Sharangpani, Mukta, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid 'Kin-figurations: An Examination of Domestic Violence, Class, and Kinship in Mumbai,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta
MUKTA SHARANGPANI, then a student at Stanford University, Stanford, California was awarded a grant in July 2004 to aid 'Kin-figurations: An Examination of Domestic Violence, Class, and Kinship in Mumbai,' supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta. This project suggests that while domestic violence transcends class, it is perceived, experienced, negotiated and lived in very specific ways by members of different classes. This project focuses on the conditions that create a space that is ripe for acts of violence, rather than simply focusing on explicit enactments of violence. As such, it provides a solid analytical framework for formulating grassroots and policy level solutions that are not simply 'rescue' based, but rather nuanced and oriented towards the complex and contradictory experiences of aggression and violence. Finally, by viewing violence along the axes of kinship and class, this project contests the notion of collective rights and highlights the need to locate family violence (and violence in general) within multiple fields of power and inequity.
Maunaguru, Sidharthan, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Brokering Marriage: War, Displacement, and the Production of Futures among Jaffna Tamils,' supervised by Professor Veena Das
SIDHARTHAN MAUNAGURU, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received a grant in November 2006 to aid research on 'Brokering Marriage: War, Displacement, and the Production of Futures among Jaffna Tamils,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das. Three decades of prolonged war in Sri Lanka has devastated the social and economic landscape of Sri Lankan communities, making their lives insecure and disrupting their social relations. Under these conditions of enforced dispersion this research is designed to look at ways in which marriage has emerged as one of the most significant ways by which people are not only moved out of places of insecurity, but also by which people are brought together. Specifically, the project focuses on the role of marriage as a way of building alliances between dispersed members of Tamil communities, and the manner in which these communities secure a future from the fragments of their devastated habitus through marriage. The research has concluded that: 1) in this process, the renewed expertise the marriage broker, in consultation with priests, astrologers and official legal instruments, is a primary character in negotiating these fragments, even as states constantly work to block and prevent the movement of newly married couples across border; and 2) in this process of negotiation traditional categories of kin, family, and marriage are transformed and rearticulated to adjust both to the context of an altered landscape and to the demands of hosting states.
Huang, Yu, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Cultivating 'Science-Savvy' Citizens: Empowerment and Risk in Shrimp Aquaculture Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ann Anagnost
YU HUANG, then a student at University of Washington, Seattle Washington, received funding in October 2007 to aid research on 'Cultivating 'Science-Savvy' Citizens: Empowerment and Risk in Shrimp Aquaculture Development in China,' supervised by Dr. Ann Anagnost. This research seeks to investigate how, in the context of China's economic reforms, aquaculture has become a site where the state engineers new forms of citizenship to fit the demands of the global economy, and how new forms of subjectivity around empowerment and risk emerge in tension with state projects. While slogans of 'scientific aquaculture' hailed farmers' pursuit of unprecedented high-yields in the 1990s, recently, the focus of science extension has shifted to the promotion of 'healthy aquaculture.' This research traces how scientific aquaculture was produced 'in action' as a result of friction between the state's neoliberal policies, scientists' social aspirations, and farmers' conceptualization of risks. Research sites include stationary sites such as a village dominated by small family farms and a large state-owned collective farm, as well as mobile sites such as science extension activities including fish veterinary training workshops and food safety inspection trips. In addition, the researcher rented a shrimp farm to conduct experimental shrimp farming. Evidence from this project will not only help facilitate more conversations between fishery managers and shrimp farmers, but it will collaborate with both experts and lay people to speculate on the possibilities of new forms of agency in a globalized economy.
Cook, Ian Michael, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'The City as a River: A Rhythmanalysis of Mangalore,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Monterescu
IAN M. COOK, then a student at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, received a grant in October 2012 to aid research on 'The City as a River: A Rhythmanalysis of Mangalore,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Monterescu. This project proposes a novel approach to the anthropology of time and space through a relational inquiry into the practical rhythms of urban life -- rhythms that mediate and constitute realities in urban India. The research folds class and power into urban spaces and times by embedding the inquiry in everyday life. India's ongoing rapid urbanization, in part linked to the economic liberalization begun in the mid-1980s, is producing a multitude of overlapping rhythms that open up both possibilities and constraints for urban dwellers across the country. The proposed research examines how the river-like rhythms 'dress' a city's inhabitants and, in doing so, increase and diminish opportunities to exercise 'urban agency.' The research argues that the (in)ability to harness the city's rhythms, which leads to greater and lesser degrees of urban-agency, rests upon certain combinations of repetition and difference. Research was conducted amongst moving vendors, auto rickshaw drivers, and housing agents. These groups are a means through which to understand the city more generally -- though necessarily partially -- from the bottom up; to explore how their many different rhythms combine and contrast with the wider rhythms of the city.
Zia, Ather, U. of California, Irvine, CA - To aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal
ATHER ZIA, then a student at University of California, Irvine, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Politics of Absence: Women Searching for the Disappeared in Kashmir,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Bernal. Since 1989 Kashmir has been engulfed in an anti-India armed militancy. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 men have disappeared in the Indian counter-insurgency actions. Kashmiri women have assumed the task of caring for families in the absence of men. They have organized to search for those who have been subjected to enforced disappearance after being arrested by the Indian army. The research explores why some Kashmiri women become activists, what factors sustain their political struggle, and how their work as women redefines notions of activism, and public engagement in a primarily Islamic social context. The resulting dissertation focuses on understanding the questions of agency, affect, ethics, and emotion, memorialization, and mourning, in this kin-based activism.
