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Anthropology Day: Religion = Conflict?

Anthropology Day 2009“Anthropology, the study of human cultures and societies, is exceptionally relevant as a tool for understanding the contemporary world, yet it is absent from nearly every important public debate in the Anglophonic world. Its lack of visibility is an embarrassment and a challenge” (Thomas Hylland Eriksen 2006, ix).

We, anthropologists from the VU took up this challenge three years ago with the organisation of a seminar entitled “beyond relativism”, with Thomas Eriksen himself as the chief guest and speaker. Since then we have made this into a yearly event. The main ambition of the yearly anthropology day is to use our anthropological knowledge to shed more light on topical issues or problems which are dominating public debates. Thursday, the 26th of November we will address the complex relations between religion and conflict. In public debate, religion – especially Islam – is considered a prime source and trigger of contemporary conflict. Plenty of anthropological research shows that such ideas make a caricature of reality and lack context. Then what do we have to say about that complex connection? How can anthropologists contribute to this fascinating and important theme?


A kick-off by Martijn the Koning and Johan Roeland about Dutch youth in search of a pure religion will be followed by lively debate. Three exciting workshops on Muslims in Europe, fieldwork in conflict situations, and the role of religion in the Middle East conflict will give ammunition for further discussion. The day will be concluded with a screening of film material shot by three former master students on their experiences as anthropologists in the field.

Lectures – workshops – debate – film – free entrance – drinks afterwards

Make sure you don’t miss it!

Venue: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Morning: Buitenveldertse laan 3, Metropolitan building, room Z-007 / Z-009 (ground floor, to the right of the main entrance)

Afternoon: Boelelaan 1081, W&N Building: C-648 / C-629 / C-640 (the long, low building behind the main building of the VU, 6th floor).

One Comment

  1. Viktor Viktor

    “Plenty of anthropological research shows that such ideas make a caricature of reality and lack context.”

    Inderdaad. Na uitvoerig onderzoek van de VU in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Irak, Algerije, Sudan, Servië, Indonesië, Turkije, Kenia, Tsjetsjenië, Israel en tientallen andere landen die gebukt gaan onder de zegeningen van de Islam zijn de “antropologen” van de VU erachter gekomen dat onderzoek in Nederland de benodigde context en realiteit mist. Gelukkig komen zij dan ook regelmatig uit hun ivoren torentje en hebben expert competentie ontwikkeld in het “verder kijken dan de neus lang is”…

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