Singh, Bhrigupati

Grant Type: 
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Brown U.
Status: 
Active Grant
Approve Date: 
April 21, 2015
Project Title: 
Singh, Dr. Bhrigupati, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Transformations of Sadness in Contemporary India: Explorations within Cinema, Psychiatry and the Everyday Life of Urban Poverty'

Preliminary abstract: Are notions of emotional wellbeing becoming more uniform the world over? Many scholars argue that there is a 'globalization of the American Psyche' currently underway, characterized by a 'loss of sadness' with a range of emotions reduced merely into depressive disorder and the ascendance of a capitalist monoculture of happiness premised on psycho-pharmaceuticals, consumerism, and cultures of aspiration. Are there other ways to understand emotional histories of the present, for instance, in non-western capitalist democracies? This project explores transformations of sadness in contemporary India, focusing on the urban poor, seeking to examine poverty not just as an economic condition but also in terms of changing affective experience and forms of suffering. Quantitative indices alternate between declaring India as 'the world's most depressed nation', even as other studies report India as being the world 'second happiest nation'. Proposing an alternative to such indices, this project shows how shifting conceptions of sadness and happiness may be approached anthropologically, by investigating three intergenerational shifts: an ethnography of a mental health clinic in an urban poor neighborhood in Delhi, examining the threshold at which an ordinary emotion begins to be perceived as a disorder; by tracking the ascending consumption of anti-depressants among the urban poor; and in public culture, by interviewing lyricists, scriptwriters and film viewers about the noticeable waning of the formerly dominant lyrical form of melancholia in Bombay cinema. Through medicine, media and everyday life, this project investigates shifting ideas of emotional wellbeing in late capitalism.

Grant Year: 
2015
Award Amount: 
$19,900

Murphy, Daniel Joseph

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Kentucky, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
May 4, 2007
Project Title: 
Murphy, Daniel Joseph, U. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little

DANIEL J. MURPHY, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Communal Resource Management and Rural Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia,' supervised by Dr. Peter Deal Little. This project investigated the ways in which increasing rural inequality in post-socialist Mongolia has altered common-property resource management institutions, access to pastoral resources, and resources use patterns. The researcher carried out this project in the third bag (Uguumur district) of Bayankhutag soum (county), Khentii aimag (province) in eastern Mongolia and employed a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (including participant observation, surveying, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing, and case-study analysis) to investigate the research questions. The project found that general socio-economic inequality and commercialization in pastoral society, rather than solely absentee herd-ownership as hypothesized, has fostered divergent herd management practices and resource use strategies. Moreover, the research has found that these changes, in combination with neo-liberal governance reforms such as decentralization, have altered community dynamics and the effectiveness of community level institutions to regulate resource use. This research will contribute to: 1) new understandings of common property systems and theories of 'community;' 2) expansion of anthropological investigations of property relations under post-socialism to common-property systems; and 3) anthropological studies of pastoral inequality.

Grant Year: 
2007
Award Amount: 
$8,300

Kendall, Laurel

Grant Type: 
Int'l Collaborative Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
American Museum of Natural History
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
June 7, 2004
Project Title: 
Kendall, Dr. Laurel, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; and Nguyen, Dr. Van Huy, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam - To aid collaborative research on the sacred life of material goods: museum objects revisited, 2004

DR. LAUREL KENDALL, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, and DR. VAN HUY NGUYEN, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam, were awarded an International Collaborative Research Grant in June 2004 to aid collaboration on 'The Sacred Life of Material Goods: Museum Objects Revisited.' This project wed material culture studies to the anthropology of religion, the practical work of museums to the ethnography of popular religion and magic. It qualified the vague and problematic concept of a 'sacred object' with several ethnographically contingent understandings of how material things become and how they cease to be sacred in different communities of religious practice, demonstrating the utility of Alfred Gell's notion that relationships between people and things can be studied much as anthropologists study relationships between people. The original donors, members of their communities, ritual specialists, and artisans described how six objects in the collection of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME) -- votive statues and amulets (Kinh majority), diviners' bundles (Tai minority), a shaman's stringed instrument (Tay minority), and a ritual tree (Tai minority) -- and others like them were produced, what powers were imputed to them, and how human users properly interact with these things in their sacred, potentially sacred, and no longer sacred states. In the new market economy, the relationship between production technology and magical power has been modified and practitioners make ritual improvisations when they bring sacred material into new contexts such as secular performance and museum collections.

Grant Year: 
2004
Award Amount: 
$24,167

Fjeldstad, Karen Elaine

Grant Type: 
Int'l Collaborative Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
San Jose State U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
October 19, 2007
Project Title: 
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.

