalization and negotiation between modern multi-ethnic nation state-building and local concerns about it.
Sherpa, Pasang Yangjee, Washington State U., Pullman, WA - To aid research on 'Sherpa Perceptions of Climate Change: Local Understandings of a Global Problem,' supervised by Dr.. John Bodley
PASANG YANGJEE SHERPA, then a student at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, received a grant in April 2011, to aid research on 'Sherpa Perceptions of Climate Change: Local Understanding of a Global Problem,' supervised by Dr. John Bodley. This research was designed to examine how Sherpa perceptions of climate change differ between on-route and off-route villages, as to what causes these differences and how the differences might affect the effectiveness of risk management policies and practices. This research found that Pharak Sherpas are knowledgeable and adapting to the changing climate, while also vulnerable to the short-term and long-term effects of climate change. The data collected from the field show that in addition to the on-route/ off-route residence, a Pharak Sherpa's age, gender and employment situation also play a role in how he/she perceives climate change. This research therefore defines socio-economically created cultural units as consisting of Pharak Sherpas from same residence, age group, gender, and employment, who are likely to interact with each other more than with someone from outside their own unit. The vulnerability to the inevitable effects of climate change in Pharak depends on the cultural unit an individual and his/her family belongs to. Further analysis of policies suggest that collaborating with the local people and accommodating to the existing cultural units by the institutions, local and foreign, as they design, develop, and implement climate change risk management programs can increase their effectiveness.
Makley, Dr Charlene E., Reed College, Portland, OR - To aid research on 'Dilemmas of Development among Tibetans in the PRC'
DR. CHARLENE E. MAKLEY, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, received funding in November 2007 to aid research on 'Dilemmas of Development among Tibetans in the PRC.' This grant covered the second phase of the fieldwork (January to August 2008) in the Tibetan town of Rebgong (pop. 23,900) in eastern Qinghai province, China. The project focused on gathering qualitative data to understand the impacts on Tibetans from the 'Great Develop the West' campaign eight years after its launch by central government officials. The project asked whether new valued agents and actions were emerging from new forms of capital under state pressures, and which groups of Tibetans benefited from or were marginalized by these processes. Under significant political constraints due to a military crackdown on unrest among Tibetans in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, research was conducted in three Tibetan villages reflecting a spectrum of political economic conditions, from poor and rural to relatively wealthy and urban. Funding enabled travel to and from villages and important gifts to two rural villages for primary school repair projects. That rubric allowed for interviews and participant observation in the rural villages pertaining to: 1) the shifting nature of Buddhist and mountain deity ritual exchanges and aspirations; 2) the nature of education and development projects under local state bureaucracies; and 3) inter-village conflicts in competing for access to elusive state and foreign NGO capital.
Makley, Charlene E. 2013. The Politics of Presence: Voice, Deity Possession, and Dilemmas of Development among Tibetans in the People's Republic of China. Comparative Studies in Society and History 55(3):665-700.
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.