Rinck, Jacob Emanuel, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Political Competition in Nepal's Tarai: Between Regionalism, Labor Migration, and Patronage,' supervised by Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
Preliminary abstract: How does patronage-based politics operate in 21st century state formation? This study of everyday politics in southern Nepal asks how patronage as cultural form is refashioned in its engagement with changing economic opportunities, even as renewed development efforts preach its end. Remittances from short-term labor migration to Malaysia and the Gulf now account for close to a third of Nepal's GDP. Most of the migrants are from rural backgrounds, where until recently unequal agrarian relations and elite control over developmental resources formed the basis for political authority, even after Nepal's democratic transition in 1990. How do the new flows of money change the ways in which people imagine and engage these modes of politics, and how do political elites respond? This project uses the competition between established political elites and their lower class, lower-caste challengers as empirical ground for pursuing this question. During 18 months of multi-sited ethnographic research between Kathmandu and a district in the southern plains, I will trace how national level politicians, their constituents, and other political actors, including aid donors and development projects, connect through their historically informed aspirations and everyday politics. Thus, my study foregrounds intertwined processes of contesting meanings and making alliances within, across, and against formal state institutions. Through this anthropology of politics, it clarifies the relationship between everyday politics, contending modernities, and the imagination of material resources, and conceptualizes state formation as continuous process of mutual disruptions.
Lohokare, Madhura, Syracuse U., Syracuse, NY - To aid engaged activities on 'Seeking Just Spaces: Conversations on City, Masculinity and Gender,' 2016, India
Preliminary abstract: My engagement project aims to initiate conversations and discussions around how cities shape the lives and gendered identities of women and men and how processes of social exclusion operate through the spaces of the city. To this end my project will conduct day-long workshops on the themes of urban space, gender and masculinity with a wide range of audience including Marathi (native language spoken in Pune)college students, university students, academic scholars and interested publics affiliated to art and culture forums and book reading clubs in the city. I aim to experiment with different kinds of contents for these workshops, including group exercises, films, field trips, reflective writing, reading fiction, poetry and non-fiction. My engagement project will also work towards enabling a group of young researchers from a low caste, working class neighborhood in the city, to undertake a short neighborhood mapping exercise, which will hopefully help in generating a sense of value about their 'place' in the city and create confidence in their ability to produce knowledge about the city for these youth. My larger aim is to facilitate the entry of critical academic insights on urban space and gender in public discourse and to create a much wider 'publics' with whom my research themes would be able to resonate.
Hota, Pinky, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'From Forest to Nation: Tribal Youth's Participation in Hindu Nationalism,' supervised by Dr. Richard Schweder
PINKY HOTA, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, was awarded funding at May 2007 to aid research on 'From Forest to Nation: Tribal Youth's Participation in Hindu Nationalism,' supervised by Dr. Richard Schweder. This dissertation analyzes the ways in which a violent Hindu nationalist pedagogy has spread in the tribal majority district of Kandhamal in Orissa, India. In so doing, it describes processes through which Hindu nationalist ideologues prescribe an ethical framework of piety and violence against Christian Others in the region, which when followed, index the 'good Hindu' status of tribal communities. The dissertation demonstrates that tribal participants follow such an ethical framework, not just to perform their Hindu morality, but to manage and channel their experiences of marginalization in their everyday lives marked by social and state abandonment. It argues that Kandha participation in Hindu nationalist piety and violence cannot be explained merely by the social, material, and historical forces that structure the lives of Kandha tribals. Rather, it posits that an affective framework is essential in analyzing the participation of Kandha tribals, as these forces impact the affective experiences of communities in ways that exceed the mere sum of their individual effects. Further, it points to the formation of a new subaltern sociopolitical identity in contemporary India, as tribal subalterns transition from 'victims' to violent aggressors through participation in hegemonic nationalist politics.
Welker, Dr. Marina A., Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Kretek Capitalism: An Ethnography of PT Sampoerna and Clove Cigarettes in Indonesia'
Preliminary abstract: Indonesia is renowned for its low regulation and high consumption of cigarettes, and for the fact that most smokers consume clove cigarettes (kretek). I propose to carry out a year of ethnographic research on PT Sampoerna, Indonesia's largest kretek producer. A Chinese migrant founded Sampoerna in 1913, and the company was predominantly familyowned and -operated until Philip Morris International (PMI) acquired it in 2005. The acquisition was part of a PMI strategy to expand its presence in 'emerging markets' in the wake of dramatic declines in cigarette consumption among higher income countries. Through close ethnographic study of the making, marketing, distribution, and consumption of
Sampoerna's kretek, my research will address the subjective experiences and moral and cultural narratives and practices individual (farmers, factory workers, managers, consumers) and collective actors (company, union, government, NGOs) draw on to interpret, justify, and contest how Sampoerna inflicts harms and confers benefits. This multi-dimensional study of Sampoerna will build on and contribute to four domains: (1) theory on corporations, understood as a set of processes and relations rather than as reified entities; (2) commodity chain scholarship, by illuminating how companies get made alongside commodities; (3) tobacco scholarship, by examining neglected arenas of production and distribution in the global South; and (4) scholarship on Indonesia, where kretek are ubiquitous features of social life whose economic, political, health, and moral consequences are subject to polarized depictions.
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.