Bentley, Dr. Gillian R., U. College London, London, United Kingdom; and Dr. Farid U. Ahamed, Chittagong U., Chittagong, Bangladesh - To aid collaborative research on 'Influences on Male Migrant/Nonmigrant Bangladeshi: Female Body Shape Preferences'
Yan, Dr. Yunxiang, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'McDonald's in Beijing: A Local Ethnography of Cross-Cultural Consumption and Global Change'
DR. YUNXIANG YAN, of the University of California in Los Angeles, California, received funding in May 2002 to aid research on McDonald's restaurants in Beijing, China. Through an ethnographic account of the consumption of McDonald's food and associated cultural symbols, Yan examined local transformations of Americana and the sociocultural effects of global capitalism in Beijing, engaging in current anthropological debates over transnationalism and cultural globalization. Fieldwork was carried out between September 2003 and February 2004 in Beijing and Shanghai. Yan was able to gather substantial data through participant observation and interviews and to test the main hypotheses derived from previous field research. Important documentary data were collected with the help of research assistants; these data were intended to enable Yan to situate the case study in a wider sociopolitical context.
Saria, Vaibhav, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
VAIBHAV SARIA, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in October 2010 to aid research on 'The Lives of Orgasms: Sex, Intimacy and Carnality among the Hijras in Rural Orissa,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The grantee conducted fieldwork in rural Orissa in the districts of Bhadrak and Kalahandi among the hijras, investigating the various ways in which same-sex intimacy and desire is imagined outside the city, and what were the freedom and restraints offered to this population now labeled as a sexual minority, by the globalizing of categories, narratives and desire through the AIDS International. The grantee collected narratives not only of desire, love, sex, intimacy, seduction, and flirtation to see how actions, aspirations and failures of the hijra are organized, but also collected data related to their work -- which involves, begging, prostitution, dancing and singing -- to see how the relationship between poverty and sexual desire are configured and how the carnality of both gain expression in the hijra body. These questions were studied by conducting fieldwork on different various sites -- a local NGO, mosques, the natal family in which some hijra reside, and in trains and train stations. The grantee participated in religious festivals and accompanied hijras as they performed on the occasions of birth and marriage and also as they were recruited to act in music videos and films. The grantee collected narratives about fields where sexual relations occur for pleasure and money, outside the ordered domains of family and village, and was thus able to systematically investigate the relationship between poverty and sexual desire. Given the agenda of a global program to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has brought anal sex into such scrutiny while also trying to legitimize its existence, this research addresses the contradictions that redraw the erogenous zones of the hijra through the traffic between global categories and locally embedded practices.
Levine, Dr. Nancy E., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Displacement and Resettlement: New Lives for Tibetan Pastoralists in Gansu Province'
Preliminary abstract: This project is the first phase of what is expected to be a long-term study of Tibetan pastoralist settlement in western China. Over the last half-century, this population has experienced a succession of radical social and economic reforms, the latest of which involves government-initiated transfers of many households to newly built towns. This study will investigate the consequences of sedentarization and other recent changes associated with modernization and urbanization at the household level. It will do so by comparing households in three types of circumstances: those that have surrendered their land, abandoned pastoralism, and resettled, those that have subdivided, establishing satellite households in town in order to pursue new economic opportunities and better education for their children, and those that have maintained their traditional rural livelihoods as animal herders. The study will focus on five dimensions of change, including: (1) economic management and patterns of decision-making (2) interpersonal relationships between family members; (3) relations with extended kin and larger social networks; (4) patterns of children's schooling; and (5) perceived well-being and the utilization of health services. Also examined will be factors entering into decisions about resettlement. The findings from this project should aid understanding how households adapt to change and the circumstances that facilitate adjustments to urban living and adaptations to a rapidly changing economy. The study thus should have broad significance, given the ever-increasing numbers of displacements, relocations, and rural-urban migrations throughout a globalizing world.
Hanna, Bridget Corbett, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Illness in North India: Medicine, Risk, and Experience,' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman
BRIDGET C. HANNA, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'Illness in North India: Medicine, Risk, and Experience,' supervised by Dr. Arthur Kleinman. The grantee conducted research in north India looking at the effect of controversies over toxic chemical exposure on health experience and health care. The project was based in New Delhi and Bhopal, India, and focused on discourses of health and healing that have followed in the wake of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster. The grantee looked at the experiential, legal, and epidemiological history of attempts to concretize and make sense of the long-term effects of the exposure of half the city to methyl-isocyanate. With archival research, and through extended conversations with patients, doctors, researchers, bureaucrats, and activists, the grantee mapped usage of health care by survivors, and tried to understand the dynamics that structured the provision of health care to the affected group. The project asked: How is environmental illness causality survivor, the healer, and the state? What effect do these perceptions have on the lived experience of the individual, the family, and the city? What are the roles of state and non-state actors in articulating medical frameworks in Bhopal? And what are the implications of the culture of medical anxiety and obfuscation that has characterized the aftermath?
