Job title: Professor in Social Anthropology and Development


We are looking for a new Professor for 0.8-1.0 fte to join the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology.

VU University

VU University Amsterdam is a research oriented university with approximately 25,000 students. The Faculty of Social Sciences is one of the largest faculties at VU University Amsterdam, and houses the Departments of Organization Sciences, Communication Science, Political Science and Sociology among others. Over 2000 students and some 350 staff members are occupied in education and research at the Faculty. 

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology invites applications for the position of Full Professor. The new colleague will contribute to the development of the department’s new research program ‘Mobilities, Belonging and Beliefs: Confronting Global Diversities, Inequalities and Insecurities (MOBB)’. In particular he/she will focus on the themes of development, inequality and conflict, in connection to (new) forms of agency, identity framing and strategies of belonging.

The new professor will furthermore teach on a broad range of themes in both Bachelor and Master courses, preferable both in Dutch and English. He/she needs to have fine teaching skills and be prepared to contribute to the further development of the curriculum and the creation of new teaching and evaluation formats.

The chair holder, additionally, shall be able and willing, in time, to form part of the management team of the department including the rotating function of head of department.


The preference is for a candidate:

· Who obtained a doctorate/PhD in Anthropology.

· who has ample knowledge and experience in the field of social anthropology and development issues, both theoretically as well as empirically, demonstrated in both his/her teaching trajectory and, preferable, a broad and differentiated record of publications in which refereed English language publications should be prominent;

· who has a clear view of recent (theoretical and conceptual) developments in the field and can situate him/herself within those;

· Who can connect scientific work to societal debates, challenges and conflicts;

· Who has leadership capabilities and can work towards consensus, and has the capacity to motivate and inspire people;

· Who is willing to commit him/herself to the Department’s achievements, collegiality and future;

· Who had verifiable success in the attracting resources from secondary and tertiary sources and shows the commitment to acquire such funding for research;

· Who has experience in supervising PhD students and will be proactive in obtaining new PhD-projects (including their funding);

· Who can speak Dutch or is willing to learn it within two years.

Further particulars

The appointment will be for an initial period of 5 years. You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at

· remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;

· solid pension scheme (ABP);

· generous contribution (65%) commuting allowance based on public transport;

· discount on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);

· participation in Individual Choices model.


The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and depending on experience, range from a minimum of € 4,904 up to a maximum € 7,142 gross per month (salary scale H2) based on a full-time employment.

Information and application

For a detailed description of our research programme and the structure report see:

Further information about this vacancy and the proposal can be obtained from Dr. Ton Salman, head of dept. Social and Cultural Anthropology, +31 (0)20 5986714. 

Applications (cover letter and curriculum vitae, a sample of three representative publications, as well as the names and addresses of two colleagues that can be referent) mentioning the vacancy number in the e-mail header or at the top left of the letter and envelope, should be submitted before  January 15, 2015 to:

VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Social Sciences, attn. Mrs. dr. J.G.M. Reuling, directeur bedrijfsvoering, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam or preferable by e-mail:

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.




New Book by Thijl Sunier and Nico Landman

A new book by "our" Professor Thijl Sunier together with professor Nico Landman (UU), has just been published. The book, entitled "Transnational Turkish Islam" provides a state of the art portrait of the Turkish Islamic infrastructure in seven European countries. The book analyses how the Turkish Islamic organizational landscape has developed over the course of time against the background of three major changes: the transformation of Turkish Muslims from migrants to permanent residents in Europe, the rooting of Islam in Europe, and the societal and political changes in Turkey in the past decades. These changes impact the way Turkish Muslims organize locally, nationally and transnationally. Turkish Islamic organizations today act not just on a national level, but are embedded in a transnational field. The authors take critical issue with the assumption that Islam in Europe should be cut off from its roots and forced into a national model. They argue that maintaining transnational networks is not in contradiction with rooting in the local society.

For more information, see the site of publisher Palgrave Macmillan.


Emmaly Berghuis receives Unilever research prize for her master thesis


Emmaly with her supervisors, Edien Bartels and Ina Keuper, © Nanning Barendsz.


On 27 november 2014, Emmaly Berghuis received the Unilever research prize for her master research on chronic pain among Moroccan women in the Netherlands.

We congratulate Emmaly with this important prize!

See Emmaly Berghuis' article on her research and the research prize on our departmental blog Standplaatswereld (in Dutch).


Nomination MA thesis Moos Pozzo


Moos Pozzo. Picture: Mary Kouwenhoven photography.


We are proud to let you know that the master thesis of Moos Pozzo titled "Not All Fingers are Similar: Rights, Access and Participation of Asylum Seeking Youth (aged 12-23) in the Netherlands" has been nominated for the Jaap Doek Children Rights Prize

The winner will be announced during a festive ceremony on Thursday 11 December (15.00-16.30) at the Sterrewacht (room C1.02) in Leiden.


The Anthropology of Children and Youth Network celebrates its 5-year anniversary


The Anthropology of Children and Youth Network , based at VU University, Amsterdam, celebrated its 5-year anniversary during the 16 June seminar. The Networks brings together academics and practitioners engaged in research and work with children and youth. An official Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) since March 2012, it organises monthly seminars that promote child- and youth-oriented theory, methodology, and research ethics. Besides, it serves as a platform for (interdisciplinary) academic research and enhances dialogue with practitioners through joint research projects, publications and conferences. The Network is chaired by Dr Sandra J.T.M. Evers and the seminars are hosted by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology (VU University Amsterdam)

At the celebratory meeting of 16 June the Network launched the special issue of the European Journal of Development Research (issue 26.2 April 2014) - Guest editors: Sandra J.T.M. Evers, Shanti George, Roy Gigengack, Roy Huijsmans. The title of this special issue is "Generationing" development: situating children and youth in development processes.



The Latin American Studies Programme (LASP) has received a grant

The Latin American Studies Programme (LASP), which is coordinated by CEDLA, has received a grant of 850.000€ from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). LASP is an interuniversity graduate programme dedicated to research and graduate education on Latin America. The common research aim of LASP is to understand and explain the key social, political, cultural and economic transformations in this region in the context of global developments. LASP applies a comprehensive and integrated approach that combines a range of theories and methods from the social sciences and the human

LASP is the platform for collaboration of researchers from five academic institutions:
1) Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA);
2) Department of Cultural Anthropology of Utrecht University;
3) Programme Group Governance for Inclusive Development of the University of Amsterdam;
4) Department of Latin American Studies of Leiden University, and
5) Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of VU University Amsterdam.

The finances received from NWO are meant for the expansion of this interuniversitary collaboration. It will allow LASP to finance PhD projects of four of its most promising students.


Sandra Evers best lecturer of the Faculty of Social Sciences


We proudly congratulate Sandra Evers who has been awarded the prize for best lecturer of the Faculty of Social Sciences by the student board of the faculty.

On Wednesday 11 June, Sandra Evers received the price amid cheering. The student board sang praise of Evers' enthusiasm, open attitude and trust in her students.

As FSW's best lecturer, Sandra Evers is nominated for the VU University Education price which will be awarded during the opening of the academic year on Monday 1 September.


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 thesis

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 practice

The 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

Groepsfoto staf SCA


Price of education 2011

Freek Colombijn has won the price of education in 2011 at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

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