Aulino, Felicity, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Transforming Death, Transforming Society: Palliative Caregiving Networks in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Byron J. Good
FELICITY AULINO, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded funding in May 2008 to aid research on 'Transforming Death, Transforming Society: Palliative Caregiving Networks in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Byron J. Good. In northern Thailand, the government, the private sector, and civil society alike are increasingly promoting home-based care models for the elderly. Therein, family members and community volunteers face the challenges of carework amidst a web of social caregiving norms challenged by economic and demographic changes, international elder care initiatives, and the daily grind of providing physical care. This research explores caregiver subjectivity and emergent social networks related to the shifting landscape of care for dependent elderly and those nearing death in this setting. The resulting dissertation theorizes a distinctly Thai logic of psychological support and emphasizes Thai attention to and care of the social body as key to understanding the influence (and limitations) of larger-scale elder care reform efforts. Care for the elderly thus offers a glimpse of life in the shadows of institutions: where traditions are calibrated and embodied, where global ideals are carried out or countered, and where communities of like-mindedness emerge and grow.
Lai, Lili, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC - To aid research on 'Beyond the Economic Peasant: Embodiment and Healthcare in Rural Henan,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar
LILI LAI, then a student at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was awarded a grant in June 2005 to aid research on 'Beyond the Economic Peasant: Embodiment and Healthcare in Rural Henan,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. This dissertation project seeks to provide a better understanding of 'rural' realities in today's mobile Chinese society, through an ethnographic interrogation of daily practice, attitudes (at household, community, and county government levels), policy history, and local memory in Henan, China. It aims to demonstrate that the rural-urban distinction is a mobile, relative dyad and shows how at every point a person's (or place's, or practice's) 'ruralness' or urban sophistication is an intimate, local quality. This research project focuses on everyday social practice in order to gain insight into forms of embodiment and local cultural worlds, bringing together questions concerning everyday life, the body, and peasant status. The phase of the research funded by Wenner-Gren was conducted at two sites: a migrant community in northwestern Beijing from October to November 2006, and the village in Henan Province in December of 2006. The major concern at the Beijing site was how preparation for the 2008 Olympics affected the life of migrant laborers from Henan. The major questions were centered on the rural-urban (dis)interaction and more importantly, discourses about the peasants. And the major task at the village was to complete the village gazetteer project in collaboration with the village committee and concrete historical data on local production, education, consumption, transportation and construction to this gazetter were added through the archival research in the county seat and interviews with senior villagers.
Welker, Marina, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Industry as Aid: Mining, Development, and Moral Conflict in Sumbawa, Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Webb Keane
MARINA WELKER, while a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in November 2001 to aid research on mining, development, and moral conflict in Sumbawa, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Webb Keane. Welker considered the incorporation of a new business paradigm, 'corporate social responsibility' (CSR), in the transnational mining industry. During eighteen months of data collection in Indonesia, she combined long-term village research on community development projects carried out by Newmont Nusa Tenggara near the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Sumbawa with two months of comparative research in Jakarta and at other mine sites. Primary methods included participant observation, interviews, and archival research (corporate documents and newspapers). Welker focused on transformations in the risk management strategies mining companies applied to groups they recognized as 'stakeholders': farmers, businesspeople, mothers, the state, developmentalist nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and advocacy NGOs. She found that under the CSR paradigm, corporations were attempting to substitute a market rationality construing local communities as autonomous and independent for the gift logic that served as the conventional basis of corporate-community relations. By examining how new flows of material and discourse between companies and stakeholders were constituted and contested, Welker approached CSR as an extension of corporate power and knowledge. She found both stakeholder groups and companies transformed through their participation in negotiations over the proper relationship between mining companies and mine-affected communities.
Welker, Marina. 2014. Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Welker, Marina. 2012. The Green Revolution's Ghost: Unruly Subjects of Participatory Development in Rural Indonesia. American Ethnologist 39(2):389-406.
Welker, Marina A. 2009. 'Corporate Security Begins in the Community:' Mining, The Corporate Social
Responsibility Industry, and Environmental Advocacy in Indonesia. Cutlural Anthropology 24(1):142-179.
