The flea, the canyon, and racism: Reflections on outrage

By Benjamin Koponen On January 22nd, 2022, an elderly white woman punched me in the arm while I, a black man,  was biking to help a friend paint her new apartment. It wasn’t the first time this has happened. Though the physical contact only lasted a second, and didn’t hurt, it felt like she had imprinted something on my forearm. As I biked away I didn’t say anything. Not because I didn’t have the words, but because I did not believe I had the option to speak them. I knew, or believed, that nothing good would come from me speaking …

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Alasitas Festival

Rituals to help us out, and beliefs one professes tongue in cheek – Part I

By Ton Salman People celebrate, joke and banter. Hunger, disaster, conflict, violence, repression, all ruin people’s lives and cause enormous pain. But people will not cease to honor birthdays, make something of festivities, mock the force majeure, even laugh at times about their own misery. Or better yet: ridicule and shit all over the whims of fortune or the perpetrators. Fortunately, bad luck never lasts an eternity. Good times, or at least “doable times” prevail in most people’s lives. But in many places, people are acutely aware of the fragility of prosperous or even doable times, of the flimsiness of …

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Vegan in Buenos Aires

Bondiola, matambre, chinchulines, choripan en milenasa napolitana zijn slechts een paar voorbeelden van de enorme keur aan vlees en worst in Argentinië. Vaak vergeten we de stapels pizza’s, bergen verse pasta’s en uiteraard de alom geliefde empanada die de Argentijnse keuken kent. Als we denken aan Argentijnse cuisine blijft de geur van asado (barbecue) echter aan ons geheugen plakken. Afgelopen december was ik in Buenos Aires voor veldwerk en een lang uitgesteld familiebezoek door de coronapandemie. De geur en het gesis van gebraden vlees was deze keer echter ver te zoeken. Zoals elders in de wereld maakte inflatie het leven …

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Loneliness and despair in the field: Revisiting my first fieldwork

By Marina de Regt Recently, during a supervision meeting with three of my Master students (all of them women), one of them asked about my own experiences in the field and what I struggled with most. I told them how difficult I found it to approach people for interviews, how I battled with the ethical dilemma of being a white, young Dutch female student, studying Moroccan women who were making a living as carpet workers in Rabat. But perhaps even more important: how miserable I often felt because I was not doing fieldwork but spending most of my time with …

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Een mens heeft het recht van gedachten te veranderen

door Vivian Mac Gillavry In december 2021 zag ik dat een artikel van mij uit 2013 in de “Top Posts” stond, acht jaar na dato. Ik vroeg de redactie het artikel te verwijderen omdat ik vond dat het een onderwerp nuanceerde waarvan ik twijfel of het in deze tijd nog nuance verdient. In 2011 begon ik aan mijn studie antropologie. Twee jaar later deed ik veldwerk in Indonesië en schreef ik een stuk over de Sinterklaasintocht op Bali. Ik besprak hoe de zwartepietendiscussie, die op dat moment in Nederland steeds feller werd, in Indonesië op een school voor expatkinderen nog …

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Gotong Royong: a recent flood and strong leadership strengthen a system of solidarity in Lombok

By Jop Koopman On the 6th of December 2021, a massive flood happened in the area of Gunungsari in West Lombok. Floods are not rare in the rainy season in this region, but due to heightened weather variability and climate change, they are increasing in intensity. Around seven villages were heavily affected by a large landslide and rivers that expanded their boundaries. As the first picture shows, many houses were dragged into a river and overflown with mud. Luckily, most of the residents made it out alive, but sadly several people were missing and died. A bridge between two neighboring …

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Van VMBO-kader naar een master Antropologie: Het verhaal van Rayn Ramkishun

Door Zoë Tjon A Ten “Geinig, ik zal nooit weten wat die mensen hier doen, waar ze zich mee bezig houden, wat hun interesses zijn, hoe ze praten en hoe ze bewegen.” Dit dacht Rayn bij zichzelf toen hij als jongetje met de metro de VU passeerde. Het lag niet bepaald voor de hand dat hij jaren later een mastertitel in antropologie zou behalen. Hij zat op VMBO-kader en hing veel op straat in Amsterdam-West, de buurt waar hij opgroeide. Studeren leek hem toen nog te hoog gegrepen, en bovendien saai. Sinds kort heeft hij die master echter wel afgerond. …

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End of the year

It has been 70 years since a life-size Father Christmas doll was burned in Dijon in protest against the “paganization” of Christmas. A year later, Claude Lévi-Strauss published an article about this event, interpreting it as a paradoxical variation of end-of-the-year celebrations. The Father Christmas figure was opposed by the clergy but supported by the commercial sector class, a sign that the alleged “paganization” here went hand in hand with the marketing of Christmas as a product for consumption, rather than the celebration of divine grace being born in the world. For us, here and now, in the midst of …

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Unsung heroes: Jakarta’s waste picker women and their unpaid care work

by Rachma L Putri “I think, as long as I remember, I never felt happy about my life. There is always too much burden in my life” said Darminah with teary eyes when I asked her about her work and daily life as a waste picker, a wife and a mother. In addition to her daily routine, she has to do a variety of unpaid care work such as providing meals for her family, taking care of her children, taking them to school, and caring for her ailing – and abusive – husband. I heard this story when I visited …

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