Bovensiepen, Judith, London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'Tracing Fragmented Paths: Memories of Violence in the Reconstruction of East Timor,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Engelke
JUDITH BOVENSIEPEN, then a student at London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Tracing Fragmented Paths: Memories o Violence in the Reconstruction of East Timor,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Engelke. The research project consists of an ethnographic study of a remote mountain village in the central highlands of East Timor and is based on fieldwork that was carried out between November 2005 and August 2007. It is the first long-term anthropological study in this region and one of the first to be carried out in East Timor since independence. The primary focus is on the way local people have made sense of and have situated themselves towards various colonial intrusions (Portuguese colonialism and the Indonesian occupation) and the dramatic political changes at the national level, such as the recent internal conflict. The main goal of the research is an exploration of the interface between personal memories and collective representations and historical narratives. Historical memories and spiritual forces are considered to be embodied in physical objects and the study examines how the threat of losing these objects represents both a local mechanism of power and people's fear of further loss and exploitation.
Yen, Dr.Yueh-Ping, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'In Search of True Characters: An Anthropological Study of Chinese Calligraphy and Writing' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
Sen, Debarati, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on ''From Illegal to Organic': Fair Trade-Organic Tea Production and Women's Political Futures in Darjeeling, India,' supervised by Dr. Dorothy L. Hodgson
DEBARATI SEN, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'From Illegal to Organic: Fair Trade-Organic Tea Production and Women's Political Futures in Darjeeling, India,' supervised by Dr. Dorothy L. Hodgson. This comparative ethnography analyzes the circumstances under which two groups of women in the tea industry in Darjeeling, India, can exercise their autonomy and improve their livelihoods by engaging with the transnational Fair Trade movement. The dissertation addresses a central question: why, in spite of producing the same commodity -- Fair Trade organic tea -- do women tea farmers (independent farmers growing organic tea in their own land) tend to be more politically active than women plantation workers (wage laborers)? Based on intensive ethnographic fieldwork in two distinct communities (women tea farmers and women plantation workers), the research concludes that institutional structures of collective bargaining, existing gender ideologies of work and varying histories of political involvement in previous movements among women determine where they will be more successful in deriving benefits from the Fair Trade movement. This in-depth ethnographic research shows that women tea farmers are more effective in connecting their struggles against economic and cultural domination to the goals of the Fair Trade movement. In contrast, women plantation workers, many of whom were politically active in previous nationalist and labor movements, are relatively incapable of mobilizing the Fair Trade movement to their own benefit.
Lohokare, Madhura, Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid research on 'Articulating Public Space to the Public Sphere: A Study of Neighborhood Associations in Pune, India,' supervised by Dr. Cecilia Van Hollen
MADHURA LOHOKARE, then a student at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Articulating Public Space to the Public Sphere: A Study of Neighborhood Associations in Pune, India,' supervised by Dr. Cecilia Van Hollen. This research describes the myriad ways in which the working class/urban poor imagine themselves to be a part of the city of Pune in western India and relevance of these ways for questions of citizenship, by focusing on two disparate sites: a working class neighborhood in the old part of the city, and on the collective process of an incipient resistance of slum dwellers of the same city to state-sponsored slum rehabilitation programs. An ethnographic investigation of these sites demonstrates how modes of belonging to and claiming the city are structured by embodied and affective identities rooted in the physical and social spaces of the neighborhood; while a radically different mode of belonging is engendered for slum dwellers as they locate themselves in the city in legal, political, and economic terms, through their explicit struggle to defend their dynamic living spaces. This ethnography illustrates how modes of belonging to the city are linked to questions of citizenship and participation in the public sphere for the urban poor in contemporary urban India.
Hatfield, Dr. Donald John Willard, Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Far Ocean Fishing and Ironies of Indigenous Placemaking in Coastal Taiwan'
Preliminary abstract: In the late 1970s and early 1980s groups of Taiwanese indigenous men enlisted in the island country's far ocean fishing fleet. The work, although dangerous, was lucrative; and the three to five year stints brought the men, mostly of the coastal 'Amis group, to ports of call in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and East Africa. Accidental cosmopolitans whose ventures financed competitive house building in their home villages, these men form a cultural cohort whose experiences contrast with and at times unsettle dominant narratives of indigeneity. For far ocean fishermen, houses brought together personal desires to achieve greater control in relation to their wives' families, notions of development and modernity promoted by the government, consumption of new cultural products, and commitments to their home places. How did these different motivations cohere? And how did the cosmopolitan orientation of these men and their families connect with the emergence, during the same period, of an indigenous rights movement? By looking at houses, music, and other materials in which far ocean fishermen and their communities have commemorated the trade, this project examines relationships between contrasting ways of being indigenous, adding to our understanding of place and personhood.
Chien, Jennifer, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph Litzinger
JENNIFER CHIEN, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph Litzinger. From September 2010 to July 2011, this research investigated the forms of collective identities emerging within migrant communities along with the phenomenon of Corporate Social Responsibility or 'CRS' in Beijing, China. Research findings gathered from participant observation as a volunteer with three different social organizations engaged in CSR partnerships showed the following: 1) the solidification of a 'migrant' identity and culture; 2) distinct divergences in how 'migrant' and 'community' are conceived of by different CSR partners; 3) the basis of these divergences as two different principles of integration and scission,; 4) the social impact of CSR grasped at the level of socialized production; and 5) the importance of culture as a site of antagonism. These research findings helped to address the following research questions: How is CSR reconfiguring forms of collective identity in China, and what political claims are enabled or precluded within its discourses and practices? How do migrants in China, associated with agricultural or factory production, affect a global economy increasingly driven by cultural and informational production? How does 'community' as code for forms of common production become both desirable and risky for business practice?
