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Tag: Religion

Religious violence and intolerance against Muslim minorities in South(East) Asia

FILE - In this June 13, 2012 file photo, a Rohingya Muslim man who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape religious violence, cries as he pleads from a boat after he and others were intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh. She is known as the voice of Myanmar's downtrodden but there is one oppressed group that Aung San Suu Kyi does not want to discuss. For weeks, Suu Kyi has dodged questions on the plight of a Muslim minority known as the Rohingya, prompting rare criticism of the woman whose struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar have earned her a Nobel Peace Prize, and adoration worldwide. (AP Photo/Anurup Titu, File)
June 2012 – A group of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar seeking refuge in Bangladesh (AP Photo/Anurup Titu, File)

The issue of large numbers of refugees arriving by boat has recently made headlines both in Europe and in Asia. Anthropologists at VU University will reflect on both these cases in the coming weeks.


Little room for Jesus in Bethlehem: The situation of Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem

Standplaatswereld 1By Elizabeth Marteijn. The Palestinian people have usually been associated with Islam. People often think of politically dominating groupings like Fatah and Hamas. However, those who visit the Palestinian town Bethlehem at the Westbank, a town world famous as the birthplace as Jesus, will sooner or later be confronted by the facts: Christianity is evidently present in Bethlehem. In the centre of Bethlehem, the towers of different church denominations flaunt proudly in the sky. This summer I visited Bethlehem to conduct a research, in collaboration with the ‘AEI’ (Arabic Educational Institute), on the Arab Christianity of the Palestinians. In this article, I would like to share some of my findings and hope to raise awareness of the situation of this specific group of people.

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Dancing Bamboo

SpW Ulrike foto SAM_0185

Another fieldwork 2013 report!

By Ulrike Scholtes  Walking up the little hill in Yokohama to reach the studio my Sunday-workshop takes place at, I have to pass a bamboo forest. On sunny days, which are common here in Japan, it looks nicely illuminated, showing all the different shades of brown and green it has to offer. Towards the centre the forest turns extremely dark, but I am still able to see the many rows of bamboo trunks, that appear almost artificially organized. From here I have to walk a few meters straight and turn right at the massive orange tree, one of the landmarks I desperately need to survive here in Japan and find back the places I have been before. Soon a discrete sign will appear on my right hand, saying “Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio”, I believe the only sign in this neighbourhood that provides an English translation for the Kanji words. The sign leads to the – with childish mosaic patterns cheerfully decorated – path, I have to take in order to reach the studio. The second path leads to YoshitoOhno’s house. It used to belong to Kazuo Ohno, one of the two establishers of butoh dance. Out of different parts and materials that belonged to an old, and now fully deconstructed, elementary school, Kazuo Ohno had the first butoh dance studio built on this piece of lands, where he and HijikataTatsumi would practice and philosophize about what authentic Japanese, dance, but most importantly about what the body is.

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Apple as Religion?

twee mensen aanbidden een zwevende appel?By Jethro Alons An article in De Pers last week examined the success of Apple in the light of the impending introduction of the new iPad. In this article Apple was compared to a religion. Apparently, research showed that when people see the brand Apple the same areas in the brain become active as in people who are religious. Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, himself said that his products are a mix of art, science and religion.

Although my inner anthropologist is always excited at the prospects of a new form of religion, I have to say I was quite skeptical about this. Apple as religion? Really?


Anthropology Day: Religion = Conflict?

Anthropology Day 2009“Anthropology, the study of human cultures and societies, is exceptionally relevant as a tool for understanding the contemporary world, yet it is absent from nearly every important public debate in the Anglophonic world. Its lack of visibility is an embarrassment and a challenge” (Thomas Hylland Eriksen 2006, ix).

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