Ramadan Kareem, my beloved Yemen

By Marina de Regt    Last Saturday the holy Muslim month of Ramadan started. Ramadan, a month of fast-ing and feasting, a month of contemplation, a month that should be full of joy and happiness. In Ramadan Muslims experience what it means to be hungry which will make them cherish what they have and feel compassion for those who are poor and hungry. Who will fast Ramadan in Yemen this year? Are there still people left who are not starving to death? Are there still Yemenis who need Ramadan to know what it is like to be poor and hungry?

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Negligent NGO with happy parents: Voluntourism and the voice of the local beneficiaries

Pauline van der Valk        I have always had a keen interest in the local beneficiaries’ perspective on development projects. It was only when I started my Masters in Anthropology that I learned more about the phenomenon of voluntourism. Scholars agree voluntourism is part of the tourism sector, but also acknowledge voluntourists combine leisure activities with development practices. For this reason I found this niche market in the tourism sector highly intriguing and I decided to focus my thesis on voluntourism rather than on development. During my preparatory work I had read up on voluntourism, and the first discovery I …

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Dag van de Antropologie: over solidariteit, ethiek en epistemologie

Door Matthias Teeuwen         Bij de openingsvoordracht van de ABv Dag van de Antropologie 2017 over solidariteit kreeg ik het gevoel dat ik dit allemaal eens eerder heb gehoord. De voordracht ging, kort gezegd, over het dilemma waarmee vrijwilligers en ontwikkelingswerkers zich geconfronteerd zien omtrent de scheve machtsverhoudingen tussen hen en diegene die ze helpen, namelijk: enerzijds om de hulpbehoevende als gelijke te benaderen en te delen in zijn of haar leven en anderzijds om gebruik te maken van de voordelen die je hebt als buitenstaander om de ander te helpen. Het is herkenbaar omdat het een terugkerend dilemma is in …

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Dreaming of Falafel Country: A Glimpse on Israeli, Palestinian and Foreign Visitors’ Perceptions of an Ecological Peace Project

By an anonymous researcher        I am reading through my field-notes, getting immersed in the life 4.200km from here. Back from researching a peace project in the West Bank, I feel touched by both precarious lives and people’s good intentions. EcoME (“Ecological Middle East”) assembles Israelis, Palestinians and foreign visitors and offers them a space to meet in the middle of intractable conflict. Sustained by volunteers, it promotes a simple lifestyle and activities respective sustainability, non-violent communication and arts. The project has a holistic approach, aims to cover spiritual, social, economic and environmental aspects. It draws on ideas …

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Kaaskop in Marokko

Door Edien Bartels en Lenie Brouwer    “Wat nemen Marokkaanse Nederlanders mee op vakantie naar Marokko? Kaas en pindakaas!” Dit vertelt Mohammed Abdel, een Marokkaanse Nederlander uit Rotterdam, enthousiast als we zijn kaasfabriekje bezoeken in Magdahr, een dorpje in het noordoosten van Marokko, tegen de Algerijnse grens. We zijn in dit gebied voor onderzoek naar achtergelaten vrouwen en kinderen en verrast deze man te ontmoeten. Tien jaar geleden heeft hij  voor het eerst bedacht een kaasfabriek op te zetten en inmiddels heeft hij  zijn droom verwezenlijkt. Met een team van zes mensen, waaronder twee remigranten uit Nederland, heeft hij hier de …

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The Anthropology of Mortality: Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)

By Matthias Teeuwen      We had the pleasure to listen to prof. Michael Lambek in last week’s instalment of the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series. Lambek presented us with an ethnography of a practice native to Mayotte, a small island northwest of Madagascar, called ‘mandeving’. Mandeving is a practice by which the dead are commemorated as they are today, after having passed away, and not as they were when they were still alive. Lambek stressed that it is not so much about the individual act of remembering the deceased as about the collective enactment of the whole event. The talk, …

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Dancing to the State: Ethnic Compulsions of the Tangsa in Assam

By Meenaxi Barkataki-Ruscheweyh            Let me begin by telling you a little bit about myself, the region and the people — the Tangsa — with whom I worked and some of the questions that I explored. Although I live in Germany now, I am Indian, more specifically an Assamese from the state of Assam in northeast India. Northeast India is a region which is geographically (and according to many, also emotionally) remote from the national capital at New Delhi. Separated from the rest of India except at a corridor, not much more than 20 kms at its narrowest, this region is …

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Het verhaal achter haar Ugandese haar

Door Esther Platteeuw            Op een warme dag in maart loop ik in de straten van Jinja Town op weg naar het internetcafé ‘The Source’. Met Oegandese radiomuziek in mijn oren zonder ik me af van de blikken, handgebaren en het ‘Mzungu’ geroep waar je als blanke veel mee geconfronteerd wordt in deze Afrikaanse stad. Ik ben net een straat overgestoken waarna mijn aandacht van een Oegandees popliedje naar de realiteit op straat wordt getrokken, ‘Esther’, ‘Esther’ hoor ik opeens. Automatisch draai ik mijn hoofd om en zie daar de stralende lach van een Ugandese meid van ongeveer dezelfde leeftijd als …

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The dilemma's of public anthropology. Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)

By Matthias Teeuwen            On Earth Day last Saturday thousands of scientists in hundreds of cities worldwide took to the streets for the March for Science. The statement they made was that science should not become subject to political restraints and that it should remain free to investigate the phenomena of this world. It was organised in the face of an increasing scepticism towards science which disregards scientific findings and scientific consensus in public decision-making. What, might we ask, is the proper relationship between science and politics? Should scientists engage with politics? And if so: in what way?

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No space for grief

By Aniek Santema       The floor in Ouzai where Mariam lives becomes a familiar place. I know the people in this corner of the tall building and they greet me happily when I visit them. Today, the stairs that lead up to this floor are slippery and covered with garbage like empty bags of chips, chocolate wraps and orange peels. While climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I pass by some small kids with stains on their clothes, faces and hands, running and playing on the stairs. The youngest must be around 2 years old. Many of …

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