Jamil, Nurhaizatul Jamila, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Marketing Manners Makeover: Women, Islam and Self-Help in Contemporary Singapore,' supervised by Dr. Robert Launay
Preliminary abstract: Since 2007, Singaporean graduates of Egypt's Al-Azhar University have helped pioneer a new wave of 'religious' classes that incorporate American self-help rhetoric with Sufi theology and poetry, while closely referencing the Quran and Hadith (prophetic traditions). These returnees offer seminars such as 'The 7 Habits of Effective Muslims,' 'Al-Ghazali's Beginning of Guidance,' 'Manners Makeover for Wives,' 'Islamic Business Ethics,' and 'Finding your Ideal Muslim Partner.' Like their counterparts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen, and Egypt, the returnees market their costly lessons as opportunities for young ethnic and religious minority Muslim graduates of Singapore's secular universities to apply new understandings of their faith to everyday spheres. Further distinguishing themselves from older preachers, they utilize new media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to proselytize and market their lessons. While their seminars attract male participants, the vast majority of students are professional women desiring to fashion 'ideal' Muslim selves while pursuing their careers. Women attend these classes dressed in the latest Islamic fashions, armed with technological gadgets, and virtually archive their participation on Facebook. How can we understand young women's attraction to, and use of, these classes? What is the relationship between the proliferation of these new education ventures and women's anxieties concerning the pursuit of economic mobility, religiosity, and love in a neoliberalizing economy? How does women's embrace of globally commodified Islam, new media, and eclectic pedagogical incentives reframe notions of Islamic 'piety' and 'education,' and pose challenges to dominant male religious authority and interpretation?
Sampat. Preeti, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, - To aid research on 'Right to Land and the Rule of Law: Special Economic Zones in India,' supervised by Dr. David Harvey
PREETI SAMPAT, then a student at City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, New York, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Right to Land and The Rule of Law: Special Economic Zones in India,' supervised by Dr. David Harvey. The Special Economic Zones Act 2005 was enacted by the Parliament of India in two days amid total political consensus. Within two years, intense conflicts over land and resources erupted in SEZ areas across the country between corporate developers, the state, and peasant and citizens groups. The federal government designated SEZs' 'public purpose,' enabling forcible acquisition of land and resources; peasants and citizens groups contested transfers of land and resources to private developers. In the ensuing furor, Goa state unprecedentedly revoked its SEZ policy suspending thirteen approved SEZs, three with construction underway. Amid raging debates and accusations of corrupt real estate deals, the federal government attempted a new land acquisition policy. And the Ministry of Finance retracted critical financial incentives for SEZ investors. The enthusiasm for SEZs declined, from a whopping 747 approved SEZs in 2010 to 637 in 2013. This ethnographic and archival study of SEZs in India examines their legal genesis and evolution, successful peasant and citizen resistance to them in Goa, and emergent Indian jurisprudence around land and resources. It analyzes contemporary capital accumulation processes, development policy, property relations, social movements and negotiations of citizenship and the state refashioning the 'rule of law' in India's 'liberalizing' democracy.
Mahadev, Neena, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Buddhist and Christian Ethical Endeavors: Charitable Works, Conversions, and Unstable Religious Commitments in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
NEENA MAHADEV, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded funding in October 2008, to aid research on 'Buddhist and Christian Ethical Endeavors: Charitable Works, Conversions, and Unstable Religious Commitments in Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The rise in global Pentecostal Christianity has begun to affect Sri Lanka over recent decades, inciting Buddhist nationalists to revive their efforts to protect against the possibility that Christianity will supplant Buddhism as the majority religion of the country. This research attended to the discourses and practices involved in protecting Theravada Buddhism, as well as to new practices of evangelism and charismatic Christianity in Sri Lanka. The fieldwork considered sub/urban religious landscapes where conversions to charismatic Christianity have been relatively concentrated within certain socioeconomic demographic groups, in contrast to predominantly Buddhist tsunami-affected areas where conversions have been gradual, limited, and dispersed across southern districts. In the crosscut between Buddhist nationalism and Pentecostal evangelism in Sri Lanka, this project took up the following ethnographic tasks: 1) to study the events that have caused a resurgence of exclusivist religious doctrines and practices, exacerbating Buddhist-Christian discord in Sri Lanka; 2) to study the impacts of heightened tensions on Buddhist and Christian institutions and individuals; 3) to gain knowledge about the workings of both harmonious and discordant inter-religious relationships; and 4) to understand how experiences of belonging within families and within village communities did or did not match ideologies of exclusivity promoted by religious authorities.
