Ethnographic Field School in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Student working in the fields in BoliviaAre you looking for an international experience that will give you an opportunity to be completely immersed in a different culture and conduct your own research project on a topic of your choice?  Then the Ethnographic Field School in Cochabamba, Bolivia may be just what you are looking for to round out your studies here at UW-L.  This is a 6 credit, 4 week field school that takes place at the same time as the UW-L Archaeological Field School in Cochabamba.  Students who elect to do ethnography in the field engage in a variety of activities that are scheduled every day while they are in Bolivia, including completing 4 weeks of intensive one-one-one Spanish and/or Quechua language instruction.  Quechua, the language of the Incas, is spoken by 10 million residents in the Andes today, and the field school is a rare opportunity for UW-L students to learn this language and to speak it with indigenous agriculturalists in rural Bolivia.  Weekend activities include group excursions to the Amazonian jungles of Bolivia, to regional archaeological ruins, and to local cultural events.  Students’ research projects are supervised by Dr. Hippert, who works on her own research examining rural community development and ethnic identity.  Ethnography students from UW-L engage in some activities related to Dr. Hippert’s research in order to become acquainted with rural Andean life, but the bulk of their time in Bolivia will be spent doing their own research.  In order to apply to the Ethnographic Field School, students should have an idea about what aspects of Bolivian culture they might be interested in researching.  Dr. Hippert teaches a course called Andean Anthropology (ANT 290), and taking this course is essential for ethnography students in order to design a culturally relevant research project.

Celebrating the First Friday with a Q'oa Ritual The joint Ethnographic/Archaeological Field School is designed in part to give students a better understanding of the importance of the 4-field approach in anthropology.  They are very few field schools providing this kind of experience, so we’re pleased to offer this exciting opportunity at UW-L.  Our first field school returned from Cochabamba in June 2009, and it was a great success.  If you have any questions and want to learn about the Ethnographic Field School at UW-L, please contact Dr. Hippert (hippert.chri@uwlax.edu).


Participants in the 2009 Ethnograhic Field School