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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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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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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Masterclass: Migratie, Huwelijk en Zelfbeschikking

Door Edien Bartels. Naema trouwde toen ze vijftien was. Haar vader had haar huwelijk geregeld. Ze zag haar man voor het eerst op haar trouwdag. Ze dacht: “oh nee, toch niet hem. Hij was toen 39 jaar, het was geen leuke man om te zien, maar het moest van mijn vader”, zegt ze. Ze waren achtien jaar getrouwd en toen zijn ze gescheiden. Ze hebben zes dochters gekregen. Op één na zijn ze allemaal getrouwd. “Mijn dochters hebben zelf gekozen. Ik heb daar niks mee te maken,” vertelt ze. Fatima kwam naar Nederland toen ze zeven jaar was. Haar ouders …

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Schrijven – mooi en moeilijk

Door Ton Salman. Helder, goed onderbouwd, juiste bronvermelding, logisch opgebouwd, strak betoogd – we benadrukken het steeds: zó moet je schrijven. En dat geldt des te meer voor sociale wetenschappers en zéker antropologen. Van argumentatie, niet van ondubbelzinnige en onweerlegbare harde, feitelijke bewijsvoering, hangt onze overtuigingskracht af. Het hoort bij de basisvaardigheden die we in onze opleiding benadrukken en onvermoeibaar oefenen. En het is integraal onderdeel van de kwaliteiten die antropologen horen te beheersen, en die we meer zouden moeten inbrengen in onze “zelf-promotie”: wij zijn heel goed in iets wat overal –  in bedrijven en ministeries, in journalistiek en …

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Online Open Research – A collaborative approach

By Matthias Teeuwen  –   Some time ago I wrote a blog about the possibilities emerging technologies offer to the practice of qualitative research. Back then, I wrote that ‘it seems that emerging technologies constitute a quantitative change in the way ethnographic research is done, and not so much a qualitative change’. Paolo Favero spoke of emerging technologies as leading to thin description. That is, they enable ethnographers to expand the scope rather than the depth of their research. Think about how smartphones, wearable cameras, and the internet can help researchers during fieldwork to gather larger amounts of observations, stories and …

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Graduation speech Class 2016/2017

By Dominique van de Kamp         During the pre-master of Social and Cultural Anthropology, we followed a course called “Core themes of Anthropology,” by Ton Salman. In our first class, he mentioned that every anthropologist would like to be a fly on the wall, almost invisible – however impossible *. From that moment on, we started calling ourselves the “Flies on the wall.” Two years later, we handed in our theses and a great part of us went to celebrate together in Rome. There I wrote something about the flies on the wall, which turned out to be my …

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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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