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Category: Activisme

Spreading Sacrifice Areas in Anthropology

By Alexander Dunlap

Confronting a room of ‘Revolutionary Communists’ and Marxists about their desire for industrialism in 1980, Russell Means took the time to explain the uncomfortable reality of extractivism in native territory:

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Introducing a new micro revolution: Students UnDivided

By Dominique van de Kamp         UnDivided is a conference on how to explore diversity and promote inclusion in higher education, organised by a group of students from different universities in the Netherlands. This is a report of the day, which turned out to be the start of a promising dialogue between diversity commissions at different universities.

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From supporting migrants to protesting for change

By Lysanne Vrooman           Almost half a year ago, on the 25th of March 2017, it was the sixtieth anniversary of the treaty of Rome. In 1957 the treaty of Rome was signed by the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Germany and Italy. The treaty was envisioned to open borders, prevent war and create endless economic and trade opportunities. The countries would not restrict each other anymore. Now sixty years later the treaty that was supposed to unite the countries, is looked at with scepticism and frustrations by some citizens of Rome. The current migration-influx has led to tightened border controls and policies that divide instead of unite.

For my master’s thesis in Social and Cultural Anthropology I studied a group of citizens in Rome who started an association to support migrants in the city. Whereas the citizens started their association to provide the migrants with food, a place to stay and support, I found in my research that they also strive for a better situation for migrants in Europe in general. They question the current developments and policies of the European Union when it comes to migration, and aim to present a counter-message.

Protesting is one of the ways they try to send such a counter-message. And on this Saturday, March 25th, a big protest was organised to show their disagreement with the current situation and to question the (changed) implications of the treaty of Rome. Through pictures of this protest I will show what this day looked like.

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Only looking forward?

“In front of the office of the NGO stood a traditional ‘hanok’ house which caved in just a few days before I took this picture.”

By Maaike van Nus       “My initial expectation before meeting them was that they would be more, ehm, that they wouldn’t be as assimilated as they are, I mean it’s a good thing that they are, but it seems they all have cell phones, and they all have grown fairly accustomed to the life here”

This was told to me in an interview with one of my informants about the North Korean refugees he’d just met. For my master in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU I conducted three months of fieldwork in Seoul, South Korea. I worked with an NGO that provides North Korean refugees with free English lessons by matching them with volunteers who speak fluent English. My research revolves around these volunteers. North Korea has always been a great interest and concern of mine, as well as the resettlement of North Korean refugees once they have escaped their homeland through China, and thus I decided to focus my research on volunteers who help them in this resettlement process.

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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 de christelijke roeping om de armen te helpen en waarin sommigen, zoals Moeder Theresa, ervoor kiezen samen te leven met de armen en anderen ervoor kiezen om een zekere afstand te houden. Is het niet interessanter om in plaats van deze bekende thematiek te kijken naar solidariteit tussen antropologen onderling?

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The dilemma's of public anthropology. Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)

Vrije Universiteit
What is the role of the university in the public square?

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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Shifting realities – #IstandwithCEU

Solidarity during the protest in support of CEU and academic freedom on 2 April 2017. (Photo courtesy of

By Georgette Veerhuis      A few weeks ago I was writing a blog about the Women’s Strike demonstration I attended on the evening of  Wednesday, March 8, in Budapest, organised both in honour of and critical of International Women’s Day, but I wasn’t able to finish it. There was no clear message, just speculations and a mere description of the event. In light of new events, however, it seems I can now more clearly reflect on the peculiar situation in which I find myself – how a changing attitude of the Hungarian government can shift my (academic) position and possibilities. And surely I won’t be the worst off. I have other privileges to fall back on…


Wind Energy


By Alexander Dunlap    Wind Energy is undoubtedly my favorite of all the energy systems, which retains an immense potential for eco-logical sustainability. This potential, however, can be utopic, dystopic or somewhere in between, which is intimately intertwined with the futures people wish to create. Before moving to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in Oaxaca, Mexico to investigate the impact of renewable energy on semi-subsistent Indigenous groups (Zapotec and Ikoot), I knew that wind projects triggered, what is known in political ecology as, ecological distribution conflicts. These are conflicts arising from development projects that affirm regional power inequalities, unequal distribution of benefits and negative ecological impacts without adequate compensation. This type of conflict was visible in the Isthmus, intertwining with the regional historical and institutional context. That said there are other far reaching and often neglected implications of wind energy development.

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Terugblik op de Bijeenkomst: 'Jemen, een Vergeten Oorlog – #WatKanIkDoen?'

Graffiti in Jemen
Graffiti in Jemen

Door Handenur Taspinar

Maandagavond 14 no-vember is er in samen-werking met het Grote Midden-Oosten Platform en de afdeling Sociale en Culturele Antropologie van de VU een mooie bijeen-komst georganiseerd over de vergeten oor-log in Jemen. De bijeenkomst vormt on-derdeel van drieluik, met als doel  om ach-tergrondinformatie te geven over de gebeurtenissen in Jemen en om antwoord te vinden op de vraag: “wat kan ik doen?”

Voor ik binnenkom, stel ik mijzelf dezelfde vraag: hoeveel weet ik eigenlijk van de gebeurtenissen rondom Jemen? Hoe ernstig is het? Af en toe lees of hoor ik over deze indirecte oorlog tussen Saoedi-Arabië en Iran, maar meer durf ik er niet over te zeggen. Aangezien er niet zoveel over gesproken wordt zal het vast wel meevallen. Vast wel…