Liebman, Adam Daniel, U. of California, Davis, CA - To aid research on 'Turning Trash into Treasure: Waste, Commodity Values, and Environmentalism in Postsocialist China,' supervised by Dr. Li Zhang
Preliminary abstract: This research project examines how waste-product industries in postsocialist China are being transformed by the emergent commodity values of recyclables and the shifting morality associated with practices of 'recycling'. I hypothesize that: (1) despite the large impact of market forces and environmentalism, the values generated through practices of recycling are also significantly shaped by the lasting cultural impacts of China's historical experiment with socialism; and (2) the different values that are generated through practices of 'recycling' are in productive tension, shaping human-human and human-environment relations within the waste-product industry and beyond. To test these hypotheses, I will ask how socialist-era legacies of recycling shape engagements with waste; how environmentalism is utilized and particularized; and how formations of labor, socioeconomic hierarchies, and relations between society and the environment shape and are shaped by the values generated through practices of recycling. Ethnographic fieldwork for this project will be conducted in Kunming, the burgeoning capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. Over a period of twelve months, I will conduct participant observation at a 'green' recycling company and at a private scrap trading business. I will also conduct extensive interviews with and collect the life histories of three groups of actors: junk buyers incorporated into the recycling company; unincorporated junk buyers; and independent garbage pickers. By examining both the symbolic and economic values generated through recycling waste, this research offers an innovative approach to understanding postsocialist transformations in China by accounting for continuities and hybridity, in addition to ruptures.
Hefner, Claire-Marie, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Shaping Muslim Subjectivities: Gender, Piety, and Modernity in Indonesian Islamic Boarding Schools,' supervised by Dr. Michael Gates Peletz
CLAIRE-MARIE HEFNER, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Shaping Muslim Subjectivities: Gender, Piety, and Modernity in Indonesian Islamic Boarding Schools,' supervised by Dr. Michael G. Peletz. How do young Indonesian Muslim school girls learn and engage with what it means to be a proper, pious, and educated woman? How do differences in understandings of proper Muslim femininity reflect broader variations in Indonesian associations, educational traditions, and social values? These are the broad questions that frame this comparative study of two Islamic boarding schools for girls in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The focus of the investigation is two prominent Islamic boarding schools (pesantren): Pesantren Krapyak Ali Maksum and Madrasah Mu'allimaat Muhammadiyah. Each school is run, respectively, by one of the two largest Muslim social welfare organizations in the world: the 'traditionalist' Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the 'modernist' Muhammadiyah. These two schools were selected because of their national reputations and because of the critical role they play in molding future NU and Muhammadiyah female kaders (cadres). At a time when many scholars suggest that the distinctions between NU and Muhammadiyah are no longer relevant, this study questions that assertion through the optics of developments in Indonesian Islamic education, evaluating what it means for these young women to be members of these organizations. As private institutions with strong academic reputations, Mu'allimaat and Krapyak also cater to the needs and desires of the new Indonesian Muslim middle-class. Through ethnographic observations, a multivariate student survey, over 100 interviews, and media analysis, this study examines girls' engagement with 'gendered' aspects of curricula, extracurricular practices, and informal socialization within and outside of school.
Tabor, Nathan Lee Marsh, U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'The Politics and Patronage of Urdu Poetry in the Contemporary Indian Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali
NATHAN TABOR, then a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded a grant in May 2008, to aid research on 'The Politics and Patronage of Urdu Poetry in the Contemporary Indian Public Sphere,' supervised by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali. The project seeks to understand relationships among minority language aesthetics, civil society, and the state by examining the political relevance of poetic texts and the ways in which communities are built around literary circulation and consumption. The grantee examines these themes in the context of Urdu language poetry symposia (mushairah) within North Indian agroindustrial towns. The mushairah is an Indo-Persian recitational space for the circulation and enjoyment of literary and ethical knowledges. In the years following India's partition and the communalization of Urdu as a Muslim language, the mushairah has become a constituent institution of vernacular mass media that target lettered and unlettered Muslim minorities. Based on participant observation, interviews, and literary historiography, Tabor's project analyzes the importance of public Urdu poetry recitational gatherings in the circulation and enjoyment of populist Muslim politics, showing how ethical and aesthetic concerns simultaneously undergird minority publics within India's plural democracy.
