Entering the World of Fieldwork: first experiences at the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam

By Zoë Oosterveld Entering the field The first day in the field was nerve-wracking for me. Firstly, because this was my first time ever doing official fieldwork. Secondly, I was apprehensive about approaching people to ask them questions. I feared that there would be many people who would object to us interviewing them or consider our questions a waste of their time. However, I quickly realized that this was my anxiety filling me with unnecessary fear. I was relieved to conduct the fieldwork together with one of my group members, who, on our ferry ride to the NDSM Wharf in …

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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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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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A picture of a trocha through which David passes almost every day to reach Cúcuta.

Localising the pandemic: Understanding global disruption through online media

by Maddalena Conte It does not happen every day that a worldwide crisis completely overturns a discipline’s research methods, giving no choice but to experiment with new practices. This is exactly what is going on in anthropology due to the Covid-19 pandemic: by not being able to go “in the field”, which, anyways, would probably be empty, ethnographers need to expand their methodological horizons, and, together with most areas of life, take research online. In my case, as a second-year Cultural Anthropology student, I gladly accepted Professor Eva van Roekel’s offer to assist her in pioneering social media research, on …

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Podcast # 2 is online! Guest: Aleeha Ali

In this episode, Puck de Boer talks with Aleeha Ali, who studied sociology in Pakistan, did a research master’s in anthropology in the UK and is currently a PhD candidate at the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU. Topics include:-Aleeha’s research on digitization of religious mourning among Shi’a Muslims in Europe – even more relevant in times of Covid-19.-Her experiences in different educational systems.-The diversification of perspectives in a postcolonial anthropology.-What characterizes anthropology and how it relates to other disciplines.-Conducting (digital) ethnographic fieldwork during a pandemic. The close listener might notice a difference in the sound quality …

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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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Mass protests in Ecuador: what news media don’t report

BY CAROLINE VAN SLOBBE This week, I have experienced the specific scent and feel of teargas for the first time. It is in first instance itchy, as if someone put pepper in your nose and eyes. Then it starts to hurt. You cannot breath normally and you start to cry. You want to run away, preferably to the nearest fire. The smoke helps, but it takes time before you’re back to normal. That stuff is not innocent, like you often hear on the news about protests, mostly elsewhere in the world. It doesn’t kill initially, but it does make people …

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