Mustafa, Aiman, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'News Making and the Politics of Muslim Minority Publics in Mumbai, India: An Ethnographic Account,' supervised by Dr. David Nugent
Preliminary abstract: This is a study of Muslim minority identities as they emerge from the contested practices of a network of organizations that closely engage with the Urdu language press in Mumbai, India. By examining the everyday processes through which Muslim identity is articulated through contestations within and between these organizations, and by investigating how the press interpolates these identities, I offer fresh perspectives on the ways in which mass mediated forms of communication articulate with ideas of publicness and national communities. Mobilizing around socio-religious, educational, and gender issues pertaining mostly to Muslims, organizations such as the 'Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind', 'Raza Academy', and 'Awaaz-e-Niswaan' are key interlocutors of the Urdu press, with the latter calling itself the 'authentic voice' of Muslims. By capturing contestations around the production of identity, and in the production of news, I delineate how Muslim identity is articulated in the Urdu press. A central question animating this study concerns the roles of interlocutor organisations and the press in articulations of Muslim identity. Focusing on the interface between governmental agencies, minority news media and community organizations, this project shows how minority identities within the context of a nation-state emerge through contestations among different actors articulating their ideas of Muslim minority identities.
Junaid, Mohamad, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Urban Kashmiri Youth Activists: State Violence, Tehreek, and the Formation of Political Subjectivity,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
Preliminary abstract: Youth in Indian-controlled Kashmir's capital, Srinagar, live under conditions of chronic state violence, yet have been able to renew the long-standing Kashmiri movement for self-determination, locally known by its Urdu name Tehreek. Legally, Kashmiris are full citizens in India, but since 1990, India has used emergency laws and militarized governance to punitively contain Kashmiris. Kashmiri youth activists, who have spent most of their lives under these conditions, are, in particular, stigmatized and subjected to violence. The renewal of the Tehreek since 2008, mostly in the form of non-violent protests, has led to further state repression, but the movement has continued. However, an increasing emphasis on transnational Islamic politics, which challenges the traditional nationalist framings of self-determination, and an emerging articulation of young Kashmiri women's struggles within the Tehreek have turned the latter into a wider space for internal contestation. By ethnographically focusing on urban Kashmiri youth activists, my research will examine how youth sense everyday precarity under state domination, become committed to politics, and the implications of their emergent transnational discourse on the self-determination movement. Further documenting the experiences and perspectives of young Kashmiri women activists, I will analyze the consequences of differences within political movements in subordinated societies.
Deomampo, Ms. Daisy, Fordham U., New York, NY - To aid engaged activities on 'Policy, Health, and Women's Rights: An Engaged Project on Transnational Surrogacy in India,' 2014, Mumbai, India
Preliminary abstract: This engagement project builds on research conducted in Mumbai, India, on the global surrogacy industry, in which would-be parents travel across national borders in pursuit of assisted reproductive technology (ART) services such as gestational surrogacy, egg donation, and in vitro fertilization. Findings from this research demonstrate the ways in which Indian women's experiences of surrogacy are complex and varied, and cannot be known a priori. Yet, while the surrogacy industry remains unregulated and policy debates continue as a draft ART bill awaits decision in Parliament, Indian surrogates' voices have remained largely absent from the debates. Through the organization of two participatory workshops-one with surrogate mothers and egg donors, and another with scholars, advocates, and policymakers, as well as participants from the first workshop-this engagement project brings together diverse actors in order to disseminate key findings of this research and to provide a forum for local actors to share their experiences, voice their concerns, and influence ongoing policy debates regarding the regulation of ARTs and surrogacy. It also offers a unique opportunity to engage various actors who might not otherwise interact, in order to foster potential collaborations to address the rights of surrogates and egg donors.
