Kloos, Stephan, U. of California, San Francisco, CA - To aid research on 'Tibetan Medicine in Exile: Ethics of Altruism, Politics of Survival,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams
STEPHAN KLOOS, then a student at University of California, San Francisco, California, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Tibetan Medicine in Exile: Ethics of Altruism, Politics of Survival,' supervised by Dr. Vincanne Adams. This project studied the role of Tibetan medicine in exile in the ongoing effort to produce a Tibetan nation and preserve its culture. Ethnographic research focused on the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (TMAI) based in Dharamsala, India, and its multiple relations with private practitioners of Tibetan medicine, the Tibetan exile-government, the Tibetan public, the Indian state, and foreign as well as Indian individuals and institutions. The research reveals that contemporary Tibetan medicine in exile is shaped and redefined at the intersection between governmental and commercial interests of these actors. It also describes how the TMAI struggles to integrate its governmental duty to represent the Tibetan cause and provide cheap health care to the Tibetan population, with the necessity to participate in a capitalist business model. The TMAI is forced to engage with modern science and technologies of quality control in order to 'preserve' its traditional efficacy, only to find its traditional technologies indispensible for creating the norms and standards that such quality control relies on. Through specific scientific practices such as this, as well as ethical, religious, and political maneuvers that this research documents, Tibetan medicine continues to transform itself in order to remain not only an effective health resource, but also a strong symbol of Tibet's place as a sovereign nation in the contemporary world. Preliminary results of this research have so far been presented as two conference papers.
Mr. Gaerrang, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh
GAERRANG, then a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, received funding in April 2008, to aid research on 'Alternative (to) Development on the Tibetan Plateau: The Case of the Anti-Slaughter Campaign,' supervised by Dr. Emily T. Yeh. In the 1990s, seeing an increasing slaughter rate of livestock from Tibetan households and the suffering of livestock in transportation to Chinese markets, the influential Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933-2004), began the anti-slaughter movement. Tibetan pastoralists across the Tibetan Plateau, including those in the study site of Rakhor Village, Hongyuan County, Sichuan, took multiple years' pledges to stop selling livestock to markets. This took place at the same time as the Chinese state was seeking to intensify its economic development agenda in Tibet, trying to shape its citizens to become rational market actors who prioritize commodity production, including by encouraging pastoralists to sell more livestock. This resulted in the negotiation by herders of two very different views of what constitutes development. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork on lamas' motivations and herders' decision-making about the campaign, in order to shed light on the culturally specific, religious idioms through which development is negotiated, and the relationship between markets, subjectivity, and religious revival.
Baig, Noman, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Capital-extraction: Esoteric Islam, Counter-terrorist Surveillance, and Corporate Finance in Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Ali
Preliminary abstract: Since the early 1990s, Pakistan's economic policies have been geared towards integrating unregulated money circulation with global financial networks by privatizing banks, developing capital markets, micro-credit lending, and attracting foreign exchange (Nasim 1992). However, after 9/11, under the rubric of security and counter-terrorism, the Pakistani state has further intensified its efforts to discipline vernacular financial practices, particularly the informal money transfer system, generating tensions among local merchants and impacting laborers sending remittance to their country of origin. Against this backdrop, I will conduct an ethnographic study of Bolton Market (in Karachi, Pakistan) to investigate the confluences and cultural-political consequences arising from esoteric Islamic practices, the state's counter-terrorist surveillance, and emerging corporate finance. Moreover, my central argument is that there is a close convergence between the state's counter-terrorist efforts and the way it promotes corporate interests in Pakistan. Conventionally, Pakistan is studied through the over-exhaustive tropes of terrorism, violence, and ethnicity. This research will offer theoretical analysis of emerging cultural forms shaped by competing financial models. Although grounded in Pakistan, my research speaks to a growing body of anthropological work on occult economies, finance, and security as they relate to market forces, globalization, and neoliberalism.
