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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Yellow fragmentation

By Irene Stengs. Bangkok, Sunday May 5. With hundreds of others, I am queuing to enter the restricted area around the Grand Palace where the Royal Land Procession will start at 4 PM. In this seven-kilometer procession, Thailand’s new king Vajiralongkorn (Rama X), seated on the Royal Palanquin carried by sixteen royal guards, will halt at three royal temples to pay respect to the temples’ Buddha images. The procession is part of the three-days coronation ceremonies and offers ‘the people’ the opportunity to see their monarch in real life and to pay their respect. The entrances are check points: before …

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‘What if they were really extreme’

Hayate Ait Bouzid is a Master student Anthropology at the VU who did her research about the environmental behaviour of middle-class people in Brunei Darussalam. A country that is often not known by the large public or at best misconceived. She is sharing her story about how the preconceived view of Brunei made her question her trip to this Southeast Asian country. Being back from my three months fieldwork in Brunei Darussalam, it feels like I have never been there really, it all seems like a dream. With emphasis on the word dream, not nightmare. To be honest, in the beginning I was quite afraid of this country, …

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Living with the End

By Peter Versteeg          Recently Chris Cornell, singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audio-slave, died. Soundgarden is probably best known for their early nineties song ‘Black Hole Sun’, which is the invocation of a sort of natural disaster which will swallow everything that is ugly and false. It is a cry to be released from a depression that is caused by an awareness that life has become hollow and that the earth has been delivered into the hands of frauds, crooks and idiots. Cornell took his own life. Announcing his tragic death, news shows showed exactly this …

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Ayahuasca teaches Europe

By Barbara Arisi      The ancient drink ayahuasca or daime is one of the powerful forces that connects the seemingly distant worlds of Amazon and Europe, ‘indigenous’ and ‘metropolitan’. It is born from the encounter and circulation of many traditions such as popular Catholicism, local shamanism and the Afro-Brazilian  pantheon. Forest beings such as the snake, the jaguar and the humming bird coexist in rituals with saints, gods and spirits. The result is a unique and powerful experience for those who humbly surrender to learn what ayahuasca, a beverage prepared with the jagube vine and the leaves of the chacrona, has to teach.

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Een stukje culturele privacy

Door Ferdous Arachid     Rituelen en tradities zijn zaken die van essentieel belang zijn voor een samenleving, en de daarbij horende ‘cultuur’. Ik las op 14 april een opiniestuk in het NRC over de wijze waarop de Nederlandse (lees ‘wit-Hollandse’ cultuur) lijdt onder de verschuiving van religieus gewortelde tradities en rituelen, naar het seculier-commerciële domein. Los van de vraag of ik als moslim wel of niet vind dat dit vanuit een min of meer theologisch perspectief in mijn voordeel zou werken, wil ik mijn mening hierover geven vanuit een academisch-antropologisch perspectief.

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Die andere moslims

Deze blog staat ook op Zaman Vandaag.  Thijl Sunier          Bij al het mediageweld rond de lange arm van Erdogan, Turkse parallelle structuren, en Marokkaanse radicale jongeren zou je haast vergeten dat er nog meer moslims in Nederland wonen. Moslims met een andere achtergrond. Natuurlijk, Turkse en Marok-kaanse moslims, die bijna 75% van alle moslims in Nederland uitmaken staan het meest in de schijnwerpers. Maar de overige ruim 25% is er ook en niet minder relevant voor het islamitische landschap in Nederland. We vinden onder hen bewegingen die in de media nauwelijks genoemd worden, maar die voor …

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Islam Nusantara: Conferentie over een vreedzame Islam.

Door Freek Colombijn. Van 27-29 maart vond in Nederland de “1st Biennial International Conference on Moderate Islam in Indonesia” plaats. De conferentie was georganiseerd door de Nederlandse afdeling van Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). NU is een traditionele, Soennitische beweging in Indonesië, die claimt 40-90 miljoen leden te hebben (de cijfers verschillen nogal). De eerste dag vond plaats op de Vrije Universiteit, waarna de conferentie zich verplaatste naar Den Haag, Leiden en Badhoevedorp. De conferentie was deels een interne NU aangelegenheid, maar had vooral op de eerste dag een duidelijke boodschap aan de buitenwereld. De Islam is groter dan het Midden-Oosten en, …

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In memory of a shaman: Tëpi Pajé

    By Barbara Arisi Tëpi Pajé was a powerful shaman of the Matis people. He was called xó’xókit, a word that names the one who cooks xó, the one who carries, owns or works with too much xó. The Xó is the shamanic substance of power for the Matis. Tëpi was the only matis to be called xó‘xókit. On March 7th, Tëpi died.

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7 December: VU Amsterdam Ethnographic Film Day

What is the value of film as medium for ethnographic fieldwork? With which dilemmas are film-making anthropologists confronted? What is the relationship between visual methods and other methods? What do visual methods contribute to research? The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam presents the Amsterdam Ethnographic Film Day during which we will screen ethnographic films and discuss the various theories and methods of visual anthropology. We aim to provide a platform for anthropologists and documentary makers engaging in visual anthropology to show their films and communicate their experiences with, and thoughts on, ethnographic film-making. For …

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