Zee, Jerry Chuang-Hwa, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihw Ong
JERRY CHUANG-HWA ZEE, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. Environmental problems, like desertification, which now afflicts more than a quarter of China's territory, have stood as a powerful site for the discussion of the consequences of the breakneck pace of Chinese development. China's rise has, in recent years, been understood not merely as a challenge to the international economic and geopolitical status quo, but as an ominous ecological threat to the planet itself. The threat of environmental degradation has challenged the Chinese state to take on the management and maintenance of sustainable environments as part of its governmental purview, and this new demand for the state to manage nature itself has showed the limits to existing techniques of governance when presented with this new task. In China, as the effects of 'socialist marketization' -- environmental disaster, social instability -- continue to surface, a confluence of political events and environmental disasters has seen a shift in state rhetoric toward 'sustainable development' and 'scientific' governance. This project explores how, in the PRC, programs to combat massive desertification, have made desertified regions zones of experimentation, where ecological research is applied to social-environmental governing. In so doing, it is argued, places zoned as environmental problem areas have seen local governments operating with reference to concepts derived from the ecological sciences, increasingly casting the task of government as the creation and management of ecological relations. This has transmuted the Maoist task of ideological transformation and mass organization into a matter of 'adjusting human and environmental relations' -- social management is framed as an ecological-governmental process by local governments, and informed by new research from the ecological sciences. This reframes how the state enacts relations with minority pastoralists, coal and commercial interests, and territory. Ongoing research tracks how local governments experiment with 'ecological' governance, and how manipulation of markets in land and employment are re-figured as techniques for creating new physical environments.
Shreeniwas, Dr. Sudha, U. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC - To aid research on 'Traditions in Transformation, New Reproductive Technologies, and Gender Bias'
DR. SUDHA SHREENIWAS, of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in June 2003 to aid research on new reproductive technologies and gender bias among members of two castes in India. Shreeniwas examined two hypotheses: (1) Social changes that enhance the productive roles of men more than those of women, together with the rise of patrilineality and dowry systems among formerly matrilineal-matrilocal communities, will increase families' preference for sons. (2) The motivations and means adopted to achieve newly emergent gender-biased reproductive goals will be similar to those operating in places where such goals have been long-standing. Shreeniwas studied members of the Nair caste or community in Kerala state and compared them with members of the Jat caste or community in peri-urban Delhi. The results supported the first hypothesis and partially supported the second. Patrilineal descent, residence, and inheritance, along with dowry practices, had become widespread in Kerala. These trends appeared to be associated with a verbalized preference for sons, although there was little evidence of prenatal sex selection among Nairs. The Jat community had long been patrilineal, with dowry, seclusion and educational limitations for females, strong son preference, and widespread prenatal sex selection. The main similarities between Nairs' and Jats' reasons for son preference were concerns about dowries and women's upbringing. The main differences were encouragement of education and paid work among Nair women and a 'memory of matriliny' that protected them from the worst forms of gender bias. Thus, despite high contraceptive use and low fertility, use of sex selection technology was almost nonexistent among Nairs.
Michelet, Aude Pierrette Pascale, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Learning Kinship in Huld (Mongolia),' supervised by Dr. Rita Astuti
AUDE MICHELET, then a student at London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2008 to aid research on 'Learning Kinship in Huld (Mongolia),' supervised by Dr. Rita Astuti. In the village of Huld (Mongolia), children (aged 3 to 7) build representations about how they relate to other people that differ from those of their elders. Contrary to adults, children do not have a theory of kinship based on consanguinity. However, young children differentiate between two categories of people: those who are familiar -- category that includes ah duu ('kin'), and naiz ('friends') -- and those who are not. Familiarity is established through visits, phone calls, gifts, etc. From the age of 4, children start to restrict family membership to the people who are related to the mother as children or husband. They consider friendship and kinship to be equivalent kinds of relationships albeit friendship is restricted to people of the same age. They believe that relations of friendship and kinship have generative properties; they see these relations as transitive. At age 7, children start to distinguish ah duu (kin) from naiz (friends) and to develop genealogical knowledge to discriminate between the two, despite the overwhelming similarities in people's modes of interaction. The evidence collected suggests that children might share some intuitions about relationships. One would be that birth creates a special bond; a second that certain relationships have generative properties.
Jamil, Nurhaizatul Jamila, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Marketing Manners Makeover: Women, Islam and Self-Help in Contemporary Singapore,' supervised by Dr. Robert Launay
Preliminary abstract: Since 2007, Singaporean graduates of Egypt's Al-Azhar University have helped pioneer a new wave of 'religious' classes that incorporate American self-help rhetoric with Sufi theology and poetry, while closely referencing the Quran and Hadith (prophetic traditions). These returnees offer seminars such as 'The 7 Habits of Effective Muslims,' 'Al-Ghazali's Beginning of Guidance,' 'Manners Makeover for Wives,' 'Islamic Business Ethics,' and 'Finding your Ideal Muslim Partner.' Like their counterparts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen, and Egypt, the returnees market their costly lessons as opportunities for young ethnic and religious minority Muslim graduates of Singapore's secular universities to apply new understandings of their faith to everyday spheres. Further distinguishing themselves from older preachers, they utilize new media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to proselytize and market their lessons. While their seminars attract male participants, the vast majority of students are professional women desiring to fashion 'ideal' Muslim selves while pursuing their careers. Women attend these classes dressed in the latest Islamic fashions, armed with technological gadgets, and virtually archive their participation on Facebook. How can we understand young women's attraction to, and use of, these classes? What is the relationship between the proliferation of these new education ventures and women's anxieties concerning the pursuit of economic mobility, religiosity, and love in a neoliberalizing economy? How does women's embrace of globally commodified Islam, new media, and eclectic pedagogical incentives reframe notions of Islamic 'piety' and 'education,' and pose challenges to dominant male religious authority and interpretation?
