Read the latest news from the VU Graduate School of Social Sciences.

News December 2018

Supervising Theses (Module II of the Teaching Practice and Supervision course) starts on 10-01-2019. During this module you will learn how to successfully guide students through their theses. The module can be followed separately from the other modules of this course. Please note that you do not necessarily need teaching experience. After successful completion you will receive 1 EC.

25 January the course Selected Qualitative Methods by dr. Kees Boersma and dr. Giulia Sinatti will start. This course is aimed at PhD candidates both in a phase before their data collection/fieldwork and for PhD candidates who have already conducted (part of) their data collection/fieldwork. After successful completion you will receive 6 EC.

We are proud to announce that in March the GSSS will offer a new methods course, Data analysis in R. Lecturers are Wouter van Atteveldt and Kasper Welbers. The course is initiated and organised by the PhDs from the Department of Communication Sciences, Nadia, Britta, Ellen, Felicia. For more information, please contact the Graduate School.

Check our Study Guide for more information about courses and registration. 

Information Skills Workshop
On Thursday 31 January 2019 the VU Library will organise the very practical and appreciated workshop on information skills. In this workshop you will learn how to use databases effectively and find the best resources for your research project. This workshop is organised especially for FSS PhD candidates and will be given by Rian Kriesels, subject librarian Social Sciences of the VU Library. You can register before 14 January by sending an email to Rian Kriesels:

Last week the Graduate Council organised a PhD Christmas dinner for our PhDs in the Kerkzaal. We had wonderful food, a not-too-long speech, live piano music, excellent company and... personalised handmade Christmas cards by Santa Wenhui. Thank you Graduate Council!

Christmas Diner

We congratulate Sierk Ybema (ORG),  Christine Teelken (ORG), Eva-Marie Merz (SOC) and Ivar Vermeulen (CW) on obtaining Ius promovendi. They will have the right to act as Supervisor within our faculty.

A month ago Nana de Graaff (VU-GSSS Programme Director) went with the biggest VU delegation so far to recruit talented PhD candidates in Beijing and Shanghai during the PhD Workshop China 2018. She spoke to many interesting, ambitious and talented candidates in Social Science, which are now being followed up by professors in the Faculty. We hope to welcome many of those as new members of our Graduate School in September 2019!

New Component

Jamal Ahajjaj

My name is Jamal Ahajjaj, PhD candidate at the department of Anthropology under the supervision of Prof. Thijl Sunier (VU) and Dr. Martijn de Koning (UvA). My bachelor was in Business Informatics and my master in Islamic Spiritual Care. As you can see, I like to challenge myself: all my previous and current fields of study are different. I like to expand my horizon and learn about new things. 

My PhD research is about how teachers in Islamic primary schools help children in their identity development in order to better be able to apply their cultural capital in a more skillful and effective way, and become a more meaningful member of society. My interest for this topic partially comes from my own Muslim background, but also from my curiosity about what the Muslim community itself undertakes to empower the next generation of Muslims. In their immediate environment Muslim children increasingly see and hear how their religion is portrayed negatively. I contend that Islamic primary schools can provide these children at an early stage with a safe and warm pedagogical climate to discuss this, to share their doubts and concerns and to think about how they should deal with this, in order to be able to connect better with society. I hope my study will provide more insight in how this mechanism works at Islamic primary schools in the spirit of Islamic identity.

Caroline van Slobbe

Hi there! My name is Caroline van Slobbe, I live in Utrecht and I started my PhD at the Social and Cultural Anthropology (SCA) department this summer. I have a background in Journalism with a specialisation in development studies and documentaries, after which I followed the premaster and master SCA here at the VU. For my master thesis I conducted research on small businesses in Havana dealing with the so-called Cuban transition. Two years after graduation, I started with my external and self-funded PhD research, supervised by Ton Salman and Younes Saramifar. I’m combining this research with a job as education assistant at the same department and freelance (writing) work.

My research will focus on water and social movements in Ecuador and the Netherlands. Water is perhaps the most omnipresent and essential part of life and the world that other animals, beings and we humans inhabit. Water also is, has and provides power: abundance or scarcity of water causes global and local challenges, conflicts and struggles throughout the world. In times of climate change and environmental crises, in which water may take the form of floods or scarcity in different parts of the world, the question of how people relate to water, and Nature in general, is compelling. In my research, I will delve into the social movements that focus on water issues, and especially into their worldviews – incorporated and reproduced in everyday life and discourse – related  to water and Nature. How do the members of these movements strategically frame, phrase, discuss and narrate about water and Nature? More concretely, what are the narratives, rhetoric, habituated languages of worldviews that represent environmental movements’ attitudes towards water and respectively toward Nature in Ecuador and the Netherlands?