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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Before you ‘Just Eat’

By Qusai Khwes I opened my eyes; waking up to my back hurting a bit, and my feet a lot.  The day before, I spent more than fifteen hours in my ‘workplace’. In the summer of 2021, couriers at Thuisbezorgd were not permitted to work more than five hours at a time. In order to be compensated for full time-work like a normal job, bike couriers would return to the hub every five hours to wait a few hours before riding again for another five hours. The lucky ones who live nearby the hub can go home to rest between …

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Positioning your position

In the picture above, you see me reading along with Hebrew psalms and prayers during a synagogue (shul) service on simchat torah. Simchat torah is a festive day celebrating the reception of the Torah. On this day, shul members actually dance while holding Torah scrolls, and there are even alcoholic drinks available during the service. This was the second time I ever participated in a shul service inside a synagogue building, after joining online Zoom services for half a year during the research period of my master thesis. I was able to practise my Hebrew during online participation, by studying …

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Yasuní Camera trapping photos; the very rare and beautiful melanic jaguar of tropical rain forest. Photo © Conservation International, courtesy of the TEAM Network

The black jaguar and the guardian of the forest

By Maycon Melo and Barbara Arisi In Brazil, a group of hunters killed a black jaguar. Not satisfied with the crime of killing an endangered animal, they made a video where one of them shows the magnificent animal between his arms while threatening the Guardians of the Forest, the indigenous people that monitor the area to defend forest life. Two illegal hunters were arrested on October 20 in the municipality of Arame, 476 kilometres from the state capital São Luís do Maranhão, for killing the animal inside the Araribóia Indigenous Land in the municipality of Amarante do Maranhão. A video by the hunters is circulating on social media in …

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Photo by Andrei Lasc on Unsplash

Summer break!

This past academic year we have continued with our regular content featuring anthropological analyses of current events (the pandemic and the assassination of Peter R. de Vries, for example), some cultural analyses (such as this one) and some tips and tricks for writing your thesis. This year was also a year in which we have started adding some new elements to Standplaats Wereld. We are very excited, first of all, about the podcast we have launched featuring conversations with anthropologists about the added value of our discipline. We have also published more image-based blogs than previous years such as the …

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Mourning for Amina, mourning for Yemen

By Marina de Regt. “Marina, if I die, will you then forgive me for all the trouble that I caused you?” my Yemeni friend Amina wrote me ten days ago. I have known Amina since my very first days in Yemen in 1991 and was in regular touch with her via Whatsapp. “I am very ill, I have Corona, please help me, Marina, I am going to die, the treatment of Corona is very expensive, please help me”. A few weeks earlier Amina had written me that Corona was spreading in Rada’, the small town in Northeast Yemen where I …

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Writing your thesis – some tips and tricks

By Matthias Teeuwen Over the course of my studies I have received a lot of advice on how to best go about writing my thesis. In this blog, I have curated some of the more helpful bits of advice that have really helped me meet my deadlines, give structure to the way I work and to generally keep on top of things. I present them here in chronological order, but it is common to cycle through them a couple of times during the process because that is just the nature of writing a thesis: it changes over time. Make a …

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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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A different perspective on “child marriages” among Syrian refugees in Jordan

By Marina de Regt For years, humanitarian organisations in Jordan and Lebanon have been concerned about the increasing number of “child marriages” among Syrian refugees. While early marriages of girls (between 14-18 year) have also been prevalent in certain regions in Syria, and still occur, these marriages are increasing in the context of refuge. In the period between 2011 and 2015 the percentage rose from 18,4 per cent to 34,6 percent, according to the Higher Population Council in Jordan. Studies of international organisations such as Save the Children (2014) and UNICEF (2019) give insight in the causes and consequences of …

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