The heart of the MA Anthropology in Basel is ethnographic research with a financially subventioned and guided fieldtrip. For example, project courses have involved research on poverty and wealth in Côte d'Ivoire, youth in urban Tanzania, art and articulation in South Africa or the notion of work in Cameroon.
During this course (2 semesters, 6 weeks of fieldwork abroad), the students will conduct their own research project guided by experienced researchers. They will learn how:
- to develop their own research questions according to their individual interests and job perspectives
- to apply ethnographic research methods during a field trip of 6 weeks in one of the institute's research regions
- to analyse the collected data and present the results in a report upon their return
Students who would like to conduct their own ethnographic research have to set up a Learning Contract. The same conditions apply as to the courses offered by the seminar: Preparation and project proposal,outlining the following points: research aims, current state of research, methods, timetable (detailed preparations and intended approach) as well as the expected results. A field trip of at least six weeks, evaluation and final report of ca. 25 pages. It should discuss if the methods have been applied successfully, what empirical results have been obtained and how they stand in relation to the project proposal. Whenever possible the students should participate in the methodological parts of the official courses.
The general theme of the field course sheds light on Urban Environmental Futures within which the individual research projects are loosely situated. The course focuses on Cartagena de Indias, a Colombian port and world heritage city, where climate change and rising sea level have become a pressing environmental challenge for both, municipal agencies and ordinary citizens, to mitigate flooding risk, preserve urban infrastructure and prepare for the future.
This course will guide you through your first fieldwork experience. You are invited to choose a setting and a place where you will want to engage in encounters with others für six weeks. It may be a simple wooden bench at the entrance of an African railroad station deep in the bush where snacks and drinks are offered to passengers who have to wait for their delayed trains, it may also be a bourgeoise coffee house somewhere in Vienna or Paris, it may be a restaurant of an international fast-food chain in Tokyo, New York or Cape Town. You will be free to identify the place for your project, while experienced lecturers
will help you to find a setting where you can successfully conduct such research. Those who will want to work together
with other students and to have the opportunity to exchange regularly with experienced anthropologists can
do so in the target area of this guided field course, which is Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa.
Africans have rarely enjoyed the freedom of travel that has become so self-evident for most Europeans. Not only is Europe a fortress for them, but inner African borders may also turn into barriers with unforeseeable risks and uncertainties. In 2000, for the first time since World War II, Europeans experienced similar troubles when moving from one country to another. The guided field-course 2020/21 looked at what borders and frontiers mean for the people on both sides of the Mediterranean. It compared and analysed border regimes and their everyday experience across different African and European countries. The students were guided by Michelle Engeler and Till Förster.
African Worlds in Guanghzou
The Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has emerged as a global trading hub, attracting people worldwide. It is site of cultural encounter, and an important node in the South-South web of relations. Affordable copies and knockoff goods made in China are often brought back to consumers in African countries by African traders themselves. Some of these transnational
merchants also migrate to the city in search of new opportunities, hoping to establish their lives there.
I: Project course introduction/ development of your research project*
-Read and discuss literature about migration, cultural encounter, and globalization processes in the Global South
-Choose your thematic focus and field site
-Learn about associated research methods
-Research proposal write-up for further funding
(6 weeks January to mid-February 2020)
-Work in groups and individually, guided by a faculty member
-Visit research institutions, meet experts, conduct your own study and analyze daily social realities in a Southern Chinese city, as well as your own position as a researcher
III: Analysis of findings and write up of projects
*Research projects are guided by a faculty member and a portion of the travel
expenses are funded by Institute of Anthropology.
*Your final research project can potentially serve as a basis for the development
of a Master thesis.
Website of the Field Course
The students who participated in this ethnographic research created a website that serves as a virtual tour of their projects and offers sights and sounds from Southern China.
Koudougou, Tenkodogo, Banfora Ouahigouya, Bobo Dioulasso Fada N‘Gourma, Ouagadougou
Do you want to learn more about everyday life in ordinary African cities?
Are you planning to complete your MA in Anthropology, African Studies, or Critical Urbanism? Will you want to write your MA thesis on a topic that is relevant for development cooperation? Are you interested to get a thorough insight into how urbanisation looks like from the other side of the globe?
Then this course is for you. The field course 2018–2019 will take you to Burkina Faso, a land-locked country in the West African Sahel. The country‘s spirit of independence and indomitability is famous since centuries. Burkina Faso has been the home of mighty kingdoms as well as farmers who did not recognise any domination. Villages grew into towns where merchants lived and established markets for the commodities that they traded from the fringes of the rain forest in the South to the river Niger in the North-West. Other towns hosted kings and their courts. You will read and disuss relevant literature on urbanisation in Burkina Faso and elsewhere. You will learn how to approach urban people and milieus in West African cities. Besides standard methods of anthropology, you will acquire skills in the analysis of daily social realities in an African urban context. Your research will be guided by experienced tutors and the chair will partly cover your travel expenses.
You can chose your thematic focus and your field site. Within the wider field of secondary cities, you will be free to develop a small research project of your choice.
What will you need to do?