Dattatreyan, Ethiraj Gabriel, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'Central Peripheries: Migrant Youth, Popular Culture, and the Making of 'World Class' Delhi,' supervised by Dr. John L. Jackson Jr.
Preliminary abstract: India's economic liberalization has spurred a tremendous influx of migrants to India's city centers, from near and far, in search of new livelihoods (Fernandes, 2006; Searle, 2010). Delhi, for instance, has nearly tripled in population since the early 1990s due to in-migration (censusindia.gov, 2011). These migrants, like migrants around the world, strive to adapt to their new surroundings by producing themselves in ways which make them socially, economically, and politically viable (Glick-Schiller et al, 2006; Vertovec, 2011). My project examines how recent international and intranational immigrant youth -- Nepalis, Sikkimese, Assamese, and Nigerians -- who have come to Delhi to partake in its economic possibilities and, in some cases, to escape political uncertainty, are utilizing globally circulating popular cultural forms to make themselves visible in a moment when the city strives to recast its image as a world class destination for roaming capital (Roy, 2011). I focus on one super diverse (Blommaert, 2012; Vertovec, 2007) unauthorized settlement community in South Delhi to explore the citizenship making claims of immigrant youth who, to date, have been virtually invisible in academic and popular narratives of the city. Specifically, I follow 30 ethnically diverse young people from this settlement community as they engage with hip hop, a popular cultural form originating in Black American communities in the 1970s (Chang, 2005; Morgan, 2009). As hip hop's music and its practices gain popularity amongst youth in Delhi from across a wide spectrum of class and ethnic positions, I will trace how these migrant youth utilizing its styles and its globally reaching networks to fashion themselves and, perhaps, their settlement community as part of a world class urbanity in the making.
Sundar, Dr. Nandini, Delhi U., Delhi, India - To aid workshop on 'Civil War in South Asia: Ethnographic Perspectives,' 2010, Delhi U., in collaboration with Dr. Aparna Sundar
Preliminary abstract: This workshop proposes to examine civil wars in South Asia, especially from the perspective of civilians. While internal wars in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan have made headlines in 2009, all countries in South Asia have experienced longstanding armed conflicts, with significant implications for their political culture. Civilians are generally conceived of as participants in militias, whether state-sponsored or against the state; as supporters or opponents of either incumbent or insurgent parties; as collateral damage, or as innocent victims of civil war and objects of humanitarian intervention. Only very rarely are they seen as citizens whose choices and predicaments influence the course of the civil war. Shifting the focus to civilians as citizens introduces new normative and theoretical concerns, having to do with sovereignty, democracy and accountability. Most research on civil war is carried out by security experts or comparative political scientists. Unlike Africa or South America, there has been little research on civil war in South Asia, and practically none keeping the entire region in perspective. The workshop will bring a new perspective to ongoing conflicts, and contribute to both political anthropology and the ethnographic study of South Asia.
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.
Fedorenko, Olga, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'Ethico-Politics of Advertising: Analyzing Discourses and Practices of Ethical Advertising in Neoliberalized South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Andre Schmid
OLGA FEDORENKO, then a student at University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, was awarded funding in November 2008 to aid research on 'Ethico-Politics of Advertising: Analyzing Discourses and Practices of Ethical Advertising in Neoliberalized South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Andre Schmid. This project started as an exploration of advertising ethics as it is articulated and implemented by government and non-government review organizations in contemporary South Korea. As fieldwork progressed, it broadened up to encompass discourses and practices of advertising in general and to question what processes are mediated through advertising in South Korea. Conducted fieldwork included: observation of consultative advertising review meetings at Korea Broadcast Standards Commission; probes into industry-sponsored advertising review boards and NGOs engaged in advertising monitoring; participant observation at a major advertising agency in Seoul; following advertising campaigns through physical and virtual sites of advertising production and consumption; attendance of numerous advertising industry events; repeated visits to the Advertising Museum in Seoul; and interviews with advertising regulators, reviewers, professional and volunteer monitors, employees of advertising agencies, advertising managers at media outlets, consumer and media activists, advertising students and regular people. Collected data draws attention to blurring boundary between advertising and other mass media and to the role people voluntarily play in making advertising an effective instrument of commodity aesthetics. It also documents ongoing contestations about the status of advertising as a public cultural resource and as a private business expense, while detailing how flows of advertising texts and revenues are implicated in politico-economic struggles in South Korea.
Ahsan, Sonia, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Recognizing Honor: Sexual Violence and the Honour Effect in Afghanistan,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley Morris Messick
SONIA AHSAN, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in November 2010 to aid research on 'Recognizing Honor: Sexual Violence and the Honor Effect in Afghanistan,' supervised by Dr. Brinkley M. Messick. This project proposes an ethnographic approach to understanding honor-killings. Tracing the complex juridical, social, material, and historical permutations of the categories of honor and honor-killings in Afghanistan, the archival and ethnographic research unsettles these categories by demonstrating that honor is not a singular cause of action that motivates the killings but rather a retroactive effect that manifests itself through ex post facto discourses and practices. This is achieved by: 1) documenting the prominent discourses and practices that enable honor to emerge as the foremost category of analysis to explain certain violent events; 2) analyzing the vocabulary defining sexual transgressions (and by extension sexual norms) and how it has been systematically rationalized, institutionalized, and circulated through social processes; and 3) studying the manifestation of dishonorable statuses (with or without a killing), and how they are inhabited and negotiated in relation to honorable states. Bringing together the social constructs of sexual vocabulary, through an ethnography of honor-killings, this project seeks to illuminate the sexual life-worlds that inhabit present day Afghanistan.