Karis, Timothy Daniel, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Home and Hanoi: Migration, Native-place, and Urban Citizenship in the Red River Delta,' supervised by Dr. Suzanne A. Brenner
TIMOTHY KARIS, then a student at the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, received funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Home and Hanoi: Migration, Native-Place, and Urban Citizenship in the Red River Delta,' supervised by Dr. Suzanne A. Brenner. This research aimed to explore the economic, social, and symbolic connections maintained by Hanoians to native-places (que huong) in the Red River Delta, targeting: 1) the roles of native-place networks in supporting urban migration among citizens lacking legal rights in the city; 2) the operations of 'hometown associations' (hoi dong huong) currently proliferating in Hanoi; and 3) practices of 'returning home' to native villages for events, holidays, and ceremonies. Based on formal and informal interviews and travels between city and countryside, findings demonstrate the substantial and ongoing importance of native-places among both 'unofficial' urban migrants trying to access the necessities of urban life (work, housing, education) absent state support, as well as long-term residents of Hanoi interested in maintaining ancestral identities. Findings also show how native-place relationships change over time: recent migrants reported more material interdependence with rural villages and networks of kin and friends in Hanoi, while established urbanites reported more symbolic relationships based on ritual obligations and organized forms of benefaction.
Shah, Dr. Alpa, Goldsmiths College, London, UK - To aid research and writing on 'In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics in Jharkhand, India' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ALPA SHAH, Goldsmiths College, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2006 to aid research and writing on 'In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics in Jharkhand, India.' The fellowship resulted in the completion of a monograph which draws on extensive anthropological research in Jharkhand, India, to explore how well-meaning transnational indigenous rights and development discourses can misrepresent and further marginalize people they claim to speak for. The book follows the lives and experiences of adivasis in rural Jharkhand to analyze common claims made at a global level on behalf of indigenous populations. These include: the examination of the promotion of special forms of indigenous governance; the way development takes shape in the name of the poorest; the 'eco-incarceration' of indigenous people through arguments about their love for, and worship of, nature as well as their attachment to their land; and claims to their harboring revolutionary potential. The book argues that there is a 'dark side of indigeneity' that it is well worth highlighting to those who urge scholars to shelve critical scholarship for fear it may weaken the advocacy of promoters of indigenous rights and development. The 'dark side of indigeneity' may show that the local appropriation and experiences of global discourses of indigeneity can maintain a class system that further marginalizes the poorest.
Wang, Jing, Rice U., Houston, TX - To aid research on 'Reimagining the Silk Road: Muslim Minorities at the Limits of Multiculturalism in Xi'an, China,' supervised by Dr. Dominic Boyer
Preliminary abstract: This project focuses on the Chinese state's ongoing promotion of domestic multiculturalist policies through exploring the way it mobilizes cosmopolitan imaginaries of the 'New Silk Road.' Particularly, I will look at how these emerging imaginaries and forms of multicultural governance intersect with the new ways the Chinese government recognizes and locates as relevant its Muslim minorities in the city of Xi'an, which is strategically branded as the starting point of the New Silk Road. Despite their relatively small population size (compared to the Han Chinese), Muslims in Xi'an have become hailed by Chinese political and cultural elites as the embodiment of the city's complex mosaic of Islamic culture. However, it remains unclear the extent to which the official discourse of multiculturalist cosmopolitanism really supports ethno-religious diversity at both the local and national scales, given Beijing's growing nationalist aspirations and its anti-separatist campaigns on the national borders. On the micro level, my project also attends to how local Muslim subjects construct their own cultural expressions and actively navigate the state interventions in their lives as well as the constraints of authoritarian forms of recognition. Through careful analysis of official statements and media reports, close observations of institutional structures and practices, and sustained interactions with my Muslim informants in Xi'an, this project ultimately asks: what are the limits of the recognition of diversity in a globally ambitious authoritarian state that is trying to simultaneously be economically liberal and politically unified? My ultimate aim is to contribute to ongoing anthropological engagements with the politics of recognition in both liberal and authoritarian states.
Saraf, Aditi, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Invoking Azaadi: Islam, Freedom and the Moral Economy in the Kashmiri Marketplace,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
ADITI SARAF, then a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'Invoking Azaadi: Islam, Freedom and the Moral Economy in the Kashmiri Marketplace,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. The research addresses questions of freedom, exchange, and the 'moral economy' in the markets of Srinagar, India-administered Kashmir. Currently, the movement for freedom from India (azaadi) is organized primarily through strikes and public protests in the midst of state violence and surveillance in accordance with a schedule of activities laid out in regularly issued protest calendars. The grantee conducted 22 months of fieldwork between 2011 and 2013 on how Kashmiri merchants adapt their work to the ongoing conflict. Specifically, the project focuses on: 1) how the disruptive violence of militarization, curfews, and protests transform the everyday business practices of traders, merchants, and shopkeepers; 2) the history of traders' activism as discerned in archival documents; and 3) how notions of freedom are linked to perceptions of economic self-sufficiency and dependence. For the dissertation, the grantee hopes to explore ideas of sovereignty, both collective and individual, along the following lines: an ethnohistory of trade relations and commercial regulation, the political activism of traders' collectives, and the material and moral networks of credit and credibility that persist through political turbulence.