Grant Year: 
2007
Award Amount: 
$35,000

Zyskowski, Kathryn Cook

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Washington, U. of
Status: 
Active Grant
Approve Date: 
October 14, 2014
Project Title: 
Zykowski, Kathryn Cook, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'New Muslim Identities: Student Migration, Local Negotiations, and Indian Universities,' supervised by Dr. Sareeta Amrute

Preliminary abstract: India is increasingly becoming a hot spot for international education and as of 2012 ranked second only to the United States in terms of the number of foreign students attending universities. These educational migratory paths towards India have received little scholarly attention though migration from India to the West for education, and to the Gulf Countries for labor, has been well documented. Hyderabad, the site of my research, is a cosmopolitan city known for its Information Technology educational and employment opportunities. As a result, in the last decade, international student migration to Hyderabad has increased each year. Since India's Independence, the Muslim minority has been marginalized socially, economically, and culturally. What are the effects of a growing international Muslim student population at Indian universities, and of the attendant transnational flows of ideas, bodies, and objects? This project hypothesizes that, although the notion of Hyderabad as a center of global Muslim community is produced primarily through the city's visibility as a destination of study for diasporic Muslim students, this idea is co-constructed with and taken up by the local Muslim population, who mobilize it to build opportunities for travel, economic ventures, and educational support.

Grant Year: 
2014
Award Amount: 
$6,964

Balikci, Anna

Grant Type: 
Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
August 13, 2004
Project Title: 
Balikci, Dr. Anna, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok, India - To aid research and writing on 'Buddhism and Shamanism in Village Sikkim' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship

DR. ANNA BALIKCI, Namgyal Institute ofTibetology, Sikkim, India, received a Hunt Fellowship in January 2005 to aid research and writing on the relation between Buddhism and shamanism in a Bhutias (Lhopos) village of north Sikkim. She prepared a book titled Lamas, Shamans and Ancestors: Village Religion in Sikkim to be published by Brill Academic Publishers. The book is intended as a contribution to the anthropology of Tibet and the Himalayas and to the ongoing debate concerning the relation between Buddhism and shamanism. It examines the working associations between Buddhist lamas and shamans, taking into consideration the sacred history of the land as well as its more recent political and economic transformation. Their interactions are presented in terms of the contexts in which lamas and shamans meet, these being rituals of the sacred land and its resources; of the individual and household; of village and state. In contrast to the recent literature that suggests an opposition of both practices, this study reveals an unusual tolerance on the part of Sikkimese village lamas towards the shamans or bon practitioners who have remained entirely independent of the monastic establishment in terms of initiation, training and practice. This independence has allowed the rare survival of archaic bon rituals on the fringes of the Tibetan cultural area. Similarities with North Asian shamanism, particularly that of the Daur Mongols on whom the impact of Buddhism had also been minimal suggests that the practice of the Sikkimese-Lhopo shamans may be located on the very southern edge of the Siberian complex. A separate article was prepared on Lepcha shamanism. Much ritual and other exchanges have taken place between both ethnic groups over three centuries. This new material was presented at a seminar and ethnographic film festivals in Europe.

Grant Year: 
2004
Award Amount: 
$19,300

Sundar, Nandini

Grant Type: 
Conference & Workshop Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Delhi, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
September 9, 2009
Project Title: 
Sundar, Dr. Nandini, Delhi U., Delhi, India - To aid workshop on 'Civil War in South Asia: Ethnographic Perspectives,' 2010, Delhi U., in collaboration with Dr. Aparna Sundar

Preliminary abstract: This workshop proposes to examine civil wars in South Asia, especially from the perspective of civilians. While internal wars in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan have made headlines in 2009, all countries in South Asia have experienced longstanding armed conflicts, with significant implications for their political culture. Civilians are generally conceived of as participants in militias, whether state-sponsored or against the state; as supporters or opponents of either incumbent or insurgent parties; as collateral damage, or as innocent victims of civil war and objects of humanitarian intervention. Only very rarely are they seen as citizens whose choices and predicaments influence the course of the civil war. Shifting the focus to civilians as citizens introduces new normative and theoretical concerns, having to do with sovereignty, democracy and accountability. Most research on civil war is carried out by security experts or comparative political scientists. Unlike Africa or South America, there has been little research on civil war in South Asia, and practically none keeping the entire region in perspective. The workshop will bring a new perspective to ongoing conflicts, and contribute to both political anthropology and the ethnographic study of South Asia.

Grant Year: 
2009
Award Amount: 
$15,000

Pandian, Anand Sankar

Grant Type: 
Engaged Anthropology Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Johns Hopkins U.
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
August 28, 2012
Project Title: 
Pandian, Dr. Anand, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid engaged activites on 'Engaging Vernacular Publics in an Anthropology of Cinema,' 2013, Chennai, India

Preliminary abstract: My engaged anthropology project builds on the results of the Post-PhD grant I was awarded in 2008. Working closely with diverse filmmakers in south India, I undertook an ethnography of film production processes in the Tamil-language popular film industry. My engagement project has two components. First, I propose to work closely with a Tamil translator to produce a Tamil edition of the monograph that has grown out of my Wenner-Gren research. Second, I propose to undertake a book release strategy for a second edited book project that has grown out of this research, one that uses a single film as a medium to put forward the project's essential themes

Grant Year: 
2012
Award Amount: 
$1,909

Kleyna, Mark A.

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Columbia U.
Status: 
Lapsed Grant
Approve Date: 
June 28, 2001
Project Title: 
Kleyna, Mark A., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Spectacles of the Modern: Technology, Development, and the Imagination of the Indian Nation, 1947-1965,' supervised by Dr. Nicholas B. Dirks
Grant Year: 
2001
Award Amount: 
$18,950