Zhao, Dr. Jianhua, U. of Louisville, Louisville, KY - To aid research on 'Making China's Second Generation Family Business Owners'
DR. JIANHUA ZHAO, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentuckey, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid resaerch on 'Making China's Second Generation Family Business Owners.' This research is an ethnographic study of the processes through which second generation family business owners are constituted in China. It investigates the formation of a particular group of capitalist subjects in the political-economic context of contemporary China. This study was conducted in Summers 2011 and 2012, consisting of surveys, participant observation, and ethnographic interviews of eighty some participants in two schools specialized in training family business successors in Zhejiang province. Preliminary findings of this research include: 1) second-generation Chinese entrepreneurs have developed different subjectivities from those of their parents due to their different notions of family, gender, filial piety, and business management; and 2) Chinese familial capitalism is a cultural practice that is constantly reconfigured in socially and historically specific circumstances. This research contributes to the study of anthropology by offering a critical understanding of the concepts of culture and capitalism. It also contributes to China studies by examining the process of social reproduction of business elites and shifting patterns and values of family, kinship and intergenerational relationship in contemporary China.
Zhao, Jianhua. 2014. Shame and Discipline: the Practice and Discourse of a 'Confucian Model' of Management in a Family Firm in China. Critique of Anthropology 34(2):129-152.
Zhao, Jianhua. 2013. The Chinese Fashion Industry: An Ethnographic Approach. Bloomsbury: London, New Delhi, New York, and Sydney
Asif, Ghazal, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Papering the Divide: Religious Difference, Bureaucracy and Belonging in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Naveeda Khan
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation will examine how modes of governance intersect with what it means to be a Hindu in Pakistan. I will explore the paperwork through which the concerns and claims of citizenship are articulated, such as petitions, affidavits, identity cards, deeds and certificates. I suggest that these may paradoxically also provide opportunities for establishing belonging to the Pakistani state. Focusing on the relationship of Pakistani Hindus to local government and bureaucracy by locating myself at the lower courts, bureaucratic offices, and temples in Mirpurkhas, Sindh, I will show how a religious minority aspires to a political life within an ideological state that only partially recognizes it. In such a zone of partial recognition, how is the material infrastructure of legal and political life used to reimagine notions of viable forms of citizenship? What may be the motivations and circumstances for creating an appeal to the state through bureaucracy, in the absence of legal codes? Addressing current debates on citizenship, religious freedom and the place of the law, my dissertation project will explore how the nature of citizenship and belonging itself comes to be reformulated in the light of these negotiations and the interweaving of state practices and religious difference.
Starkweather, Kathrine Elizabeth, U. of Missouri, Columbia, MO - To aid research on 'Merchant Mothers and Fisherman Fathers: Subsistence Work and Parental Investment among the Boat-dwelling Shodhagor,' supervised by Dr. Mary K. Shenk
KATHRINE E. STARKWEATHER, then a graduate student at University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Merchant Mothers and Fisherman Fathers: Subsistence Work and Parental Investment among the Boat-Dwelling Shodhagor,' supervised by Dr. Mark K. Shenk. The semi-nomadic Shodagor are a subculture within Bangladesh who live on small wooden boats and in make-shift houses, fishing and trading with the surrounding settled agricultural populations. While they have much in common with other small-scale nomadic populations, they are highly unusual in the degree of variability in women's subsistence and parenting practices. In fact, women's strategies appear to vary more than men's, a pattern that has not been documented previously in groups of their size. The goal of this project was to explain how and why variation occurs in Shodagor men's and women's subsistence and parenting practices as well as the outcomes of the variation using a mixed-methods approach. During the research phase supported by Wenner-Gren (March-November 2014), qualitative data was collected using open-ended interviews and quantitative data through two rounds of in-depth surveys, anthropometric measurements, and direct observation via spot sampling and focal follows. The main findings to date are that Shodagor families employ specific strategies to balance work and childcare and that a few factors seem to impact a family's decision about which strategy to employ. Specifically, a family's stage in its domestic cycle, local ecology, and available alloparental help appear to affect family strategy the most.
