Wind, Steven, U. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ - To aid research on 'A Reconsideration of Child Labor in the Contexts of Household Economics and Community Norms,' supervised by Dr. Mark A. Nichter
STEVEN WIND, while a student at University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on 'A Reconsideration of Child Labor in the Contexts of Household Economics and Community Norms,' supervised by Dr. Mark A. Nichter. The research examined household and community perspectives on child labor in Mysore, India. A sample of households having working children was visited over a one-year period and interviewed on a range of subjects including children's work, health, education, risk, and community problems. Although in some cases children's economic contributions were found to be vital to household survival, the reasons for children's initiation into paid labor often transcended mere economic rationalism with complex roots in community social problems, government policies, and local cultural values. Parents' narratives of why their children had begun working commonly included accounts of poor quality primary education, corporal punishment in classrooms, extended periods of cutting classes, the bad influence of anti-social peers, and the serious illness or death of a breadwinner. Parents and working boys saw risk as inherent in many kinds of work and gave more importance to whether an occupation offered a good future. In the case of girls, cultural moral prescriptions continue to motivate some parents to withdraw their daughters from school at menarche and limit them to work that is done in or near the home, ends at a reasonable hour, and has a safe moral environment. Parents, NODs, and government servants charged with eradicating child labor were in general agreement regarding children's right to attend school rather than work. However, many poor parents were against the government's strong eradication approach unless the families of working children are provided economic aid and other programs to help them survive without their children's income.
Rofel, Dr. Lisa Beth, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research on 'Made in China, Designed in Italy: The Twenty-First Century Silk Road'
DR. LISA ROFEL, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Made in China, Designed in Italy: The Twenty-first Century Silk Road.' This project addressed three questions: 1) how is the cultural contact zone between China and Italy constructing a historically specific form of transnational capitalism in China?; 2) how has this cultural contact zone with Italy enabled changing moral valuations of labor and social inequality in China?; and 3) how has the Italy-China high-fasion textile production led to a culturally and historically specific understanding of desire and 'cosmopolitanism' in China? The field research, conducted in both China and Italy, found that: 1) both subcontracting and changes in the temporality of production and marketing have both arisen out of the cultural contact zone with Italian fashion design firms; 2) most managers have not put the recent socialist past fully behind them and are quite articulate about the poor treatment of workers; and 3) Chinese involved in the textile industry see themselves as successfully cosmopolitan to the extent that they can succeed in all aspects of the textile industry, including those aspects in which the Italians still predominate -- design, and marketing in Europe and the U.S.
Grant, Jenna Meredith, U.of Iowa, Iowa City, IA - To aid research on 'Seeing and Believing: The Cultural Politics of Medical Imaging in Cambodia,' supervised by Dr. Erica Stephanie Prussing
JENNA M. GRANT, then a student at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, received funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Seeing and Believing: The Cultural Politics of Medical Imaging in Cambodia,' supervised by Dr. Erica Stephanie Prussing. This research project examined the cultural politics of ultrasound in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Wenner-Gren Foundation supported the second year of research, from January to October 2010. Fieldwork in diagnostic imaging wards and non-clinical settings sought to understand how ultrasound is valued by different actors, as well as economic, aesthetic, and social contexts of its use. Archival research in Phnom Penh and France examined histories of imaging technologies and modes of visualizing medical knowledge in late colonial and postcolonial times. As a visualizing technology, ultrasound appeals to notions of medical expertise -- within both biomedicine and traditional Cambodian medicine -- as the ability to 'see clearly.' In contemporary practice, ultrasound materializes a range of struggles: patients hoping to find modern, trustworthy care encountered doctors trying to make more money; doctors trying to provide skilled care encountered patients wanting a particular kind of clear and pleasing image; family members used ultrasound images to critique a pregnant woman's self-care; hospital administrators lobbied health ministers and foreign corporations for donations of imaging equipment; monks identified wronged ancestors as the reason a scan failed to reveal a problem. As a prominent clinical commodity in a pluralistic and privatizing health system, ultrasound is retracing and redefining social relations of medicine in Phnom Penh.
