Vamos Bien Foundation
Vamos Bien Foundation supports new projects
Vamos Bien is looking forward to supporting and following several new projects initiated by Masters students from last year. These projects fit the aims of Vamos Bien in that they are based on anthropological research. For example, there will be a project working with local “Ssengas” to promote condom use in Uganda and a film about a successful cooperation of a developmental organization with local farmers in Nicaragua. All of the projects have social relevance and work toward ‘good change’.
Follow Vamos Bien at www.vamosbien.nl for more information and blogs about these and other projects.
Keetje Hodshon Prize
Prestigious Keetje Hodshon Prize for VU Anthropologist
The Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities has awarded Dr Marleen de Witte, post-doc with the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, VU, the Keetje Hodshon Prize 2012. Dr De Witte receives the prize for her dissertation ‘Spirit Media: Charismatics, Traditionalists and Mediation Practices in Ghana’ (2008, University of Amsterdam, cum laude) and her other publications.
De Witte conducted research in Ghana, where she explored the generation, spread, and adoption of new, mass-mediated forms of religion in the public sphere. She compared the use of mass media by a charismatic-Pentecostal mega-church and an African traditionalist religious movement and through in-depth ethnographic research discovered that both religions are much closer entangled than their media expressions might suggest at first sight.
The Keetje Hodshon Prize is established by the J.C. Ruigrok Foundation in Haarlem as a stimulation prize for excellent young researchers who have done original research in the humanities. Once every four years the prize is awarded in the field of philosophy/theology. De Witte will receive the prize, a medal and € 12.000, during a ceremony in Haarlem on June 14.
Master thesis Anna-Riikka Kaupinnen nominated
The Master thesis of Anna-Riikka Kaupinnen has been nominated for the Africa Thesis Award 2011 organized by the African Studies Centre, Leiden, and ended up among the top three nominations.
Anna-Riikka graduated cum laude at the VU department of Social and Cultural Anthropology in 2010. Her thesis, titled ‘Faces that change. Doing ‘African Beauty’ at Home, in Salons and on Stage in Accra, Ghana’ analyzes the practices and ideologies of ‘African’ beauty in three arenas: the home setting, beauty salons, and a televised beauty contest. Her account offers a fascinating view of the different trajectories through which people in Africa relate to modern changes through their beauty practices as well as their reflections on beauty and appearance. She provides highly original insights into ‘doing beauty’ in Ghana, bringing out the intersections and tensions between everyday beauty practices and ideological projects of ‘Africanizing’ beauty. She places her analysis in a broad theoretical framework that shows how and why beauty is central to the formation of personal and collective identities.
Short-listed master thesis Diana Iftodi
The thesis of our 2010-2011 masterstudent Diana Iftodi (from Rumania) has been shortlisted for the 2011 thesis-award from the Netherlands Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (NALACS). The thesis was titled ‘Orgullo Potosíno’ - Awakening regionalism: explaining record mobilizations during popular protests in Potosí, Bolivia, 2010.
She did, eventually, not win the award, but her thesis, on the massive protests in the Bolivian city of Potosí of 2010, was praised by the jury for its excellent quality. The report highlighted the analytical sophistication of the text, in which Diana avoided simple schemes on mobilization and the underlying, one-dimensional identities and interests. Instead, a unique combination of motives like “solidarity, community, dignity and unity”, triggered by the current progressive government in Bolivia itself, seems to have prompted the huge participation in and appeal of the protests.
The jury-report adds that “During the discussions we had as a jury, this specific thesis triggered a much wider discussion on contemporary politics, protests and society in Bolivia. This already indicates the rich ‘food for thought’ this thesis brings to us as readers. This is one of the reasons why we agreed that this thesis should be part of the top 3 selection. Diana has written a rich story, and has succeeded in telling the story of the people in Potosí during the 2010 demonstrations, as she has set out to do in the beginning of her research project. This deserves an applause!”The Department obviously congratulates Diana with this result – and with the thesis!
PhD Thesis Miranda Klaver
The thesis of Klaver (with distinction) addresses the remarkable success of Dutch evangelical and Pentecostal churches against the backdrop of the widespread decline of ‘traditional’, mainstream churches.
In her study Klaver argues that people rediscover the Christian tradition through active participation in religious practices like contemporary worship music, the Alpha course and rituals like baptism by immersion. Theoretically, the thesis offers a new and innovative approach in the study of religion by stressing the importance of affects, emotions and the body. The media attention shows the relevance of this study for both policymakers and religious institutions who are engaged in the future of religion and Christianity in The Netherlands.
The PhD thesis is nominated for the junior Societal Impact Award on behalf of the faculty of Social Sciences and ended up with the top three nominations of the VU university. At 20th of October the winner will be announced during the Dies Natalis.
Where are the alumni Social Sciences working? Read more about it in their stories at this website.
Seminar: Human security in practiceThe Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU Amsterdam, held farewell lectures by Prof. dr. Oscar Salemink and Prof. dr. James Ferguson, on Friday 24 June 2011.
In January 2011, Oscar Salemink joined the Department of Anthropology and the Asian Dynamics Initiative, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His valedictory lecture at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at VU University is entitled “What is human about security? Reflections on human security as a paradigm for anthropology”. In this lecture, he will argue that valuable paradigms for understanding society, such as human rights and human security, also need to be applied with caution, because of the blindfolds that such frames could impose on.
James Ferguson will also give his final lecture in his capacity of visiting professor to the department. In his lecture “The Sociality of Cash: Money, Markets, and the Mutualities of Poverty” , he will discuss the critics of programs of social assistance in the global South and how access to the cash economy and socialism entail mutually enabling practices in poor people’s livelihoods in southern Africa.
What is human about security
Price of education 2011
Freek Colombijn has won the price of education in 2011 at the Faculty of Social Sciences.