Khan, Dr. Naveeda, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'The Imminent, the Everyday, and the Eternal: Temporal Orientations to Climate Change in Bangladesh'
DR. NAVEEDA KHAN, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'The Imminent, the Everyday and the Eternal: Temporal Orientations to Climate Change in Bangladesh.' Fifteen months of field research were conducted between 2011 and 2014 in Bangladesh in two primary locations: a silt island between the districts of Tangail and Shirajganj in the Jamuna River; and in the capital city of Dhaka. The object of the study was threefold: 1) to study how the human form of life on the island was accommodated to the movement of land due to the river's erosive and accretive activities; 2) to study more widely the imprint of the 'natural' upon the morphology of the social through the uptake of types of soil, floods, erosion, seasonality, hunger and so on; and 3) to study the emergence of the awareness of climate change from within the social. The effort was to show the interplay of different temporal horizons and experiences of time in the everyday to understand if living probabilistically (in a colloquial sense) within a physically dynamic environment translated into greater adaptability to climate change or not. As the interpretation of the data is still ongoing, it is too hasty and perhaps not useful to say whether there is greater or lesser adaptability to climate change, but given the acknowledged imperative to change, the more important question to ask and bring forward in the final analysis is, what have been the fallouts of perpetual adaptability?
Chumley, Lily Hope, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Creativity and Capitalism in the Central Academy of Fine Art,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar
LILY HOPE CHUMLEY, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Creativity and Capitalism in the Central Academy of Fine Art,' supervised by Dr. Judith B. Farquhar. In the last 30 years, Chinese visual culture industries have exploded. Graphic design, fashion and advertising fields now drive China's consumer economy, while Beijing and Shanghai have become global art capitals. Art schools have grown rapidly, and the competition for entrance has also intensified. As a result, even as 'creativity' has become a buzzword for education officials, art-school entrance tests have become ever more standardized and, ironically, the number of young people proficient in socialist realism has increased. This dissertation looks at the discourses and practices of aesthetic personality (xingge) and creativity (chuangzaoli) that have flourished with China's market economy, tracing students' passage from test-oriented technical training to the later years of college and the early years of professional life, when they are called on to cultivate 'selves' and perform 'creative personality' even as they develop visual 'styles'. The research examines the contradictions that arose when state institutions built to serve a socialist visual culture took up central positions in a market economy; the ways that artists' and designers' attempts to fit 'creative personality' into markets in aesthetic commodities are framed by anxieties about commodification and Westernization/ globalization, and how discourses of 'individuality' get articulated through generational tensions resulting from China's rapid economic transformation.
Padwe, Jonathan, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Genocide, Development and Belonging in Cambodia: The Phnong of the Northeast Hills,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove
JOHNATHAN PADWE, then a student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded funding in May 2004 to aid research on 'Genocide, Development and Belonging in Cambodia: The Phnong of the Northeast Hills,' supervised by Dr. Michael R. Dove. The subject of this research is the use of memories of genocide within the political debates surrounding 'development' among highland minorities in northeast Cambodia. Wenner-Gren funding supported the first year of a projected two and a half years of fieldwork. Research for this initial period consisted of five months of research in Phnom Penh among policy makers and staff of NGO and government agencies working on land titling and agricultural development, and seven months in Mondulkiri Province, both in the provincial capital and in Dak Dam village. Initial work in Phnom Penh resulted in the establishment of a network of contacts and the acquisition of reports and documents. Key accomplishments included significant improvement of language ability (in Khmer), the collection of extensive interview data regarding agriculture and land titling, and a refinement of the research questions. As a result of reviewer comments and feedback from this network, the initial focus on hunting has been deemphasized in the research program. Fieldwork in Mondulkiri province included developing contacts within the development community based in the provincial capital, initial visits to Dak Dam village, and eventually an extended period of fieldwork in Dak Dam. Data collected included participant observation and interview data about ongoing development projects, villagers' encounters with development, agricultural practices, such as the establishment of swidden fields, and cultural and religious activities, such as calendric agricultural ceremonies. During this period the Cambodian government granted a large land concession to a Malaysian pine-plantation enterprise, and villagers in affected areas (including Dak Dam) began protests.
Douglas, Aimee Catherine, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Craft, Creativity, and Managing the 'Excesses of Modernity' in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Viranjini Munasinghe
Preliminary abstract: As tourism flourishes and opportunities for export grow following the end of Sri Lanka's thirty-year war in 2009, the country's heritage craft industry, though a small segment of its economy, has enjoyed unprecedented growth. While the Ministry of Industry & Commerce reports on the generation of 'new market links for our artisans,' dealers remark with delight on the (mostly foreign) buyers flooding into their shops. The proposed research will focus on one corner of this industry, the production of decorative handloom textiles, and on how a discourse of 'creativity' serves within it as a strategy through which industry participants evaluate, struggle against, and come to terms with their own and others' positions within a globalized economic field. This discourse is situated among calls by government officials, scholars and others for investment in Sri Lanka's so-called 'creative economy.' I approach the handloom industry in which it figures so prominently to examine how, in a context of post-war, government-led efforts toward economic integration into global capital markets, ordinary Sri Lankans fashion themselves in relation to one another and to variously imagined national, global and other collectivities. In doing so, I join recent efforts in anthropology to challenge conventional notions of creativity often deployed in social science analyses. In order to capture a wide range of voices (weavers, dealers, designers, and government and NGO officials) while attending to relationships between participants, I will carry out ethnographic research in three locations among individuals involved (to varying degrees) in the textile production activities of Thalagune, a Sinhalese village in Sri Lanka's Central Province.