LOVA International Summer School 2018 ‘Unschooling the Anthropologist’

2-6 July, Amsterdam

LOVA`s International Summer School is back with a 6th edition! The theme of LOVA ISS 2018 is ‘Unschooling the Anthropologist’.

Unschooling is seen as a philosophy or educational attitude that promotes self-directed learning, as well as the acquiring of skills, knowledge and wisdom through natural life experiences, honest, meaningful dialogues and curiosity. This Summer School is focused on helping participants to fundamentally empty themselves from acquired constructs and concepts, in order to be open to the world as it enfolds around us. This practice of ‘unschooling’ can be very helpful for researchers, and particularly anthropologists.

Jiddu Krishnamurti: I hope that you will listen, but not with the memory of what you already know; and this is very difficult to do. You listen to something, and your mind immediately reacts with its knowledge, its conclusions, its opinions, its past memories. It listens, inquiring for a future understanding. Just observe yourself, how you are listening, and you will see that this is what is taking place. Either you are listening with a conclusion, with knowledge, with certain memories, experiences, or you want an answer, and you are impatient. You want to know what it is all about, what life is all about, the extraordinary complexity of life. You are not actually listening at all.

Through self-research, interactive workshops and inspiring lectures, LOVA creates a platform for participants to critically and playfully examine their held beliefs and attitudes towards several broad themes that commonly arise in the work of anthropologists, including ‘education’, ‘gender and sexuality’, ‘development work’ and ‘stress and (mental) health’. There will also be several excursions to stimulate the mind and body, and an exceptionally enjoyable encounter with the history and culture of Amsterdam.

Feedback from past years has been very positive and underlines the pleasure of intensively working and developing new ideas in a small group. The LOVA ISS is designed for students (BA, MA and PhD) and lifelong learners, and combines academic learning with body exercises and good food. Our maxim is to work with anti-hierarchical structures and we invite newly graduated students to teach next to professors. Lastly we provide information about ethnographic ‘tools’ within the parameters of gender and feminist anthropology. Our summer school gives the opportunity to submerge oneself in the methods and conduct of ethnographic field research through interactive didactic methods.

The (preliminary) programme:

Please note that the programme is subject to change.


  • dr. Kathy Davis, senior research fellow in the PARIS research program and the Department of Sociology at the VU University Amsterdam. Kathy Davis has a long-standing interest in feminist scholarship on women’s bodies and health. Her work is situated at the cutting edge between cultural studies, gender studies, and the sociology of the body.
  • Shanti George, independent researcher and advisor on children’s issues. Shanti George is a globally oriented researcher and practitioner, who crosses and re-crosses conventional professional boundaries between academia, activism, development practice and philanthropy.
  • Marijke Naezer, PhD candidate at Gender & Diversity Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen. Marijke Naezerexplores how Dutch young people enact sexuality in their social media practices.
  • Alex Thinius, PhD Candidate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. His philosophical research project critically examines classificatory essentialism about gender.
  • Hanneke Pot, PhD Candidate at the University of Oslo. Hanneke Pot researches the dynamic interactions between NGOs and local communities, health and education services in Malawi, in particular concerning adolescent reproductive health and girls’ education.
  • Marielle Le Mat, PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam’s Child Development and Education department. Marielle Le Mat’s research explores how education initiatives such as sexuality education may address gender based violence in schools in Ethiopia.
  • Somaye Dehban, MA, strategic connecter and fundraising advisor with a background in gender, ethnicity and political matters. In the past, Somaye Dehban has conducted research on the political representation/presence of Iranian women.
  • More speakers will be announced when confirmed.

Some of the topics of this year’s lectures, workshops and excursions are:


  • Rethinking education: reimagining industrialized universities and understanding learning in the face of wellbeing.
  • Rethinking gender and sexuality: what does it mean to be of a particular gender?
  • Rethinking development aid: (sexual) education and the ‘other’.
  • Rethinking health; posing critical questions regarding current paradigms on health and the body.
  • Unschooling emotions/passion
  • Digital peer cultures and self-presentations


  • Theater or life? Learning public ethnographical methods based on theater dialogues
  • Stress Management: journeying through your own mental constitution
  • The gendered body: exploring the (natural) construction of binary sexed identities through dance and movement.
  • The virtue of selfishness: unschooling morality and altruism
  • Nonviolent Communication
  • Crash course on how to fund your research and/or trainings


  • Gendered tour through the Rijksmuseum by Carola Lammers (Anthropologist & guide).

The venues

The workshops and lectures will be provided at different locations (more information regarding the actual location per date will be given later). The following venues are included:

CEDLA: The Center for Latin American Research and Documentation is located in the Eastern part of  the city center of Amsterdam, at the Weesperplein area. This inspiring research center will be our host for one of the five days.

Cultural Melting Pot Café OKO: located in the West of Amsterdam, this art gallery, workshop space and vegan café offers an ideal setting for our Summer School program. We will be here for two of the five days.

Nelson Mandela House: this beautiful inn, located in the North of Amsterdam, alongside the river IJ, Is dedicated to celebrating and restoring interconnection, based on the Ubunti-philosophy. We will be using their beautiful workshop space for two of the days.

LOVA Summer School committee

Academic Directors: Dr. Emmy de Wit & Irene Arends MA

Chair LOVA: Dr. Marina de Regt