Ethnographic Field School in Belize

Ethnographic Field School in Belize – Early Registration Deadline Approaching!

The Center for Applied Anthropology (CFAA) at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) organizes an annual ethnographic field school in Belize directed by Douglas Hume (Associate Professor of Anthropology, every June in collaboration with the NKU Office of Education Abroad ( and Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA, The following information is for the June 2014 Ethnographic Field School in Belize:
• Location: Orange Walk District, Belize
• Dates: Departing Tuesday June 3 2014 and returning Thursday June 26 2014 (24 days/23 nights)
• Price: $3,995 (includes airfare, ground transportation, accommodations, breakfast, dinner, and excursions)
• Tuition: Waived for NKU students. For CCSA consortium students, check with your campus study abroad office. For non-CCSA consortium students, please contact the CCSA (
• Early Application Deadline: February 7, 2014 ($100 reduction in the program price by means of a reducing the application fee to $200)
• Application Deadline: February 21, 2014 (regular application fee of $300)
• Credit: 3 hours (undergraduate or graduate)
• Sample Syllabus:
• CCSA Program Brochure:
• CCSA Online Application:

Course Description

This course immerses students in Belizean culture and trains them in contemporary anthropological field methods. Students will gain valuable research skills (e.g., ethnographic interviewing and qualitative data analysis) to apply anthropology in their future careers (e.g., applied anthropology or other social/behavioral discipline), an appreciation for Belizean cultural diversity, and further their personal growth. While in Belize, students will be primarily engaged in guided applied ethnographic fieldwork. Students will learn about the local culture by doing participant-observation and conducting ethnographic interviews in a community-based research project. Students will learn research ethics, unobtrusive observation, participant observation, field note writing and coding, ethnographic and life history interviewing, ethnolinguistic data collection, community mapping, rapid assessment procedures, qualitative data analysis, and other ethnographic methods in addition to basic!
ethnographic writing. After successful completion of this course, students will have:
• developed a basic understanding of Belizean culture,
• formulated an understanding of ethical and validity issues in ethnographic research,
• practiced skills in research design and ethnographic methods of data collection,
• applied basic ethnographic research methods in a non-western culture,
• engaged in a community-based research project, and
• analyzed ethnographic data resulting in an ethnographic monograph.

This program will contribute to the education of students by training them in ethnographic methods and by exposing them to a non-western culture. Students are expected to gain skills that may be used in applying anthropology or other socio-behavioral sciences in their future careers, gain an appreciation for cultural diversity, and further their personal growth. Field experiences such as this project can also improve the likelihood that students will be admitted to graduate school.

This course is being taught as a 300 (upper-undergraduate) and 500 (graduate) level course in anthropology with a maximum of 12 students. Students will earn three credit hours for participation in the ethnographic field school. This course will not fulfill NKU’s general education requirements, but may be applied to NKU’s anthropology major or minor requirements. Students should check with their own institution for what, if any, requirements this course fulfills.

Each spring, students will be encouraged to present their findings in a scholarly panel at the Anthropologists and Sociologists of Kentucky Annual Meeting ( NKU students will be encouraged to present their findings at NKU’s spring Celebration of Student Research and Creativity ( Students who wish to learn additional ethnographic analysis methods or prepare a short ethnography for publication may arrange independent studies with the director, Douglas Hume (see

Community-based Research Project

The ethnographic field school, as part of the CfAA, is partnering with the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) in Orange Walk Town, Belize. Among other things, our partner is interested in our contribution in understanding the household economy and agricultural knowledge of sugar cane farmers in the Orange Walk District village communities. SIRDI will use our results and recommendations to develop and conduct workshops for farmers on agricultural techniques, economics, health, and other community development topics.

Program Excursions

In addition to conducting community-based research, students will visit the Altun Ha Ruins, Belize Zoo, Community Baboon Sanctuary, Lamanai Mayan Ruins (via boat on the New River), and Nohoch Che’enas Archaeological Reserve (via cave tubing in Cave Branch). Locations are subject to change and may be cancelled due to weather or other factors beyond our control.


The price above includes round-trip transportation from designated cities, airport transfers, accommodations, daily breakfast and dinner, program excursions, and health insurance. Tuition is waived for NKU students. For CCSA consortium students, check with your campus study abroad office. For non-CCSA consortium students, please contact the CCSA (

A minimum of $200.00 should be budgeted for beverages, lunches, and snacks beyond the daily breakfasts and dinners included in the program price. Additionally, approximately $100.00 should be budgeted for required course materials. Participants should also budget additional funds for personal expenses such as souvenirs, based upon their individual spending habits.

All prices are subject to change in the event of unanticipated increases in airfares, monetary exchange rates or other changes in program costs.


There are many study abroad scholarships available to defray the costs of this program (see the study abroad office at your institution, NKU Office of Study Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid (, and Study Abroad Scholarships ( Students must start the process of applying for scholarships early!

Student Recommendations from Prior Fieldschools

• “This was an amazing opportunity to conduct real ethnographic research as an undergraduate… It’s a one-of-a-kind experience for students that has opened my eyes in so many ways, and I feel lucky to have gotten to experience what it’s like to be immersed in a culture different from my own.” – Adelle Bricking, 2013
• “I learned so much about Anthropology on this trip. I was nervous since I had little experience but it was the best way to really know what Anthropology is.” – Gabriella Locke, 2013
• “The Ethnographic Field School in Belize was an exciting experience that acted as an exciting, intense introduce to ethnography.” – Jessica Boggs, 2013
• “This field school is incredibly valuable when it comes to real life experience. I would not trade this experience for the world.” – Jesse Hendricks, 2013
• “The fieldschool gave me a hands-on approach to learning ethnographic methods. It has taught me a lot about applied anthropology and anthropology as a whole.” – Nicholas Thaxton, 2013
• “If you plan to continue your anthropology degree past undergrad, I highly suggest you attend this field school. Not only is this an experience most anthropology students don’t receive until graduate school… This is an opportunity to apply what you have and will learn in class- you will come back to the states with a new understanding and refreshed appreciation for your discipline and of course Belizean culture.” – Rosa Christophel, 2013
• “This field school has been an incredibly valuable and fulfilling experience for me. Coming from someone who has been interested in and fervently reading about anthropology for years, this experience was all that I had hoped for and more. I was looking forward to conducting actual research and become an anthropologist, as well as thoroughly becoming immersed in a culture that I had not been a ‘part’ of before, and my expectations were exceeded.” – Sofia Javed, 2013
• “No experience could better prepare an anthropology major, or anyone, for the future.” – Stephanie Zach, 2013

More Information

For more information about the ethnographic field school in Belize (updates on costs, application due dates, sample syllabi, photographs from prior field schools, and links to the field school Facebook Group), visit the field school web page at: If you have any questions about the field school, email the Director (Douglas Hume,

Douglas W. Hume, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Anthropology Program Coordinator
Director, Center for Applied Anthropology

Northern Kentucky University
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy
1 Nunn Drive, 228 Landrum Academic Center
Highland Heights, Kentucky 41099

[p] 859.572.5702
[f] 859.572.6086



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