Sood, Anubha, Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Women's Help-Seeking Pathways: Global Policy, the State and Mental Health Practices in India,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca J. Lester
ANUBHA SOOD, then a student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'Women's Help-Seeking Pathways: Global Policy, the State and Mental Health Practices in India,' supervised by Dr. Rebecca J. Lester. This research project investigated the help-seeking pathways of women experiencing mental distress in urban North India. In India's medically plural landscape (which includes myriad treatment options), mystical-spiritual healing practices based on ideas of supernatural affliction are believed to hold special expertise for treating mental disorders, and are especially popular among women. However, the Indian state endorses biomedical psychiatry, a less commonly sought option among women, as the only legitimate mental health system for the country and denounces magico-religious healing as superstitious and inimical to the women seeking such treatment. The study investigated what distinct appeal these two systems of mental health care held for women and what might women's engagements with these systems reveal about how state discourses shape women's health concerns. The research was conducted among women, their families and the psychiatrists/healers in a public health psychiatric facility in Delhi and a popular Hindu healing temple in the neighboring state of Rajasthan. The two field settings were carefully chosen based on an overlapping population of attendees similar in socio-demographic and socioeconomic profile visiting the two sites. The project was carried out over the period of July-December 2009 and involved participant observation and person-centered interviewing, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing as the primary methods of research.
Michaels, Ben Justin, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Team Tibet: Soccer as the Performance of Human Rights in the Transnational Tibetan Exile Community,' supervised by Dr. Marvin Sterling
BEN J. MICHAELS, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Team Tibet: Soccer as the Performance of Human Rights in the Transnational Tibetan Exile Community,' supervised by Dr. Marvin Sterling. For this phase of research, ethnographic fieldwork was carried out in Dharamsala/Mcleod Ganj, India, which is the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile and the major hub of Tibetan exile life. 2011 became a historic year for the transnational Tibetan exile community as the Dalai Lama announced his retirement from political life and handed over leadership of the Tibetan Government in Exile to an elected prime minister. This marked the next major step in the materialization of his long-envisioned process of Tibetan democratization and emboldened a new generation of politically active Tibetans to embrace their democratic right to disagree with their leaders. Acknowledging dissent as an essential element of the democratic process, this study examines the social mechanisms by which dissenting opinions are either muted at the local level or propagated and allowed to evolve into transnational social movements able to transcend spatial and political boundaries. At the same time, this research highlights some of the generational gaps in social and political views as young Tibetans, raised and educated in exile, use the emergence of new and globally accessible communicative media to express and circulate new ideas throughout the Tibetan world.
Ibrahim, Amrita, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on ''Truth on Our Lips, India in Our Hearts' Television News and Affective Publics in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
AMRITA IBRAHIM, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on ''Truth on Our Lips, India in Our Hearts:' Television News and Affective Publics in Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Television news in India is characterized by an excess of audio, visual, and narrative tropes that draw from popular film, pulp fiction, and mythology. As a form of storytelling that borrows from and builds on these, news also circulates among its audiences in everyday conversation, rumor, and gossip. These forms of talk often find their way into the news as 'sources' in themselves. During 18 months of fieldwork, the grantee observed the inner workings of three news studios, interviewed channel heads, production teams, and reporters and also followed selected stories into the neighborhoods where they had occurred. This dissertation explores how the line between fiction and fact is negotiated in India's television news through three field encounters: first, the television news crime genre that builds on themes from Hindi film and pulp fiction; second, the force of rumor in shaping the contours of a news story in the studio and also among local residents; and third, the unexpected appeal of reality television as a form of news. The study will attempt to show how the repetitive loop of visuals, music, and narrative enhances the affective intensity of news stories such that they become forces, among others, in the constitution of contemporary public culture.
Ibrahim, Amrita, 2013. Who is a Bigger Terrorist than the Police? Photography as a Politics of Encounter in Delhi's Batla House. South Asian Culture 11(2):133-144.
Ibrahim, Amrita. 2012. Voyeurism and Family on Television. In Cambridge Companion to Modern Indian Culture. Vasudha Dalmia and Rashmi Sadana, eds. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Cortesi, Luisa, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Living in Floods: Knowledges and Technologies of Disastrous Waters in North Bihar, India,' supervised by Dr. Michael Dove
Preliminary abstract: How do people in rural north Bihar, India, live and make sense of water in a landscape periodically destroyed by floods? The proposed study draws on environmental anthropology, disaster studies and science and technology studies, to trace how water-related knowledge(s) are deployed in everyday practices, and mediated by technologies, in a frequently flooded environment where people live in, and often die from, water. This query enables an ethnographic perspective on wider debates about human knowledge and adaptation in conditions of rapid environmental change and specifically on the ways in which rural inhabitants react to environmental disasters drawing on cultural resources such as local knowledge and networks, as well as technologies of water management. The proposed ethnography combines an epistemological analysis of life in a disastrous waterscape with the close observation of pragmatic responses to waterborne disasters to reveal complex forms of articulation between dynamic ecologies, water-related practices, environmental knowledges, and technological choices.