Nayar, Anita, U. of Sussex, Brighton, UK - To aid research on 'The Social and Ecological Consequences of the Commercialization of Ayurveda, India's Foremost Indigenous Plant-Based Medicine,' supervised by Dr. James R. Fairhead
ANITA NAYAR, then a student at the University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on 'The Social and Ecological Consequences of the Commercialization of Ayurveda, India's Foremost Indigenous Plant-Based Medicine,' supervised by Dr. James R. Fairhead. This research explored the subject as a process shaped by the momentum of growing consumer demand from within India and emerging markets in North America, the Gulf States, and Europe. Emphasis was given to the implications of these changing consumption patterns and related production process for the herb-gathering communities and the natural resource base upon which this transnational market economy depends. Specifically what is the impact of these processes on the social structure and political economy of herb-gathering communities? What are the implications for their access, control, and conservation of forest resources and related knowledge systems? How has it affected people's changing conceptualization of medicinal plants and their relation to them? These questions framed an anthropological study in several herb-gathering communities, the majority of which were adivasi (indigenous peoples), residing in or near the forest. The researcher accompanied adivasis during their forest work, walking from four to ten kilometers a day trekking through thorny forest, climbing hillsides, searching and digging for medicinal plants, helping them collect and sell their goods. The trade routes of several 'middlemen' traders were also studied, which involved travelling with the traded goods, following transactions at storage and transport depots, and tracing the various buyers involved. After 16 months of fieldwork the researcher emerged with an understanding of the political economy of medicinal plants, particularly how structural and systemic inequalities around the labor and knowledge of medicinal plant collectors have evolved and are being reproduced by state and private forces.
Kadirgamar, Ahilan Arasaratnam, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York NY - To aid research on 'Households, Caste, Class, Land and Post-war Reconstruction in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Michael Blim
Preliminary abstract: In May 2009, a three decade long civil war came to an end in Sri Lanka. Its war-torn areas are now under reconstruction; a process led by state infrastructure development. While the livelihoods of rural people of Jaffna, the war-torn, predominantly Tamil district in northern Sri Lanka, are mainly from agriculture, foreign remittances and the state sector also contribute to their household incomes. How is reconstruction shaping their relations to agriculture as a livelihood and land as a productive asset? What are the changes to labor, and how is that impacting class differentiation and caste stratification? This study will use both quantitative and qualitative approaches to analyze the sustainability of rural livelihoods in Jaffna. Through an analysis of rural livelihoods in war-torn Sri Lanka, it will address the dispossession of the peasantry, common to so many places in the global South going through armed conflicts and rapid global integration.
Deomampo, Dr. Daisy Faye, Fordham U., New York, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Transnational Reproduction: Kinship, Power, and Commercial Surrogacy in India' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: The proposed book project examines the global surrogacy industry in India, in which would-be parents from around the world travel to India in order to obtain assisted reproductive technology procedures such as gestational surrogacy and egg donation. Across transnational and local socioeconomic hierarchies, how do commissioning parents, surrogate mothers, and egg donors understand and articulate their relationships with one another as they collaborate in the creation of babies? In addressing this question, I show the diverse ways in which actors attempt to conceal, or misrecognize, the commercial and commodifying aspects of transnational reproduction. My book, Transnational Reproduction: Kinship, Power, and Commercial Surrogacy in India, grapples with disparate acts of misrecognition, arguing that such processes of misrecognition ultimately obscure broader patterns of stratification, while reinforcing socioeconomic hierarchies. I draw critical attention to global relations between and among countries, systems of commerce, and global regulatory systems, as well as the local conditions that make possible the kinds of transnational relationships I describe. Without such an analysis, ongoing debates around policy and bioethics remain problematically focused on abstract principles or rigid rules. Instead, this project calls for a practice-oriented approach that accounts for the multiple perspectives and experiences of those involved in transnational surrogacy. Based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this book will make an important contribution to the fields of medical anthropology, science and technology studies, feminist studies, and bioethics.
