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.
Yen, Dr.Yueh-Ping, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom - To aid research and writing on 'In Search of True Characters: An Anthropological Study of Chinese Calligraphy and Writing' - Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship
Aga, Aniket Pankaj, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Genetically Modified Politics: Transgenic Agriculture, Contested Knowledge, and Democratic Practice in India,' supervised by Dr. K. Sivaramakrishnan
ANIKET PANKAJ AGA, then a graduate student at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, received funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Genetically Modified Politics: Transgenic Agriculture, Contested Knowledge, and Democratic Practice in India,' supervised by Dr. K. Sivaramakrishnan. The controversy-whether or not to allow genetically modified (GM) or transgenic food crops in India-which exploded in early 2010 is now in its fourth year without any definitive resolution. This research followed the controversy over GM food crops in order to understand the relationship between science and politics in contemporary India. Through multi-sited ethnography, interviews, and archival research, this study explored how people made sense of transgenics, how they evaluated them and how transgenics became an object of contestation across three key sites involved in the GM food debate: regulatory and policy-making offices of the federal and state-level government; a prominent NGO critical of India's policy-making and regulatory regime vis-à-vis GM crops; and the R&D centers of private sector seed companies that have invested in transgenics. The research examined how dynamic processes (such as activists making claims, bureaucratic policy-making and regulation) and private capital making investments on a technology with uncertain results, enable and transform democratic politics. At the same time, it also focused on how these processes allow certain groups to participate in the debate, while trying to keep others out.
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.
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.
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.