Ramadan as an anthropologist

By Lilian Ebbelaar Ramadan to me was always something that was so interesting. It had this kind of mysterious feeling and always felt strange to me. Why are Muslims fasting? What does it feel like? Does it really bring them closer to Allah? And how are Muslims ‘surviving’ this whole month? I started Ramadan kind of hesitantly; I had said yes very enthusiastically when my friend asked me to participate this year. It sounded good, it would be a challenge, I would be able to recognize and know what Muslims are going through or are feeling every year for a …

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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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Lesvos, drawn in the field

From a distance we watch as desperation grows and in awe we witness how people attempt to build new shelters on harsh concrete, prepare food on windy sidewalks and fold pieces of cardboard around their sleeping children. With every cycle of brutal destruction and temporal rebuilding their worlds seem to erode further, and inevitably ours and the things we say we stand for, with it. This piece was drawn and written after witnessing the growing unrest on the island of Lesvos, Greece, in February this year. Following recent events the already fragile and tense dynamics on the island as sketched …

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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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