Dennis, Dannah Karlynn, U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Re-Imagining the Nation: Citizens in the New Nepal,' supervised b Dr. Allison Alexy
Preliminary abstract: How do people envision and enact citizenship when the social and legal foundations of their nation-state are called into question? This doctoral research explores how citizens in contemporary Nepal are re-imagining their nation in the midst of an ongoing transition from Hindu monarchy to secular democracy. This turbulent process requires the citizens of Nepal to fundamentally re-conceptualize Nepali national identity, which has historically been defined in terms of three key elements: the Shah monarchy, state Hinduism, and the Nepali language. Because the Shah monarchy and state Hinduism have both been removed from the structure of government in recent years, and given that less than 50% of the country's population speaks Nepali as a first language, the continued existence of a unified Nepali state is contested. My research analyzes the ways in which Nepali people who oppose the division of the country along ethnic and religious lines are attempting to re-imagine Nepal as a coherent, unified nation-state and themselves as citizens of that nation-state. I focus on three main arenas in which Nepali citizens are working to concretize their ideas about the nation: 1) the education of children, 2) religious demonstrations in public life, and 3) everyday interactions between neighbors of different backgrounds.
Sykes, Jim, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'A 'Space' for Sound: Sacred Music, Sentiment, and the Politics of Place in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Philip V. Bohlman
JIM SYKES, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A 'Space' for Sound: Sacred Music, Sentiment, and the Politics of Place in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Philip V. Bohlman. Sri Lanka has become infamous around the world as a site of 'ethnic conflict,' on account of the island's 25-year civil war between the Sinhala-led government and the Tamil-led Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (L TIE). One outcome of the conflict is the mainstreaming of ethnonationalist ideologies of cultural separation, which view the island's Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and other populations as having thoroughly distinct cultural histories. This dissertation contests such an overly ethnicized reading of Sri Lankan cultural history, through the lens of musical practices. Rather than focus on one ethnic group and 'its' music, the project locates music as a site of contestation between two radically alternate narratives of Sri Lankan social relations: on the one hand, a history of ethnic division, chauvinism, and violence; on the other, an underrepresented history of tolerance, borrowing, and mixing. Drawing on fieldwork with musicians in two locations (one majority Sinhala, the other majority Tamil) and focusing on traditional drumming (yak hera, maththalam), the project explores music's entanglements with personhood, modernity, trauma, and historical narrative from a comparative perspective, in order to articulate a discourse on Sri Lankan communities that is regional, rather than ethnic or linguistic, in scope.
Sykes, Jim. 2013. Culture as Freedom: Musical 'Liberation' in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. Ethnomusicology 57(3):485-517.
Ornellas, Melody Li, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Negotiating Citizenship: Cross-border Marriages and Collective Actions in Hong Kong,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable
MELODY LI ORNELLAS, then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Negotiating Citizenship: Cross-Border Marriages and Collective Actions in Hong Kong,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable. This research investigated contemporary Hong Kong/China cross-border marriages and the complexity of politics, power, and agency involved in mainland Chinese migrant wives' experiences in negotiating their immigration, citizenship, and adaptation to life in Hong Kong. Specifically, it focused on the rise of collective struggles among a group of 'visiting wives' who are only allowed to live temporarily in Hong Kong by utilizing a family visit permit, which must be periodically renewed in the mainland. Based on fieldwork conducted in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province in China, this research explored the wives' cross-border living conditions, difficulties they face during permit renewal, impacts of a non-local/visitor immigration status on their experience of living in Hong Kong, and how this situation prompts them and their Hong Kong husbands and families to engage in political activism to claim rights. This project demonstrates that citizenship is best understood as a negotiated process. In contrast to the state's formalistic definitions of local vs. visitor, 'visiting wives' and their families strive to redefine such meanings in their own terms by emphasizing the wives' familial relationships and significant participation in a range of social activities through which their 'local' status and ties to Hong Kong are substantively expressed.
