By Aniek Santema The floor in Ouzai where Mariam lives becomes a familiar place. I know the people in this corner of the tall building and they greet me happily when I visit them. Today, the stairs that lead up to this floor are slippery and covered with garbage like empty bags of chips, chocolate wraps and orange peels. While climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I pass by some small kids with stains on their clothes, faces and hands, running and playing on the stairs. The youngest must be around 2 years old. Many of the kids walk around on bare feet, even though it is not warmer than 12 degrees today. 3 boys come down the stairs while playing loud music on one of their phones. On Mariam’s floor, I find Aziza playing with some small kids in the gallery, away from the dark rooms, getting some daylight. The colourful laundry that hangs outside to dry gives some colour to the grey building that breaths hopelessness. I follow the small, dark corridor in the left corner of the floor and knock on Mariam’s door. – Fieldnotes, 6 March 2017
By Lieke Prins During the three months of my fieldwork in Medellín (the second-largest city in Colombia) I researched the political ideology of social science students and how this ideology manifested itself in practice. In order to understand their position and their actions, I lived with two Colombian students and participated in their day-to-day life. From the very first moment that I met the two girls, I noticed their passion concerning the construction of peace, their resistance movements against the politically right capitalist mindset, their fight for justice and their search for human security. Not only did they resist, they dedicated all of their time to build – for what they believed to be – a better Colombia. During interviews, observations and heaps of informal conversations with my roommates and their peers I started to understand the conflict, the political ideology and the actions of the students step by step. However, on the 17th of March, during the national strike I felt and experienced the pain and the hurt and the necessity for change for the first time. Lees verder
By Marije Maliepaard My Master’s research is about African-Americans who return to Ghana after their ancestors got enslaved and brought to the Americas during the slave trade. My research group themselves have not physically lived in Africa before but they do have the feeling they return. A famous African-American and Pan-Africanist who also returned was W.E.B. Du Bois. He was one of the founders of the American civil rights organization for ‘colored’ people, NAACP. Eventually, he settled in Accra, Ghana, but passed away three years later. He is buried next to his former house, which is now turned into a museum. Lees verder
By Tessa Gruijs For my Master’s research I went to Ghana. In cooperation with a local NGO I got access to a couple of primary schools. There I interviewed and observed many teachers about their experiences with the work of this NGO and their perspectives on (improving) the quality of education.
By Laetitia Simorangkir
While conducting fieldwork for my research on the orga-nization of care arrangements in South African communities, I surprisingly often ended up in situations where my female respondents started to see me as ‘one of their own’. An unexperienced, ignorant one though, but still, ‘one of their own’. They enjoyed telling me about their communities and teaching me about their ways of living. One of the topics we discussed regularly, was the difference between men and women, especially their efficiency and usefulness within the household. Lees verder
By Marije Maliepaard Recently my Colombian friend and I were talking about being white in a country like Ghana. I told him I had never been aware of my ‘whiteness’ until I got to Ghana. In reply he said “of course you weren’t aware, you are part of the majority in your country”.
We silently continued our walk along the main road in Accra as I pondered his comment. I broke the silence and said, “It’s not only me being part of the majority but I just don’t see it. I don’t recognize people as being black or white.” He firmly said: “That can’t be true, no one is colorblind! Do you see those people approaching us? You see they are a woman and a man, you also see if someone is black or white.” I thought about it and said: “I don’t register it all the time, when I see people I don’t consciously think that is a man or a woman, or that person is black or white.” He finally saw my point which made me happy because I was starting to think that maybe my views on this differ from the view of others. Lees verder
By Marie Linne Dalal contacted me during my fieldwork among refugees who aspire to study in the Netherlands. She agreed to meet with me for an interview, to talk about her experiences as a refugee and as a student in the VASVU programme at VU University Amsterdam. It is a 9 month long programme, that tries to function as a bridging programme for international students before they enter a Dutch Bachelors programme. About 80 percent of the students are refugees, and the course provides them with the basics in different subjects. It is mostly set up with the aim to bring everyone to the same level, enabling them to enter a Dutch university programme afterwards easier. At the same time it is already a sort of integrational course, to get students used to the language, pace and the way of studying in the Netherlands. Lees verder
By Dimetri Whitfield The most surprising thing for me about conducting fieldwork is that you encounter all these interesting people that ultimately do not end up in your final project. Alieu Sowe (this is a pseudonym to protect his identity) is one such person. He is Fula by ethnicity, Gambian by nationality, taxi driver by occupation, and refugee by aspiration.
One cool February evening, after his 14 hour work-day, and my 3 hours of writing field notes, we sat down and chatted. Like most 20-something Gambian men, “backway” was on his mind. “Backway” is the illegal method of migrating to Europe, generally via Libya into Italy. He declared, with one index finger pointed to the sky, “by the grace of Almighty Allah, next year I will be in Europe.” Lees verder
By Vivian Mac Gillavry During the first year of my Bachelor study in anthropology, we were told that the best field research should take at least a year. You might just find out that the two days in which you can collect very relevant information, are in July and in January. It might be obvious that you would not like to miss those days. Unfortunately we only get three months to collect all our data for our master thesis. Lees verder
A whole day of screenings and discussions with anthropolo-gists and filmmakers organised by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Vrije Universiteit Amster-dam.
Door Myrthe van der Vlis
Voor mijn bachelorscriptie deed ik onderzoek naar de rol van gender in de Nederlandse filmwereld en de totstandkoming van de ‘female gaze’, een perspectief in film vanuit een vrouwe-lijke belevingswereld. Mijn interesse voor dit onderwerp kwam voort uit een stage bij het IDFA, waar zij een speciaal programma hadden over de ‘female gaze’ en de macht van filmmakers. Tijdens dit programma gingen vrouwen in debat over de rol van gender in de media. Vrouwen bleken vaker documentaires te maken en zodra een film een groot productiebudget had werkten er minder vrouwen achter de schermen. Zodoende besloot ik onderzoek te doen naar de structurele kenmerken van de filmindustrie die deze genderongelijkheid in stand houden. Lees verder
Door Saskia Jenelle We zijn op weg naar Berlijn en in mijn gedachten passeren de hoogtepunten van de stad de revue. Bij het Holocaust Museum stokt het. Ik noem het steeds verdriet, wetende dat ik nog niet de juiste benaming heb gevonden voor het indringende, hete gevoel dat mijn borstkas opeet, de nachtmerries, het gebrek aan concentratie en de reden dat dikke, trage tranen dagelijks langs mijn wangen glijden. Zachtjes wiegend in de autostoel zie ik mezelf tussen de grote betonblokken van het monument lopen, en in ene kan ik het duiden. De verstikkende, rauwe pijn van binnen is rouw. Lees verder
by Sophie Vilé
On the 26th of June, I handed in my Master’s thesis at the department Social and Cultural Anthropology. I have written my thesis about socalled kawaii girls in Japanese society. Kawaii girls are girls with a cute, loveable and childish fashion style and behaviour. The kawaii fashion style exists of fluffy, frilly, pink and pastel colours clothes and accessories, such as stuffed animals and multiple bows. Kawaii girls express their kawaii style to a full extent and in every detail of their appearance. Next to their appearances, kawaii girls behave in a certain way. They try to behave cute and innocent by, for example, posing with their hands to their cheeks and they speak with a high-pitched voice.