Wouters, Jelle Joseph Pieter, North-Eastern Hill U., Meghalaya, India - To aid research on 'Exploring State and Nonstate Approaches to Socio-Economic Development in Nagaland,' supervised by Dr. Tanka B. Subba
Preliminary abstract: This project explores the tension between state and nonstate approaches to socio-economic development in Nagaland, India. It applies a political ecology framework to study changing land relations, which I suggest provide a lens through which one can study how state and indigenous, nonstate views on the envisaged socio-economic future differ, compete and interrelate. The common property regime of land forms 'traditionally' the key area of indigenous governance in the Naga Hills. This approach now collides with the views of the state and aspiring indigenous elites, whose socio-economic ambitions have inflated since the 1997 Indo-Naga ceasefire. There are now indications that land is rapidly becoming capitalized, resulting in an internal tendency towards private landholdings, unprecedented competition over land, and the emergence of a landless indigenous class. This is resented by those who defend what they call are Naga values and principles and who object to, and morally condemn, the privatization and state appropriation of land. In this context, this project looks at what happens when a state structure is imposed on a previously nonstate population. How the development state manifest itself in a contested space, and what aspirations, anxieties, imaginative alternatives and moral judgments develop on the local population?
Roman, Camilla M., U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Weaving of Patterns and Patterns of Weaving: Learning to Work in a Silk Cluster,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White
CAMILLA ROMAN, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, England, was awarded a grant in September 2005 to aid research on 'Weaving of Patterns and Patterns of Weaving: Learning to Work in a Silk Cluster,' supervised by Dr. Barbara Harriss-White. The main findings from field research in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh unravel the complex mechanisms of learning and knowledge transformation in a silk cluster, and highlight their implications for silk workers and for the survival of their livelihoods. In particular it emerged that learning arrangements and apprenticeship modes can severely restrict routes to employment, and perpetuate caste-based occupational structures. Gender norms were also discovered to play an important role in determining access to knowledge resources, and yet such norms can be moulded and transformed by social actors in actual practices. In-depth analysis of social relations and values points out that space in clusters is socially constructed and segmented, and that knowledge flows through specific spatialized channels available only to certain groups. Once learning and innovation are contextualised, elements often underestimated appear to be crucial factors behind innovative behaviour. A high degree of participation in a variety of associations and networks, and physical movement across distant places can partly explain why certain entrepreneurs innovate more extensively than others. This is due to their ability to bridge and combine knowledge from different domains - such as knowledge of saree production that takes place in their homes being combined with knowledge of fashion trends in metropolitan centres.
Lamoreaux, Janelle Darice, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Studying Sperm, Enacting Environment: the Science of Male Infertility in China,' supervised by Dr. Cori P. Hayden
JANELLE LAMOREAUX, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in May 2010 to aid research on 'Studying Sperm, Enacting Environment: The Science of Male Infertility in China,' supervised by Dr. Cori P. Hayden. This project explored the ways male reproductive health scientists in China study sperm, and how studies of 'sperm-environment interaction' have become a means to evaluate how China's unique environmental problems are within the bodies and biologies of its people. Focused in Nanjing, China, the study investigated how toxic 'environments-within' are brought out through scientific practice, focusing on the ways bodily fluids taken from infertile humans and other animals are turned into evidence for interaction between environments and bodies via toxins. Besides the practicalities of laboratory research, both in the lab and in the larger academic community, the research also investigated the interface of environmental activism and reproductive health science. The resulting dissertation will explore the legal and moral philosophies behind changing notions of environmental responsibility and compensation, as well as the way science may or may not be a key player in deciding how the side effects of China's recent history of rapid industrialism will be dealt with in order to ensure a fertile future.
Grayman, Jesse Hession, Harvard U., Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Localizing the Global Discourse on Humanitarianism: Indonesian NGO Workers and Tsunami Relief in Aceh,' supervised by Dr. Byron Good
JESSE GRAYMAN, then a student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Localizing the Global Discourse on Humanitarianism: Indonesian NGO Workers and Tsunami Relief in Aceh,' supervised by Dr. Byron Good. The earthquake and tsunami disasters of 26 December 2004 ushered in a critical historical moment for the Indonesian province of Aceh, a moment tied inextricably to the arrival of many local and international humanitarian relief organizations working in the region. The purpose of this research is to observe and analyze the social effects of the humanitarian presence in Aceh following this unprecedented natural disaster. The research is situated within anthropological debates about humanitarian interventions that have arisen alongside the growth and increasing importance of humanitarian organizations in the management of world affairs. In particular, this study identifies the Indonesian staffs of international organizations providing tsunami relief and post-conflict assistance in Aceh as a 'site' for ethnographic inquiry into these debates. An ethnography of local NGO staffs sits within and potentially connects a triad of established ethnographic sites that characterize the humanitarian narrative: ethnographies of the bureaucratic state, the voiceless refugee, and the international humanitarian. The NGO worker is not merely a link between the three corners of this triad, but also an embodiment and bearer of local logics of intervention, always tailoring the demands of the humanitarian narrative to contingencies on the ground, often with unexpected outcomes.
