Famine and War in Yemen

By Helen Lackner. The Geneva ‘consultations’ on 6 September between the two Yemeni warring parties failed to happen. According to the media, it was because the Huthis failed to show. In reality their demand was not unreasonable: guarantees of safe travel to and from Geneva in a neutral (Omani) plane and without ‘inspection’ from their opponent, the Saudi-led coalition. Observers and Yemenis are flooded with statements about the good internationally recognised Hadi government seeking peace and the evil ‘Iranian-backed’ Huthis wanting to continue fighting. However events point elsewhere, suggesting that the coalition’s asserted commitment to a political solution is little …

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Writing a tailor-made thesis

by Suzanne Jansen A finished thesis is a tailor-made product: it has that perfect mixture of scientific knowledge embedded in lively ethnographic tales of the field. In my case not only my thesis itself was a tailor-made product. The people my research was about also turned out to be, or at least tried to be, tailor-made: I did research among women with anorexia. Having had anorexia myself, I have been intrigued by its manifestations ever since: young girls, older women, girls that are walking all day, women who are not talking all day, women that purge, girls that don’t, scarily …

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Eenakter over het Vliegend Spaghettimonster

door Ton Salman 3 personages: antropoloog 1 (Lily), antropoloog 2 (Anabel), rechter (Veronica). Onlangs deed de hoogste Nederlandse bestuursrechter, de Raad van State, uitspraak in een hoog opgelopen zaak: hebben aanhangers van de Kerk van het Vliegend Spaghettimonster (zij noemen zichzelf pastafaris), het recht om op hun pasfoto’s een vergiet op hun hoofd te dragen? Zoals ook andere religies het recht hebben om een uitzondering te bedingen op het voorschrift dat het hoofd op zo’n pasfoto onbedekt moet zijn, wanneer er daarvoor godsdienstige of levensbeschouwelijke redenen zijn? De rechter stelde de Kerk van het Vliegend Spaghettimonster in het ongelijk. Het …

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SpW Summer break!

At the end of the academic year we want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all our writers and contributors. A special thanks to Heleen van der Linden, who is leaving the SpW editorial team. If you are interested to join us, drop us a note! We wish you a wonderful summer, hopefully with lots of new stories! See you all in September!

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Re-viewing The Truman Show

By Peter Versteeg.   “We accept the world with which we are presented” is probably the best summary of The Truman Show, a modern classic film from 1998. We, however, only become aware of this once we start to know the secret of the film. So, everything that can be said about this film should really get an instant SPOILER ALERT. 

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Try a Little Legal Tenderness

By Jane M. Ferguson This financial speculation essay acknowledges the inspiration of the Dick Jensen version of the song, “Try a Little Tenderness,” in its principal guiding pun; it is a suggested pairing to savour while reading. Oh, they may be weary. You’ve reached the end of your stay at a small hotel in Myanmar. Your bags are packed; you’re ready to go. The manager at the desk, Ma Thuzar presents you a carefully handwritten invoice in English, with the total amount written at the bottom in US dollars. Fishing into your billfold, you retrieve your US cash and present …

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De sjamaan en de sofa

door Peter Versteeg Hoe vreemd is vreemd? Waarom noemen we sommige dingen gek en andere niet? Het zijn de bekende vragen waarmee antropologen graag hun publiek vermaken en onderwijzen. Het vermogen om het perspectief vanuit andermans werkelijkheid te kiezen kunnen we wel het unique selling point van de antropologie noemen. Maar een ander perspectief kiezen betekent nog niet dat we automatisch ook onze eigen bril hebben afgezet. Dat viel me onlangs op in een interview met organisatieantropoloog Danielle Braun.

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The representation of Africa in Hollywood movie Black Panther.

By Rhoda Woets
Almost every month, I join a small group of anthropologists from the VU to go to the movies. Last month, we went to the action movie Black Panther to do a little bit of fieldwork from a soft, lazy cinema chair. Combining a relaxing evening with collecting data for a blog post has little in common with the hardship of fieldwork that anthropologist write about in their ethnographies. No mud on my boots, thank you very much. Let the arm chair anthropologist return, this time freed from an ethnocentric view on culture and armed with 3D glasses.

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The Magnificent Indians: Sebastião Salgado’s studio in the Amazon forest

by Barbara Arisi The Javari Valley has always attracted cameras and documentarists. The beauty of the Indians living in this high forest is irresistible. As I learned from Txema Matis, such beauty is so exuberant that it can even kill an unwary person if the indigenous persons exhibit themselves in all their splendor. The photographs taken by Sebastião Salgado and published by Folha de S.Paulo’s newspaper show the beauty of the Korubo in a studio set with a seamless background amid the magnificent canopy of samaúma and many other  trees. With their clubs, dressed in palm leaf hats, painted with …

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“This garden is who I am”

by Ola Plonska This month the Master thesis ‘This Garden is who I am’ has been awarded as the best thesis written on Latin-America and the Caribbean in 2016/2017 by NALACS (the Netherlands Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies).  ‘These gardens are spaces that reflect more about the world then generated them, then one would first assume or the eye can tell.’  My inspiration for doing fieldwork in Cuba started a long, long time ago. Being an inspiration to me, in many aspects, my father would tell me stories about how he traveled to Cuba when he was younger …

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