Brainer, Amy Kathryn, U. of Illinois, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Same-Sexuality and Family Relations in Taiwan,' supervised by Dr. Barbara J. Risman
AMY K. BRAINER, then a student at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in January 2012 to aid research on 'Same-Sexuality and Family Relations in Taiwan,' supervised by Dr. Barbara J. Risman. This project examines generational changes in parent-child and sibling relationships in Taiwan, with a focus on families in which one or more members is lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT). The project is comprised of sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork and 81 oral-history interviews with three generational cohorts of LGBT people and their kin. The sample is diverse by region of the country, age, gender, sexual identification, education, income, and family situation (including LGBT people who are heterosexually married and those who have remained unmarried), as well as heterosexual kin who are supportive, tolerant/ambivalent, and rejecting toward same-sex relationships and gender variance. Evidence gathered reveals important generational, gender, and class variation in how LGBT people in Taiwan relate to their families-of-origin, and in the perspectives and experiences of heterosexuals who have LGBT children and siblings. Findings shed light on how accelerated changes in Taiwanese family structure and organization have shaped everyday family practices, obligations, and roles.
Yuan, Xiao-bo, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Constituting the Three-Self Church: Official Christianity, the State, and Subjectivity in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Judith Farquhar
Preliminary abstract: China, in the last two decades, has experienced what many term a post-Socialist 'religious revival.' In particular, scholars and popular media have noted fast-growing participation in Protestant Christianity -- once deemed a 'Western' import with little traction in Chinese society, and now increasingly localized, indigenized, and popularly enacted as 'Chinese' by religious practitioners. My project follow this construction of 'Chinese Christianity' in the domain of state-approved religion. Rather than presuming a natural antagonism between 'authentic' sites of Christianity and state regulatory mechanisms, I ask instead about how forms of state/institutional power, along with everyday Protestant practices and discourses, work to align Christianity with the Chinese state. How is official Chinese Christianity being constructed as a domain of belief and practice in institutional and everyday settings? And what significance does the increasing visibility of Protestant Christianity, in its various and fraught forms, have for public imaginations about the meaning of religion, Chinese tradition, and the regulatory presence of the party-state? To explore these questions, I propose to approach the institutionalization of Chinese Christianity as an ongoing process rather than a fixed reality, by focusing on the discursive circulations and on-the-ground practices of the Three-Self Church, the only state-sanctioned, nationwide Protestant church in China.
Sethi, Aarti, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Chronicles of Deaths Foretold?: Farmers' Suicides in Chhattisgarh, India,' supervised by Dr. Rosalind Morris
Preliminary abstract: More than a quarter of a million farmers have committed suicide across India since 1995. Since what one report terms the 'largest wave of recorded suicides in human history' (Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, 2011) first received attention in the mid-nineties, the 'farmer's' suicide' has emerged as a potent politically charged symbol for intense public debates on the depredations of neoliberal structural adjustment, and the failures of state and society. Scholarly and activist discourses have attempted to establish causal links between the suicide of farmers and large-scale industrial transformation of agricultural production in the early 1990s. My research focuses on the suicides of farmers in the Durg and Mahasamund districts of Chhattisgarh in order to examine the means by which suicide is transformed from an exceptional occurrence in peasant life, to entering a culturally available repertoire of action. By examining affects and narratives around suicide deaths among cultivars in Mahasamund and Durg on the one hand, and the ways in which the category of the 'farmers' suicide' is energized as the grounds of new political mobilizations against neoliberalism on the other, my project explores the relationship between sociostructural marginality, forms of life and political possibility, under neoliberal precarity.