Valiani, Arafaat A., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Religious Nationalism and Its Shaping of Urban Space in Western India (1969-2002),' supervised by Dr. Karen Barkey
ARAFAAT A. VALIANI, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on 'Religious Nationalism and Its Shaping of Urban Space in Western India (1969-2002),' supervised by Dr. Karen Barkey. This grant funded ethnographic research in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, beginning in July 2003, pertaining to the effects of repeated episodes of violence occurring between Hindu and Muslim residents of the city. Findings, taken from materials produced through unstructured interviews with residents, local leaders, activists, religious figures, journalists, and local academics, confirm that the violence has cultivated various forms of perception that residing in separate and homogeneous neighborhoods could be safer and more 'culturally germane' for members of both communities despite the existence of centuries of relatively mixed residency in the city. A nationalist Hindu narrative of India being beset with aggressive invasions by Muslims over the past several hundred years structured the historical understanding of the city, especially for Hindu residents; Ahmedabad was described as being a Hindu city on top of which the Muslim king, Ahmed Shah, built Ahmedabad. Therefore, such an historical claim was a veiled absolute claim to the city for Hindus.
Valiani, Arafaat A. 2010. Physical Training, Ethical Discipline, and Creative Violence: Zones of Self-Mastery in the Hindu Nationalist Movement. Cultural Anthropology 25(1):73-99.
Park, Joowon, American U., Washington, DC. - To aid research on 'Belonging in a House Divided: Violence and Citizenship in the Resettlement of North Koreans to South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Adrienne Pine
Preliminary abstract: Violence -- visible and invisible, intentional and unintentional - permeates the experience of forced migrations, shaping and defining every phase of resettlement processes. Since the majority of forced migrants experience acute violence(s) in displacement, it is necessary to examine how violence operates in the ways in which citizenship is constructed and constituted as they attempt to integrate into host societies. Citizenship is generally conceptualized in the dimensions of status and rights, but where both status and rights are granted to people recognized as refugees in integration processes, this study goes beyond the juridical-political aspects of having status, rights, and duties. Thus, this dissertation research investigates the relations between violence and citizenship through the resettlement and integration of North Korean defectors in Seoul, South Korea and asks: how do wide-ranging forms of violence North Korean defectors experience impact their pathways to and embodiment of citizenship? Through examining the ways in which citizenship is constituted, constructed, claimed, practiced, and imagined in relation to the multiple embodied experiences and legacies of violence, this ethnographic research explores the lived experiences and subject-making processes of citizenship vis-à-vis refugee resettlement.
Fjelstad, Karen, San Jose State U., Scotts Valley, CA and Nguyen, Hien Thi, Institute of Culture & Information Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam- To aid collaborative research on 'Len Dong: A Transnational Ritual'
DR. KAREN FJELSTAD, San Jose State University, Scotts Valley, California, and DR. HIEN THI NGUYEN, Institute of Culture & Information Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in October 2007, to aid collaborative research on 'Len Dong: A Transnational Ritual.' The len dong spirit possession ritual traveled to the U.S. with Vietnamese refugees during the 1980s, but spirit mediums on both sides of the Pacific were prohibited from meeting with each other until after 1986. Recently, a number of US mediums have initiated ritual relations with their Vietnamese counterparts, resulting in the formation of transnational ties. This research traced an emerging relationship between mediums at two temples, one in northern California and the other in northern Vietnam. Transnational ritual relations were stressful and problematic because the mediums were former 'enemies' during the American-Vietnam war and they had significant cultural, linguistic, and ritual differences. However, they overcame difference by focusing on a shared spirituality, recounting narratives of transformation, and relying on help from certain youthful spirits who could easily cross social and cultural borders. The initial transnational event centered on initiation rituals involving the massive exchange of information and goods, but these flows subsided over time. Whereas some of the US mediums wanted to maintain long-term relations with their Vietnamese master, others wanted to focus on developing their own 'American' style. However, rituals in both the US and Vietnam temple were ultimately changed as a consequence of these interactions.
