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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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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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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A day in Makata village (Malawi)

Liza Koch         My day starts at 5:15 because of the noise outside. The sun is rising and people are starting their day. My ‘host mom’ is already fully dressed and almost finished cleaning her house. She pushes her daughter to get ready for school. When I go outside I see the neighbour baking mandasi (comparable to our new year dough balls), she starts around 4 o’clock in the morning to sell them later at the small market 200 meters from here.

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