SpW Summer break!

At the end of the academic year we want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all our writers and contributors. A special thanks to Heleen van der Linden, who is leaving the SpW editorial team. If you are interested to join us, drop us a note! We wish you a wonderful summer, hopefully with lots of new stories! See you all in September!

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Hodeidah is being attacked, but the Western media are silent

By Marina de Regt. “Hodeidah is empty, Marina, there is no one there anymore”, says Noura to me this morning, in a short telephone conversation that is repeatedly interrupted because of the bad connection. Noura moved to Sana’a a week ago, fleeing the horrendous violence that has exploded in the city of Hodeidah since Thursday 14 June, the day before the start of Eid Al-Fitr. On that day the Saudi Led Coalition, mainly consisting of mercenaries and ground troops of the United Arab Emirates army, soldiers of the Yemeni National Army and Hiraak al-Tihama started the long planned attack on …

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‘Wasted hours in the field’ as a key to understanding the research topic

By Herbert Ploegman  Originally attributed to Winston Churchill, the statement “never waste a good crisis” has become an aforism that, by now, has been appropriated by many voices. The expression carries several layers, all of which contribute to its perceived versatility. Applying the statement to a research field in contemporary Greece may seem ironic or cynical, given the state of ‘crisis’ the country has gone through (or is currently under). Nevertheless, I feel confident enough to do this without too many scrupules. As an anthropologist having spent almost a year in Greece throughout the past few years, I believe that …

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Re-viewing The Truman Show

By Peter Versteeg.   “We accept the world with which we are presented” is probably the best summary of The Truman Show, a modern classic film from 1998. We, however, only become aware of this once we start to know the secret of the film. So, everything that can be said about this film should really get an instant SPOILER ALERT. 

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Papa D. and the Privacy Law: New dilemmas for researchers*

By Fridus Steijlen Last April, I visited the mountain village of Bittuang in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia for the fourth time. This is one of the eight locations in which we record daily life for our audiovisual project Recording the Future. On each of our visits to Bittuang, we stay at Mama D.’s house. Visiting Bittuang and Mama D.’s makes me feel at home in the village and also within the family. We had already interviewed Mama D. and Papa D. a couple of times, along with their children and their partners.

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Try a Little Legal Tenderness

By Jane M. Ferguson This financial speculation essay acknowledges the inspiration of the Dick Jensen version of the song, “Try a Little Tenderness,” in its principal guiding pun; it is a suggested pairing to savour while reading. Oh, they may be weary. You’ve reached the end of your stay at a small hotel in Myanmar. Your bags are packed; you’re ready to go. The manager at the desk, Ma Thuzar presents you a carefully handwritten invoice in English, with the total amount written at the bottom in US dollars. Fishing into your billfold, you retrieve your US cash and present …

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What is troubling anthropology?

By Matthias Teeuwen            Inspired by Paul Stoller’s 2017 blog ‘Doing Anthropology In Troubled Times’, the goal of this year’s ‘Dag van de Antropologie’ (Annual Anthropology Day) was to reflect upon the role of anthropology in some particularly challenging social issues of today such as decolonisation. This was taken up in various panels and workshops such as the opening panel on ‘Decolonising Anthropology’ and the closing keynote on ‘Racist Sorcery’. Throughout the day I tried to get a feel for what is exactly troubling about these times and what about it is troubling for anthropologists in particular. As the first panel discussion …

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De sjamaan en de sofa

door Peter Versteeg Hoe vreemd is vreemd? Waarom noemen we sommige dingen gek en andere niet? Het zijn de bekende vragen waarmee antropologen graag hun publiek vermaken en onderwijzen. Het vermogen om het perspectief vanuit andermans werkelijkheid te kiezen kunnen we wel het unique selling point van de antropologie noemen. Maar een ander perspectief kiezen betekent nog niet dat we automatisch ook onze eigen bril hebben afgezet. Dat viel me onlangs op in een interview met organisatieantropoloog Danielle Braun.

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The representation of Africa in Hollywood movie Black Panther.

By Rhoda Woets
Almost every month, I join a small group of anthropologists from the VU to go to the movies. Last month, we went to the action movie Black Panther to do a little bit of fieldwork from a soft, lazy cinema chair. Combining a relaxing evening with collecting data for a blog post has little in common with the hardship of fieldwork that anthropologist write about in their ethnographies. No mud on my boots, thank you very much. Let the arm chair anthropologist return, this time freed from an ethnocentric view on culture and armed with 3D glasses.

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The Magnificent Indians: Sebastião Salgado’s studio in the Amazon forest

by Barbara Arisi The Javari Valley has always attracted cameras and documentarists. The beauty of the Indians living in this high forest is irresistible. As I learned from Txema Matis, such beauty is so exuberant that it can even kill an unwary person if the indigenous persons exhibit themselves in all their splendor. The photographs taken by Sebastião Salgado and published by Folha de S.Paulo’s newspaper show the beauty of the Korubo in a studio set with a seamless background amid the magnificent canopy of samaúma and many other  trees. With their clubs, dressed in palm leaf hats, painted with …

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