Mookherjee, Nayanika, Lancaster U., Lancaster, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'Specters and Utopias: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
DR. NAYANIKA MOOKHERJEE, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in June 2005 to aid research and writing on 'Specters and Utopias: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971.' 'Specters and Utopias' is a book-length project which aims to map out the public memories of sexual violence of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Situated within the context of anthropology of gender, violence, body, the state and South Asia this is rooted in the paradigm of political and historical anthropology. The study is discursive, is based on fieldworks in 1997-1998,2003,2005-2006 in Dhaka and Enayetpur, a village in west Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the end of the nine-month long war in 1971 found 3 million dead and 200,000 women raped by the Pakistani army and their local collaborators. After the war, in an attempt to rehabilitate the women raped, the state eulogised them as birangonas (war-heroines). Within the context of a transnational global language of human rights, in Bangladesh, the histories of rape exist on one hand, in the realms of the valorised, national imaginary among the state and civil society through the processes of documentation of narratives of rape. On the other hand, the lived-in experience of the war-heroines provides a reconceptualisation about the 'trauma' involved in the violence of rape vis-a-vis the natio,nal documentation of their history. The study concludes that these public memories of rape based on political, historical and social contingency, suppress the experiences and needs of birangonas. The focus on intersubjective lived experiences of the raped women can alone ensure an ethical exploration of the sexuality of war, its processes of gendering and its effect on the individuals affected by sexual violence.
Baxstrom, Richard B., John Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Difference and Danger: Brickfields, Tamils and the Emergence of an Alternative Modernity in Malaysia,' supervised by Dr. Veena Das
RICHARD B. BAXSTROM, while a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in December 2001 to aid research on the emergence of an alternative modernity among Tamils in Malaysia, under the supervision of Dr. Veena Das. By undertaking a detailed ethnography of Brickfields, a primarily Malaysian Tamil neighborhood located near the center of Kuala Lumpur, Baxstrom investigated the ways in which the Tamil minority community in Malaysia is concretely produced as, and is the producer of, a discrete subcategory of identity. His approach was to empirically investigate and connect the specific situation of Brickfields Tamils with global processes, Malaysian state power, and the unique trajectory of urban life in Kuala Lumpur, examining the ways in which their identity is produced by the Malaysian state and how the community itself produces its own identities, which simultaneously accommodate and resist the state's agenda.
Ghosh, Sahana, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Borderland Orders: The Gendered Economy of Mobility and Control in North Bengal,' supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
Preliminary abstract: How are borderlands produced in the intersection of disparate national regimes of control and transnational practices of border-crossings? This project investigates the constitution of the borderland between India and Bangladesh as a discrete spatial entity with a gendered socio-economic terrain, in the face of increasing militarization of the postcolonial border. India's initiative to fence and guard its 4,000 km long border with Bangladesh will produce, upon completion, the longest fenced international border in the world. However the border runs through a region that is historically and culturally linked, and densely inhabited by Hindu and Muslim Bengalis, with enduring economic and socio-familial ties and commercial and religious networks and routes. These ties are reconfigured and new economies generated through people's negotiations of the states' attempts to control the flow of people and goods between the two countries. Through sixteen months of ethnographic research I will study how Bengali men and women in both countries are differently involved in transborder movements in their everyday lives as a part of the political economy of the borderland. This involvement includes complex relations of power as residents contest and are also complicit with male security forces deployed by India and Bangladesh on their respective sides of the border. My study thus foregrounds the gendered relations, moralities and plural conceptions of law and economy that undergird the risky calculations that residents of this region make in their 'illegal' transborder activities within this borderland space. In this way, this project clarifies the relationship between regional networks of mobility and iterations of conflicting notions and scales of belonging and 'security'.
Wang, Jing, Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation, Hong Kong, P.R. China - to aid training in social/cultural anthropology at Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH, supervised by Dr. Melvyn Goldstein
Hasinoff, Erin, Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall
ERIN L. HASINOFF, a student at Columbia University, New York, received funding in December 2005 to aid research on 'Material Burma: Missionary Inventories and Consensual Histories,' supervised by Dr. Laurel Kendall. The grant was used to study the Missionary Exhibit, a fragmentary collection of ethnological artifacts that was accessioned by Franz Boas of the American Museum of Natural History following the close of the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions of 1900. The project assessed how the Burmese portion of this unstudied collection inventoried Burma (today, Myanmar), and traced its legacy: the production of Burmese identities in contemporary cultural museums in Myitkyina, Putao, Hkamti and Layshi. By critically engaging the object biography approach, this investigation looked at how the Missionary Exhibit materialized and continues to shape inventories of Burma, now at the periphery of anthropological knowledge. This research considered how artifacts were not just expressions of a new context, but were also technologies that created the context anew. This is premised on the idea that objects came to embody information about Burma, while also acting as agents in the relationships that developed between specific Burmese missionaries and anthropologists. Research followed the contours of the Exhibit's collection history back to Burma by considering how identities are produced in cultural museums. The study contributes to our understanding of the missionary imagination and its material entanglements over time, as well as to the politics and performance of cultural identity in museums today.