Bovensiepen, Judith, London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'Tracing Fragmented Paths: Memories of Violence in the Reconstruction of East Timor,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Engelke
JUDITH BOVENSIEPEN, then a student at London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom, received funding in November 2005 to aid research on 'Tracing Fragmented Paths: Memories o Violence in the Reconstruction of East Timor,' supervised by Dr. Matthew Engelke. The research project consists of an ethnographic study of a remote mountain village in the central highlands of East Timor and is based on fieldwork that was carried out between November 2005 and August 2007. It is the first long-term anthropological study in this region and one of the first to be carried out in East Timor since independence. The primary focus is on the way local people have made sense of and have situated themselves towards various colonial intrusions (Portuguese colonialism and the Indonesian occupation) and the dramatic political changes at the national level, such as the recent internal conflict. The main goal of the research is an exploration of the interface between personal memories and collective representations and historical narratives. Historical memories and spiritual forces are considered to be embodied in physical objects and the study examines how the threat of losing these objects represents both a local mechanism of power and people's fear of further loss and exploitation.
Bovensiepen, Judith. 2014. Words of the Ancestors: Disembodied Knowledge and Secrecy in East Timor. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20(1):56-73.
Lee, Dr. AnRu, California State U., Sacramento, CA - To aid research and writing on 'In the Name of Harmony and Prosperity: Labor and Gender Politics in Taiwan's Economic Restructuring' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ANRU LEE, of California State University in Sacramento, California, received a Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship in June 2002 to aid research and writing on labor and gender politics in Taiwan's recent economy. Since the 1980s, Taiwan has grown into a global manufacturing powerhouse, a model of success that has inspired emulation throughout the developing world. Yet at the very peak of this expansion, Taiwan began to feel squeezed by changes both domestic and international. Lee's book, In the Name of Harmony and Prosperity: Labor and Gender Politics in Taiwan's Economic Restructuring, examines Taiwan's economic restructuring since the late 1980s. In it Lee discusses the latest phase of Taiwan's socioeconomic development-most importantly, the dialectical relationship between its export-oriented industrialization, changes in production processes, discourses on work ethics, and the subject formation of women workers-as it relates to conditions in the global economy. At the center of the study is the process by which labor-capital relations become fair and legitimate. The study contributes to the understanding of Asian capitalism and its role in the world economy.
Milne, Dr. Sarah, Australian National U., Canberra, Australia - To aid research and writing on 'Saving Nature? The Politics and Practice of Internatinal Conservation in Cambodia' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: This project examines contemporary global efforts to 'save nature', as seen in the ideas and practices of big conservation organisations. It is important to study these organisations through a critical anthropological lens, because they now have significant influence over how natural resources are managed globally, and an ability to shape fundamentally the relationships between people and nature across the planet. Often their actions take place in tropical developing countries, where biodiversity is most abundant and threatened, and where human needs compete with the demands of conservation projects. The result is a complex, transnational and highly political realm of work; about which little in known. In addition, as environmental problems escalate, many conservation groups are increasingly turning to 'the market' as a tool for saving nature: this neoliberal strategy, with the potential to commodify nature, has unknown effects in practice. My research sheds light upon the nexus of all these issues. I conducted a ten-year study of a major US-based conservation group (2002-2012) and its attempts to implement a market-based conservation project in the remote Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia. Through a multi-sited 'insider ethnography', I reveal how policy ideas were created and implemented across scales; and how unintended consequences emerged when these 'global' ideas were transformed by the local Cambodian context, often in dangerous or damaging ways. Observing project dynamics closely, I saw the conservation organisation's inability/unwillingness to address the gaps between theory and practice. Rather, it focused on the image of success only; highlighting the grave consequences of 'corporate conservation' for people and nature.
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?