Park, Seo Young, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Making Time in the 24-hour City: Gender, Labor, and Experiment in Seoul's Dongdaemun Market,' supervise by Dr. William Michael Maurer
SEO YOUNG PARK, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Making Time in the 24-hour City: Gender, Labor, and Experiment in Seoul's Dongdaemun Market,' supervise by Dr. William Maurer. This project investigates the ways in which time is experienced and produced by differently positioned subjects in the Dongdaemun Market in Seoul. By exploring the place-making and market-making practices that 'speed up' and also 'slow down' the time in the Market, this research aims to understand the contested emergence of 24-hour cities in Korea. A sprawling complex that encompasses assembly plants, wholesale stores, retail shopping malls, and entertainment centers, dongdaemun exemplifies the rapid transformation of Seoul. Once viewed as a place of arduous manual labor, Dongdaemun is now imagined as an attractive 24-hour operating space, where high-speed transnational production and consumption take place simultaneously. The grantee conducted 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Seoul, working with the market-making agents of Dongdaemun: factory laborers, designers, entrepreneurs, and NGO workers. By investigating their practices in and narratives of Dongdaemun, this study analyzes how intimate circuits unfold in their struggles over time, their working spaces, and their own creativity in various registers of garment making. The project suggests that it is not only the workers' intensive labor but also their bodily presence and intimate engagement with the clothes, people, and skills that materialize the 'speed' of production and circulation and yet contest the abstract notion of speed.
Kunen, Dr. Julie L., Northern Arizona U., Flagstaff, AZ - To aid research on 'Ritual Technology and Resource Management in Tropical States'
DR. JULIE L. KUNEN, of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, received funding in November 2002 to aid research on ritual technology and resource management in tropical states. Kunen conducted six months of research in the anthropological literature on this topic, studying ancestor veneration and land and water management practices among the early states of Southeast Asia and comparing them with similar practices in the Maya lowlands. She identified a widespread pattern in mainland Southeast Asia in which a dual practice of ancestor veneration and spirit cult worship combined to give village groups claims to particular territories. In certain places, this practice was manifested in stelae and shrines similar to Maya ones. As a result, Kunen proposed to further study Maya ritual practices from a perspective informed by this cross-cultural research. Among the topics she planned to investigate was the possibility that Maya stelae were cadastral-that is, that they denoted ownership of valuable natural resources or marked boundary lines on the landscape. In addition, she intended to pursue collaborative research with the Greater Angkor Project in Cambodia on ritual and water management in early Khmer villages.
Grayman, Jesse Hession, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Localizing the Global Discourse on Humanitarianism: Indonesian NGO Workers and Tsunami Relief in Aceh,' supervised by Dr. Byron Good
JESSE GRAYMAN, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Localizing the Global Discourse on Humanitarianism: Indonesian NGO Workers and Tsunami Relief in Aceh,' supervised by Dr. Byron Good. The earthquake and tsunami disasters of 26 December 2004 ushered in a critical historical moment for the Indonesian province of Aceh, a moment tied inextricably to the arrival of many local and international humanitarian relief organizations working in the region. The purpose of this research is to observe and analyze the social effects of the humanitarian presence in Aceh following this unprecedented natural disaster. The research is situated within anthropological debates about humanitarian interventions that have arisen alongside the growth and increasing importance of humanitarian organizations in the management of world affairs. In particular, this study identifies the Indonesian staffs of international organizations providing tsunami relief and post-conflict assistance in Aceh as a 'site' for ethnographic inquiry into these debates. An ethnography of local NGO staffs sits within and potentially connects a triad of established ethnographic sites that characterize the humanitarian narrative: ethnographies of the bureaucratic state, the voiceless refugee, and the international humanitarian. The NGO worker is not merely a link between the three corners of this triad, but also an embodiment and bearer of local logics of intervention, always tailoring the demands of the humanitarian narrative to contingencies on the ground, often with unexpected outcomes.
Cagat, Kathrine Ann Dabalos, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA - To aid research on 'Dynamic Flows: Weather, Roads and Negotiating Access and Mobility in Ifugao, Philippines'
Preliminary abstract: Through an exploration on the entanglement of road networks and weather in Ifugao Province, this research aims to gain further understanding on engagements with uncertainties amidst environmental and social transformations. The research focuses on road networks that link Banaue, Kiangan and Hungduan to each other and to areas outside Ifugao, Province. Particularly, I examine the recently completed Ibulao-Julongan Road in Kiangan and the halting of road expansions along Banaue and Hungduan, amidst heritage conservation concerns. Likewise, I historicize road-building projects in Ifugao in relation to conservation interventions. In focusing on road networks, I also consider the pervasive experience of weather, in relation to mobility and access to resources. In doing so, a focus on roads considers how the social implications of climate change concern people's everyday life, and not simply cataclysmic events. By reflecting on unpredictable weather, the vulnerable and unstable materiality of a mountainous landscape and roads and the ambiguities of travel, I further extend notions on mobility, materiality and uncertainty. Similarly, I consider how the significance of road networks addresses the political ecology of infrastructures in ways that contribute to anthropology's engagement with climate change.
