Tidwell, Tawni Lynn, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Transmitting Diagnostic Skills in Tibetan Medicine: Embodied Practices for Indigenous Categories of Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Carol Worthman
TAWNI L. TIDWELL, then a graduate student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded funding in April 2012 to aid research on 'Transmitting Diagnostic Skills in Tibetan Medicine: Embodied Practices for Indigenous Categories of Cancer,' supervised by Dr. Carol Worthman. This research engaged the diagnostic learning processes central to Tibetan medical pedagogy for diagnosing indigenous categories of cancer. It systematically tracked and recorded learning processes in the classroom as well as mentoring sessions in the clinic. It also linked Tibetan medical diagnostics (pulse, urine, tongue, symptomology) with biomedical diagnostics (blood, urine, imaging technology) for over 500 patient cases of indigenous cancer to illuminate synergies with and distinctions from Western biomedical cancer. The current research showed that learning to diagnose such subtle and complex illnesses such as indigenous categories of cancer in Tibetan medicine requires sophisticated sensory entrainment that produces the Tibetan physician as embodied diagnostic tool. Thousands of hours of memorization and oral recitation of root canonical texts written in poetic, metaphorical, and trickster modalities entrains the physician's conceptual, perceptual, and embodied understandings of Tibetan medical theory and practices linked to experiential understandings of the natural world. With clinical engagement and medicinal plant collection and formulation, the macro- and micro-cycles of one's body, bodies of others, and the ecological and social web of relations are tracked, intimately engaged, and allow the Tibetan physician to recognize novel knowledge sets of the body including the development of indigenous types of cancer.
Prasad, Srirupa, U. of Illinois, Urbana, IL - To aid research on 'Gender Construction at Crossroads of Colonialism, Nationalism and Health: A Case Study of Colonial Bengal,' supervised by Dr. Winifred R. Poster
SRIRUPA PRASAD, while a student at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, received funding in December 2001 to aid research on gender construction, colonialism, nationalism, and health in Bengal, India, under the supervision of Dr. Winifred R. Poster. Prasad looked at the history and trajectory of medical practice in late colonial Bengal (1885-1935), addressing the absence of the home or household in the literature on the history of medicine in India and arguing that the household was a critical unit of analysis for understanding the history of medical practices in modern societies. In colonial India, ideas about disease, good health, sanitation, diet, cleanliness, and therapeutics were important means through which bodies were controlled and disciplined. They were a part of the nationalist discourse, too, behind which lay a zeal to regenerate the nation through healthy bodies and healthy minds that gave rise to a complex politics between Western and existing traditions of knowledge. Everyday prescriptions for health were also implicated in the construction of gender. Culturally nuanced and traditionally Indian notions of health, disease, and therapeutics played a crucial role in the techniques of bodily discipline, making disciplinary regimes in India different from those in the West at the same time. Prasad found that domesticity and the Indian household were indispensable for understanding anticolonial political nationalism in India and argued that the domain of the political should be extended to include the social forms of bodily disciplining that took place in the private domains of Hindu Bengali society.
Hamada, Shingo, Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Network, Biotechnology, and Cultural Consensus in Conservation Projects in Coastal Fishing Communities in Northern Japan,' supervised by Dr. Richard R. Wilk
SHINGO HAMADA, then a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Network, Biotechnology, and Cultural Consensus in Conservation Projects in Coastal Fishing Communities in Northern Japan,' supervised by Dr. Richard R. Wilk. Examining herring restoration efforts in northern Japan as a case study, this research focuses on consensus and variation in the perceptions and practices concerning conservation. Sea ranching projects, fisheries scientific researches, and community-based reforestation efforts for ecosystem recovery have developed in coastal fishing communities in the last two decades, despite the economic and ecological uncertainty of harvests from restoration projects. This ethnographic research describes under what conditions humans engage in conservationist behaviors after experiencing a crisis in coastal common pool resources. This research applied Actor-Network Theory to navigate in and not through a priori defined 'fishing communities,' and it examines how inshore fishers, fisheries managers, fisheries scientists, and seafood buyers interpret local resource issues and restoration and values of conservation. The researcher used qualitative text analysis and questionnaires to understand how fishery techno-sciences influence actors' decision-making processes concerning fisheries management. Ultimately, this research explores how the acts of cultivating seascape through transplanting fish species blurs the boundary between the natural and cultural while becoming an anti-politics machine that blurs locations of environmental stewardships among different social groups.
