Kohrt, Brandon Alan, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Wounded Hearts, Wounded Minds: The Embodiment of Trauma in Nepal,' supervised by Dr. Carol Marie Worthman
BRANDON A. KOHRT, then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in April 2006 to aid research on 'Wounded Hearts, Wounded Minds: The Embodiment of Trauma in Nepal,' supervised by Dr. Carol Worthman. This research examined psychological trauma associated with the Maoist revolution in Nepal. The research involved three areas. First, Nepali conceptions of mental health and mind-body connections were investigated. Contrary to most literature, which suggests that mind-body are not seen as separate in Asian contexts, this study revealed that there is a tripartite division of body, heart-mind (the center of emotion and memory), and brain-mind (the center of social control and decision-making). Individuals with psychological trauma seen as originating in the brain-mind suffered the greatest stigma. The second area of research investigated the change in mental health as a result of the Maoist revolution. Three hundred individuals were interviewed in 2000 prior to the outbreak of Maoist violence and again in 2007 after the People's War ended. Anxiety increased from 26.2% to 47.7% and was associated with exposure to war-related trauma. However, depression did not increase significantly (30.9% to 40.6%) when accounting for aging, and levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were 14.1%. The third research was an investigation of the stress hormone cortisol. Among men, cortisol levels were associated with severity of mental health problems. However, among women, cortisol levels were associated with trauma exposure.
Kohrt, Brandon. 2008. Navigating Diagnoses: Understanding Mind-Body Relations, Mental Health, and Stigma in Nepal. Cult Med Psychiatry 32:462-491
Gerkey, Andrew Patrick, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ - To aid research on 'From State Collectives to Local Commons: Koryak Salmon Fishers and Reindeer Herders in the Russian Far East,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk
DREW GERKEY, then a student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, received a grant in June 2007 to aid research on 'From State Collectives to Local Commons: Koryak Salmon Fishers and Reindeer Herders in the Russian Far East,' supervised by Dr. Lee Cronk. This project examined cooperation and collective action among Koryak salmon fishers and reindeer herders living on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. The grantee completed eleven months of research (October 2007-August 2008) at several locations, including the regional capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and three villages in the Oliutorsky District (Tilichiki, Khailino, and Vyvenka). The primary goals of this project were to understand how contemporary fishers and herders negotiate cooperative relationships, and how differing cultural norms and values embodied in collective institutions affect these negotiations. The grantee worked with fishers and herders in two kinds of collective institutions: 1) government owned and managed collectives formed during the Soviet era (sovkhoz); and 2) privately owned and managed collectives created during the post-Soviet era (obshchina). A variety of qualitative and quantitative ethnographic methods were used to collect data on cooperation within these collectives, including participant observation, interviews, surveys, and experimental economic games. These ethnographic data can be synthesized to understand the conditions that foster cooperation within sovkhoz and obshchina collectives and the factors that cause cooperation to break down.
Bentley, Dr. Gillian R., U. College London, London, United Kingdom; and Dr. Farid U. Ahamed, Chittagong U., Chittagong, Bangladesh - To aid collaborative research on 'Influences on Male Migrant/Nonmigrant Bangladeshi: Female Body Shape Preferences'
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
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.
Larson, Erica Michelle, Boston U., Boston, MA - To aid research on 'Civic Education in the Indonesian Context: Negotiating Public Ethics and Plural Coexistence,' supervised by Dr. Robert Hefner
Preliminary abstract: What underlies the basis for national unity in the ethnically and religiously diverse nation-state of Indonesia? And what is the normative vision it proposes for inclusion and exclusion, relations across religious lines, and the role religion should play in the public sphere? Furthermore, how are such frameworks transmitted, learned, and negotiated? This comparative research of civic education at a public state school, Catholic school, and Muslim school in North Sulawesi, Indonesia will investigate socializing views of the nation with the aim of answering the following research questions: How do curricular models of the nation and its incorporation of difference compare with their pedagogical implementation in secondary schools, and how do these both compare to the way that students negotiate these lessons about Indonesian pluralism and national unity with other understandings they have acquired through broader means of socialization? Also, what model does each level of the educational process being considered propose for dealing with difference and creating a sufficiently overlapping consensus for coexistence across religious lines? This research seeks to bring the anthropology of education in conversation with literature in political anthropology and anthropology of plurality to examine the contribution of formal education in creating a framework for coexistence in a plural society.
