De Berlijn Blogs: Fieldwork Documentary

By Mirjam Dorgelo  In my research I examined the practices of place, memory and belonging amongst former political prisoners who now work as tour guides at the very place they used to be imprisoned: the former secret Stasi prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen. This short fieldwork documentary shows some of the dynamics of spatial characteristics and commemorative practices I observed during fieldwork. It depicts how the visible and invisible, the spoken and unspeakable sometimes become difficult to discern.

In my MA thesis I addressed more extensively these dynamics of commemorative and spatial practices and the various paradoxes I encountered. Lees verder

De Berlijn Blogs: antigraffiti en het verleden van Duitsland

Mirjam Dorgelo

In de Berlijn Blogs doet antropologiestudente Mirjam Dorgelo verslag van haar veldwerk in Berlijn. Waarom Berlijn? “Omdat het een stad is waar geschiedenis en herinneringen rondspoken”, schrijft ze op haar blog. “Een stad waar plaatsen tot symbolische plekken verworden. Een stad die ruim twintig jaar na de val van de Berlijnse Muur nog steeds verdeeldheid in zich herbergt. Een stad waar niet wordt opgehouden met bouwen. Een stad waar op bijna elke straathoek wel een herdenkingsmonument te vinden is. Lees verder

Fieldwork 2010: The Lingering Field

Anna-Riikka Kauppinen reports from Ghana regarding her research on beauty centers. This post is part of the fieldwork 2010 series.

Shea butter is warming up in my hands. I rub my palms together in order to dissolve the waxy texture into a soft and glowing substance. Akosua, 3 years old, is sitting still on the bed. I start applying the cream over her tiny body. First come the shoulders, neck and back. She raises her hands so that I can rub the armpits and stands up to let me work on the belly, buttocks, tights, legs, feet and toes. Lastly, I gently rub her cheeks and forehead.

Fieldwork could be compared with what Virginia Woolf calls balancing between “moments of being” and “moments of non-being”. Lees verder

Fieldwork 2010: Staging the field

Photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull

By Rachel Visscher The colour of the hat was brown, the kind of brown a nice piece of chocolate has.

Every Sunday during the church sermons the chocolate-brown hat encapsulated my head. Its shape reminded me of the hats that are often seen in old twenties’ movies. Classical, yet slightly funny on the sides, a hat worn by the heroine of a film, an intriguing woman with a pale skin and smoky eyes.

The smoky eyes I did not have. They would not have been allowed in the orthodox Dutch Reformed church around which my anthropological fieldwork revolved. The pale skin, however, I did have, as an inevitable consequence of three months of fieldwork during wintertime. Lees verder

Fieldwork 2010: On the Way to Jerusalem

All photos by Gijs Verbossen

Our Master student Gijs Verbossen conducted field research in the occupied territories of Palestine. He lived in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, adjacent  to the city of Nablus. He focused on young Palestinian refugees’ experience of Israel’s occupation. In this photo reportage Gijs gives an eye-witness account of a violent encounter between Palestinians and the Israeli army.

From Nablus buses go to all destinations within the West Bank. They do not go across the separation wall, which Israel built on Palestinian land, annexing territory within the West Bank’s borders of 1967. Public buses cannot go inside Israel, because almost no Palestinians have a permit to cross the wall. Jerusalem for them is inaccessible. Foreigners are able to cross the wall, entering Israel. I had an appointment in Jerusalem today, March 20th. I took the bus from Nablus, passing Ramallah, to Qalandia; one of the largest checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel. Lees verder

Fieldwork 2010: Chechens in Moscow

In this part of the series, Laura finally reveals her research topic.

You have all been waiting. Now is the time. I did research among the CHECHENS!!! Or the Noxchi, which is the name they use to refer to themselves. You might have guessed it… that’s where the ‘N’ referred to in my mysterious posts. Why were they mysterious, Laura? Well… Lees verder

Fieldwork 2010: Moscow (2): a bloody romance

Laura van Deventer. Foto Mirjam Dorgelo.

In part 5 of the fieldwork 2010 series, Laura van Deventer posts an update on her research in Moscow.

A few weeks ago I told you about my arrival, getting settled and first contacts with the ‘N’. Some of you have inquired about this mysterious group – who are they, what am I doing here? Although I can answer the second  question, and will try to do so in this post, I will not disclose what group it is I am doing research among. This is for security reasons. The ‘N’ have received some harsh treatment in the past and me mixing with them and gathering data about that, well, I’m just not quite sure if the authorities applaud that. Once I’m back in April, I’ll make it public, promised! Lees verder