Door: Karolien van Teijlingen
After more than two years of doing without our favourite anthro gathering, we were immensely happy to see many of you at the Day of Dutch Anthropology 2022. This year, our discussions centred on questions on truth and post-truth in anthropology.
The exciting programme, which was pulled together by ABv board-members Markus Balkenbol and Nikkie Wiegink, started with a key note lecture by Prof. dr. Bram Büscher (Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University). In his lecture, which took us past a wondrous world of freely roaming elephants and Facebook algorithms, he shared his insights on the role of platform capitalism and power in the post-truth era. After the lecture, Rebeca Ibanez Martin (Anthropology department, University of Amsterdam) provided some thought-provoking comments. Got curious? You can watch the key note lecture here.
After lunch, ‘the Day’ continued with two parallel panel discussions. LaSSA, the National Collaboration of Anthropology Students, organized a discussion between students and conference visitors on the access to science in the broadest sense. Their nimble and personal observations addressed issues of language, class and privilege that give shape the university and the knowledge produced by anthropologists, as well as ways to ‘open-up’. Next door, a panel organized by ABv board-member Andrew Littlejohn set out to reflect on the ubiquitous call to ‘follow the science’ during the Covid pandemic. The panel asked: which science though? And what does anthropologist have to offer to debates about the pandemic, public health and the role of science?
‘The Day’ was closed by a round table discussion on anthropologist engagements with truth and post-truth. Moderated by ABv board-member Karolien van Teijlingen, this debate addressed the epistemological, methodological and pedagogical challenges of practicing anthropology in times where questioning truth has been popularized well beyond the domain of some constructivist social scientist.
While the Day’s inspiring program did not provide any definite answers on the pressing questions regarding truth and post-truth, one universal and true conclusion can be drawn. People – and anthropologists in particular – like to flock together, informally and in-person. So the true highlights of the Day of Dutch Anthropology 2022 took place in the breaks, the hallways and during the drinks. After two years of working remotely, we could finally bump into this old friend or colleague again, spontaneously meet new ones, look each other in the eye, chitchat over a wine and share a gossip or two. As Abv, we were happy to facilitate these moments of joy and look forward to welcoming you again in 2023.