Kar, Sohini, Brown U., Providence RI - To aid research on 'Creditable Lives: Microfinance, Development and Financial Risk in India,' supervised by Dr. Lina Fruzzetti
SOHINI KAR, then a student at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Creditable Lives: Microfinance, Development, and Financial Risk in India,' supervised by Dr. Lina Fruzzetti. In 2008, Indian banking regulators celebrated the country's limited exposure to the global financial crisis. Yet, in 2010, India experienced its own 'subprime' crisis due to lending in microfinance. The growing for-profit microfinance sector in India has extended credit to the poorest populations under a 'financial inclusion' policy. As the crisis unfolded, microfinance institutions (MFIs) faced a sudden credit crunch, revealing the wide-reaching effects of tethering the poor to financial markets. While banks and MFIs sought to manage these 'risky' portfolios, loan officers and borrowers who interact regularly negotiated, often-divergent ethics of financial sustainability, and the locally constituted obligations. Drawing on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Kolkata, India, this dissertation takes credit as a site of encounter between global finance, state and institutional regulations, and the everyday practices of borrowers and lenders. The project is based on ethnographic data collected through participant observation at MFI branch offices and group meetings, interviews with borrowers, MFI staff, policymakers and bankers, as well as media and textual analysis. It situates microfinance within the history of banking and moneylending practices in India, while tracing the ways in which new financial technologies -- intersecting with local ethics of kinship, community, and gender -- reshapes everyday life.
Duthie, Laurie M., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'White-Collar China: Professionalism and the Making of the New Middle-Class in Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. Yunxiang Yan
LAURIE M. DUTHIE, then a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, was awarded a grant in January 2005 to aid research on 'White Collar China: Professionalism and the Making of the New Middle-Class in Shanghai,' supervised by Dr. Yunxiang Yan. This project sought to understand the meaning of professionalism for white collar executives employed by foreign-invested corporations in Shanghai, China. Research activities included participant-observation with two foreign-invested corporations, extensive interviews with business professionals, and participant-observation at various business association events. The results of this research highlight the multi-scalar process of identity formation under global capitalism. White collar executives understand their social position through comparison to both their compatriots working for state-owned corporations and also their corporate colleagues from other countries. On a national level, the values of professionalism and essentially 'the meaning of work' is understood in contrast to the state-owned business sector. On a global level, Chinese business professionals are marginalized and face glass ceilings within the global corporations. The reasons for this glass ceiling include geopolitical factors, regional economic trends, as well as the positioning of China as a new and emerging market. From a more qualitative perspective, there is not only a glass ceiling, but moreover a glass wall between Chinese business professionals and their foreign colleagues created through a mutual lack of cultural understanding. To date, this research has resulted in two conference papers, two seminar talks, and a published journal article.
Thompson, Dr. Eric C., National U. of Singapore, Singapore; and Chulanee, Dr. Thianthai, Chulalongkorn U., Bangkok, Thailand - To aid collaborative research on 'Thai and Indonesian Migrant Cultures in Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore'
Park, Joowon, American U., Washington, DC. - To aid research on 'Belonging in a House Divided: Violence and Citizenship in the Resettlement of North Koreans to South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Adrienne Pine
Preliminary abstract: Violence -- visible and invisible, intentional and unintentional - permeates the experience of forced migrations, shaping and defining every phase of resettlement processes. Since the majority of forced migrants experience acute violence(s) in displacement, it is necessary to examine how violence operates in the ways in which citizenship is constructed and constituted as they attempt to integrate into host societies. Citizenship is generally conceptualized in the dimensions of status and rights, but where both status and rights are granted to people recognized as refugees in integration processes, this study goes beyond the juridical-political aspects of having status, rights, and duties. Thus, this dissertation research investigates the relations between violence and citizenship through the resettlement and integration of North Korean defectors in Seoul, South Korea and asks: how do wide-ranging forms of violence North Korean defectors experience impact their pathways to and embodiment of citizenship? Through examining the ways in which citizenship is constituted, constructed, claimed, practiced, and imagined in relation to the multiple embodied experiences and legacies of violence, this ethnographic research explores the lived experiences and subject-making processes of citizenship vis-à-vis refugee resettlement.
Kim, Jaeeun, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Transborder National Membership Politics in Korea,' supervised by Dr. Rogers Brubaker
JAEEUN KIM, then a student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, received a grant in May 2008 to aid research on 'Transborder National Membership Politics in Korea,' supervised by Dr. Rogers Brubaker. Fieldwork was carried out in Japan (part of the multi-sited dissertation field research in Korea, Japan, and China), examining the Cold War competition between North and South Korea over the allegiance of the colonial-era Korean migrants to Japan. Based on extensive interviews and broad archival research, fieldwork demonstrated: 1) those who migrated between the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago during the postwar and Cold War periods not only were subjected to, but also have actively shaped, the evolving interstate system across East Asia; 2) in extending their embrace to the population outside their respective territories, North Korea tried to construct a parallel institutional world for Koreans in Japan, replicating the corporatist social structure of the homeland, while South Korea tried to outstrip its counterpart by operating more effectively at the Interface between this transborder population and the outside world (e.g., securing the cooperation and support of the Japanese government, controlling Korean Japanese' connection to their home communities); and 3) the registration and documentation practices were not a mere instrument of the two competing 'homeland' states, but served as a cultural artifact through which some transborder population envisioned their belonging on multiple scales.