Chatterjee, Moyukh, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft
MOYUKH CHATTERJEE, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Legacies of Collective Violence: Survivors, NGOs, and the State in Gujarat, India,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Knauft. This project examines how mass violence unfolds across legal institutions of state redress and its implications for survivors and human-rights NGOs struggling for justice in India. Despite numerous official commissions of inquiry, human-rights activism, and civil society efforts, mass violence against minorities -- supported by state officials and militant rightwing organizations -- goes largely unpunished in India. By examining the production, circulation, and interpretation of police and legal documents within different state institutions, and victim and NGO efforts to challenge state impunity, this project examines state writing practices and its effects on legal accountability. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in lower courts, legal-aid NGOs, and survivors/complainants of the anti-Muslim violence in 2002, this project outlines how law courts obfuscate individual culpability, invalidate victims' testimony, and render sexual and gendered violence against minorities invisible. The study examines the role of legal and police documents in enabling the state apparatus to regulate what can be officially seen and said about public acts of mass violence involving ruling politicians and state officials, and its implications for survivors, human-rights activists, and NGOs fighting for legal justice.
Zia, Ather, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal
ATHER ZIA, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal. Since 1989 Kashmir has been engulfed in an anti-India armed militancy. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men have disappeared in the Indian counter-insurgency actions. Kashmiri women have assumed the task of caring for families in the absence of men. They have organized to search for those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance after being arrested by the Indian army. The research explores why some Kashmiri women become activists, what factors sustain their political struggle, and how their work as women redefines notions of activism, and public engagement in a primarily Islamic social context. The resulting dissertation focuses on understanding the questions of agency, affect, ethics, and emotion, memorialization, and mourning, in this kin-based activism.
Smith, Nicholas Russell, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Spatial Conceptions in the Transformation of China's Rapidly Urbanizing Villages,' supervised by Dr. Eve Blau
NICHOLAS R. SMITH, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Spatial Conceptions in the Transformation of China's Rapidly Urbanizing Villages,' supervised by Dr. Eva Blau. This project explores the rapid transformation of Hailong, a peri-urban village on the outskirts of Chongqing, a booming municipality in China's west. Through a combination of ethnography and spatial analysis, this research has investigated how actors conceive of the village's transformation, how these conceptions are actualized through socio-spatial practices, and how these practices intersect to produce transformation. Preliminary findings have revealed a variety of socio-spatial ontologies used to theorize Hailong's transformation. The dominant ontology, subscribed to by a majority of urban planners and policy makers, defines Hailong in terms of fixed urban and rural categories. By reifying these categories, planners and policy makers limit their options for intervention, leading to practices that fragment and simplify the village. Other actors employ alternatives, such as an ontology of uncertainty, which drives practices that minimize risk through diversity, hybridity, integration, and mobility. These alternative practices thus subvert planners' efforts to create fixity and simplicity, resulting in contestations that erupt with particular intensity in Hailong's village square, at the site of a new residential compound, and in neighborhood common spaces. The contingency and indeterminacy of these spaces makes them crucial nodes in the production of Hailong's still unsettled future.
McConnachie, Kirsten, Queen's U., Belfast, UK - To aid research on 'Governing Exiles: Competing Sites of Law, Justice, and Memory in a Karen Refugee Camp,' supervised by Dr. Kieran McEvoy
KIRSTEN McCONNACHIE, then a student at Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in May 2008, to aid research on 'Governing Exiles: Competing Sites of Law, Justice, and Memory in a Karen Refugee Camp,' supervised by Dr. Kieran McEvoy. Refugee camps are often described as sites of 'warehousing', absent jurisdictional oversight and political participation. Such descriptions assume passivity and dependence, though in reality refugees display considerable agency in shaping their lives and society. This research profiles refugee agency by documenting systems of governance within a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, focusing on the administration of justice. The refugee camp is not a legal vacuum but a densely pluralistic jurisdictional site where multiple actors claim a role in governance including the Royal Thai Government, refugee committees, military groupings, religious leaders and international humanitarian agencies. Importantly, refugees themselves play an active role in camp management. This research examines the practice of refugee justice workers, and the intersection between these structures and other authorities, including non-governmental organizations seeking to enhance access to justice for refugees on the Thai-Burma border. Theoretical frameworks of legal pluralism, governance and sovereignty are used to analyse the distinct society which exists inside the camp boundaries, its norms and beliefs and the institutional and individual messages which contribute to their construction.