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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Summer School: Hands-on Anthropology and Collaborative Storytelling

Everyone has a story to tell. For anthropologists, such accounts can reveal as much about the people and societies we study as more conventional research. But the process of collecting stories in the field and retelling them in the academic arena is littered with pitfalls. How do we ensure that our subjects are fairly represented? How do we construct a culturally sensitive narrative whilst maintaining scientific validity? This summer school introduces you to the hands-on approach we call DAY: do anthropology yourself. It is a great opportunity to gain experience in fieldwork and ethnography and to improve your skills in …

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Aesthetics or Ethnography? Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)

By Matthias Teeuwen            When one thinks of a Muslim artist in the Netherlands one naturally thinks of someone who, with his or her art, tries to address issues of integration, tensions between Islam and secularism or the clash between Islamic and western society. Because that is what art by Muslims in the Netherlands is supposed to be about. Right? In last week’s AALS lecture Dr. Bregje Termeer came to talk to us about her dissertation research on artistic strategies of young Muslim artists living in the Netherlands. What she discovered was that these artists did not subscribe to the definition …

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Anthropology as post-hermeneutics

by Peter Versteeg A third response to Matthias Teeuwen’s contribution to Standplaats Wereld of 13-2-2017, titled “Is Anthropology the most Humanistic of the Sciences and the most Scientific of the Humanities?“. The first thing that came to my mind in the discussion about the scientific/humanistic nature of anthropology is the awareness that cultural anthropology is a label which for political and historical reasons has kept together a number of sub-disciplines, some having a substantial family resemblance but others sharing hardly any characteristics at all. A categorical understanding would immediately show a difference between humanities-anthropology and social science-anthropology. And then there is …

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Why is Anthropology so Critical?

By Matthias Teeuwen            I want to thank Ton Salman for his insightful take on the question whether anthropology is the most scientific of the humanities or the most humanistic of the sciences or both, it gave me food for thought. For one: how is it that anthropology is considered science? It seems that Ton sees the scientific aspect of anthropology in its critical function of looking past the representations and meanings of people and examining the empirical conditions in which they arose. I very much agree with Ton on this point. But I think that …

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Anthropology as speculative realism

By Younes Saramifar            In the following blog, Younes Saramifar responds to Matthias Teeuwen’s contribution to Standplaats Wereld of 13-2-2017, titled “Is Anthropology the most Humanistic of the Sciences and the most Scientific of the Humanities?“. It was amusing to me to be asked if I have always enjoyed to ‘do science’ whenever I met Western European youngsters. I understood the implications and why they assumed ‘doing anthropology’ is something scientific but I never took my manner of practicing anthropology as something scientific. This is not to imply that ‘anthropology’ is not scientific. But what is scientific perplexes me because it …

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