Walker, Christopher, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Open-Source Software in Tibet,' supervised by Dr. John D. Kelly
CHRISTOPHER E. WALKER, while a student at the University of Chicago, was awarded a grant in August 2003 to research the social conditions of Tibetan language software development, under the supervision of Dr. John D. Kelly. Central to the research was a study of the Tibetan block of 'Unicode,' the de facto standard for encoding the world's natural languages in computer systems. More than a decade ago, Tibet University in Lhasa (China) played a central role in this emergent and powerful standard. This feat has been celebrated by the Chinese press, which often highlights any state support of science and technology within minority areas. Curiously, however, the study of more recent technical proposals and computer projects involving Tibetan language reveal that China has mixed reactions to the very standard it helped create. Contrary to the philosophy of Unicode, namely that every language should have only one set of codes, China has recently used the 'private use area' of Unicode to define a second, competing standard for Tibetan. The official reasons given for creating two standards for Tibetan language are mainly technical and pragmatic. A deeper analysis has revealed that economic pressure, educational background, and the social environment play a pivotal role in the development of Tibetan information technology in China.
Lock, Dr. Margaret M., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid research on 'The Making of Menopause in Japan'
DR. MARGARET LOCK, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, received funding in June 2002 to aid research on menopause in Japan. She conducted fieldwork in February and March 2003 in the Kanto and Kansai areas, where she interviewed 50 women for one hour each, using an open-ended questionnaire followed by free conversation. The interviews focused first on the women's experiences as they approached or went through menopause, including symptom experiences and uses of the health-care system, medications, and clinics offering herbal medicines. The second part of the interview dealt with general knowledge about menopause and sources of information on the subject. In addition, Lock conducted extensive interviews with 15 gynecologists and family doctors. The findings indicated that despite intensive efforts to medicalize menopause in Japan, the majority of Japanese women did not consult a gynecologist at that stage of the life cycle. The Japanese concept koonenki continued to convey the idea of a long, gradual transition and meant more than simply the end of menstruation. Reporting of vasomotor symptoms-hot flashes and night sweats-had increased since the time of Lock's previous research 30 years earlier, but it was still much lower than in North America. Specific Japanese symptoms such as shoulder stiffness continued to be reported more than other symptoms. This subject has proved to be extraordinarily fertile for exploring the boundaries between nature and culture and for confronting unexamined assumptions in the medical model of menopause.
Holzlehner, Tobias S., U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK - To aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer
TOBIAS HOLZLEHNER, then a student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, was awarded a grant in December 2003 to aid research on 'Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia,' supervised by Dr. Peter P. Schweitzer. Street markets constitute a widely linked and condensed urban space in Vladivostok and are ideal sites to explore the cultural dynamics of ethnic interaction and consumption in a post-Soviet city in the Russian Far East. These markets and the routes to and from them constitute a complex condensed niche economy, where entrepreneurs from China and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus, occupying marked spatial positions, monopolize whole categories of consumer goods, and leave Russian traders on the sidelines. The networks of ethnic entrepreneurs and their condensed appearance in the markets present a surface for projections of xenophobic anxieties. Local discourses about foreign traders suggest the intricate relationships among alien bodies, dangerous substances, and consumption. Yet, the spatial frame of the interethnic encounter, as well as the social and economic symmetry of the relationship, shape its quality. The emergence of cross-border trade and ethnic entrepreneurs after the breakdown of the Soviet Union has given rise to notions of repulsion, but has also created nodes of attraction. New ties and exchange relationships with China, Korea, and Japan have created new economic possibilities. The flow of goods, ideas, and people at this metropolitan periphery of the Russian state has created focal points of interaction. Economic as well as social mobility and the willingness to engage with the other, the central idea underlying the notion of cosmopolitanism, have emerged in Russian Far East discourse as a crucial characteristic for success in coping with the effects of globalization and transnationalism. Economic incentives have emerged as a strong deterrent of xenophobic sentiments.