Noy, Itay, London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'Extracting a Living? Inequality, Labor and Livelihoods in the Eastern Indian Coal Belt,' supervised by Dr. Laura Bear
Preliminary abstract: In eastern India's mineral-bearing tracts, bicycles loaded with outsized sacks of coal are a common sight. The men who push them along the roads, known as coal cyclists, gather, transport and sell coal illegally as part of an extensive informalized coal supply chain. Coal cyclists come mostly from lower castes and tribes -- the two most marginalized groups in Indian society. Following decades of displacement and dispossession in this mineral-rich region, with land and forests alienated for the expansion of mines, most of them are landless or land-poor. Lacking alternative employment options, they have taken to illegal coal peddling as a way to make a livelihood. My research focuses on the everyday lived realities of Indian coal cyclists, in order to investigate the social production of inequality, and responses to it, in the lives of precarious, informalized laborers in a setting of extractive capitalism. The project will contribute to anthropological debates about emerging forms of inequality, the informalized economy, everyday politics of labor, and contemporary state welfare measures.
Kikon, Dolly, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Blurred Borders: Unsettling the Hill/Valley Divide in Northeast India,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson
DOLLY KIKON, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Blurred Borders: Unsettling the Hill/Valley Divide in Northeast India,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson. Hill and valley occupy a critical place in the development of anthropological theory of societies in the eastern Himalayan region. Constructions of social histories and political identities have followed colonially created categories of hill and valley since the nineteenth century, and differences between the topographic locations have been the basis of organizing territorial borders in the region. This is most pronounced in Northeast India, where federal units often have internal borders that mime practices of international borders and where postcolonial legislation has been grafted onto colonial systems of governance. The research objective is to study how hill/valley spatial categories continue to influence and sustain historically contentious borders, laws, and citizenship regimes in Nagaland and Assam in Northeast India.
Gaikwad, Namrata, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Men against Matrilineage: Contestations Around Gender Politics in Shillong, India,' supervised by Dr. Jean Langford
NAMRATA GAIKWAD, then a student at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was awarded a grant in October 2010 to aid research on 'Men against Matrilineage: Contestations around Gender Politics in Shillong, India,' supervised by Dr. Jean Langford. During Summer 2011, a second-phase of research was conducted (through participant observation, discussions and interviews) both in the urban center of Shillong but also extended to semi-urban and rural settings in the state of Meghalaya. The data collected provided unique insights into the ways in which dynamics around gender and kinship intersect with conceptualizations of modernity, futurity, and personhood among Khasi village-folk. These discussions threw new light on the research previously conducted in Shillong and enabled a reframing of problems as had been articulated by more educated and well-to-do people. Consequently, it facilitated a sharpening of research questions and a fresh approach to the same theoretical problems encountered in the city. The research also followed relatives of people from the village, who now live in Shillong, in order to track their continued, yet somewhat realigned kinship relations and responsibilities (in all their gendered dimensions). It highlighted an interesting urban-rural schism with the 'nongkyndongs' (Khasi for 'villagers' or 'country bumpkins') both reflecting on what they felt was a false divide created by urbanites but also simultaneously owning their difference and purported lack of class and cultural capital in the name of something more genuinely Khasi.
Berman, Michael David, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Empathy and the Spread of Neoliberal Selves in the Volunteer Work of a Japanese Religion,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Hankins
Preliminary abstract:In my research, I examine the relationship between empathy and the spread of neoliberalism in contemporary Japan. The relation between new forms of caring engagement and alienation are poignantly expressed in the experience of Rissh? K?sei-kai (RKK), a new religion working to maintain families and communities in Japan. RKK was formed in 1938 as a way to form connections in a time of displacement caused by modernization and war. RKK's members see themselves as continuing this tradition of forming connections, but the ways that members are working to bring people together are different than they were in the past. Members are increasingly interested in short-term volunteering as a way to reach out to suffering others, particularly in areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. I will research the ways that empathetic volunteerism affects RKK on an individual and institutional level. I argue that empathetic relationships formed in volunteerism can, paradoxically, undo the types of relations that formerly sustained family and community in Japan. Understanding the effects of such volunteerism on people and groups trying to maintain a way of life based on family and community is vital for understanding the limits of empathetic engagement and the spread of neoliberalism.