Kendall, Dr. Laurel, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; and Nguyen, Dr. Van Huy, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam - To aid collaborative research on the sacred life of material goods: museum objects revisited, 2004
DR. LAUREL KENDALL, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, and DR. VAN HUY NGUYEN, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in June 2004 to aid collaboration on 'The Sacred Life of Material Goods: Museum Objects Revisited.' This project wed material culture studies to the anthropology of religion, the practical work of museums to the ethnography of popular religion and magic. It qualified the vague and problematic concept of a 'sacred object' with several ethnographically contingent understandings of how material things become and how they cease to be sacred in different communities of religious practice, demonstrating the utility of Alfred Gell's notion that relationships between people and things can be studied much as anthropologists study relationships between people. The original donors, members of their communities, ritual specialists, and artisans described how six objects in the collection of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME) -- votive statues and amulets (Kinh majority), diviners' bundles (Tai minority), a shaman's stringed instrument (Tay minority), and a ritual tree (Tai minority) -- and others like them were produced, what powers were imputed to them, and how human users properly interact with these things in their sacred, potentially sacred, and no longer sacred states. In the new market economy, the relationship between production technology and magical power has been modified and practitioners make ritual improvisations when they bring sacred material into new contexts such as secular performance and museum collections.
Fiol, Stefan P., U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'The Politics of Performance and Place among Pahari Musicians in Uttaranchal,' supervised by Dr. Charles Capwell
STEFAN P. FIOL, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received funding in October 2004 to aid research on 'The Politics of Performance and Place among Pahari Musicians in Uttaranchal,' supervised by Dr. Charles Capwell. The dissertation research carried out in Uttaranchal, North India, from November 2004 through September 2005 focused on the formation of a regional music industry, and the influence this has on local musical practices. The nature of my subject matter led me to explore different kinds of contexts in which music is produced, distributed, and consumed, thus necessitating a multi-sited research methodology. I traced the paths of musical consumption, distribution, and production through various villages, hill towns, and plains cities, exploring the historical and social processes through which the regional music of Uttaranchal (Garhwal and Kumaon) becomes codified and reinterpreted by various actors. I hope that this dissertation will be of use to scholars, policy-makers, and artists interested in understanding how commercialization transforms the landscape of musical life in the conext of this newly-formed hill state.
Fiol, Stefan. 2010. Dual Framing: Locating Authenticities in the Music Vide3os of Himalayan Possession Rituals. Ethnomusicology 54(1):28-53.
Fish, Allison Elizabeth, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Owning Transnational Yoga: Intellectual and Cultural Property Claims to a Traditional Practice,' supervised by Dr. William Michael Maurer
ALLISON E. FISH, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Owning Transnational Yoga: Intellectual and Cultural Property Claims to a Traditional Practice,' supervised by Dr. William Maurer. Research related to this project took place primarily in Bangalore, Dehli, and California. What the grantee terms 'transnational yoga' is an example of the rapid transformation that forms of traditional cultural knowledge undergo as they are increasingly offered in commoditized form to consumers in affluent and cosmopolitan markets. The research takes two US federal district court cases, Bikram v. Schreiber-Morrison et al. and Open Source Yoga Unity v. Bikram as a starting point. These suits served as the catalyst triggering open conflict concerning the proprietary nature of yogic knowledge. In researching the resulting dispute, the grantee attends to two sets of reactions. The first is that of the Indian state, which is concerned with what it perceives to be the on-going piracy of its national-cultural heritage. The study focuses upon the state's own claim to yoga and its attempt to protect this claim through the construction of a traditional knowledge digital library. Secondly, the research examines the reactions of select yoga organizations, which have also adopted intellectual property claims. In tracing these relationships the grantee shows how not only yoga, but also other cultural objects (such as intellectual property) are contested and reconfigured. In doing this, the project contributes to a re-examination of the tradition-modernity binary.
