Goldfarb, Kathryn Elissa, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'National-Cultural Ideologies and Medical-Legal Practices: Infertility, Adoption, and Japanese Public Policy,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar
KATHRYN E. GOLDFARB, then a student at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in April 2009, to aid research on 'National-Cultural Ideologies and Medical-Legal Practices: Infertility, Adoption, and Japanese Public Policy,' supervised by Dr. Judith Brooke Farquhar. Only 9% of the 40,000 children in Japanese state care live with foster parents, and there are less than 500 annual adoptions in which an adult adopts an unrelated and unknown child. Many people claim that fostering and adoption will never be common practices because Japanese people prioritize blood relationships in families. This research is an effort to separate ideologies surrounding blood relationships from factors within the child welfare system that shape family practices, and to understand, on a systemic level, the relationships among people, institutions, and legal structures that shape contemporary family practices in situations where 'family' cannot be taken for granted. This project is a multi-sited ethnographic study based on participant-observation and interviews with people involved in three distinct constructions of family: couples that pursue infertility treatment; families with adopted or foster children; and people involved in institutional care and these care recipients. The grantee argues that cultural ideologies valorizing blood relationships are institutionalized within the child welfare system itself, particularly in the ways that notions of 'parental rights' effectively prevent children's placement in foster or adoptive care. Rather than solidifying kinship, it is posited that blood relationships can be a very real source of danger and dissolution.
Bordia, Devika, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Local Governance Through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen
DEVIKA BORDIA, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Local Governance through Panchayats: Indigeneity, Law, and Sovereignty in Western India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen. This project examines the relationship between legal and governmental institutions of the state, tribal panchayats, local community institutions. The grantee conducted fieldwork in the 'tribal' region of Southern Udaipur, Western India, tracing cases related to murder, violence, land claims and domestic disputes. The ways in which these cases were addressed involved complex negotiations between leaders of tribal panchayats, the police, lawyers and magistrates. This revealed how supposedly distinct legal systems are in effect a range of overlapping institutions, actors, artifacts and languages that evoke various formations of individual and community. Articulations of crime and violence within legal codes, though abstracted from local contexts for the sake of objectivity, are reflective of people and place and assume certain ideas of what it means to be 'tribal.' The project also examines the way in which language and ideas of the law weave into the fabric of everyday life and are used by leaders of panchayats in their work of dispute resolution. The grantee conducted extensive interviews and traveled with local leaders to understand the different ways they gain visibility and derive legitimacy. An examination of state organizations, NGOs and different social movements demonstrate how ideas of indigeneity are generated through their work, and the ways these ideas find their way into every day legal processes.
Yang, Xiaoliu, Sun Yat-Sen U., Guangzhou, China - To aid research on 'Making Participatory Poverty Reduction Chinese,' supervised by Dr. Daming Zhou
XIALIU YANG, then a student at Sun Yet-sen University, Guangzhou, China, received funding in January 2006 to aid research on 'Making Participatory Development Chinese,' supervised by Prof. Daming Zhou. The fieldwork was conducted in Meigu county, an impoverished, Nuosu ethnic region in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. The grantee did fieldwork from February to December 2006 to study how the Western 'participation' in China's rural poverty reduction is made Chinese. Research focused on three Western projects in a Nuosu village -- from the World Bank, the United Nations Children's Fund, and Germany's Misereor Foundation -- to observe how 'participation' is made Chinese at different stages of the project cycle. Support enabled a multi-level investigation to collect information identifying key stakeholders involved in the delivery of Western participatory aid, including state and local government, international aid organizations, Chinese scholars, and indigenous people.
Selby, Don F., Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Human Rights and Political Change in Contemporary Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
DON F. SELBY, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded funding in January 2005, to aid research on 'Human Rights and Political Change in Contemporary Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. This research studies the emergence of human rights in Thai politics. It emphasizes, on the one hand the efforts of national institutions like the National Human Rights Commission to domesticate human rights to local social imperatives by identifying them with Buddhist ethics and the protection of national symbols like the village community. On the other hand, it follows human rights advocates at the grass-roots level to study how they draw on human rights as a new political resource with institutional authority (in the Commission), while at the same time drawing on long-standing social conventions like patron-clientage, maintaining face, and avoiding shame, to give human rights their force. Finally, ethnographic work at state institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the Commission suggest that the study of human rights in Thailand throws into question, first, ideas of a unitary state, or a homogeneous human rights movement, free, in either case, of internal contests, fissures, and competing strategies, and second, conceptualizations of human rights that deny the inevitability of cooperative state-advocate projects.
