Listening to Your Gut

By Senske de Vries     Before the thesis-period actually started I was somewhat hesitant about how this would be. I had heard from others that they hated working on their thesis. They described it as the worst part of their studies because it was very time-consuming and not fun to do. Even though I was quite excited about it, I kept thinking ‘the worst has yet to come’ throughout the whole process. But after having finished it, I am able to say that ‘the worst’ did not come. I was lucky to choose my own topic, so I focused on experiences …

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Anthropology and religion at the Vrije Universiteit – a short history

By Matthias Teeuwen The Vrije Universiteit originally had a strong confessional commitment to the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and I have always wondered how anthropology meshed with this confessional background. I wondered particularly at the tensions inherent to  missionary work and anthropology. It turns out this confessional background has given anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit a history that is quite distinct from other anthropology departments in the Netherlands. Anthropology in the Netherlands, or at least its constitutive parts, can be traced back to the 1770s according to historian Han Vermeulen. In the nineteenth century there was an academic discipline …

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Religious extremism: vulnerability and resistance among Indonesian migrant workers in Asia

By Yudha Dewanto  After turning 16, never having stepped a foot outside of her province, Katri pushed herself to go to Malaysia. Seeking a solution to family problems, seeing the new outfits, fancy gadgets and even leased cars of friends who migrated to Malaysia earlier, and feeling that her junior high school diploma would not be sufficient to get a local job, part of her was saying, “just go!” She went to Warsan, a rich tobacco farmer who often sponsored those willing to depart to Malaysia as domestic workers. Warsan did not just finance the departure, but also connected them …

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Rethinking difference: Muslim and Christian lives in comparative perspective

Image credit: David Evers, Flickr, Creative Commons. By Daan Beekers, Hansjörg Dilger and Daniel Nilsson DeHanas. In recent decades, the anthropology of religion has produced detailed and diverse insights into the experience of religious groups living in societies across the world. Whereas most efforts to research two such groups in a society have focused on points of interaction, we call for a comparative ethnographic approach. Studies of Christian and Muslim groups in a shared social space will improve our understanding not only of these subgroups but of society as a whole. While many in our globalizing world seem preoccupied with …

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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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‘What if they were really extreme’

Hayate Ait Bouzid is a Master student Anthropology at the VU who did her research about the environmental behaviour of middle-class people in Brunei Darussalam. A country that is often not known by the large public or at best misconceived. She is sharing her story about how the preconceived view of Brunei made her question her trip to this Southeast Asian country. Being back from my three months fieldwork in Brunei Darussalam, it feels like I have never been there really, it all seems like a dream. With emphasis on the word dream, not nightmare. To be honest, in the beginning I was quite afraid of this country, …

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Living with the End

By Peter Versteeg          Recently Chris Cornell, singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audio-slave, died. Soundgarden is probably best known for their early nineties song ‘Black Hole Sun’, which is the invocation of a sort of natural disaster which will swallow everything that is ugly and false. It is a cry to be released from a depression that is caused by an awareness that life has become hollow and that the earth has been delivered into the hands of frauds, crooks and idiots. Cornell took his own life. Announcing his tragic death, news shows showed exactly this …

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Ayahuasca teaches Europe

By Barbara Arisi      The ancient drink ayahuasca or daime is one of the powerful forces that connects the seemingly distant worlds of Amazon and Europe, ‘indigenous’ and ‘metropolitan’. It is born from the encounter and circulation of many traditions such as popular Catholicism, local shamanism and the Afro-Brazilian  pantheon. Forest beings such as the snake, the jaguar and the humming bird coexist in rituals with saints, gods and spirits. The result is a unique and powerful experience for those who humbly surrender to learn what ayahuasca, a beverage prepared with the jagube vine and the leaves of the chacrona, has to teach.

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Een stukje culturele privacy

Door Ferdous Arachid     Rituelen en tradities zijn zaken die van essentieel belang zijn voor een samenleving, en de daarbij horende ‘cultuur’. Ik las op 14 april een opiniestuk in het NRC over de wijze waarop de Nederlandse (lees ‘wit-Hollandse’ cultuur) lijdt onder de verschuiving van religieus gewortelde tradities en rituelen, naar het seculier-commerciële domein. Los van de vraag of ik als moslim wel of niet vind dat dit vanuit een min of meer theologisch perspectief in mijn voordeel zou werken, wil ik mijn mening hierover geven vanuit een academisch-antropologisch perspectief.

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Die andere moslims

Deze blog staat ook op Zaman Vandaag.  Thijl Sunier          Bij al het mediageweld rond de lange arm van Erdogan, Turkse parallelle structuren, en Marokkaanse radicale jongeren zou je haast vergeten dat er nog meer moslims in Nederland wonen. Moslims met een andere achtergrond. Natuurlijk, Turkse en Marok-kaanse moslims, die bijna 75% van alle moslims in Nederland uitmaken staan het meest in de schijnwerpers. Maar de overige ruim 25% is er ook en niet minder relevant voor het islamitische landschap in Nederland. We vinden onder hen bewegingen die in de media nauwelijks genoemd worden, maar die voor …

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