Brandisauskas, Donatas, Aberdeen U., Aberdeen, UK - To aid research on 'Beliefs and Practices among Hunters and Gatherers in the Zabaikalja Region, Russia,' supervised by Dr. David G. Anderson
DONATAS BRANDISAUSKAS, then a student at Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland, received funding in January 2005 to aid research on 'Beliefs and Practices among Hunters and Gatherers in the Zabaikalja Region, Russia,' supervised by Dr. David G. Anderson. Ethnographic research was conducted among Orochen-Evenki hunters' and reindeer herders' communities from January to December 2005 in the northern part of Chita district and Buriatiia Republic in Eastern Siberia (Russia). The research explored how Orochen relationship between cosmology and environment has changed because of external stresses such as the establishment of the Soviet! Post-Soviet policies. It focused on the everyday activities and discourses of indigenous Siberians as they hunt, herd reindeer, and fish to explore the concept of 'odiun.' (master, ruler) which is crucial to understanding the way in which the indigenous relate to places. 'Odiun' is a 'root metaphor' for the social power configuration of the world in Orochen realities that is also found widely throughout Siberian natives. 'Odiun' can designate spiritual entities like the masters of mountains, lakes, or rivers and it can be explained as a 'ruler' or a 'host' of a particular place, referring to any sentient being. Research discovered that 'masterhood' can be used as analytical concept to tie together many disparate concepts such as cosmological knowledge, power, perception of landscape and animals, and recent political discourses. It can serve as excellent explanatory concept crucial to many Asian societies.
Zee, Jerry Chuang-Hwa, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihw Ong
JERRY CHUANG-HWA ZEE, then a student at University of California, Berkeley, California, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Zones of Experimentation: Science and Ecological Governance in Northern China,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. Environmental problems, like desertification, which now afflicts more than a quarter of China's territory, have stood as a powerful site for the discussion of the consequences of the breakneck pace of Chinese development. China's rise has, in recent years, been understood not merely as a challenge to the international economic and geopolitical status quo, but as an ominous ecological threat to the planet itself. The threat of environmental degradation has challenged the Chinese state to take on the management and maintenance of sustainable environments as part of its governmental purview, and this new demand for the state to manage nature itself has showed the limits to existing techniques of governance when presented with this new task. In China, as the effects of 'socialist marketization' -- environmental disaster, social instability -- continue to surface, a confluence of political events and environmental disasters has seen a shift in state rhetoric toward 'sustainable development' and 'scientific' governance. This project explores how, in the PRC, programs to combat massive desertification, have made desertified regions zones of experimentation, where ecological research is applied to social-environmental governing. In so doing, it is argued, places zoned as environmental problem areas have seen local governments operating with reference to concepts derived from the ecological sciences, increasingly casting the task of government as the creation and management of ecological relations. This has transmuted the Maoist task of ideological transformation and mass organization into a matter of 'adjusting human and environmental relations' -- social management is framed as an ecological-governmental process by local governments, and informed by new research from the ecological sciences. This reframes how the state enacts relations with minority pastoralists, coal and commercial interests, and territory. Ongoing research tracks how local governments experiment with 'ecological' governance, and how manipulation of markets in land and employment are re-figured as techniques for creating new physical environments.
Shah, Dr. Alpa, Goldsmiths College, London, UK - To aid research and writing on 'In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics in Jharkhand, India' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. ALPA SHAH, Goldsmiths College, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2006 to aid research and writing on 'In the Shadows of the State: Indigenous Politics in Jharkhand, India.' The fellowship resulted in the completion of a monograph which draws on extensive anthropological research in Jharkhand, India, to explore how well-meaning transnational indigenous rights and development discourses can misrepresent and further marginalize people they claim to speak for. The book follows the lives and experiences of adivasis in rural Jharkhand to analyze common claims made at a global level on behalf of indigenous populations. These include: the examination of the promotion of special forms of indigenous governance; the way development takes shape in the name of the poorest; the 'eco-incarceration' of indigenous people through arguments about their love for, and worship of, nature as well as their attachment to their land; and claims to their harboring revolutionary potential. The book argues that there is a 'dark side of indigeneity' that it is well worth highlighting to those who urge scholars to shelve critical scholarship for fear it may weaken the advocacy of promoters of indigenous rights and development. The 'dark side of indigeneity' may show that the local appropriation and experiences of global discourses of indigeneity can maintain a class system that further marginalizes the poorest.