Taneja, Anand Vivek, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Sacred as History: Jinns and Justice in the Ruins of Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Partha Chatterjee
ANAND VIVEK TANEJA, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2009 to aid research on 'The Sacred as History: Jinns and Justice in the Ruins of Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Partha Chatterjee. This research is concerned with contemporary ritual practices around medieval Islamic ruins in Delhi. Many of these sacralized ruins are those of 'secular' buildings, not intended to be places of worship - palaces, dams, hunting lodges. The grantee argues that the sacredness of these ruins can be understood through an alternate ontology and epistemology linked both to the Islamic tradition, and to the massive disruptions and dislocations that have characterized everyday life in Delhi over the past hundred years. Through this research, the grantee argues for understanding the sacred as history, understanding these terms to be co-constitutive rather than antithetical. The emphasis on alternate epistemologies also offers a way of understanding relations between religiously defined communities beyond the usual approaches of secularism and tolerance. This research explored the understanding of Islam among non-Muslims who come to these ruins, and argues for the idea of Islam not as an identity, but as a remembered way of being, linked to pre-modern ideas of justice and ethics, and with powers of healing across confessional divides.
Taneja, Anand V. 2013. Jinnealogy: Everyday Life and Islamic Theology in Post-Partition Delhi. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3 (3):139-65.
Taneja, Anand Vivek. 2012. Saintly Visions: Other Histories and History's Others in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi. Indian Economic and Social History Review. 49(4):557-590.
Peche, Linda Ho, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Constructing Self and Spirit: Home Altars and the Articulation of Vietnamese American Subjectivities,' supervised by Dr. Pauline Turner Strong
LINDA HO PECHE, then a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Constructing Self and Spirit: Home Altars and the Articulation of Vietnamese American Subjectivities,' supervised by Dr. Pauline Turner Strong. This project is about spiritual connection -- how the 'spiritual' is accessed, experienced and/or transformed in the materiality of everyday life for Vietnamese Americans. The context is a community envisioning itself emerging from war and refugee flight as well as grounding itself as truly American. Specifically, this project examines Vietnamese American home altars and shrines as social spaces where cultural, religious and political ideologies are experienced and expressed. It seeks to explore how religious experiences inform and are produced by a kind of 'spirit' of a community, addressed not through some static notion of 'identity' but, instead, as constituted (and continually re-constituted) through expressive practices. With this approach, the 'spirit' and 'spiritualities' of Vietnamese America are fulfilled through experience rather than revealed in a holistic sense. What emerges is a shifting and negotiated spectrum of belief and practice, navigated both through an exploration of different spiritual/spatial landscapes and collective diasporic imaginaries.
Kurian, Amrita Achamma, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Science to the Rescue?: Role of Agrarian Science in Resolving the Tobacco Epidemic in India,' supervised by Dr. Joseph Doyle Hankins
Preliminary abstract: The Indian government's obligation to decrease the production and use of tobacco as per the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) contradicts with the increasing institutional support for tobacco production in India. At stake are the livelihoods of millions of people employed in the tobacco commodity chain and significant revenues from export and sales. Anti-tobacco activists and health experts now look towards agrarian scientists and state officials in the agricultural sector to resolve this issue. Agrarian scientists working on the physiology of tobacco in government-funded research labs in India are already engaged with farmers at all phases of tobacco cultivation to improve quality and productivity of the crop. My dissertation project looks at how these conflicting demands on tobacco production in India are addressed by state officials and experts in the health and agriculture sector. How do these demands get translated into questions of science and scientific research among agrarian scientists working in the government funded research labs, and affect their experimental interventions in farms cultivating tobacco? In studying this, I aim to shed light upon the relationship of the Indian Nation-State to science and technology, as well as on the process of knowledge formation among scientists engaged in a lab and field science. On a broader scale, this project is a commentary on the state-building processes engaged by developing nation-states such as India, competing for economic supremacy in global economic markets, on the one hand, and upholding restrictions imposed upon them by global and trans-national organisations on the other.