Anthropology and religion at the Vrije Universiteit – a short history

By Matthias Teeuwen The Vrije Universiteit originally had a strong confessional commitment to the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and I have always wondered how anthropology meshed with this confessional background. I wondered particularly at the tensions inherent to  missionary work and anthropology. It turns out this confessional background has given anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit a history that is quite distinct from other anthropology departments in the Netherlands. Anthropology in the Netherlands, or at least its constitutive parts, can be traced back to the 1770s according to historian Han Vermeulen. In the nineteenth century there was an academic discipline …

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What is troubling anthropology?

By Matthias Teeuwen            Inspired by Paul Stoller’s 2017 blog ‘Doing Anthropology In Troubled Times’, the goal of this year’s ‘Dag van de Antropologie’ (Annual Anthropology Day) was to reflect upon the role of anthropology in some particularly challenging social issues of today such as decolonisation. This was taken up in various panels and workshops such as the opening panel on ‘Decolonising Anthropology’ and the closing keynote on ‘Racist Sorcery’. Throughout the day I tried to get a feel for what is exactly troubling about these times and what about it is troubling for anthropologists in particular. As the first panel discussion …

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