By telling the story about his meeting with an alien Guadeloupe explained what anthropology is for him. The alien that had abducted him had asked who all these different people were. And how was it possible that all these people were so different from one another? Guadeloupe had answered the alien with a story, a story he also shared with the pupils.
He explained human evolution and migration, starting with our great, great, great, grandmothers and fathers living in trees, moving upright, growing apposable thumbs, and ending with technological inventions that bring us together even more easily today. The teachers and pupils then listened to Dyna, Frenna and Ronnie Flex performing their song ‘Pull Up’, that expresses human diversity in the Dutch Kingdom today.
The engaged youngsters moved in their chairs and sang along before bombarding Dr. Guadeloupe with questions. Did he really believe in Aliens? Did he really meet one? What languages could he speak? And how could he speak with the alien? This last important question allowed Guadeloupe to elaborate on his insight that musical expression is a high form of intelligence which allows communication between people who do not speak each other’s languages. So even a human and an alien could share meaning by making music together. The pupils agreed.
Engagements such as this provide the (PhD) researchers within the imagining the nation research group with insights into the lived realities and imagined futures of those who will inherit our world. At the same time, the University of Amsterdam, and in particular the Globalizing Cultures program group to which we belong, strongly believes that inspiring and sharing knowledge with the youth of the Kingdom, is an important part of our work.