HAYDEN S. KANTOR, then a graduate student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received funding in October 2012 to aid research on 'Embodied Virtues: Local Strategies of Agricultural Production and Food Consumption in Bihar, India,' supervised by Dr. Stacey Langwick. With increases in both food prices and crop yields, small-scale farmers in Bihar, India now experience the paradox of struggling to adequately provide for their families even as they produce more food. Green Revolution agricultural practices have boosted productivity, but this increased engagement with the wider food economy means that villagers are also more susceptible to the market fluctuations. Given these economic circumstances, what types of farming and eating practices do Bihari villagers deploy, and how have these practices changed over time? Further, how do villagers construct and enact notions of ethical eating at this time of heightened economic anxiety, and how do these ethical projects vary according to gender, age, class, and caste? This study examines these questions through participant-observation fieldwork in Nalanda District, Bihar, in order to address the anthropological literature on the capitalization of agriculture, food practices, and embodied ethics. This final report reflects on the findings related to some of the main research topics addressed during this four-month phase of fieldwork, including: 1) agricultural cropping strategies; 2) the dynamics of cooking and eating within the household; and 3) Chhath Puja, a major festival that sheds light on family and community feasting practices.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Kantor, Hayden Seth, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Embodied Virtues: Local Strategies of Agricultural Production and Food Consumption in Bihar, India,' supervised by Dr. Stacey Langwick