Haanstad, Eric J., U. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI - To aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie
ERIC J. HAANSTAD, then a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, received funding in December 2002 to aid research on 'Global Policing Enacted: An Ethnographic Analysis of International Law Enforcement in Thailand,' supervised by Dr. Katherine A. Bowie. Research pursued an ethnographic examination of the Thai police. To provide historical contextualization for the project, the grantee used archival sources to gather police histories, Thai-language works on police-related topics, and interviews with retired Thai police officers. This portion of the research is expected to result in the flrst extensive English language history of the Thai police. Using an 'incident-based' methodology, fieldwork focused on three major police social-order campaigns: a three-month drug suppression campaign, a three-month 'War on Dark Influence,' and the massive security preparations for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Bangkok. These campaigns culminated in a national public spectacle in December declaring a 'drug- free Thailand.' Ethnographic data was drawn from a wide variety of sources including more than a hundred interviews (with Thai police officers, DEA agents, taxi drivers, hospital administrators and the director of the Thai Forensic Science Institute); Thai TV news coverage of coundess police raids; anti-drug music recordings of classically-trained police singers; and issues of 'Top Cop' magazines with glossy centerfolds of SWAT teams and automatic weaponry. Using this data, research shows how social control is part of a local cultural-historical context and how the police are key performers/ symbols in the construction of order by the state.
Can, Samil, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Indebted: Cultures of Obligation and Economies of Informality among Muslims in New Delhi,' supervised by Dr. Thomas B. Hansen
Preliminary abstract: Informality in India is a celebrated cultural frame of economic growth, comprising diverse commercial, legal, financial and industrial networks and practices. However, preliminary study on debt disputes among Muslims in Delhi suggests that urban informality have varying moral, ethical and religious framings, or 'cultures of obligation' among different communities of India. Providing a powerful lens on informality in India, debt relations (networks of finding loans/debts and practices of resolving debt disputes) are a classic medium for utilizing and negotiating 'cultures of obligation' and 'narratives of authority'. Inspired by the critical call to 'post-colonialize' economies of urban informality in the global South (Varley 2013), this study on debt and 'cultures of obligation' affirms the dynamic agency of marginalized or subaltern populations in everyday framings of informality, making and re-making markets, rationalities, liberalisms and capitalisms. It questions the conceptual separation of the informal from the formal for maintaining colonial fantasies of an intriguing, flexible, vital, yet continuously 'lacking,' dysfunctional and devastated 'other'. By focusing on how Muslims establish social networks across the city to find debts and how they resolve debt disputes through a range of 'formal' and 'informal' sources and authorities, the project aims to shed light on how dynamic moral framings of economic action within debt networks continuously assemble and disassemble informality and authority through active everyday negotiations of 'obligation' and 'authority.'
Wu, Ifan, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Doing Qigong in Malaysia: Religious Healing and the Production of Chinese Identities,' supervised by Dr. Steven Sangren
Preliminary abstract: Qigong, an ancient Chinese healing practice, has become increasingly popular among the female Chinese minority in Malaysia. Grounded on the belief that cosmic energy is polluted and stagnant and therefore 'blocks' one's physical energy, qigong heals by allowing practitioners to clear 'blockage,' a diagnosis that covers everything from a stiff neck to frustrations with the pursuit of personal success. As a reliever of individuals' dissatisfactions, qigong may bear traces of social anxieties suffered under culturally repressive regulations and economic structures associated with, on the one hand, Chinese patriliny and, on the other, the New Economic Policy, which prioritizes the Muslim Malay bourgeoisie's social welfare while reifying ethnic and class boundaries. To track how expressions of distress and qigong solutions are related to practitioners' social experiences and interactions, I will conduct one year of fieldwork in Penang. In describing how, based on gender roles, class, and ethnicity, practitioners address and work through their somatic frustrations and existential quandaries by using diverse knowledge systems that are transmitted across cultural contexts, my research will examine how individual practitioners, indirectly expressing their internalized political and social frustrations during qigong practices, produce desires and identities that simultaneously accommodate and resist patriliny and the state's agenda.
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.