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Uppsala University

1. Henriksson, Yohannes. White faces and black masks: The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition – A colonial hangover or a children’s tradition meant for everyone?.

Degree: Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, 2020, Uppsala University

Open-minded attitudes and an international environment are two terms that describe Amsterdam and the Netherlands well. Yet, in contradiction, the Sinterklaas tradition and, especially, the ritual of dressing up as Zwarte Piet takes annually place in the Dutch society. The aggressively debated subject whether Zwarte Piet is racist has divided opinions; some view Zwarte Piet as offensive, while others think of him as completely harmless. Although, the increasingly challenging opinions and protesting by Afro-Dutch individuals has resulted in that celebrating and Zwarte Piet isn’t anything self-evident anymore. The ongoing Zwarte Piet debate is an inspiration source for this thesis as it aims to explore how the polarized opinions about how the character can be understood and what happens when the two opposite opinions collide? The empirical data is gathered through a semi-structured interview, a group interview and participant observation. The theoretical framework used to analyze the data is Victor Turner’s concept: multivocality and critical race and whiteness theory. By analyzing how individuals both experience and celebrate the ritual of Zwarte Piet, it becomes possible to further explore how or why the tradition can be considered racist or harmless. What happens when the two opinions collide and what effect does it have on the Dutch society? Ultimately, this project will contribute to a larger discussion about how modern-day racism in the Netherlands as well as in Europe is understood. It will also work as a reference point for the ongoing societal debate regarding questions whether the tradition of Zwarte Piet should continue or not. 

Subjects/Keywords: The Netherlands; Symbolism; Tradition; Identity; Whiteness; Racism; Sinterklaas; Zwarte Piet; Other Humanities not elsewhere specified; Övrig annan humaniora; Social Anthropology; Socialantropologi

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Henriksson, Y. (2020). White faces and black masks: The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition – A colonial hangover or a children’s tradition meant for everyone?. (Thesis). Uppsala University. Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403080

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Henriksson, Yohannes. “White faces and black masks: The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition – A colonial hangover or a children’s tradition meant for everyone?.” 2020. Thesis, Uppsala University. Accessed February 28, 2020. http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403080.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Henriksson, Yohannes. “White faces and black masks: The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition – A colonial hangover or a children’s tradition meant for everyone?.” 2020. Web. 28 Feb 2020.

Vancouver:

Henriksson Y. White faces and black masks: The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition – A colonial hangover or a children’s tradition meant for everyone?. [Internet] [Thesis]. Uppsala University; 2020. [cited 2020 Feb 28]. Available from: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403080.

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

Council of Science Editors:

Henriksson Y. White faces and black masks: The Dutch Sinterklaas tradition – A colonial hangover or a children’s tradition meant for everyone?. [Thesis]. Uppsala University; 2020. Available from: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403080

Note: this citation may be lacking information needed for this citation format:
Not specified: Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation

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