Porter, Natalie Hannah, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Threatening Lives: Controlling Avian Flu in Vietnam's Poultry Economy,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Ann Bowie
NATALIE H. PORTER, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Threatening Lives: Controlling Avian Flu in Vietnam's Poultry Economy,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Ann Bowie. This project uses comparative ethnographic research at three sites of avian influenza management in Vietnam to explore how expanding global health efforts against avian influenza alter Vietnamese poultry economies in ways that create new and contested boundaries between humans and animals. Participant-observation of two avian influenza interventions in Hanoi reveals how global health experts, state agents, and non-governmental workers construct bird flu risks according to varying political and economic positions, in which controlling disease emerges as one of several objects of concern. Further, ethnographic research in two socioeconomically distinct communities demonstrates how poultry producers reformulate official risk constructs according to distinct knowledge systems, which are based primarily upon interpersonal networks, kin hierarchies, and phenomenological experience. Central to the diverse understandings of bird flu risks in both global health arenas and in rural farming communities are contestations over the appropriate role of animals in human socioeconomic systems, and conflicts over the value of agricultural livelihoods in a standardizing, market-oriented economy.
Porter, Natalie. 2013. Bird Flu Biopower:Strategies for Multispecies Coexistence in Viet Nam. American Ethnologist 40(1):132-148.
Haines, Dr. David W., George Mason U., Fairfax, VA - To aid workshop on 'Wind Over Water: An Anthropology of Migration in an East Asian Setting,' 2008, U. of California-Berkeley
'Wind Over Water: An Anthropology of Migration in an East Asian Setting'
November 17-18, 2008, the Institute for East Asian Studies at UC-Berkeley, Berkeley, California
Organizer: Dr. David W. Haines (George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia)
Developing an inclusive anthropology that bridges national, cultural, and linguistic divides is a difficult process, but one that promises a far broader intellectual and practical platform from which anthropology can engage with truly global social issues. As a test case of that kind of inclusive anthropology, this workshop examines the dynamics, trends, and meanings of East Asian migration, with particular attention to the ways an understanding of migration grounded in Asian experience and Asian thought can complement and challenge a body of migration research, theory, policy, and practice that has been largely based on the North American and European experiences-and on North American and European ways of viewing those experiences. This choice of East Asia as a test case has both topical and procedural advantages. In terms of topic, the East Asian material is especially helpful in indicating the interaction between internal and international migration, the degree to which out and in-migration are often offsetting, the frequency with which migration is of unclear duration, and the varying configurations through which national and local governments, citizens, migrants, and activists work toward some balance of social inclusion and cultural diversity. In terms of process, the East Asian case permits the inclusion of scholars whose voices are often absent from the English-language literature but who represent well-developed societies in economic and political terms, and also long-established anthropological traditions. Such East Asian scholars are thus in a particularly good position to provide fresh views that complement and challenge European and North American anthropology.
Chaturvedi, Ruchi, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Criminal Enmities: State, Party Workers and the Law in South India,' supervised by Dr. E. Valentine Daniel
RUCHI CHATURVEDI, while a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on 'Criminal Enmities: State, Party Workers and the Law in South India,' supervised by Dr. E. Valentine Daniel. Research centered around political party workers of the Marxist left and the Hindu right in Northern Kerala who have used relentless violence against each other for over three decades. Field research for the dissertation project proceeded from the following questions: What are the details of the party workers' social histories and biographies? What roles and performances mark their careers and what is their relevance for the functioning of the democratic state? What are the contexts and modes in which workers oft11ese parties usurp the state's defining feature: its monopoly over the use of physical force? Party workers form communities tied together by bonds of friendship and kinship, and religious and other ideologies. Those not perceived as 'friends' and 'brothers' are classified as enemies. Political practice gets directed towards elimination of this enemy, and violence ensues. This is a logic that also finds place within democracies but poses grave challenges to the ideals of rightful democratic practice. In KeraIa, as in other parts of India and the world, the State paradoxically becomes both the site of the political contest as well as the agent of violence against enemies of one or another group, thereby creating its own enemy. Research was thus directed at examining how the State-judiciary enacts its authority only by transfiguring the State subject into the State enemy through violence. Party workers are caught in this whirl of varied antagonistic claims to authority and violence. The question of necessity of this violence in the practice and preservation of democracy is the central ethical problem that is posed and engaged with in the dissertation.