Venkat, Bharat Jayram, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Paradoxes of Giving: The Business of Health in the Indian AIDS Crisis,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence M. Cohen
BHARAT J. VENKAT, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Paradoxes of Giving: The Business of Health in the Indian AIDS Crisis,' supervised by Dr. Lawrence M. Cohen. The last fifteen years have witnessed a renaissance of philanthropic giving reminiscent of the early twentieth century. In India, much of this money had gone towards the funding of HIV prevention and treatment programs. However, recent epidemiological surveys conducted by both private foundations and the Indian government revealed that HIV in India had not taken on the proportions of the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. This research examined how funding in India began to dry up, how decisions were made about where to re-investment resources, how accounting was conducted for already spent funds, and how conceptions of impact were both measured and made. In a broader sense, this work looked at how practices of business became central to practices of public health, and how these very same business principles were used to justify the ending of HIV/AIDS funding by philanthropic organizations and international health bodies. Fieldwork with philanthropic organizations in Delhi, as well as with government agencies, NGOs, and hospitals in Chennai, provided multiple entry points across various scales into the ways in which funding was being actively reorganized within the context of what appears to be an epidemiologically stabilizing and biologically mutating epidemic.
Reddy, Dr. Gayatri, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Karma of Black Folk in India: Siddis and Meanings of Race and Masculinity in Hyderabad'
Preliminary abstract: This project explores contemporary meanings of blackness, masculinity, race, and belonging in India, through the lens of the so-called 'African' or Siddi community in contemporary Hyderabad. Pre-colonial and colonial Siddi migration to Hyderabad - of black slave-soldiers from East Africa - has been well known in medieval and modern Indian historiography. And yet, the narratives of these migrants have been largely erased from general histories and postcolonial accounts of race in India as well as accounts of slavery and the global 'African' diaspora. Drawing on data gathered over eight months of archival and ethnographic research among third and fourth-generation descendants of soldiers in the African Cavalry Guards, an all-Siddi unit of the Hyderabadi army, this project unpacks these processes of marginalization, exploring the ways in which constructions of race, gender, and history animate narratives of Siddi belonging as well as on-going prejudice against Siddis and contemporary African migrants in India. It unearths the contemporary ways in which blackness and masculinity are constituted as intersecting social and political categories caught in the dialectics of alienation and intimacy, belonging and otherness, with enduring effects on the lives and cosmologies of the long-standing 'African' communities, and on the contemporary politics of race, nation, and religion in India. In exploring these issues, my project historicizes meanings of blackness and race and attendant practices of incorporation/discrimination in India, and informs larger debates about the politics of religious nationalism, the racialization of masculinity, and the globalization of race, while refracting narratives of slavery and the global 'African' diaspora.
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.
Hefner, Claire-Marie, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid engaged activities on 'Women, Piety, and Achievement: Dissemination of Research Findings in Indonesian Islamic Boarding Schools for Girls,' 2016, Indonesia
Preliminary abstract: This engaged anthropology project developed from dissertation research on moral education and women's achievement in two nationally-renowned Islamic boarding schools for girls in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. My dissertation research addresses the ways in which young Muslim women learn and engage with what it means to be proper, pious, educated, and modern. As premiere educational facilities very much invested in producing achievement-oriented young women, the school administrators and teachers at the two schools at the heart of this dissertation project have repeatedly expressed strong interest in its findings. In their continued effort to support the educational, professional, and social success of their young female Muslim charges, both of these Islamic boarding schools encourage dialogue with researchers, foreign and domestic, who take interest in their institutions. This engaged anthropology project would involve the presentation of research findings to these schools, the activist wings of the mass Muslim social welfare organizations with which they are affiliated, and local researchers also committed to the study of Islam, education, and women.
Chua, Emily Huiching, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on ''Culture Can Solve Problems': Communitarian Media Ethics and the Cultural Ambitions of Television Production in China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong
EMILY H. CHUA, then a student at the University of California, Berkeley, California, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on ''Culture Can Solve Problems': Communitarian Media Ethics and the Cultural Ambitions of Television Production in China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. As economic reform transforms China's mass media from a formidable Party-propaganda apparatus into a teeming culture industry, how are state-employed media producers responding to the changing political and economic conditions of their work? In the early twentieth century, Chinese journalists saw themselves as intellectual-activists who gave voice to the conscience of society and guided the country towards self-improvement. During the Mao era, the Communist Party's claim to exclusive ideological leadership turned the mass media into a mouthpiece of the Party-state. The end of Mao's revolutionary project and the rise of Deng's market-based approach have left China's media producers struggling to redefine the nature of their work. On the one hand, commercialization depoliticizes the media, allowing it to operate more like a forum of society than an instrument of the state. On the other hand, media producers are themselves now at the mercy of commercial forces. In the struggle for economic survival, they cannot afford to play the social critic they aspire to be. Political propaganda comes to be replaced by consumer entertainment instead, and society's conscience remains in need of a voice. From this situation spring the many new and difficult ethical problems with which China's idealistic and energetic young media producers now grapple.