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Gustaaf Houtman

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ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY provides a forum for the application of anthropological analysis to public and topical issues. - anthropology jobs

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Covers, AT April 2017, Volume 33, issue 2

Front and back cover caption, volume 33 issue 2MAGIC & CAPITALISMArchitecture, marketing, advertising, fashion, design and technology – these are not themes that generally come to mind when we think about magic. In industrialized societies we tend to believe that we’ve ‘outgrown’ it. In 1929 anthropologist E.B. Tyler…Continue

Tags: 2017, April, Covers

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.

TIMOTHY DE WAAL MALEFYT Enchanting Technology

Technology enchants our lives by appropriating subjective gaps in human uncertainty and desire with objective results, thus incorporating a sense of wonder and closeness in much of what we do. It does this because technology is no longer cold and rational, but warm and aesthetically pleasing in the many devices we use; it performs magically by engaging us sensorially, creating new realities, and bridges objective facts with subjective assumptions in data analysis. As such, it unites and…Continue

Tags: Malefyt, Waal, 2017, April, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.

BRIAN MOERAN Fashion magazines and fashion as a system of magic

This article is about international women's fashion magazines – specifically Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and] Vogue – and the part they play in creating and sustaining the fashion industry as a system of magic. As an integral part of the fashion industry, they perform numerous textual and visual forms of magic to enchant their readers into desiring, if not buying, fashionable clothing and accessories of all sorts, as well as the beauty products advertised in their pages. As such,…Continue

Tags: Moeran, 2017, April, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.

PETER PELS Enchanted reason: Science fiction, print capitalism and the magic of anthropology

Science fiction is a privileged site to study the magic of capitalism. On the one hand, an anthropology of science fiction asks questions about how to characterize science fiction socially and culturally. It should resolve these questions by acknowledging that its first recognizable manifestation occurs when the fictionalization of science, fed by the confusion science produces about life and morality, is brought together with the drive to commercialize such confusion in print capitalism, and…Continue

Tags: Pels, 2017, April, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.

KASPER TANG VANGKILDE Foretelling the future: The fashion designer as shaman

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in a fashion company, this article explores how fashion designers face the uncertain but critical challenge of foretelling the future. It is argued that fashion designers seek to become possessed by the zeitgeist, which attests to an animistic mode of being and a shamanic practice by means of which they turn into prophetic agents with a particular vision of the future. This makes them able to act on the future, and demonstrates more generally how magical…Continue

Tags: Vangkilde, Tang, 2017, April, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.

TIMOTHY DE WAAL MALEFYT Advertising magic: The paradox of keeping-while-giving

Magic is alive in advertising industries through the organized assemblages of magicians, formulas and rites that perform magically. Creatives (the magicians) employ mystic formulas in creative processes and in rites of awards ceremonies and business pitches, where they transform ephemeral ideas into broad marketing campaigns. Transformative ideas are esteemed as agency assets and celebrated of creatives in their names, but are also disseminated as essential tools for building economic value and…Continue

Tags: Malefyt, Waal, 2017, April, Article

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.

AINA LANDSVERK HAGEN Sketching with knives: Architects & the confidence theory of magic

‘Isn’t gravity wonderful? That’s the magic trick in a way’. The Malinowskian 'confidence theory of magic' (1935) points to how a person, through the ritual act, becomes empowered to believe he can master nature’s obstacles, and thus become equipped to undertake tasks from which he would otherwise shrink. The relation between creativity, magic and professional confidence is investigated through ethnographic fieldwork in the internationally renowned architecture company, Snøhetta, based in Oslo…Continue

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.


This article identifies specific forms of fetishistic enchantments produced by practices culturally specific to modern consumer culture. The authors show that magical practices are constitutive of two fetishistic marketing constructs: the consumer and the human luxury brand. Marketing magic enacts relations between man and the transcendent by bringing consumer personas ‘to life’ and manifesting ideals of the beautiful in luxury. Marketing magic is a practice of power – non-rationalist…Continue

Tags: Cayla, Dion, Arnould, 2017, April

Started by Gustaaf Houtman in AT APRIL 2017 Apr 4.


