Film and theory: Knots and Holes

By Matthias Teeuwen           “What becomes of the medium of film in the hands of an anthropologist?” asks Mattijs van de Port in the introduction to his new film Knots and Holes, an essay film on the life of nets (2018). This project, he tells us, was born from his frustration with the offer of films at ethnographic film festivals: they are all very beautiful and evocative and they manage to take us places we have never been for the length of their duration, but they pass over the most exciting thing about anthropology: theory. “What becomes of theory in …

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The Madwoman

© Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy By Georgette Veerhuis It was around 10AM on Friday 19 January 2018 when Dolores suddenly rushed downstairs. ‘The Netherlands has gone mad!’ she yelled as she ran out of the house. ‘I’ll tell you all about it when I come back!’ The front door slammed shut. When Dolores returned, she immediately went upstairs and began making phone calls. When I went upstairs I found Dolores in her new study. Her laptop screen displayed a white page with blue details and an image of a smiling white man in a white coat. It was …

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Student Experience: The Scale of Avoidance

By Telissa Schreuder We all know it, the scale of avoiding things. Level one on that scale would mean no actual harm, all the while a severe level ten has something more of a major self-destructing result to it. Thinking back to exactly one year ago, the deadline of going to fieldwork in January would be ranged in about the same level on the avoidance scale as when back in the day my mother would ask who ate all the cookies in the cookie jar. Definitely a level ten. In both cases I was trying to avoid questions to such …

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At Europe’s Threshold – Bangladeshi Migrants in Greece

By Jessica van Vugt. This photo-essay is about Bangladeshi migrants in Athens, Greece. Using the case of the Bangladeshi migrants, I wanted to explore how the European discourse of strict immigration and asylum policies on the one hand and the growing deregulating labor markets featured by an increasing employers’ demand for cheap ‘flexible’ laborers, on the other hand, shapes the lives of economic migrants in Greece. The accounts of fifteen young Bangladeshi men together with my camera, which was always hanging on my shoulder, tell the story of how they experience, shape and navigate their lives. This photo-essay is based on that …

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De CEU countdown is begonnen #OccupyKossuth

door Georgette Veerhuis             Het is alweer bijna twee jaar geleden dat ik meeliep met een enorme protestmars in Boedapest, waar zo’n 80,000 man op af kwam, om te demonstreren tegen de verontrustende zet van de Hongaarse overheid, met de Fidesz partij en minister-president Viktor Orbán aan kop, jegens de Central European University (CEU). Hier schreef ik al eerder een blog over. Deze demonstratie kon zoveel momentum krijgen omdat het niet zozeer alleen om CEU gaat, maar vooral om hoe de verwijdering van CEU en andere beangstigende grillen van de huidige Hongaarse politiek. Waar ik mij toen begaf in een hoopvolle …

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Hazes is ook erfgoed

door Annemarie de Wildt Een oratie die aantoont hoe we van alles erfgoed maken: de redding van het Thaise jeugdelftal, de monsterzwemtocht van Maarten van der Weijden en de BVO-tjes (Biertje Voor Onderweg) van André Hazes, daar gaat mijn museale hart van open. Irene Stengs aanvaardde met een zeer inspirerend verhaal het ambt van bijzonder hoogleraar Antropologie van Ritueel en Populaire Cultuur aan de Vrije Universiteit. Ze eindigde haar oratie met de hoop op een mooie samenwerking met Amsterdam Museum, Tropenmuseum en het Catharijne Convent. En vervolgens speelde de organist ‘Zij gelooft in mij’. Dat ik dat nog mocht meemaken …

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Banksy’s Donkey

  By Peter Versteeg In 2007 street artist Banksy organized a project called Santa’s Ghetto in the city of Bethlehem, where international artists would work on the (‘security’ or ‘apartheid’) wall that separates Palestine from Israel. This was two years after Banksy had painted nine works on this wall. Part of the project was an exhibition in which the artists addressed many social issues on the West Bank. Santa’s Ghetto was also deliberately meant to draw tourists to this conflict zone. In the documentary The Man Who Stole Banksy we follow one particular stolen work on its journey on the …

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Alien Encounters

by Matthias Teeuwen I had read “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (1998) and I wanted to write a blog about it. It contains a lot of interesting ideas including classic science fiction tropes that have often fascinated anthropologists. In fact, the editors of The Geek Anthropologist blog have alerted me to the interesting synergy that exists between anthropology and science fiction, as did the article of Peter Pels on the fictionalisation (and commercialisation) of nineteenth-century anthropology. One of the fascinations that the genre holds for anthropologists is the possibility of an encounter with totally other life forms or …

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Famine and War in Yemen

By Helen Lackner. The Geneva ‘consultations’ on 6 September between the two Yemeni warring parties failed to happen. According to the media, it was because the Huthis failed to show. In reality their demand was not unreasonable: guarantees of safe travel to and from Geneva in a neutral (Omani) plane and without ‘inspection’ from their opponent, the Saudi-led coalition. Observers and Yemenis are flooded with statements about the good internationally recognised Hadi government seeking peace and the evil ‘Iranian-backed’ Huthis wanting to continue fighting. However events point elsewhere, suggesting that the coalition’s asserted commitment to a political solution is little …

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Writing a tailor-made thesis

by Suzanne Jansen A finished thesis is a tailor-made product: it has that perfect mixture of scientific knowledge embedded in lively ethnographic tales of the field. In my case not only my thesis itself was a tailor-made product. The people my research was about also turned out to be, or at least tried to be, tailor-made: I did research among women with anorexia. Having had anorexia myself, I have been intrigued by its manifestations ever since: young girls, older women, girls that are walking all day, women who are not talking all day, women that purge, girls that don’t, scarily …

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