Huang, Dr. Shu-min, Iowa State U., Ames, IA; and Rakariyatham, Dr. Pong-In, Chiang Mai U., Chiang Mai, Thailand - To aid collaboration on Chinese diasporic communities in highland northern Thailand: ecology, identity, and transnationalism
DR. SHU-MIN HUANG, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and DR. PONG-IN RAKARIYATHAM, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand, received a renewal of an International Collaborative Research Grant in April 2004 to aid research on Chinese diasporic communities in highland northern Thailand: ecology, identity, and transnationalism. This is the second year of a multidisciplinary (i.e., anthropology, geography, and soil sciences) and multinational (China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the U.S.) project sponsored by Wenner-Gren's International Collaborative Research Program. Besides conducting fieldwork in Banmai Nongbua, including participatory living by ethnographers in the village and experimental sampling by natural scientists in its vicinity, this year also includes formal paper presentations of preliminary findings at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropologists in November 2004. Besides this formal panel presentation, this year's project has produced one M.A. thesis (Duan Ying of the Chinese University of Hong Kong) and three professional articles (all by Huang in: Ethnology and Taiwan Journal of Anthropology and an edited volume by Professor C.B. Tan). Future products on the drawing board include one book-length monograph (by Huang), a conference paper (Huang and Panomtarinichigul), and, hopefully, an ethnographic film (Yang).
Kiamg. Shu-min. 2005. The Articulation of Culture, Agriculture, and the Environment of Chinese in Northern Thailand. Ethnology 64(1):1-12.
Closser, Svea Hupy, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter John Brown
SVEA CLOSSER then a student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received funding in May 2006 to aid research on 'Global Development in Policy and Practice: The Polio Eradication Initiative from Atlanta to Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Peter J. Brown. This case study of a public health project focused on Pakistan, one of the last four countries in the world with endemic polio, and explored the reach, limits, and complex negotiation of the power of UN and bilateral agencies over the Pakistani health system. This research revealed that because the Polio Eradication Initiative is a 'partnership' of donors and UN agencies with country governments, officials at places like the WHO in Geneva have no direct control over the actual implementation of immunization activities. Polio vaccination campaigns are carried out in Pakistan by highly political district health offices along with very poorly paid and largely disgruntled workers. The WHO uses a number of tactics to put pressure on Pakistani government officials, but they are unable to make polio the priority in a nation beset with other, more politically pressing problems. However, due to the donor-directed culture of optimism that pervades upper levels of the project, these issues are never discussed in official publications. These tensions between the culture of global health institutions and local political cultures threaten to undermine the 20-year, six-billion-dollar initiative.
Closser, Svea. 2010. Chasing Polio in Pakistan: Why the World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail. Vanderbilt University Press: Nashville, TN.
Sykes, Jim, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'A 'Space' for Sound: Sacred Music, Sentiment, and the Politics of Place in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Philip V. Bohlman
JIM SYKES, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'A 'Space' for Sound: Sacred Music, Sentiment, and the Politics of Place in Sri Lanka,' supervised by Dr. Philip V. Bohlman. Sri Lanka has become infamous around the world as a site of 'ethnic conflict,' on account of the island's 25-year civil war between the Sinhala-led government and the Tamil-led Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (L TIE). One outcome of the conflict is the mainstreaming of ethnonationalist ideologies of cultural separation, which view the island's Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and other populations as having thoroughly distinct cultural histories. This dissertation contests such an overly ethnicized reading of Sri Lankan cultural history, through the lens of musical practices. Rather than focus on one ethnic group and 'its' music, the project locates music as a site of contestation between two radically alternate narratives of Sri Lankan social relations: on the one hand, a history of ethnic division, chauvinism, and violence; on the other, an underrepresented history of tolerance, borrowing, and mixing. Drawing on fieldwork with musicians in two locations (one majority Sinhala, the other majority Tamil) and focusing on traditional drumming (yak hera, maththalam), the project explores music's entanglements with personhood, modernity, trauma, and historical narrative from a comparative perspective, in order to articulate a discourse on Sri Lankan communities that is regional, rather than ethnic or linguistic, in scope.
Sykes, Jim. 2013. Culture as Freedom: Musical 'Liberation' in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. Ethnomusicology 57(3):485-517.
Mustafa, Aiman, Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'News Making and the Politics of Muslim Minority Publics in Mumbai, India: An Ethnographic Account,' supervised by Dr. David Nugent
Preliminary abstract: This is a study of Muslim minority identities as they emerge from the contested practices of a network of organizations that closely engage with the Urdu language press in Mumbai, India. By examining the everyday processes through which Muslim identity is articulated through contestations within and between these organizations, and by investigating how the press interpolates these identities, I offer fresh perspectives on the ways in which mass mediated forms of communication articulate with ideas of publicness and national communities. Mobilizing around socio-religious, educational, and gender issues pertaining mostly to Muslims, organizations such as the 'Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind', 'Raza Academy', and 'Awaaz-e-Niswaan' are key interlocutors of the Urdu press, with the latter calling itself the 'authentic voice' of Muslims. By capturing contestations around the production of identity, and in the production of news, I delineate how Muslim identity is articulated in the Urdu press. A central question animating this study concerns the roles of interlocutor organisations and the press in articulations of Muslim identity. Focusing on the interface between governmental agencies, minority news media and community organizations, this project shows how minority identities within the context of a nation-state emerge through contestations among different actors articulating their ideas of Muslim minority identities.