Blog Posts

New online anthropology course starts 29.02.2016

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 16, 2016 at 7:30 0 Comments

On 29 February, as part of a new initiative by University College London, a free five week e-learning course (MOOC) will start called Why we post: The anthropology of social media on the FutureLearn platform at

This is the first free major on-line course in anthropology by a European…


Leeds International Film Festival, Arctic Cinema, 9-13 November 2015

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on September 28, 2015 at 13:34 0 Comments

The Arctic is hot. Everywhere you turn these days, the Polar regions are making headlines: climate change, geopolitics, mining, tourism, trade. These topical issues are seriously affecting one of the planet’s most malleable regions. Researchers at the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University are collaborating with the Leeds International Film Festival ( to curate a week-long programme of Arctic cinema, showcasing films, talks and…


Real vampires?

Posted by Keira Dignan on September 22, 2015 at 13:41 0 Comments

Real life vampires’ must be met with ‘tolerance and respect’, writes Kim Wall for The Guardian, following a study conducted by sociologists DJ Williams and Emily Prior on ‘Fears of Coming out of the Coffin’. ‘Vampires’ are people who believe that they must ‘feed’ regularly from…


Paul Sillitoe in the news

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on August 17, 2015 at 13:00 0 Comments

Paul Sillitoe and Mako John Kuwimb's have jointly reported on the Jared Diamond vs New Yorker controversy. Paul Sillitoe is a highly regarded anthropologist expert on Papua New Guinea, and Mako John Kuwimb contributed a…


Scottish referendum - Ullrich Kockel

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on September 19, 2014 at 10:39 0 Comments

The people of Scotland have spoken, and the Prime Minister promises their voices will be heard. Following two years of campaigning generating unprecedented public participation and reaching previously disengaged group in large numbers, the referendum delivered a solid majority for Scotland remaining in the UK. According to opinion polls, the youngest voters were predominantly inclined to vote "no". On the night of polling day, one young man on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, having just voted "no",…


From 'Human Terrain' 'to Human Domain' - Another Pentagon concept?

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 19:00 0 Comments

Sisk, Richard 2013. 'Human Domain' Enters Future Army War Plans. News, 20 February 2013.

Keith Walker at AUSA 2012.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Army's core mission as the world's dominant land power must meld with the challenges posed by future conflicts that will increasingly be fought over "human terrain," senior Army officials…


Human Terrain continues

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 27, 2013 at 17:00 0 Comments

Hanley, Ken 2013. Op-Ed: Problematic Human Terrain System continues despite criticism. Digital Journal, 21 February

VandenBroek, T 2013. Army plows ahead with troubled war-zone program. USA Today, 21 February.



Akbar Ahmed on drones

Posted by Gustaaf Houtman on February 18, 2013 at 11:00 0 Comments

American University professor Akbar Ahmed talked about his book, The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam. He also talked about the debate over the use of drones by the Obama administration. This interview, recorded at American University in Washington, DC, was part of Book TV’s College Series.…


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ANTHCAL - Calendar of events as published in the last issue of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY

We try to avoid errors, but please check dates before making a special journey. Entries are best submitted with a current web address to which readers can refer for further details.


Oxfordshire folklore and customs: Celebrating the centenary of antiquarian and folklorist Percy Manning (to 8.5.2017); Embroidered visions: Photographs of Central Asia and the Middle East by Sheila Paine (to 30.4.2017); Emil Holub’s South African exposition 1892 (to 9.4.2017); My Siberian year 1914-1915 (to 30.4.2017); Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PP; tel. +44 (0)1865 270927;

Iranian voices (to 2.4.2017); Where the Thunderbird lives: Cultural resilience on the Northwest Coast of North America (to 27.8.2017); Defacing the past: Damnation and desecration in imperial Rome (to 7.5.2017); The American dream: Pop to the present (to 9.3.2017); Hokusai: Beyond the great wave (to 25.5.2017); Africa gallery (permanent); Living and dying (permanent). British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG; tel. +44 (0)20 7323 8299 (information desk); whatson/exhibitions/index.html

Memorial: A tribute to taxidermy (to 1.5.2017); Celebrating Ganesha (to 23.4.2017); Pani (20.5.2017 to 26.11.2017). Centenary gallery: 100 years of collecting (permanent). Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ; tel. +44(0)20 8699 1872; http://www.horniman.

Another India (to 22.4.2017);Carriers of culture: Women, food and power from the Congo Basin (to March 2017). Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ; tel +44 (0)1223 333516;

APRIL 2017

7-8 Apr 2017 Modern climate change and the practice of archaeology. Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

20 Apr 2017 4th international conference of ethnography and education. Spain.

20-22 Apr 2017 RAI student conference. People in context: Anthropological reflections in a ‘post-truth’ world. Durham University.

25-30 Apr 2017 The Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA).

