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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Fieldwork and COVID-19: After a ‘Corona home run’ from Indonesia

BY SHANNON VAN LEEUWEN, EVELIEN VAN OVERVELD & FRIDUS STEIJLEN March 16, early in the morning I received a Whatsapp message from my student Shannon: ‘We received a letter from Campus saying that all students overseas should return home. What do you think?’ Wow, I thought, this is getting serious. There were already some Corona casualties in the Netherlands, mainly in the province of Brabant. Outside the Netherland mainly Italy and Spain were hit by the virus. Since 9 March we had stopped shaking hands, and between 12 and 15 March the so-called intelligent lockdown started. Initially until April 6, …

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Why the Startup environment in Silicon Valley is more fruitful than in the Netherlands

by Vivienne Schröder At a pitch event I meet John “startup” Doe*. I am very biased to meet him after the pitches: That name sounds familiar. It sounds Dutch. We start talking, and I explain what I am doing in San Francisco. Before I know it Doe starts describing the difference between the Bay Area and the Netherlands. There are many more people interested to talk to Doe, so we schedule a meeting to talk again. Doe left the Netherlands about 25 years ago. He is on multiple advisory boards, also for Dutch startups, which gives him a unique view …

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“Excuse me, what is that camera for?!”

By Telissa Schreuder. A camera is a funny little thing. Nothing but plastic and then some you would think. Just aim and shoot, nowadays times a thousand due to modern day technologies. The perfect accessory for an anthropologist, won’t you agree? You can lay your profound digital material next to your analogue notes, double-check if you have seen things ‘right’. And perhaps even more than that; you can hide behind it in times of insecurity. Whenever you don’t know what to do or want to avoid a dead conversation, just go for the camera, right? I have to admit, I …

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‘Wasted hours in the field’ as a key to understanding the research topic

By Herbert Ploegman  Originally attributed to Winston Churchill, the statement “never waste a good crisis” has become an aforism that, by now, has been appropriated by many voices. The expression carries several layers, all of which contribute to its perceived versatility. Applying the statement to a research field in contemporary Greece may seem ironic or cynical, given the state of ‘crisis’ the country has gone through (or is currently under). Nevertheless, I feel confident enough to do this without too many scrupules. As an anthropologist having spent almost a year in Greece throughout the past few years, I believe that …

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No space for grief

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 …

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Vamos a la lucha!

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 …

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African-Americans returning to Ghana: A photo blog

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 …

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