Starkweather, Katherine Elizabeth, U. of Missouri, Columbia, MO - To aid research on 'Merchant Mothers and Fisherman Fathers: Subsistence Work and Parental Investment among the Boat-dwelling Shodhagor,' supervised by Dr. Mary K. Shenk
Preliminary abstract: The nomadic Shodhagor live on small wooden boats, migrating through the rivers of rural Bangladesh while fishing and trading with the settled agricultural populations surrounding them. While they have much in common with other small-scale nomadic populations, they are highly unusual in the degree of variability in women's subsistence and parenting practices. In fact, women's strategies appear to vary more than men's, a pattern that has not been documented previously in groups of their size (i.e. Marlowe 2007; Hames 1988; Hewlett 1992; Winking et al 2011). This project will document and explain the variation in Shodhagor men's and women's subsistence and parenting practices by collecting detailed data using a mixed methods approach. Specifically, the project investigate how and why subsistence and parenting vary among the Shodhagor, as well as the outcomes of this variation. This research will make important contributions to optimal foraging theory and parental investment theory, and will contribute to the broader anthropological literature on small-scale, nomadic societies, subsistence, parenting, and South Asia.
Mullard, Jordan C., London School of Economics, London, UK - To aid research on 'Where the Water Flows: Suffering, Illness, and Human Rights in Rajasthan India,' supervised by Dr. Christopher J. Fuller
JORDAN C. MULLARD, then a student at London School of Economics, London, England, was awarded a grant in March 2005 to aid research on 'Where the Water Flows: Suffering, Illness, and Human Rights in Rajasthan India,' supervised by Dr. Christopher J. Fuller. This research is a study of caste, class, and religion. Particularly, how all are utilized as strategies for social mobility for India's low castes. Research was carried out in a village containing a high class, yet low (untouchable) caste, ruling elite in Rajasthan State. The ethnographic data is divided into four key institutional arenas: caste and the village, economics and class, public sector and politics, and religion. Relations within and between these arenas are articulated through social networks comprising of both achieved (class) and ascribed (caste) status distinctions. These can overlap to form open networks but can also close into enduring groups. Findings indicate that change is characterised, in the village, by the networks undergoing a process of dialectical expansion and contraction resulting from contradictions presented by visible upward social mobility. Explicitly, it is the malleability of the said dichotomous relationship between caste and class, popular in both political discourse and in some village social relations, that provides the form and texture to the process of change. These antagonistic and contradictory unions represent the way in which social mobility in India, as never before, is perhaps challenging the basis of the naturalisation of hierarchy upon which the society has rested.
Kaehler, Laura E., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, NY - To aid research on 'Market Translators in Kuala Lumpur: Social Practice in High Finance,' supervised by Dr. Jane C. Schneider
LAURA E. KAEHLER, while a student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in New York, New York, received funding in July 2001 to aid research on social practice in high finance in Kuala Lumpur, under the supervision of Dr. Jane C. Schneider. Kaehler's findings indicated that in Malaysia, the commodification of risk was a crucial cause of the financial crisis of 1997-98. Risk management practices were also implicated in the uneven distribution of the effects of the crisis across society. At the time of Kaehler's research, the political and financial elite were attempting to inculcate practices of risk management at the family, state, and national levels. However, the governmental calculus and rhetoric of risk aversion, as well as the state-controlled media's focus on manipulation of risk, had served to make the public not more risk averse but less so. 'Stock fever' continued at pre-crisis levels, and market participation had become a key marker of sociability, patronage, and prestige. Increasingly, social life had become regulated by market practice, which meant not just simple market economics but the adoption of a frenzied style of stock-market speculation by unlikely comers from private and public life. Kaehler collected evidence through interviews with government officials, fund managers, and individual investors and through participant observation at a Malaysian hedge fund. Her findings suggested a possible reformulation of anthropologists' arguments regarding the embedding of markets in societies to incorporate the transplanting of Euro-American financial markets into developing countries without grafting roots in local market cultures, even where financial markets were run by locals.
Dharia, Namita Vijay, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Building the City: An Ethnography of the Building Construction Industry in New Delhi-National Capital Region, India (NCR),' supervised by Dr. Michael Herzfeld
NAMITA V. DHARIA, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received a grant in October 2011 to aid research on 'Building the City: An Ethnography of the Building Construction Industry in New Delhi National Capital Region, India (NCR),' supervised by Dr. Michael Herzfeld. This is an ethnography of the building construction industry in India's National Capital Region (NCR). Building construction is India's second-largest industry after agriculture and draws individuals from all classes and areas in India. The dissertation studies how varied and competing desires for money, mobility, home, and stability amongst individuals in the industry gives rise to specific processes and forms of urban development. The grantee conducted fifteen months of situated and networked fieldwork in Gurgaon, NCR. The data gathered through this fieldwork links the everyday emotions and aspirations of individuals in the construction industry to the politics and materialities of urban development in the region. The methodology was an immersive, deeply qualitative ethnography. It involved observation of construction activity, shadowing, open-ended interviews, and gathering narratives of development politics. The project aims to be a phenomenological critique of the social and physical growth of cities and, through it, offers a critical commentary on the politics of labor and urban development in South Asia.