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.
Coleman, Leo C., Princeton U., Princeton, NJ - To aid research on 'Private Power: The Privatization of Electricity and Citizenship in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Carol J. Greenhouse
LEO CHARLES COLEMAN, then a student at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, was awarded a grant in April 2005 to aid research on 'Private Power: The Privatization of Electricty and Citizenship in Delhi, India,' supervised by Dr. Carol J. Greenhouse. This project studied urban citizenship and the political and social consequences of privatization in Delhi, India, with an ethnographic focus on consumer and citizen mobilizations in response to the partial privatization of electricity provision in 2002. The research reveals the internal strains and external constraints on the development of a self-described 'middle-class' in Delhi today, and describes the recent emergence in Delhi of class-homogenous territorially- and residentially-based political groups. Alongside national transformations in economic governance, novel practices of citizenship and urban inclusion and exclusion have emerged in Delhi, expressed in mobilizations for better electricity service and fairer rates, and citizen demands for slum clearance, urban renewal, and expansion of urban services. The mobilizations studied agitated for local control of 'public' goods and were informed by an ideology of consumer-citizenship which equates democracy with transparency, and the latter with local territorial sovereignty. These are the unexpected consequences of a privatization process deeply imbued with the neo-liberal orthodoxy of absolute individual autonomy, but which has produced, ironically, new territorial collectivities. Through joint archival and ethnographic research, the project also traces the continued, albeit submerged, relevance for political action of long-standing foci of communal identification and urban division, including citizenship and caste.
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.
Sehdev, Megha Sharma, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Voice, Document, Image: Evidentiary Genres in Indian Domestic Violence Law,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
Preliminary abstract: My dissertation research closely analyzes the movement of civil domestic violence claims from NGO sites to legal courts in New Delhi, India. I investigate how evidence of domestic violence is crafted within the Indian legal system. My research hypothesis is that ways in which domestic violence claims are presented by women and their affinal kin is more important to the outcome of these cases than is the content of their claims. The content of claims made in civil court tends to vary relatively little. Thus, how women present their cases in legal sites will, I expect, have weighty implications for whether or not these grievances are recognized. Given this, my project will track the different forms of evidence that are produced as domestic violence cases are initially heard in the NGO site and as they are ultimately disputed in civil court. The forms of evidence I expect to encounter in these cases are the feminine voice, the bureaucratic document, and the photographic image. I will investigate how women's voices in the initial complaint are translated into written evidence of abuse at the NGO site. I will then explore the way women and their written claims travel into to the courtroom, where they enter a terrain of evaluation alongside other forms of evidence: text messages, emails and photographic snapshots. I will probe how women's claims and the documentary evidence in which they are registered are subject to moral critique, evaluation and appropriation in the scene of the 'trial'. The object of my study is the intertextual terrain of voices, documents, and images, and the moral struggles over what evidences and constitutes domestic intimacy. I will show how encounters between evidetiary genres bring obligations between members of kin to light.
McCabe, Carl Wesley, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Informal Institutions and Cooperative Behavior: Motivations for Prosociality by Marketplace Vendors in Beijing, China,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Paul Winterhalder
CARL WESLEY MCCABE, then a student at the University of California, Davis, California, to aid research on 'Informal Institutions and Cooperative Behavior: Motivations for Prosociality by Marketplace Vendors in Beijing, China,' supervised by Dr. Bruce Winterhalder. The grantee conducted nearly a year of ethnographic fieldwork in an open-air marketplace in Beijing, China. During this period, research followed the activities of many of the market's vendors from the time the market opened in the morning until it closed in the evening. Beyond that, the project followed vendors as they conducted many other activities in their daily lives, including leisure and business-related activities. The grantee was able to collect several forms of datasets on individuals in the market, from market-wide surveys, to interviews focused on subsets of the market, to a suite of experimental games. The data collected will contribute to the grantee's investigation of prosocial behavior and models of salient economic, evolutionary biological, and cultural influences.
Johnsen, Scott A., U. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - To aid research on 'Ritual and Reform: Bali-Hinduism in the Indonesian Nation-State,' supervised by Dr. Peter A. Metcalf
SCOTT A. JOHNSEN, while a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, received funding in July 2001 to aid research on Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Peter A. Metcalf. Johnsen's goal was to determine how the practices and interpretations of Balinese rituals might be changing as Bali shifted from a hierarchical, 'Indic' model of social organization to a model oriented toward inclusion and egalitarian values in the Indonesian nation-state. He conducted eighteen months of research based in the city of Bangli, the capital of the regency of the same name and the home of formerly influential court families. He collected data through a combination of participant observation of city temple rituals and life-cycle rituals, interviews with ritual participants and religious and political authorities, and study of the mass media. Two main issues were pursued: the nature and influence of the construct 'Balinese Hinduism' as promulgated by the National Hindu Council, local authorities, laymen, and school authorities and the ways in which local government had both adopted and transformed many of the ritual duties formerly thought to be the prerogatives of royal families. Johnsen gathered data on the use of the concept 'one god' in Balinese Hinduism and on the frequently heard idea that Balinese had only recently come to understand their religion. He obtained views of social rank and its place in contemporary Bali by interviewing participants in intercaste marriages and in funerals of upper-caste persons attended by lower caste persons. Interviews with members of former royal families and government authorities and attendance at government-sponsored rituals enabled Johnsen to understand how local government conceived of itself as the heir to the duties of the former royal families.
DePuy, Walker H., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Towards a Political Ecology of Social Safeguards: Translating 'Rights' Across an Indonesian REDD+ Project,' supervised by Dr. Julie L. Velasquez Runk
Preliminary abstract: The proposed research seeks to understand how rights-based discourses are produced, translated, and enacted across actor groups and governance scales in an Indonesian forest carbon project. The United Nations' REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) policy has both reoriented forest conservation around carbon sequestration and advanced novel rights-based mechanisms known as 'social safeguards.' As environmental governance has gone global, recent anthropological and STS scholarship engage the interconnections between science, policy, and practice. Less work, however, has focused on the globalization of rights-based discourses. Bringing theories of translation, ontology, governance, and value together, I will interrogate the design and enactment of REDD+ social safeguards across the Berau Forest Carbon Program (BFCP) of East Kalimantan, a project administered in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Grounded in ethnographic fieldwork in the Long Laai village of Berau District, I additionally will engage in participant observation and semi-structured interviews across TNC's international headquarters in Arlington, VA, and national office in Jakarta, West Java. Together this work will enable me to understand how different community and conservation actor groups interpret concepts of knowledge and rights; how such translations shape rights-based policies and governance regimes; and what is erased, obscured, or modified across cultural and ontological difference. With Indonesia a global leader in REDD+ policy, this research will provide a valuable case study for gauging REDD+'s future success and for understanding how transnational 'encounters' produce emerging rights regimes.