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Bachelor's and Master's Speckmann Awards 2019

Bachelor's students Larissa van Beckhoven, Eeke Brussee and Mirjam de Haan were granted the Speckmann award for their Fieldwork NL report ‘Een Tastbaar Mysterie’ (supervisor: Bregje ter Meer). Alumnus Markus Enk received the Master's Speckmann award for his innovative thesis called ‘Do spirits resist to exist or exist to resist?’ (supervisor: Mark Westmoreland). Congratulations!

Fieldwork NL: ‘Een Tastbaar Mysterie’

What is the role of sacramental bread for people doing communion? Larissa van Beckhoven, Eeke Brussee and Mirjam de Haan participated for three weeks in the daily rhythm of nuns in the Sint Josephsberg monastery in Megen to find out. They actively helped in the sacramental bread bakery and examined both the material and the sacred making process of these breads. They focused in particular on the transformation from bread to the body of Christ.    

Juror Bart Barendregt praised their theoretical embedding, which focuses on ritual, religious food, intrinsic and insightful symbols, and theology versus lived religion. Barendregt elaborated on this in his speech: "It is not always easy to empathize with the religious other. But the focus on material culture provides good tools for dealing with religion in a constructive and unbiased manner and thus to nuance stereotype images."

Larissa, Eeke and Mirjam were filmed during their fieldwork in the monastery. You can find a short impression of their research here.  

Master's thesis: ‘Do spirits resist to exist or exist to resist?’

Markus Enk was part of the Master's specialisation in Visual Ethnography, and conducted visual research among the indigenous Kanamari and Matis peoples from the Javary Valley in Brazil. In his thesis, which is a combination of three separate but strongly interrelated short films with text, he explores with his respondents the possibilities of collaborative visual anthropology. 

"It is rare to read and in this case also view a thesis that shocks and surprises, in such a profound manner as the work of Markus did! His thesis stood out, for its creative approach, original perspective and genuine and passionate enquiry", juror Metje Postma told in her speech at the Speckmann award ceremony. 

Unfortunately, Markus was unable to attend the award ceremony, as he currently lives in the Brazilian Amazon. He is involved in a project grounded in agroforestry, native cooking and food sovereignty for which he keeps an online diary.

Annually the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology awards the Speckmann prize for the best Fieldwork NL report from bachelor's students, as well as the most accomplished master’s thesis. This tradition started in 1993 and is named after Professor dr. J.D. Speckmann (1928-1997), who taught empirical sociology with a special focus on field research.

For more information about the Speckmann Prizes, see Prof.dr.J.D. Speckmann prize

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