Lock, Dr. Margaret M., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The Making of Menopause in Japan'
DR. MARGARET LOCK, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, received funding in June 2002 to aid research on menopause in Japan. She conducted fieldwork in February and March 2003 in the Kanto and Kansai areas, where she interviewed 50 women for one hour each, using an open-ended questionnaire followed by free conversation. The interviews focused first on the women's experiences as they approached or went through menopause, including symptom experiences and uses of the health-care system, medications, and clinics offering herbal medicines. The second part of the interview dealt with general knowledge about menopause and sources of information on the subject. In addition, Lock conducted extensive interviews with 15 gynecologists and family doctors. The findings indicated that despite intensive efforts to medicalize menopause in Japan, the majority of Japanese women did not consult a gynecologist at that stage of the life cycle. The Japanese concept koonenki continued to convey the idea of a long, gradual transition and meant more than simply the end of menstruation. Reporting of vasomotor symptoms-hot flashes and night sweats-had increased since the time of Lock's previous research 30 years earlier, but it was still much lower than in North America. Specific Japanese symptoms such as shoulder stiffness continued to be reported more than other symptoms. This subject has proved to be extraordinarily fertile for exploring the boundaries between nature and culture and for confronting unexamined assumptions in the medical model of menopause.
Hasinoff, Erin, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall
ERIN L. HASINOFF, a student at Columbia University, New York, received funding in December 2005 to aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall. The grant was used to study the Missionary Exhibit, a fragmentary collection of ethnological artifacts that was accessioned by Franz Boas of the American Museum of Natural History following the close of the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions of 1900. The project assessed how the Burmese portion of this unstudied collection inventoried Burma (today, Myanmar), and traced its legacy: the production of Burmese identities in contemporary cultural museums in Myitkyina, Putao, Hkamti and Layshi. By critically engaging the object biography approach, this investigation looked at how the Missionary Exhibit materialized and continues to shape inventories of Burma, now at the periphery of anthropological knowledge. This research considered how artifacts were not just expressions of a new context, but were also technologies that created the context anew. This is premised on the idea that objects came to embody information about Burma, while also acting as agents in the relationships that developed between specific Burmese missionaries and anthropologists. Research followed the contours of the Exhibit's collection history back to Burma by considering how identities are produced in cultural museums. The study contributes to our understanding of the missionary imagination and its material entanglements over time, as well as to the politics and performance of cultural identity in museums today.
Chen, Junjie, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'When the State Claims the Intimate: Population Control and Constructions of Rural Identity in China,' supervised by Dr. Alma Gottlieb
JUNJIE CHEN, then a student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, received funding in June 2004 to aid research on 'When the State Claims the Intimate: Population Control and Constructions of Rural Identity in China,' supervised by Dr. Alma Gottlieb. This dissertation fieldwork project explores how a prolonged series of discursive constructions of peasants as 'backward' subjects by the Chinese government has served to legitimize the state's sustained intrusion into the seemingly private event of reproduction in rural China, and in turn how rural residents respond to and interpret this intrusion. The fieldwork was conducted in and around a multi-ethnic Manchu-Han village in northeastern China from July 2004 to August 2005. Data was collected mainly through intensive interviews, participant observation, and household surveys. Reading villagers' subjective experiences of reproduction against the state's hegemonic claims in shaping rural lives, this project aims to chart how rural citizens think about, talk about, and manage their fertility strategies and habits in the face of the state's continuing claims on their most intimate practices. In so doing, this project further explores complex situations and predicaments that both Manchu and Han peasants have faced, and continue to face, due to the state's sustained intrusion into the private event of reproduction at the intersection of gender, class, ethnicity, and urban-rural spaces over the past three decades.
Zykowski, Kathryn Cook, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'New Muslim Identities: Student Migration, Local Negotiations, and Indian Universities,' supervised by Dr. Sareeta Amrute
Preliminary abstract: India is increasingly becoming a hot spot for international education and as of 2012 ranked second only to the United States in terms of the number of foreign students attending universities. These educational migratory paths towards India have received little scholarly attention though migration from India to the West for education, and to the Gulf Countries for labor, has been well documented. Hyderabad, the site of my research, is a cosmopolitan city known for its Information Technology educational and employment opportunities. As a result, in the last decade, international student migration to Hyderabad has increased each year. Since India's Independence, the Muslim minority has been marginalized socially, economically, and culturally. What are the effects of a growing international Muslim student population at Indian universities, and of the attendant transnational flows of ideas, bodies, and objects? This project hypothesizes that, although the notion of Hyderabad as a center of global Muslim community is produced primarily through the city's visibility as a destination of study for diasporic Muslim students, this idea is co-constructed with and taken up by the local Muslim population, who mobilize it to build opportunities for travel, economic ventures, and educational support.