Handbook for Tanzania Ethnographic Field School

Tanzania Ethnographic Field School


Health and Nutrition in an Interconnected World


June1st–July16th, 2008



The Ethnographic Field School in Tanzania offers students a thorough understanding of health and nutrition challenges faced by people in East Africa through practical training in field research. We will specifically examine interactions between cultural traditions and practices, regional environments, changing political landscapes, and international economic transformations.


Program activities focus on the themes of nutrition, culture, environment, and health, and how academics, professionals, and the wider Tanzanian population address such issues. Students will tour sites and visit people who have direct involvement with these topics in order to consider connections between scholarship, fieldwork, and practical knowledge. Research exercises will teach a variety of ethnographic methods, and students will conduct guided independent research projects relating to the overall project.


This field school is ideal for students majoring in the social sciences or the natural sciences whose career choices may involve work in Africa and/or research or practical work in the social sciences or public health fields.


Peer Translators: Each student will work with a Tanzanian translator, hired by the directors, to conduct his or her project.


A typical pre-fieldwork day will have morning meeting sessions and afternoons for lectures, discussions, research exercises, and visits/tours. Fieldwork days will typically involve morning and afternoon fieldwork. The program will periodically hold fieldwork workshops to develop strategies to further student research goals. Students will present their findings before leaving Tanzania, and submit a final written research paper to the directors after returning to the US.



The program will take place in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, and Rungwe District in rural southwest Tanzania. Zanzibar is a historic trade center connecting mainland Africa with the Indian Ocean world, important for the history of Islam in eastern Africa and the development of Swahili language and culture. Dar es Salaam, on the Indian Ocean coast, is a center of economic and cultural activity and home to the University of Dar es Salaam. In rural Rungwe District, most people are small-scale farmers who grow a variety of crops for subsistence and sale. They have long been linked to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and the wider world through migration, political and economic relations, and media. Despite favorable agricultural conditions and rich local knowledge, some families in Rungwe are susceptible to malnutrition, a situation we will examine with our field-work.



In all locations students will stay in guesthouses and meals will be arranged. The costs of meals and lodging are included in the field school costs.