Amigo, Maria F., U. of Sydney, Sydney, Australia - To aid research on 'The Economic Roles of Children in Household Economies,' supervised by Dr. Paul Alexander
MARIA F. AMIGO, while a student at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on the roles of children in household economies on the island of Lombok, Indonesia, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Alexander. The primary aim was to add an anthropological perspective to the literature on child labor, which had been dominated by other disciplines. By trying to understand native notions of 'childhood' and 'work,' Amigo challenged what had often been seen as cultural universals. And by analyzing children's work through their own accounts, she was able to show that the ideas, wants, and expectations children have about their lives are critical to understanding their work and their motivations for it. In the rural area studied, children became economically active at a very early age. Regardless of their household's difficulties in meeting everyday needs, children were expected to be committed to the household's economy. Children had long been involved in unpaid tasks (household chores, agricultural work), but the relatively recent introduction of large-scale tobacco plantations dramatically increased their opportunities for paid work. Hierarchical structures of power based on seniority and gender channeled them into the least desirable and lowest-paid work, yet children clearly made economic decisions in relation to their work and the money they earned. Rather than being victims forced to work for the benefit of others-as child workers are commonly described-the evidence suggested that children worked for the well-being of their households and were conscious that this meant their own well-being, too.
Wang, Yu, Duke U., Durham, NC - To aid research on 'Naturalizing Ethnicity, Culturalizing Landscape: The Politics of World Heritage in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph A. Litzinger
YU WANG, then a student at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, was awarded funding in September 2005 to aid research on 'Naturalizing Ethnicity, Culturalizing Landscape: The Politics of World Heritage in China,' supervised by Dr. Ralph A. Litzinger. In the past ten years, more than twenty sites in China have been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. This growing World-Heritage 'fever' has manifestly transformed the lives of people living in these sites. It also raises questions about the changing relationships between culture and nature, local and global, and development and conservation. Based on an ethnographic account of the tourism development, ethnicity construction, and heritage protection on a potential World Cultural Heritage Site in Yunnan Province of China, the research investigates how the world-heritage system generates debates about cultural (ethnic) authenticity and creates new sites of struggle over control of local resources in this particular site of Yunnan. In a context where both global and state policies continue orchestrating developments in contemporary China, and where local struggles over identification and poverty increasingly haunt the policies, this research particularly tackles the problems of development and conservation by offering a case that is centrally engaged with international and state-based modes of governmentality. This project aims above all to put in question assumptions about the simple relationship between the development agenda of the state and the conservation mission of UNESCO.
Reese, Jill Marie, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Spectacular Politics & the Image: Narrative, Morality and Power in the Tamil Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Pinney
Preliminary abstact: Midnight arrests, plotting villains, benevolent heroes and devoted consorts. These descriptions not only pertain to the latest Tamil blockbuster; they apply to the history of spectacular politics in the Indian state of Tamilnadu, where for the past forty-five years, the successive Chief Ministers and many other high-level elected officials have been former members of the Tamil film industry. What accounts for the particularity of Tamil politics? How can one understand a politics delivered via spectacle? I will test my hypothesis that narrative tropes of morality are amplified, distorted or transformed through spectacle to grant varying degrees of legitimacy to political power, through an examination of image regimes in their manifestation as campaign images as they are produced and consumed, specifically at a local rather than state level. Using the city of Madurai as a fieldwork site, I will look at how visual and devotional forms of spectacle situate local politicians within their party's hierarchy of power, the ways in which narrative tropes of morality are infused in campaign imagery, and follow the path of concept, design, and production of imagery on the street and at political rallies. This will entail ethnographic study with local party members, graphic designers for advertising companies, and the painters, printers, and laborers who physically create or campaign imagery. Further, I will investigate the analytic utility of the streetscape where cinema and politics are fused by documenting the changing imagery at three main intersections in Madurai as images are assembled, transformed, and removed throughout local and state elections.