Venkatesan, Dr. Soumhya, U. of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Makers of Gods: Materials, Processes and Rituals in Tamil Hindu Life'
DR. SOUMHYA VANKATESAN, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in November 2005 to aid research on 'Makers of Gods: Materials, Processes and Rituals in Tamil Hindu Life.' The research project sought to explore the common-sense distinction between persons and things through ethnographic research among sculptors and potters in Tamilnadu, South India. Acknowledged as ritual experts, the sculptors and potters make images of gods that are worshipped as gods in Hindu temples within and beyond India. The research question was posed as follows: If persons are social actors possessing agency and intentionality, then how do we understand/theorize manufactured artefacts that possess both capacities and are treated as full social actors? Fieldwork produced interesting and complex answers to this question. A further research question sought to unpack a puzzle: why is it that stone sculptors who make pan-Indian, high-status Hindu gods retreat from the images once their work is completed whereas potters who make Tamil 'village gods' remain connected to the gods they make as priests? The answer it was found partly lies in the ascribed natures of the different gods and in indigenous theories about materiality that also critique hierarchies derived on the basis of caste. Fieldwork for the project was carried out in India over four trips of varying length.
Park, Seo Young, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Making Time in the 24-hour City: Gender, Labor, and Experiment in Seoul's Dongdaemun Market,' supervise by Dr. William Michael Maurer
SEO YOUNG PARK, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, received a grant in October 2008 to aid research on 'Making Time in the 24-hour City: Gender, Labor, and Experiment in Seoul's Dongdaemun Market,' supervise by Dr. William Maurer. This project investigates the ways in which time is experienced and produced by differently positioned subjects in the Dongdaemun Market in Seoul. By exploring the place-making and market-making practices that 'speed up' and also 'slow down' the time in the Market, this research aims to understand the contested emergence of 24-hour cities in Korea. A sprawling complex that encompasses assembly plants, wholesale stores, retail shopping malls, and entertainment centers, dongdaemun exemplifies the rapid transformation of Seoul. Once viewed as a place of arduous manual labor, Dongdaemun is now imagined as an attractive 24-hour operating space, where high-speed transnational production and consumption take place simultaneously. The grantee conducted 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Seoul, working with the market-making agents of Dongdaemun: factory laborers, designers, entrepreneurs, and NGO workers. By investigating their practices in and narratives of Dongdaemun, this study analyzes how intimate circuits unfold in their struggles over time, their working spaces, and their own creativity in various registers of garment making. The project suggests that it is not only the workers' intensive labor but also their bodily presence and intimate engagement with the clothes, people, and skills that materialize the 'speed' of production and circulation and yet contest the abstract notion of speed.
Kikon, Dolly, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Blurred Borders: Unsettling the Hill/Valley Divide in Northeast India,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson
DOLLY KIKON, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California, was awarded a grant in October 2009, to aid research on 'Blurred Borders: Unsettling the Hill/Valley Divide in Northeast India,' supervised by Dr. James G. Ferguson. Hill and valley occupy a critical place in the development of anthropological theory of societies in the eastern Himalayan region. Constructions of social histories and political identities have followed colonially created categories of hill and valley since the nineteenth century, and differences between the topographic locations have been the basis of organizing territorial borders in the region. This is most pronounced in Northeast India, where federal units often have internal borders that mime practices of international borders and where postcolonial legislation has been grafted onto colonial systems of governance. The research objective is to study how hill/valley spatial categories continue to influence and sustain historically contentious borders, laws, and citizenship regimes in Nagaland and Assam in Northeast India.
Fong, Dr. Vanessa L., Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Courtship and Wedding Rituals among Chinese Only Children'
DR. VANESSA L. FONG, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in November 2001 to aid research on 'Courtship and Wedding Rituals among Chinese Only Children.' Through the lens of courtship and wedding rituals, the grantee investigated the extent to which the radical demographic shifts caused by China's one-child policy have created new expectations about relationships between men, women, and their respective parents. Research looked at how singletons (only children) handled the conflicts and compromises involved in courtship and marriage after spending all their lives at the center of family life. It also looked at how parents dealt with marriages that could threaten the loyalties of their precious singletons, and how female singletons dealt with the patriarchal aspects of courtship and marriage traditions after growing up with all the rights and responsibilities traditionally reserved for sons. The grantee collected evidence about the roles, perspectives, and actions of participants at weddings, courtship and engagement rituals, the negotiations that occur during the planning of weddings, and the symbolic and monetary exchanges that take place before, during, and after the wedding. The grantee also spent time with other unmarried friends, learning about their courtship and engagement rituals, and asked people in the newlyweds' social circles about how their own weddings, and other weddings they have attended, were similar or different.
Fong, Venessa L. 2007. Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World. Stanford University Press: Stanford.
Fong, Vanessa L. 2007. Parent-Child Communication Problems and the Perceived Inadequacies of Chinese
Only Children. Ethos 35(1): 85-127.