Lynch, Damon Frederick, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN - To aid research on 'Time Frameworks and Peacebuilding in Tajikistan, ' supervised by Dr. William O. Beeman
Preliminary abstract: My anthropological research is on the time frameworks Tajiks use as they build peace after the 1992-97 civil war in Tajikistan. War typically forcefully penetrates subjective time imaginaries and experiences, affecting what people do long after the physical violence has ended. Who among a postwar population use which time frameworks? Surprisingly little is known about this. Scholars have identified time frameworks prevalent during and after war, but what we do not know are the ways in which these and other time frameworks occur within a postwar population. Can we identify any patterns? For example, are non-combatant widows more likely to use a particular framework compared to ex-combatants? Theoretically I combine cutting-edge research on spatial time concepts from cognitive science with a concept of self found across the social sciences dating back to William James that distinguishes between I and Me. This combination is innovative, and is likely genuinely unique among contemporary approaches to the anthropology of time. My research has implications for our understanding of conflict transformation and peacebuilding, trauma, memory, and the anthropology of violence. It also promises new directions in the study of time in the social sciences.
Hefner, Claire-Marie, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Shaping Muslim Subjectivities: Gender, Piety, and Modernity in Indonesian Islamic Boarding Schools,' supervised by Dr. Michael Gates Peletz
CLAIRE-MARIE HEFNER, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Shaping Muslim Subjectivities: Gender, Piety, and Modernity in Indonesian Islamic Boarding Schools,' supervised by Dr. Michael G. Peletz. How do young Indonesian Muslim school girls learn and engage with what it means to be a proper, pious, and educated woman? How do differences in understandings of proper Muslim femininity reflect broader variations in Indonesian associations, educational traditions, and social values? These are the broad questions that frame this comparative study of two Islamic boarding schools for girls in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The focus of the investigation is two prominent Islamic boarding schools (pesantren): Pesantren Krapyak Ali Maksum and Madrasah Mu'allimaat Muhammadiyah. Each school is run, respectively, by one of the two largest Muslim social welfare organizations in the world: the 'traditionalist' Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the 'modernist' Muhammadiyah. These two schools were selected because of their national reputations and because of the critical role they play in molding future NU and Muhammadiyah female kaders (cadres). At a time when many scholars suggest that the distinctions between NU and Muhammadiyah are no longer relevant, this study questions that assertion through the optics of developments in Indonesian Islamic education, evaluating what it means for these young women to be members of these organizations. As private institutions with strong academic reputations, Mu'allimaat and Krapyak also cater to the needs and desires of the new Indonesian Muslim middle-class. Through ethnographic observations, a multivariate student survey, over 100 interviews, and media analysis, this study examines girls' engagement with 'gendered' aspects of curricula, extracurricular practices, and informal socialization within and outside of school.
Cho, Mun Young, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'When Does Poverty Matter? Managing Differential Impoverishments in the People's Republic of China,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson
MUN YOUNG CHO, then a student at Stanford University was awarded funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'When Does Poverty Matter? Managing Differential Impoverishments in the People's Republic of China,' supervised by Dr. James Ferguson. Dissertation fieldwork, conducted at one-time workers' village in Harbin, northeast China, from August 2006 to July 2007, explored processes of differential impoverishment under China's late socialism and examined how they are managed in the state's projects of governing urban poverty. Research sought, firstly, to examine how both urban laid-off workers and rural migrants of the same area experience and respond to their changing economic fortunes and sociocultural positions by forging new relationships with each other as well as to the state; secondly, to explore how poverty-related state agents have constituted and contested the state's multiple ideological frameworks when they attempt to regulate urban poverty. Ethnographic data suggest that urban laid-off workers and rural migrants formulate common identities through recent processes in which they not only experience spatial segregation and marginalization all together but also reappropriate the state's paternalistic claims for the urban poor to their own needs and understandings. Nevertheless, data also reveal that both groups pursue distinct trajectories rather than forming a unitary bloc owing to state governing techniques that differentiate them as well as to disparate institutional and sociocultural positions that each group has had to the socialist regime. Research demonstrates that 'the poor' in urban China remains not a political class but a governmental and scholarly language for normalizing people who do not consider themselves a collective 'poor.'
Cho, Mun Young Cho. 2012. 'Dividing the Poor': State Governance of Differential Impoverishment in Northeast China. American Ethnologist 39(1):187-200.