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Altshuler Awards 2014

Every spring the Anthropology Department offers competitive grants to rising seniors to enable them to carry out summer research between their junior and senior years.  The awards are named in honor of Dr. Nathan Altshuler, founder of our department.  Past year's winners have studied primates in Africa, foodways in Manilla, and a host of other topics -- not all involving foreign travel!   The two winners of this year's awards, Jacqueline Romero and Danielle Tassara, are both pursuing research in East Asia, and have each been awarded $1000.  Here are their projects.

    J. RomeroRomero's research is set in Japan.  "The goal of my project, 'The Rise of Women in Contemporary Japanese Business', is to analyze the reasons behind the current increasing visibility of Japanese female executives and the challenges they face in entry and promotion in the workforce. Using in-depth interview and survey research methods, I hope to address how new emergent  “power” categories are inflected not only by class, but also by gender. I also intend to reveal how corporate ideology is gendered, mutually constitutive, and shifting;  how historically developed categorical divisions are utilized and modified in order to position women's bodies and labor in very particular "new but old" ways; and finally, how individual females make sense of their situated identities, in order to be part of the organizational body of global expansion. I will engage in ethnographic field work in Tokyo, Japan this summer in order to visit at least 20 full-time career-oriented female managers and reveal the insider contextual knowledge necessary for us to identify key variables at play in the present and future conditions for gender equity in business both in Japan and around the world."

   D. Tassara Tassara's project will take her to Seoul, South Korea.  "My research topic focuses on the young adults of multicultural families in South Korea, especially in urban areas like Seoul. The increasing number of foreign brides, and more importantly their children, has largely changed the demographics of a society that has historically been seen as ethnically homogeneous. Because of this shift, it becomes important to gain a better understanding of how 'multi-heritage' young adults situate themselves within contemporary Korean society and how community networks impact that placement. Using interviews and participant-observation sessions (such as joining in a family dinner and other activities), I will to travel to Seoul, South Korea and study the lives of young adults of 'mixed' parentage. When I carry out this research, I will concentrate on changes in naming practices, public and institutional representations of diversity, the 'Korean dream' of upward social mobility for immigrants in Korea, and the level of flexibility in the notion of an ethnically homogeneous Korea and the history behind such a notion."