Kloos, Stephan, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on 'Tibetan Medicine in Exile: Ethics of Altruism, Politics of Survival,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams
STEPHAN KLOOS, then a student at University of California, San Francisco, California, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Tibetan Medicine in Exile: Ethics of Altruism, Politics of Survival,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams. This project studied the role of Tibetan medicine in exile in the ongoing effort to produce a Tibetan nation and preserve its culture. Ethnographic research focused on the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (TMAI) based in Dharamsala, India, and its multiple relations with private practitioners of Tibetan medicine, the Tibetan exile-government, the Tibetan public, the Indian state, and foreign as well as Indian individuals and institutions. The research reveals that contemporary Tibetan medicine in exile is shaped and redefined at the intersection between governmental and commercial interests of these actors. It also describes how the TMAI struggles to integrate its governmental duty to represent the Tibetan cause and provide cheap health care to the Tibetan population, with the necessity to participate in a capitalist business model. The TMAI is forced to engage with modern science and technologies of quality control in order to 'preserve' its traditional efficacy, only to find its traditional technologies indispensible for creating the norms and standards that such quality control relies on. Through specific scientific practices such as this, as well as ethical, religious, and political maneuvers that this research documents, Tibetan medicine continues to transform itself in order to remain not only an effective health resource, but also a strong symbol of Tibet's place as a sovereign nation in the contemporary world. Preliminary results of this research have so far been presented as two conference papers.
Gandhi, Ajay, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'The Banality of Criminality: The Moral Economy of Illegal Behavior in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Thomas Blom Hansen
AJAY GANDHI, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'The Banality of Criminality: The Moral Economy of Illegal Behaviour in Delhi, India', supervised by Dr. Thomas Blom Hansen. Fieldwork was conducted over 18 months in India, on the changing urban landscape in Delhi's old city, 'Shahjahanabad.' The project consisted of both archival and ethnographic research, and was divided into three main components. First, the grantee conducted archival research at municipal offices and research libraries, supplemented by interviews with planning officials, politicians and the police. These activities furthered the comprehension of state intervention in this area since Indian independence in 1947, including periods of heavy-handed policing, building demolitions, and displacement of residents, under the rubric of population control and urban beautification. Second, participant observation and interviews were conducted with migrant laborers from the countryside who work in large wholesale bazaars and labour camps. This allowed for an understanding of the informal economic practices and illicit trades prevalent amongst a floating population of the urban poor, as well as forms of popular leisure and consumption that have resulted in the plebianization of urban space. Third, interviews were carried out with lower-middle class and working class Muslims who are long-standing residents of 'slum' enclaves within Delhi's old city. This allowed the grantee to grasp everyday understandings of legitimacy and representation articulated in dealings with municipal authorities and the police, as well as ethical predicaments spawned by urban segregation and community fragmentation.
Bauer, Kenneth M., Oxford U., Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Land Use Change and Socio-Economic Transformations among Nomads in Porong, Central Tibet,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Rival
KENNETH M. BAUER, then a student at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in September 2003 to aid research on 'Land Use Change and Socio-Economic Transformations among Nomads in Porong, Central Tibet,' supervised by Dr. Laura M. Rival. This field research investigated land use change and the impacts of government development policies among Tibetan pastoralists during the second half of the twentieth century. This work describes and analyzes the rhetoric and implementation of development policies by the Chinese government in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This history of land use dynamics, socio-economic change, and policy phases, is grounded in a case study of Porong Township (Nyelam County, Shigatse Prefecture, TAR, PRC). The grantee gathered several kinds of evidence, which will be interpreted using a multi-disciplinary approach. Support enabled the grantee to collect and translate historical texts describing land use and to interview pastoralists, government agents, and NGO workers, as well as work with local pastoralists to map historical and contemporary pasture boundaries.
Wang, Jing, Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation, Hong Kong, P.R. China - to aid training in social/cultural anthropology at Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH, supervised by Dr. Melvyn Goldstein
Guffin, Matthew Bascom, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Space and Identity Formation among Programmers in Hyderabad's Urbanizing Periphery,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas
BASCOM GUFFIN, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, was granted funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Space and Identity Formation among Programmers in Hyderabad's Urbanizing Periphery,' supervised by Dr. Smriti Srinivas. The grantee conducted fieldwork with infotech professionals living and working in the western periphery of Hyderabad. The grantee stayed in a gated community to track how rituals and celebrations, daily interactions, and an active email list helped to create a strong sense of community. Visiting informant's apartments and workplaces, research documented how new spaces of work built by multinational and Indian IT companies have created a new sense of comfortable living. The grantee participated in dance and aerobics classes, played soccer, and went to nightclubs, examining the gender dynamics inherent in the body cultures of each space. Traveling in the city and talking with commuters provided a sense of traffic culture in Hyderabad where order is maintained chiefly by concrete constraints like speed bumps, medians, and the relative size and speed of oncoming vehicles. The grantee also accompanied informants to view under-construction apartments and saw how their aspirations were placed in negotiation with the concrete realities of these spaces-in-formation. Preliminary findings reveal that a new kind of society is rising in this periphery, one that valorizes individual socioeconomic and geographic mobility and affirms individual aspirations in part through the construction and use of new concrete spaces.
Butt, Wagas Hameed, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Antagonism, Intimacy, and Tolerance: The Morality of Religious Syncretism among Christian Minorities in Lahore, Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Steven M. Parish
Preliminary abstract: Anthropological work has focused attention on the role of tolerance and antagonism between religious groups in bringing about religious syncretism. In contemporary Pakistan, antagonism between Christians and Muslims has arisen out of Islamic reforms of the political and legal system, violent attacks, and caste discrimination. However, residing as neighbors, both groups share a number of spaces, giving them intimate knowledge about each other's lives and religious traditions. Yet, it is Christians who draw upon the Islamic traditions of their neighbors. Thus, my project investigates how experiences of both antagonism and intimacy with the Muslim majority and its religious traditions lead to a form of Christianity that has appropriated Islam. Focusing on assessments Christians make of their own religion and community, as well as that of the majority, my research explores the social and subjective dimensions of religious syncretism. This approach refines the anthropology of religious syncretism, which has kept these approaches separate. Examining interactions Christians have with the Muslims in both formal and informal contexts, my project also contributes to discussions of religious pluralism in nation-states where groups differentiated by religion occupy unequal positions of sociopolitical power and the governance and tolerance of religious difference are critical political issues.
Wouters, Jelle Joseph Pieter, North-Eastern Hill U., Meghalaya, India - To aid research on 'Exploring State and Nonstate Approaches to Socio-Economic Development in Nagaland,' supervised by Dr. Tanka B. Subba
Preliminary abstract: This project explores the tension between state and nonstate approaches to socio-economic development in Nagaland, India. It applies a political ecology framework to study changing land relations, which I suggest provide a lens through which one can study how state and indigenous, nonstate views on the envisaged socio-economic future differ, compete and interrelate. The common property regime of land forms 'traditionally' the key area of indigenous governance in the Naga Hills. This approach now collides with the views of the state and aspiring indigenous elites, whose socio-economic ambitions have inflated since the 1997 Indo-Naga ceasefire. There are now indications that land is rapidly becoming capitalized, resulting in an internal tendency towards private landholdings, unprecedented competition over land, and the emergence of a landless indigenous class. This is resented by those who defend what they call are Naga values and principles and who object to, and morally condemn, the privatization and state appropriation of land. In this context, this project looks at what happens when a state structure is imposed on a previously nonstate population. How the development state manifest itself in a contested space, and what aspirations, anxieties, imaginative alternatives and moral judgments develop on the local population?