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Blumenfield receives NSF grant

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Tami Blumenfield, an assistant professor of Asian Studies at Furman University, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the rapid expansion of material wealth in rural China and Bangladesh.

For the proposal, “Collaborative Research: A multidimensional investigation of the dynamics of market transition and social change in rural China and Bangladesh,” the research team was awarded a total of more than $415,000 from the NSF.

In addition to Dr. Blumenfield, principal investigators for the three-year grant are Dr. Mary K. Shenk (University of Missouri) and Dr. Siobhan Mattison (University of New Mexico).

Additional collaborative partners are Yunnan University’s Institute of Ethnic Studies and National Research Center for Studies of Borderland Ethnic Minorities (Professor He Ming) and Lijiang Education College (Professors He Mei and Yang Lifen), as well as the Bangladesh research institute, ICDDR,B (Dr. Nurul Alam). Dr. Mary Towner of Oklahoma State University is a co-investigator.

“The research supported by this award will investigate the relationship between social change and a range of wealth types, including material wealth, health, education, and social networks,” says Blumenfield. “People often focus on cash income but overlook other aspects of well-being. Our goal with this project is to look more broadly at all these dimensions, thus giving policymakers and social scientists a better understanding of the causes and consequences of income inequality and associated social problems.”

Blumenfield said Chinese researchers He Mei and Yang Lifen, who are from Mosuo villages in the study community, will bring a unique perspective to the study design, helping ensure the questions address diverse experiences from different areas.


Dr. Tami Blumenfield

Blumenfield is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at Furman, where she teaches courses on contemporary China, Cultural Anthropology, Gender, and Media in Asia. She is also affiliated with the Anthropology Program, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Film Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, and the Shi Center for Sustainability. Blumenfield was also selected for a Fulbright Scholar Grant to conduct research in China during the 2015-16 academic year.

Blumenfield is a founding board member and vice-president of the Cool Mountain Education Fund, a community sustainability initiative in China. She is a graduate of Oberlin College, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations Office at (864) 294-3107.

Last updated September 3, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
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