28 Apr 2017 17.00 Marett Memorial College Lecture. Anna Tsing. What is history? Or, the life and times of water hyacinth. Exeter College, University of Oxford

MAY 2017

1-2 May 2017 Anthropology on the front lines: Honoring the work of Nancy Scheper-Hughes. UC Berkeley Dept of Anthropology.

1-2, 4, 8-9 May 17.00 Evans-Pritchard Lectures. Naor Ben-Yehoyada. Getting Cosa Nostra: Knowledge and criminal justice in Southwestern Sicily. All Souls College, Oxford

2-7 May 2017 IUAES Inter-congress, Ottawa, Canada. http://

3 May 2017 9.30 Reviewer meets reviewed: Aliens and strangers: The struggle for coherence in the everyday lives of evangelicals. Anna Strhan vs Joel Robbins. Contact:

4-6 May 2017 3rd World conference on women’s studies. Building resilience: Dialogue, collaboration and partnerships across our differences. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

13-14 May 2017 3rd international conference on women’s studies. Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

18 May 2017 9.30 Reviewer meets reviewed: Writing the dark side of travel. Tony Johnston vs Jonathan Skinner. Contact:

24 May 2017 18.00 Mary Douglas memorial lecture. Pat Caplan on Gifts, entitlement, benefits, and surplus: Food poverty and food aid in the UK. St Anne’s College, Oxford

27-28 May 2017 International conference on food culture. Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

28 May - 2 Jun 2017. 1st International conference on spirituality, culture & sustainable tourism. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

31 May 2017 17.30 RAI research seminar. Aleksandar Bošković. William Robertson Smith’s influence on the ‘Myth and ritual school’.

JUNE 2017

1-4 Jun 2017 Asian conference on cultural studies. Kobe, Japan.

8 Jun 2017 17.00 Olof Palme Lecture. St Antony’s College, Oxford. James Ferguson. Presence and social obligation: an essay on the share

8-9 Jun 2017 Racism, nationalism and xeonophobia. 2nd International interdisciplinary conference. Gdansk, Poland.

11-12 Jun 2017 ICTA 2017: 19th international conference on transpersonal anthropology. Copenhagen, Denmark. https://

13-15 Jun 20173rd Annual international conference on anthropology. Athens, Greece.

15-16 Jun 2017 8th MAYS annual meeting. Medical anthropology beyond academic borders. In collaboration with Students of Medical Anthropology (SoMA). Edinburgh, UK.

29 Jun 2017 London anthropology day. Clore Centre, British Museum.

JULY 2017

3-6 Jul 2017 International conference on tourism, ethics and global citizenship: Connecting the dots. Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands. http://www.saxion.

10-11 Jul 2017 The mass observation 80th anniversary conference, University of Sussex. Deadline for proposals: 16 January 2017. Contact: Jessica Scantlebury on, or go to

12-14 Jul 2017 24th International conference of Europeanists. University of Glasgow.


28-30 Aug 2017 EASA networks PACSA and anthropology of security. The making of peace, conflict and security: Dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, University of Amsterdam.


7- 8 Sep 2017 The pasts, presents, and futures of queer mobilities: Transnational movements of ideas, concepts, and people. 2nd workshop of the European Network for Queer Anthropology (ENQA. Central European University, Budapest.

15 Sep 2017 15.00-20.00 RAI AGM followed by the Curl Lecture by Andrea Migliano. The British Museum’s Clore Centre.

19-21 Sep 2017 EASA network LAWNET event. Anticipating law: The prognostics of fear and hope. Bern, Switzerland. https://

22-23 Sep 2017 International interdisciplinary conference on the concept of time. Istanbul, Turkey.


29 Nov-3 Dec 2017 AAA annual meeting. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel & Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, DC


11-15 Dec 2017 Joint ASA/AAS/ASAANZ conference. Adelaide.

15 Dec 2017 17.30 Huxley Lecture. Margaret Conkey. The British Museum’s Clore Centre.

JULY 2018

9 Jul 2018 London Anthropology Day. British Museum’s Clore Centre.

30 Jul - x`3 Aug 2018 18th ICAES World Congress 2018. World (of) encounters: The past, present and future of anthropological knowledge. Florianópolis, Brazil.


14-18 Nov 2018 AAA annual meeting. San Jose Convention Center San Jose, CA


7-8 Feb 2019 ICAS 2019: 21st international conference on anthropology and sustainability. Mumbai, India.


13-14 Aug 2019 ICTA 2019: 21st International conference on tourism anthropology. Venice, Italy.


20-24 Nov 2019 AAA annual meeting. Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver, BC, CAN


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