Mobility and immobility during the pandemic: Experiences on a journey from Amsterdam to Semarang

By Pamungkas (Yudha) Dewanto           As a response to the global corona crisis, authorities all over the world set strict health protocols for travelers. Focusing on the case of China, anthropologist Biao Xiang argues that the COVID-19 epidemic has triggered grid reactions: “Residential communities, districts, cities and even entire provinces act as grids to impose blanket surveillance over all the residents, minimize mobilities, and isolate themselves.” Grid reactions, he argues, are however not about community grids only; the term more generally refers to all-out, undifferentiated, war-like strategies to combat the virus. In this blog, I share how such grid reactions played …

Lees meer

Podcast #3 is online! Guest: Haiyue (Fiona) Shan

In this episode, Puck de Boer talks to Haiyue (or Fiona, her English name) Shan, a PhD student at the Sociology department of VU University. From a holistic, multidisciplinary perspective, she investigates the experiences and challenges of Chinese migrant women in the Netherlands before, during and after they give birth, with a special focus on mental health and postpartum depression. Haiyue likes to experiment with podcasts and documentaries to collect data and disseminate her research outcomes. Topics in this podcast include:-Haiyue’s research, the importance of a multidisciplinary perspective and the role of anthropology within it.-Questions and challenges regarding pregnancy in …

Lees meer

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 …

Lees meer

We started a podcast!

Standplaats Wereld is expanding with a new component. We will continue to marvel you with our stories, but from now on, we will also explore them in the shape of a podcast. Host Puck de Boer will engage in conversations about the added value of anthropology, the meaning of our studies and discipline to all those involved, and developments in the Netherlands and the rest of the world from anthropological perspectives. Conversations will take place in both English and Dutch, depending on the episode’s guest. In the first episode Puck talks with fellow student and new Standplaats Wereld member Yatou …

Lees meer

Anthropology without airplanes

BY PETER VERSTEEG AND HERBERT PLOEGMAN “The Future is a Metaphor” – Ursula K. Le Guin “You have a video conference in twenty minutes,” the voice on the phone says. “You will receive the holocall on the left side of your room. “Alright Pieter, thank you,” the Anthropologist replies to the work unit’s secretary. It’s odd, he thinks, while putting down his phone. We now have excellent audiovisual connections with faraway places, but still use the same smart devices people have been using since 2005. Of course, the older ones are fossils compared to what we are able to do …

Lees meer

Alien Encounters

by Matthias Teeuwen I had read “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (1998) and I wanted to write a blog about it. It contains a lot of interesting ideas including classic science fiction tropes that have often fascinated anthropologists. In fact, the editors of The Geek Anthropologist blog have alerted me to the interesting synergy that exists between anthropology and science fiction, as did the article of Peter Pels on the fictionalisation (and commercialisation) of nineteenth-century anthropology. One of the fascinations that the genre holds for anthropologists is the possibility of an encounter with totally other life forms or …

Lees meer

Hodeidah is being attacked, but the Western media are silent

By Marina de Regt. “Hodeidah is empty, Marina, there is no one there anymore”, says Noura to me this morning, in a short telephone conversation that is repeatedly interrupted because of the bad connection. Noura moved to Sana’a a week ago, fleeing the horrendous violence that has exploded in the city of Hodeidah since Thursday 14 June, the day before the start of Eid Al-Fitr. On that day the Saudi Led Coalition, mainly consisting of mercenaries and ground troops of the United Arab Emirates army, soldiers of the Yemeni National Army and Hiraak al-Tihama started the long planned attack on …

Lees meer

Human rights: Why debating their universality is unhelpful

By Koen Donatz  Human rights have become a hotly debated topic in both the academic and the political world, one of the main points of contention being whether they are universal or not. As Eva Brems has shown, feminists and cultural relativists are among the staunchest opponents of the claimed universality of human rights, criticizing its male bias and Western bias respectively. Thus, many debates discuss the universality of human rights at what Jack Donnelly calls the historical or anthropological level, examining its historical roots. However, most of such debates (and debates with different approaches, for that matter) ignore the …

Lees meer

Unpicking an (A)moral Anthropological Stance: Ongoing Violence in Myanmar

Introduction by Maaike Matelski In June 2015 the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology organized a seminar on account of the increasing number of Rohingya refugees in South East Asia. Since 2016 and in particular since August 2017 the violence against Rohingya in Myanmar has intensified. More and more horrific stories about murder and torture have come out, and more than 600.000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. As the most prominent representative of the Myanmar government, Aung San Suu Kyi receives fierce criticism, because she does not speak out against these criminal acts. In the meantime the Myanmar government even has …

Lees meer

Why is Anthropology so Critical?

By Matthias Teeuwen            I want to thank Ton Salman for his insightful take on the question whether anthropology is the most scientific of the humanities or the most humanistic of the sciences or both, it gave me food for thought. For one: how is it that anthropology is considered science? It seems that Ton sees the scientific aspect of anthropology in its critical function of looking past the representations and meanings of people and examining the empirical conditions in which they arose. I very much agree with Ton on this point. But I think that …

Lees meer