In Winter 2012 the anthropology department offered a term abroad in Tanzania. The East African nation of Tanzania has long been famous for both its rich cultural heritage and its iconic natural wonders like the Serengeti plains, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. In this program, students explore the ways that culture and nature are connected, by studying cultural ecology and economic development in the heart of Tanzania’s booming international tourism scene. The program is based in Moshi, a pleasant town of about 150,000, located at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in a region of the country known for its relatively cosmopolitan and educated population. Important amenities like good medical care and internet access are readily available, but the region is also the cultural heartland of the Chagga people, and students have many opportunities to learn about contemporaryAfrican ways of life.
After a week together at an orientation center, students spend the remainder of the term living in homestays with Tanzanian families. Although English is widely spoken (Tanzania was a British colony from 1918 until 1961), the lingua franca is Swahili, an African language spoken by more than 50 million people in 11 countries. Students on this program are required to take introductory Swahili in the term prior to their departure, and will continue with intensive language study while in country during the program. Additional coursework will consist of weekly seminars; guest lectures by local researchers, officials, and activists; an independent ethnographic research project; and severalfield trips, including a week-long educational safari to the region in and around Serengeti National Park.
Students on the program will receive credit for the following three courses:
Students will study Swahili throughout the term through both tutoring and coursework, with the aim of achieving basic comprehension and conversational ability in this widely-spoken African language.
Culture, Environment, and Tourism
This course will explore the diversity of human relationships to the environment, with particular focus on the ways that the natural world has shaped human culture in the varied ecological contexts of East Africa. Topics to be explored through both lectures and field safaris include nomadic pastoralism, such as that practiced by the livestock-keeping Maasai, and subsistence and cash crop agriculture, which are typical in the Chagga villages surrounding the town of Moshi. The course will also examine the political and economic dimensions of wildlife conservation and tourism in Tanzania and elsewhere.
Field Research Methods
In this course, students will practice applying data-gathering techniques (e.g., interviewing, participant observation, mapping, conducting household censuses, collecting genealogies) in actual field settings. Each student will be expected to conduct an independent research project as the culmination of this course.
Tanzania Photo Gallery Term Abroad, Winter 2012