Aragon, Dr. Lorraine V., East Carolina U., Greenville, NC - To aid research on 'State Policies, Religious Narratives, and Multiculturalism: Addressing the Communal Conflicts of Post-Suharto Indonesia'
DR. LORRAINE V. ARAGON, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a grant in May 2002 to aid ethnographic research on the religiously polarized communal conflicts that began in Indonesia after President Suharto's resignation in 1998. One of Aragon's objectives was to examine how state policies and the activities of state agents interacted with local community networks to foster regional disharmony between ethnic groups that were divided as Muslim and Christian. The most detrimental policies related to migration, ethnoreligious discrimination, bureaucratic corruption, the promotion of cash cropping, and land commodification. A comparison of conflicts in Maluku, central Sulawesi, and Kalimantan indicated that violence became religiously polarized where Christian and Muslim identities heavily overlapped local categories of 'indigenous' versus 'migrant' and did not crosscut significant ethnic boundaries. Aragon also investigated Muslims' and Christians' experiences of the violence and explored their divergent understandings of why the conflict began, who suffered most, and when violence was justified. Mass media also proved to be implicated in the religious polarization and escalation of conflict. Media narratives in a wide variety of formats framed conflicts in terms of a Muslim-Christian 'holy war' or religious aggression, which helped transform local, national, and transnational interpretations and actions.
Aragon, Lorraine V. 2005. Mass Media Fragmentation and Narratives of Violent Action in Sulawesi’s Poso Conflict. Indonesia, Vol. 79:1-55.
Tusinski, Gabriel Omar, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Violence beyond the Body: House Destruction, Construction, and the Contestation of Timorese National Belonging,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
GABRIEL O. TUSINSKI, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Violence Beyond the Body: House Destruction, Construction and the Contestation of Timorese National Belonging,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. This project explores the social contours of house construction and destruction in Dili, the post-conflict capital city of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. It examines the material practices (migration, narration and exchange) through which Timorese people draw connections between their urban places of inhabitation and their rural places of origin to reveal how social identities and relations to land have persisted and been transformed in the urban capital in the post-independence era. The project suggests the forms of violence that have plagued Timor must be understood in relation to distinctly Timorese ways of understanding their connections to each other and to their territory, namely through the mediation of ancestral origin houses (uma lulik). Timorese people conceptualize their rights and obligations to one another through their membership in these houses and their associated networks of kin. Migration to the capital city and ongoing internationally fostered development and nation-building have additionally politicized housing, often resulting in tensions and misapprehensions over the significance and value of infrastructure, and specifically of domestic architecture. This study examines the minute details of these conflicts in values, exposing how the conditions for national integration and disintegration are built into reconstruction itself.
Porter, Dr. Natalie Hannah, U.of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN - 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.
Kuan, Dr. Teresa, Whittier College, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research and writing on 'Adjusting the Bonds of Love: Chinese Governmentalities and Lived Experience in Post-Mao China' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. TERESA KUAN, Whittier College, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2011 to aid research and writing on 'Adjusting the Bonds of Love: Chinese Governmentalities and Lived Experience in Post-Mao China.' China's economic strategy for building a knowledge economy depends on the art of subject-making. The education reform known as 'education for quality' is emblematic of this art in its aim to cultivate high 'quality' individuals who possess a spirit for innovation. This movement is broad, and it includes the dissemination of expert advice to ordinary parents. 'Adjusting the Bonds of Love' is a dissertation-to-book project that examines the intersection between popular advice and the lived experience of raising a child amongst urban, middle-class families. It explores the tension between the regulatory power of expert advice on the one hand, and the challenges posed by uneven economic development on the other. The lived experience of this tension amongst ordinary parents, and the practical strategies they develop in the face of uncertainty, reveal how global transformations articulate with the most intimate of human experiences. 'Adjusting the Bonds of Love' is an exploration into the nature of moral agency, experienced and expressed in the management of life contingencies. In the contemporary Chinese context, moral agency involves something the author calls the 'art of disposition': the art of discerning the nature of situations, and of determining where action is either possible or required. The book project offers this concept as a way of more radically connecting the scale of the political with the scale of the everyday, by demonstrating a mutual correspondence between different modalities of power - between governmentality on the one hand, and the 'native's' concern with worldly efficacy on the other.