Craig, Dr. Sienna, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; and Ao, Dr. Tsochen, Arura Group, Qinghai Province, PR China - To aid collaborative research on 'Tibetan Medicine Between Local and Global Worlds: Standardization, Commodification, and Clinical Use'
Preliminary abstract: Today, Tibetan medicine illustrates multiple, and somewhat confounding, agendas. This 'science of healing' must retain a sense of cultural authenticity and a connection to Tibetan Buddhism, yet it must be proven efficacious and safe according to international biomedical standards. Its practice must reflect both integrity and innovation within the scientific tradition from which it emerges, and operate in the context of medical pluralism, commingling with biomedical drugs, diseases, and practices - and, in China, with mainstream Chinese medicine. Tibetan medicines must treat illnesses in specific individuals and communities throughout the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau, and are often given for free. They must also find a place within the multi-billion dollar global market for 'traditional' and 'complementary' medicines, and appeal to non-Tibetan consumers seeking alternate paths to wellness. Finally, Tibetan medicine must address the paradoxes of industry growth and environmental stewardship, given that this healing system depends on the materia medica of high Asia. In collaboration with colleagues in Germany and China, the proposed research will investigate how Tibetan medicines are being standardized and commodified through industry growth in China, how they circulate through diverse social settings as commodity goods and gifts; how they are prescribed and marketed as targeted therapies and as panacea for biophysical and psychosocial ills; and how they elucidate a larger biopolitics of traditional medicine, in both local and global arenas. Specifically, this multi-sited ethnography will: 1. explore the industrial production and marketing of Tibetan medicines and related clinical research agendas from within China's largest producer of these 'traditional' formulas: the Arura Group, Qinghai Province; and 2. examine how Tibetan medical practitioners living and working in the US procure, prescribe, and relate to their pharmacopia, now that they are practicing under radically different circumstances on new patients.
Oleary, Heather Elaine, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'The Disparity of Water Access in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman
HEATHER E. O'LEARY, then a student at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'The disparity of Water Access in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman. This research explores the disparity of water access in Delhi, India, through the perspective of urban domestic workers. These workers often live in informal 'slum' communities adjacent to the homes of their employers. Like many who struggle to meet minimum consumption requirements for drinking water, domestic workers must also make difficult decisions about using water for the most basic household chores. Yet, many have been exposed to and trained in the aesthetics of modernization, and experience tension over meeting high standards of cleanliness, purity and order with limited resources. Moreover, their active participation as agents of purification in upper-middle class homes distance them from traditional, informal and peer networks of water sourcing, and as a result they are excluded from both formal and informal networks of water access. By elucidating the dynamics of water access, theories from economic anthropology, environmental anthropology, and anthropology of development can be employed to shed light on not only the local water disparity, but can also contribute to a greater understanding of how structures of development, class privilege and resource management are embroiled in socio-political problems of urban water scarcity beyond the context of India.
Karchmer, Dr. Eric Ivan, Independent Scholar, Weston, MA - To aid research and writing on 'Orientalizing the Body: Postcolonial Transformations in Chinese Medicine' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. ERIC I. KARCHMER, an independent scholar located in Weston, Massachusetts, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2007 to aid research and writing on 'Orientalizing the Body: Postcolonial Transformations in Chinese Medicine.' Orientalizing the Body is an ethnography of the hybrid practices that doctors of Chinese medicine have adopted to suit the institutional demands of modern health care delivery in China. Medicine in contemporary China is shaped by postcolonial power asymmetries: doctors of Chinese medicine practice two types of medicine, Chinese medicine and Western medicine, while their Western medicine counterparts learn only one. Despite the social imperative for doctors of Chinese medicine to use both medical systems, they have not developed an overarching theory of integration. Instead they rely on a small set of 'Orientalist' comparisons that posit the two medical systems as mirror images of each other, especially with regards to efficacy, anatomy, and diagnosis. These seemingly innocuous comparisons operate as purifying claims that both marginalize the clinical scope of Chinese medicine to the chronic, the functional, and the hard-to-diagnose, while also enabling clinical innovation by facilitating its integration with Western medicine. The manuscript traces the historical emergence of these Orientalist formulations and their implications for contemporary practice, demonstrating that the dual processes of purification and hybridization, simultaneously constraining and expanding the horizons of clinical practice, have become the central organizing dynamic in the modern development of Chinese medicine.
Karchmer, Eric. 2010. Chinese Medicine in Action: On the Postcoloniality of Medical Practice in China. Medical Anthropology 29(3): 226-252.