Fong, Vanessa L. 2004. Only Hope: Coming of Age under China?s One-Child Policy. Stanford University Press: Stanford, CA
Fong, Vanessa L.. 2004. Filial Nationalism among Chinese Teenagers with Global Identities. American Ethnologist 31(4): 629-646.
Anand, Dr. Nikhil, Haverford College, Haverford, PA - To aid research and writing on 'Infrapolitics: Public Systems and the Social Life of Water in Mumbai' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
DR. NIKHIL ANAD, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in April 2012 to aid research and writing on 'Infrapolitics: Public Systems and the Social Life of Water in Mumbai.' The book manuscript engages with the social and material relations that form around water pipes in Mumbai, India, to theorize processes through which citizens and states are made. Accordingly, the book draws critical attention to the diverse and durable processes of making 'hydraulic citizenship' -- forms of belonging to the city enabled and entailed by connections to the water network. It shows how hydraulic citizenship is borne out of diverse articulations between the technologies of politics (enabled by laws, elections, and policies) and the politics of technology (enabled by plumbing, pipes, and pumps). While much scholarship on neoliberal urban governance shows how settlers are displaced from rapidly expanding cities all over the world, Infrapolitics shows how marginalized residents are able to apply 'pressure' through relations that are at once technological and political, to draw water from pipes, and in so doing, make their lives possible in the city.
Anand, Nikhil. 2011.Pressure: The PoliTechnics of Water Supply in Mumbai. Cultural Anthropology 26(4):542-564.
Anand, Nikhil. 2012. Municipal Disconnect: On Abject Water and its Urban Infrastructures. Ethnography 13(4):487-509.
Anand, Nikhil, and Anne Rademacher. 2011. Housing in the Urban Age: Inequality and Aspiration in Mumbai. Antipide 42(5):1748-1772.
Aragon, Dr. Lorraine V., East Carolina U., Greenville, NC - To aid research on 'State Policies, Religious Narratives, and Multiculturalism: Addressing the Communal Conflicts of Post-Suharto Indonesia'
DR. LORRAINE V. ARAGON, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a grant in May 2002 to aid ethnographic research on the religiously polarized communal conflicts that began in Indonesia after President Suharto's resignation in 1998. One of Aragon's objectives was to examine how state policies and the activities of state agents interacted with local community networks to foster regional disharmony between ethnic groups that were divided as Muslim and Christian. The most detrimental policies related to migration, ethnoreligious discrimination, bureaucratic corruption, the promotion of cash cropping, and land commodification. A comparison of conflicts in Maluku, central Sulawesi, and Kalimantan indicated that violence became religiously polarized where Christian and Muslim identities heavily overlapped local categories of 'indigenous' versus 'migrant' and did not crosscut significant ethnic boundaries. Aragon also investigated Muslims' and Christians' experiences of the violence and explored their divergent understandings of why the conflict began, who suffered most, and when violence was justified. Mass media also proved to be implicated in the religious polarization and escalation of conflict. Media narratives in a wide variety of formats framed conflicts in terms of a Muslim-Christian 'holy war' or religious aggression, which helped transform local, national, and transnational interpretations and actions.
Aragon, Lorraine V. 2005. Mass Media Fragmentation and Narratives of Violent Action in Sulawesi?s Poso Conflict. Indonesia, Vol. 79:1-55.
Webb, Sarah Jayne, U. of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia - To aid research on 'Materials Reformed, Materials of Reform: Value and Forest Product Trade on Palawan Island, the Philippines,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram Dressler
SARAH J. WEBB, then a student at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Materials Reformed, Materials of Reform: Value and Forest Product Trade on Palawan Island, the Philippines,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler. This project traces how values of Palawan forest honey are produced through socio-economic relations between Tagbanua harvesters, middle traders, civil society, and, the state. Value-adding such non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is heralded as a market-based solution to sustainable forest use. The grantee's multi-sited ethnography highlights the need to consider the specificities and complexities of how value is made through everyday exchanges. Rather than relying on linear production-to-consumption models dominating forest product valuations, this study uses a commodityscape approach. Well established in anthropological studies of globalization, the approach suggests commodity values are contextually created within the networks of people, places, ideas, and, things through which products circulate. Data from participant observation, workshops, interviews, and, surveys were collated with secondary sources to document how a product with a relatively localised market is embedded within national, regional, and global value-making networks. This study contributes an analysis of how marginalizations of Tagbanua families from broader meanings made about honey value, and the romanticisms of forest-livelihoods which make it valuable are not abnormalities external to processes of 'value-adding,' which can be technically amended, but cultural politics endogenous to the creation and communication of value.