I arrived in the peaceful, scenic town of Amherst, set in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts and home of three schools of the renowned Five College Consortium1, in mid-August 2021 for a seven-month stay in the Anthropology Department at the University of Massachusetts as a Fulbright Schuman Professor Awardee. I had made the move […]
My Fulbright project looked at why and how law is being used as a tool of democratic inclusion in Europe—the idea of legal mobilization. Specifically, I was investigating how lawyers on the ground in struggles for social justice work with clients, civil society organizations, and larger networks to formulate legal claims asking European-level courts—the Court […]
During the first COVID lock-down in my hometown Vienna, Austria, writing a Fulbright proposal for visiting the United States felt strange. My partner and I did not even dare to celebrate when we received the request to sign the contract and submit our documents for the visa procedure. When we finally touched ground in California, we could not believe our luck. We could finally taste the life we only knew from the movies, music and, in general, our pop-cultural upbringing. Until our departure, I never stopped marvelling at this alien world, beautiful and seemingly endless landscapes, diversity in biomes and cultures, buzzing urban areas, but also its enormous divide between rich and poor, ubiquitous slums and the currently prevailing grand polarization of the American population.
On a beautiful, sunny day in early May, I stepped out for some fresh air, an EU policy study tucked into my bag, and headed to the park to do some reading. As I sat trying to brush up on the regulations governing eCommerce and digital services, a group started playing frisbee on the lawn. […]
When I arrived in Belgium for my Fulbright grant a few weeks before winter 2021 I was, about as literally as possible, a fish out of water. Upon getting my bearings and meeting locals I began to receive a common question: why did you choose Belgium? To this I had come up with a pithy […]
I have celiac disease, which means I have a gluten allergy. If I eat food that contains gluten, I get sick. Moving to Vienna, Austria and spending extended lengths of time in Sweden for my Fulbright research means I have spent a lot of time staring at the shelves in supermarkets, trying to figure out […]
Overture: American words, European thoughts “You enter a kind of altered, out of body state. I can’t explain it, probably no one can. You’ll get it after a few months. Good luck”. So said a friend and Fulbright alum to Asia in the 2010s after an impromptu pre-departure dis-orientation last summer as we hugged and […]
Having grown up on a dwarf planet in the solar system of the United States’ cultural imperialism, my frame of reference is replete with American products, phenomena, and even phrases. While the orbital elements of U.S. hegemony – politics, news, and entertainment – have thus shaped how I look at the world, life in my native country, the Netherlands, only exposed me to reflections and derivatives of life in the American center of gravity.