Gustaaf Houtman
  • London
  • United Kingdom
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Gustaaf Houtman
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I am editor of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY (since 2000) and have been involved with ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY (and other RAI publications) since before its 1985 launch back in 1984, when I put together the final issues of RAIN together with Jonathan Benthall, founding editor of RAIN and ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY.
I welcome the opportunity to engage potential contributors to ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY. Am presently putting together a syllabus for a course (tentatively called ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY) on public anthropology / anthropology and the media / anthropology and journalism. This will present a selection of topical items from the journal for discussion by students to stimulate debate on issues that touch on professional ethics and on representation of anthropology in the public sphere. Anyone interested in hosting such a course let me know!
My PhD fieldwork in the early 80s grappled with the popularization of vipassana contemplation in Burma for a PhD in anthropology which I completed at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in 1990. My research interests cover areas such as biography, religious experience, history, Burmese language and literature, South East Asia, Theravada Buddhism. On a longer horizon, I am working on a history of theory and theorizing as posing certain parallels with Burmese vipassana contemplation, etymologically (as referring to contemplation), in terms of its institutional contextualization over time and its impact in the political arena. The practice goes beyond Culture with a capital 'C' and, as Burma's chief service industry export, poses integrational features similar to, e.g. a university.
My latest research is on discourse associated with meditation in the Burmese political arena, including rhetoric aiming for political transformation by Aung San and his daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, and on the politics of (colonial and military) confinement and occupation. Some of these results have been published in Mental culture in Burmese crisis politics. Since then, I have exposed as false one of the only 'historical' documents put forward by the military proclaiming that Aung San legitimized a military dictatorship in Burma since 1962. I am also working on a paper on the saffron revolution of September 2007.
I relish opportunities to further my research/teaching on anthropology of Theravada Buddhism and Southeast Asia anywhere in the world. Although based in London, I can be surprisingly mobile. I have researched/taught anthropology/Burma/Buddhist studies at Durham University, Goldsmiths, School of Oriental and African Studies, London Contemporary Dance School, University of Manchester, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, University of Muenster, Gothenberg University and University of British Columbia. I presently teach Theravada Buddhism part-time at SOAS.

Gustaaf Houtman's Blog


A test site has been established for readers and authors of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY. Anyone is welcome to join @

Posted on September 26, 2009 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

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At 11:18am on September 26, 2009, Keith Hart said…
Hi Gustaaf, fantastic! I'm joining straight after this. You can embed the link on your blog post by using the chain icon. Why make the punters copy it down?
At 9:26am on June 8, 2009, Keith Hart said…
Welcome, Gustaaf. It is great to have Anthropology Today as well as the Network of Concerned Anthropologists here on the OAC. Keith


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