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.
Lin, Emily Xi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Disability's Star-Children: Autism and the Remaking of Urban China's Moral Order,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich
EMILY XI LIN, then a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Disability's Star-Children: Autism and the Remaking of Urban China's Moral Order,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich. This research contributes a multi-sited ethnography of the social life of autism as a psychiatric category in contemporary China. Based on multi-sited ethnography in homes, clinics, autism rehabilitation centers, and philanthropic organizations, the project pays attention to the social meanings and practices of autism caregiving in contemporary China amidst social, educational, and urban-rural healthcare disparities. It is argued that autism illuminates moral crises in three domains: parent-child relations, rural-urban healthcare disparities, and citizens' disquiet with Chinese society's apparent lack of humanity. This thesis investigates how citizens themselves perceive deficiencies in Chinese morality, civility, and scientific literacy, and how these deficiencies are thrown into relief by the needs of autistic persons. While China's biomedical institutions and humanitarian organizations foster novel autism parental practices and ethics in the name of true parental love and scientific modernity, the grantee argues that these efforts shift the burden of care of autistic persons from the state to families, thus increasing the burden of care on rural families in China. In paying attention to how disabled citizens are nurtured or neglected due to choices made by 'good' or 'selfish' parents, findings demonstrate how moral categories are key to post-socialist governmentality-the art, techniques, and practices of governance-in China.
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.
Coleman, Leo C., Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Private Power: The Privatization of Electricity and Citizenship in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Carol J. Greenhouse
LEO CHARLES COLEMAN, then a student at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'Private Power: The Privatization of Electricty and Citizenship in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Carol J. Greenhouse. This project studied urban citizenship and the political and social consequences of privatization in Delhi, India, with an ethnographic focus on consumer and citizen mobilizations in response to the partial privatization of electricity provision in 2002. The research reveals the internal strains and external constraints on the development of a self-described 'middle-class' in Delhi today, and describes the recent emergence in Delhi of class-homogenous territorially- and residentially-based political groups. Alongside national transformations in economic governance, novel practices of citizenship and urban inclusion and exclusion have emerged in Delhi, expressed in mobilizations for better electricity service and fairer rates, and citizen demands for slum clearance, urban renewal, and expansion of urban services. The mobilizations studied agitated for local control of 'public' goods and were informed by an ideology of consumer-citizenship which equates democracy with transparency, and the latter with local territorial sovereignty. These are the unexpected consequences of a privatization process deeply imbued with the neo-liberal orthodoxy of absolute individual autonomy, but which has produced, ironically, new territorial collectivities. Through joint archival and ethnographic research, the project also traces the continued, albeit submerged, relevance for political action of long-standing foci of communal identification and urban division, including citizenship and caste.
Welker, Marina, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Industry as Aid: Mining, Development, and Moral Conflict in Sumbawa, Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane
MARINA WELKER, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2001 to aid research on mining, development, and moral conflict in Sumbawa, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Webb Keane. Welker considered the incorporation of a new business paradigm, 'corporate social responsibility' (CSR), in the transnational mining industry. During eighteen months of data collection in Indonesia, she combined long-term village research on community development projects carried out by Newmont Nusa Tenggara near the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Sumbawa with two months of comparative research in Jakarta and at other mine sites. Primary methods included participant observation, interviews, and archival research (corporate documents and newspapers). Welker focused on transformations in the risk management strategies mining companies applied to groups they recognized as 'stakeholders': farmers, businesspeople, mothers, the state, developmentalist nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and advocacy NGOs. She found that under the CSR paradigm, corporations were attempting to substitute a market rationality construing local communities as autonomous and independent for the gift logic that served as the conventional basis of corporate-community relations. By examining how new flows of material and discourse between companies and stakeholders were constituted and contested, Welker approached CSR as an extension of corporate power and knowledge. She found both stakeholder groups and companies transformed through their participation in negotiations over the proper relationship between mining companies and mine-affected communities.
Welker, Marina. 2014. Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Welker, Marina. 2012. The Green Revolution's Ghost: Unruly Subjects of Participatory Development in Rural Indonesia. American Ethnologist 39(2):389-406.
Welker, Marina A. 2009. 'Corporate Security Begins in the Community:' Mining, The Corporate Social
Responsibility Industry, and Environmental Advocacy in Indonesia. Cutlural Anthropology 24(1):142-179.