Dressler, Dr. Wolfram H., U. of Queensland, Australia; and Pulhin, Dr. Juan M., U. of Philippines - To aid collaborative research on 'An Ethnography of Rural Livelihood Transitions among Migrant and Indigenous Uplanders on Palawan Island, Philippines'
Preliminary abstract: The intensification of the 'agrarian transition' threatens forests and traditional livelihoods in the rural Philippines. In particular, indigenous residents on the frontier island of Palawan contend with rapidly changing livelihoods arising from unequal commodity relations with migrants in an expanding market economy (Eder and Fernandez, 1996; Cramb and Culasero, 2003; Rigg, 2006). As frontiers are settled, indigenous peoples face growing threats to traditional livelihoods and customary practice as they negotiate agricultural intensification and new markets with migrants in the uplands. But how exactly do indigenous livelihood practices respond to the local outcomes of the 'agrarian transition'? How do household social relations and customary practice engage with migrant trade relations and commodity production? This study seeks to examine in ethnographic detail how indigenous households adjust to livelihood transitions, changes in forest landscapes and changes in the regional political economy.
Dressler, Wolfram. 2009. The shifting ground of swidden agriculture on Palawan Island, the Phippines. Agriculture and Human Values. Published online.
Dressler, Wolfram. 2009. People, power and timber: The politics of community-based forest management. Journal of Environmental Management 91: 206-214.
Dressler, Wolfram. 2010. The Role of 'Hybrid' NGOs in the Conservation and Development of Palawan Island, The Philippines. Society and Natural Resources 23:165-180.
Walker, Dr. Andrew, Australian National U., Canberra, Australia - To aid research on 'Indigenous Hydrological Knowledge and Dry-Season Agriculture in Upland Catchments of Northern Thailand'
DR. ANDREW WALKER, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Indigenous Hydrological Knowledge and Dry-Season Agriculture in Upland Catchments of Northern Thailand.' The objective of this project was to investigate the role of 'indigenous hydrological knowledge' in relation to agricultural decision-making in the dry season in upland areas of northern Thailand. Research was undertaken in two villages in Samoeng district in Chiang Mai province. Overall, there appear to be relatively few local 'indicators' used to estimate the likely supply of water during the dry season. The key indicators are the obvious ones, the level of water in the main water sources. The most important assessments about water supply appear to be made in the early months of the dry season, but often after decisions about cropping have already been made. Local knowledge about hydrological issues appears to be strongly influenced by prevailing state discourse. State agencies regularly assert (using a range of methods, including roadside signs) that reductions in forest cover are the principle cause of hydrological imbalance (dry season water shortage and wet season flooding). These views are regularly repeated in local discussions. The research indicates that dry season agricultural activity is primarily driven by economic factors. Decision-making about the extent of cropping and the choice of crops is influenced primarily by assessments of likely yield and financial return. These assessments are based principally on crop performance in previous years. New crops are initially adopted by innovators and are then adopted more widely if they prove to be successful. Availability of credit is also an important factor.
Porter, Dr. Natalie Hannah, U. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH - 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.
Kleyna, Mark A., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Spectacles of the Modern: Technology, Development, and the Imagination of the Indian Nation, 1947-1965,' supervised by Dr. Nicholas B. Dirks
Fukuda, Chisato, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Breathing Uncertainty: Risk, Exposure and the Politics of Air Pollution Controls in Mongolia's Capital City,' supervised by Dr. Claire Wendland
Preliminary abstract: In 2012, the World Health Organization ranked Ulaanbaatar the second most-air polluted city in the world. Epidemiologists attribute one in ten deaths to air pollution in this city of 1.5 million people. Unlike other Asian capitals like New Delhi and Beijing where industrial power plants and vehicles are the primary culprits, the largest single source of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar is the widespread use of coal-burning domestic stoves among residents of urban slums. Mongolia became a national partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private initiative with aims to create a global market for energy-efficient stoves in the name of global health. How do urban residents develop and deploy knowledge about risk in interaction with air pollution controls? This project will ethnographically examine how local scientists, state officials, private company managers and slum dwellers engage with the stove-replacement program in Ulaanbaatar. This ethnographic study will 1) enhance medical anthropology literature on global health by analyzing how stove technologies render public health a household responsibility; 2) expand social science literature on risk by investigating how quantification facilitates expert and lay citizen understandings of risk; 3) contribute to the anthropology of urban infrastructure by highlighting the production of the citizen-consumer.