Rethinking difference: Muslim and Christian lives in comparative perspective

Image credit: David Evers, Flickr, Creative Commons. By Daan Beekers, Hansjörg Dilger and Daniel Nilsson DeHanas. In recent decades, the anthropology of religion has produced detailed and diverse insights into the experience of religious groups living in societies across the world. Whereas most efforts to research two such groups in a society have focused on points of interaction, we call for a comparative ethnographic approach. Studies of Christian and Muslim groups in a shared social space will improve our understanding not only of these subgroups but of society as a whole. While many in our globalizing world seem preoccupied with …

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Vrouw in Jemen

Door Marina de Regt           In het Volkskrant magazine van afgelopen zaterdag 26 januari j.l. doet journaliste Ana van Es verslag van haar bezoek aan Jemen. De Midden-Oosten correspondente valt hier van de ene verbazing in de andere: alle stereotypen over man-vrouwverhoudingen in de Arabische wereld worden volgens haar in Jemen bevestigd. Vrouwen moeten zich zwaar sluieren, ze moeten zich onzichtbaar maken, ze worden continu lastig gevallen door mannen, ze worden gedwongen jong te trouwen, ze kunnen niet buitenshuis werken, als ze werken wordt hun geld afgepakt door hun mannen en ze hebben geen enkele politieke invloed. Op ironische wijze doet …

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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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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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