Junaid, Mohamad, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Urban Kashmiri Youth Activists: State Violence, Tehreek, and the Formation of Political Subjectivity,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
Preliminary abstract: Youth in Indian-controlled Kashmir's capital, Srinagar, live under conditions of chronic state violence, yet have been able to renew the long-standing Kashmiri movement for self-determination, locally known by its Urdu name Tehreek. Legally, Kashmiris are full citizens in India, but since 1990, India has used emergency laws and militarized governance to punitively contain Kashmiris. Kashmiri youth activists, who have spent most of their lives under these conditions, are, in particular, stigmatized and subjected to violence. The renewal of the Tehreek since 2008, mostly in the form of non-violent protests, has led to further state repression, but the movement has continued. However, an increasing emphasis on transnational Islamic politics, which challenges the traditional nationalist framings of self-determination, and an emerging articulation of young Kashmiri women's struggles within the Tehreek have turned the latter into a wider space for internal contestation. By ethnographically focusing on urban Kashmiri youth activists, my research will examine how youth sense everyday precarity under state domination, become committed to politics, and the implications of their emergent transnational discourse on the self-determination movement. Further documenting the experiences and perspectives of young Kashmiri women activists, I will analyze the consequences of differences within political movements in subordinated societies.
Deomampo, Ms. Daisy, Fordham U., New York, NY - To aid engaged activities on 'Policy, Health, and Women's Rights: An Engaged Project on Transnational Surrogacy in India,' 2014, Mumbai, India
Preliminary abstract: This engagement project builds on research conducted in Mumbai, India, on the global surrogacy industry, in which would-be parents travel across national borders in pursuit of assisted reproductive technology (ART) services such as gestational surrogacy, egg donation, and in vitro fertilization. Findings from this research demonstrate the ways in which Indian women's experiences of surrogacy are complex and varied, and cannot be known a priori. Yet, while the surrogacy industry remains unregulated and policy debates continue as a draft ART bill awaits decision in Parliament, Indian surrogates' voices have remained largely absent from the debates. Through the organization of two participatory workshops-one with surrogate mothers and egg donors, and another with scholars, advocates, and policymakers, as well as participants from the first workshop-this engagement project brings together diverse actors in order to disseminate key findings of this research and to provide a forum for local actors to share their experiences, voice their concerns, and influence ongoing policy debates regarding the regulation of ARTs and surrogacy. It also offers a unique opportunity to engage various actors who might not otherwise interact, in order to foster potential collaborations to address the rights of surrogates and egg donors.
Valiani, Arafaat A., Columbia U., New York, NY - To aid research on 'Religious Nationalism and Its Shaping of Urban Space in Western India (1969-2002),' supervised by Dr. Karen Barkey
ARAFAAT A. VALIANI, then a student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received funding in January 2003 to aid research on 'Religious Nationalism and Its Shaping of Urban Space in Western India (1969-2002),' supervised by Dr. Karen Barkey. This grant funded ethnographic research in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, beginning in July 2003, pertaining to the effects of repeated episodes of violence occurring between Hindu and Muslim residents of the city. Findings, taken from materials produced through unstructured interviews with residents, local leaders, activists, religious figures, journalists, and local academics, confirm that the violence has cultivated various forms of perception that residing in separate and homogeneous neighborhoods could be safer and more 'culturally germane' for members of both communities despite the existence of centuries of relatively mixed residency in the city. A nationalist Hindu narrative of India being beset with aggressive invasions by Muslims over the past several hundred years structured the historical understanding of the city, especially for Hindu residents; Ahmedabad was described as being a Hindu city on top of which the Muslim king, Ahmed Shah, built Ahmedabad. Therefore, such an historical claim was a veiled absolute claim to the city for Hindus.
Valiani, Arafaat A. 2010. Physical Training, Ethical Discipline, and Creative Violence: Zones of Self-Mastery in the Hindu Nationalist Movement. Cultural Anthropology 25(1):73-99.
Park, Joowon, American U., Washington, DC. - To aid research on 'Belonging in a House Divided: Violence and Citizenship in the Resettlement of North Koreans to South Korea,' supervised by Dr. Adrienne Pine
Preliminary abstract: Violence -- visible and invisible, intentional and unintentional - permeates the experience of forced migrations, shaping and defining every phase of resettlement processes. Since the majority of forced migrants experience acute violence(s) in displacement, it is necessary to examine how violence operates in the ways in which citizenship is constructed and constituted as they attempt to integrate into host societies. Citizenship is generally conceptualized in the dimensions of status and rights, but where both status and rights are granted to people recognized as refugees in integration processes, this study goes beyond the juridical-political aspects of having status, rights, and duties. Thus, this dissertation research investigates the relations between violence and citizenship through the resettlement and integration of North Korean defectors in Seoul, South Korea and asks: how do wide-ranging forms of violence North Korean defectors experience impact their pathways to and embodiment of citizenship? Through examining the ways in which citizenship is constituted, constructed, claimed, practiced, and imagined in relation to the multiple embodied experiences and legacies of violence, this ethnographic research explores the lived experiences and subject-making processes of citizenship vis-à-vis refugee resettlement.
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.