Kim, Jaeeun. 2014. The Colonial State, Migration, and Diasporic Nationhood in Korea. Comparative Studies in Society and History 56(1):34-66
Fukuda, Chisato, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Breathing Uncertainty: Risk, Exposure and the Politics of Air Pollution Controls in Mongolia's Capital City,' supervised by Dr. Claire Wendland
Preliminary abstract: In 2012, the World Health Organization ranked Ulaanbaatar the second most-air polluted city in the world. Epidemiologists attribute one in ten deaths to air pollution in this city of 1.5 million people. Unlike other Asian capitals like New Delhi and Beijing where industrial power plants and vehicles are the primary culprits, the largest single source of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar is the widespread use of coal-burning domestic stoves among residents of urban slums. Mongolia became a national partner of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private initiative with aims to create a global market for energy-efficient stoves in the name of global health. How do urban residents develop and deploy knowledge about risk in interaction with air pollution controls? This project will ethnographically examine how local scientists, state officials, private company managers and slum dwellers engage with the stove-replacement program in Ulaanbaatar. This ethnographic study will 1) enhance medical anthropology literature on global health by analyzing how stove technologies render public health a household responsibility; 2) expand social science literature on risk by investigating how quantification facilitates expert and lay citizen understandings of risk; 3) contribute to the anthropology of urban infrastructure by highlighting the production of the citizen-consumer.
Balikci, Dr. Anna, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok, India - To aid research and writing on 'Buddhism and Shamanism in Village Sikkim' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ANNA BALIKCI, Namgyal Institute ofTibetology, Sikkim, India, received a Hunt Fellowship in January 2005 to aid research and writing on the relation between Buddhism and shamanism in a Bhutias (Lhopos) village of north Sikkim. She prepared a book titled Lamas, Shamans and Ancestors: Village Religion in Sikkim to be published by Brill Academic Publishers. The book is intended as a contribution to the anthropology of Tibet and the Himalayas and to the ongoing debate concerning the relation between Buddhism and shamanism. It examines the working associations between Buddhist lamas and shamans, taking into consideration the sacred history of the land as well as its more recent political and economic transformation. Their interactions are presented in terms of the contexts in which lamas and shamans meet, these being rituals of the sacred land and its resources; of the individual and household; of village and state. In contrast to the recent literature that suggests an opposition of both practices, this study reveals an unusual tolerance on the part of Sikkimese village lamas towards the shamans or bon practitioners who have remained entirely independent of the monastic establishment in terms of initiation, training and practice. This independence has allowed the rare survival of archaic bon rituals on the fringes of the Tibetan cultural area. Similarities with North Asian shamanism, particularly that of the Daur Mongols on whom the impact of Buddhism had also been minimal suggests that the practice of the Sikkimese-Lhopo shamans may be located on the very southern edge of the Siberian complex. A separate article was prepared on Lepcha shamanism. Much ritual and other exchanges have taken place between both ethnic groups over three centuries. This new material was presented at a seminar and ethnographic film festivals in Europe.
Reese, Jill Marie, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Spectacular Politics & the Image: Narrative, Morality and Power in the Tamil Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Pinney
JILL REESE, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Spectacular Politics and the Image: Narrative, Morality and Power in the Tamil Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Pinney. Situated in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India, this project sought to examine the relationship of spectacularity to political efficacy, the nature and circulation of narrative tropes of morality employed by image regimes, and the utility of a 'streetscape' as ethnographic location to illuminate the spatio-temporal dimensions of a politico-media assemblage. Data gleaned during fieldwork reveals the centrality of patronage and hierarchies of power as demonstrated through spectacle (images as well as affective displays of public devotion) and mobilized through materials (goods promised in campaigns, illicit payments for votes, materials presented at ceremonies, and the opulence of religious, civic, and political functions). Eighteen months of fieldwork affirmed the preeminence of imagery to political parties and their successes despite continuous tensions between ambivalence and anxiety about images, but also revealed the importance of the materiality of politics to electoral success. It is essential for parties to create a coherent narrative through the image regime, but that need not necessarily be moralistic. Additionally, the utilization of multiple 'streetscapes' within Madurai as ethnographic locations is imperative because public spaces-especially those around significant statues of past leaders-situate popular discourses as they are revealed and contested through imagery and events such as religious festivals, political demonstrations, and caste and civic celebrations, and it is for this reason that political parties employ these spaces.