For so long, universities have been considered to be the real producers of knowledge, monolithic institutions with access to the ‘meaning’ of life. In pursuing meaning, we have learnt to question everything around us. Nowadays, we can, too, question what we know about the knowledge that we consume on a daily basis; what do we know about the products that we consume? In many cases, we will have to face the fact that we do not know. In others, we will have to face the fact that not everybody is willing to know.
On the 17th of February former YOUvA Today writer Matthew Uy published an article detailing a critique of the P.C. Hoofthuis, one of, if not the most divisive building the university has to offer. The article consisted of the usual flak the PC endures some but not all of which are: it’s ugly, the way the space is laid out is confusing, and it’s cramped. I’m here to offer a rebuttal, not only is the PC one of the best buildings the university of Amsterdam has to offer, but it might also be the last pillar left standing in the fight against the commercialization of the UvA
If I got a Euro for every time I've been asked if women could drive in my home country, I'd probably be able to afford a car. Being a Lebanese student at the UvA, I've experienced a fair share of implicit racism when telling others I have an Arab background. It has put me in difficult situations in which I felt like that aspect of my identity was something of less importance to my White counterparts. While these racist interactions vary, they more or less follow the same story each time: stereotypical Western views and comments on Arab cultures. Many fellow Arab students have encountered similar experiences of everyday racism from their peers at our university. Everyday racism was coined by Philomena Essed and highlights the lived experience in which structural forces of racism are upheld by everyday interactions. Here, I open up a short conversation about everyday Arab racism at the UvA with stories shared by some of its students.
I had never spent much time at the Roeterseiland campus until my classes started taking place there during my last academic year. One day, I decided to grab some lunch at the campus cafeteria in building E. I was met with a wide assortment of foods, ranging from vegan and vegetarian to meat- or fish-based options. But, that wasn't the main thing that stood out to me. It was the number of international food options it offered — meals from Pakistan, Lebanon, Vietnam and Mexico. The colours of the different country flags painted the scene of the cafeteria so beautifully.
On March 26th, CREA hosted Classic Meets Jazz, a concert by the Amsterdam Student Big Band (ASBB). What makes a classic a classic? What makes music classical? When did jazz unmeet classical music? And most importantly, who decided what is considered a classic? These are not just questions that have shaped history, but rather, sentences lurking in the silence of music culture. In the case of a jazz big band, rarely there is space for silence. However, the silence in Classic meets Jazz was the lack of representation of the very unrooted roots of this genre: the convergence of plenty of different cultures with the desire to speak up against racial discrimination.
A year ago, I discussed feminism with some friends. All of them were male, watched Ben Shapiro, and drank beer. Typical man stuff, right? They also were all feminists, hard-core advocates of equal women's rights and wanted more high-earning women at the top. Weird enough, I was the exception. I wanted nothing to do with feminism. That all changed when I took the course Feminist Theories.
Most, if not all faculties have requested our return back to campus in the second semester for the face-to-face teaching we have lacked over the past two years. Whilst others rejoice over the opportunity to return to normality, for some the decision is not entirely suitable and comes with a few challenges.
The PC Hoofthuis (PCH) campus has garnered infamy among local citizens, visitors, and students for being one of the least visually appealing buildings in Amsterdam over the years, and finally, the university has taken notice. However, it needs more than just a renovation.
Often international students are considered to be wealthy, from a middle or upper-class family, where mummy and daddy pay for their opportunities abroad. Admittedly, the stereotype is often correct. But that doesn’t mean it is the case for everyone.