The field course starts in fall 2018 and covers two terms, with a field stay of six weeks in January and February 2019. If you want to participate, join us on May 31, 2018, 12:15 in the Seminar Room of the Institute of Anthropology, Münsterplatz 19. Aïdas Sanogo, a PhD candidate from Burkina Faso, and Till Forster, chair of anthropology, will give you more information on how the field course will be organised, how we travel, the dates and places that we will visit, how much you will have to contribute yourself, health and visa issues. We will try to answer all your questions. We will also provide more information on how to proceed best if you need extra funding. If you are thinking about a specific subject but cannot make up your mind, we will provide more information and will also outline possible themes that you may be interested in.
Interested? Send an email to Till Förster.
Tell us who you are, and let us know more about you so that we can support you better.
The general theme of the field course is Social Change within which the individual research projects are loosely situated. The course focuses on the Solwezi Region in the Northwestern Province of Zambia, a previously rural and since ten years rapidly urbanizing area due to the (re)opening of three large-scale copper mines.
Julia Hohn: Water and Sociality in everyday Life in Solwezi
Jessica Näf: The Perception of Health and Environmental Risks and the Shaping of Knowledge regarding the Storage of Uranium at Lumwana mine, NW Province of Zambia
Anna Karsko: The Production of Music in the Context of Popular Culture and Urbanisation in Solwezi, Zambia
Michèle Monnier: Commercialisation and New Interpretations of Traditional Aboriginal Art: The relation between art, ownership and Aboriginal identity in Alice Springs, Australia
Monika Huber: Households and Access to Food: subsistence farming, local agriculture and food import
Mbaraka Matitu: Women and the Retailing of Second-hand Clothing in Urban Zambia: the case of Solwezi town
Carole Martin: Language Use in Solwezi, Zambia
Aurel Everwijn: The Work of a Carpenter in Solwezi
Deborah Oliveira: Exploring Bodily Interdependency at the Solwezi General Hospital: Towards an understanding of care and the bodily experience of interdependency
Misato Kimura: Connecting to the Town: Refugees’ everyday experience and mobility between camp and Solwezi town
Anna-Sophie Hobi: Governance and Extractivism: an NGO’s role in a booming mining town
Aurélie Yotégé: Cooperation between Switzerland And Cameroon: NGOs as actors of peace and stability
Making the City in Cartagena de Indias: Research with Field Trip 2016/2017 (Poster)
"The project course gave me the opportunity to explore a city in a completely different way than by visiting as a tourist. Doing field work not only allowed me to gain practical experiences but also to meet different kinds of people and form close friendships" Anna-Sophie Hobi
"After the six weeks in Cartagena de Indias, I just wanted to sleep. It was an incredible and overwhleming experience. We were able to work on a topic of our choice, finally gaining an insight into how fieldwork is done. I discovered a lot of aspects to a city I had known nothing about, learned speaking Spanish better than I had hoped, and met so many different people. Not all the impressions were positive - some experiences were confsuing, shocking or simply annoying. But it was work it in the ned." Christina Bosbach
Street Art, Murals and Graffiti: Visual Culture and the Dialectic Relationship between Space, People and Place - Nora PEduzzi
Memory and Space in Cartagena - Christina Bosbach
Indigeneity in an Urban Context: Zenu Coffee Sellers in the Strees of Cartagena de Indias - Anna-Sophie Hobi
Tourism, Sex Work and Public Space in Cartagena - Laura Bettschen
Impacts of Gentrification on Food - Christine Wabersich
Questions of Security and Power in the Context of Gated Communities in Cartagena - Livia Wermuth
Use and Claim of Public Space for Physical Activities by Children - Nicolas Miglioretto
"Informal" and "Formal" Plastic Waste Management in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire - Anja Orschulko
Do you want to write your MA thesis on a topic that is relevant for development cooperation? Are you interested to get a thorough insight into how globalisation looks like from the other side of the globe? Do you have an interest to reflect on how to think and rethink social inequality? Then this course is for you.
You will read and discuss relevant literature on poverty and wealth from various disciplines, including texts from development cooperation. You will learn how to approach different people and milieus in a country that was once perceived as an economic success story, as le miracle ivoirien. Besides standard methods of anthropology, you will acquire skills in the analysis of daily social realities in a country where social inequality was further intensified by a political and military crisis. You can choose your field site in a city or in a rural area. Your research will be guided by experienced tutors and the chair will partly cover your travel expenses.
What we expect from you is a real interest in doing fieldwork and an average knowledge of French.
The Project Course 2014/15 of the MA Anthropology, University of Basel, takes us to Arusha and Moshi in northeast Tanzania. It offers MA students the opportunity to learn a range of ethnographic methods and theoretical perspectives to study "Moving Bodies and Connecting Minds in Urban Tanzania".
How do people move in towns like Arusha and Moshi? How do they connect with others? These questions guide us in the study of diverse fields of life, ranging from health and illness, to livelihood, environmental concerns, religion and art, depending on your interest.
In the first part of the Project Course (HS 2014), you get an introduction and overview, with an emphasis on language (KiSwahili) and research skills. You develop your own study focus, write a proposal and acquire funds. During the field course (January to mid-February 2015), you work in groups and individually, guided by a Swiss-Tanzanian supervisory team. You visit research institutions, meet experts, conduct your own study and reflect on your research experience. In the third part of the Project Course (FS 2015), you analyze your findings and learn to use MAXQDA (qualitative data analysis program) and CITAVI (reference management program). You write and present a research report which may serve as a basis for the development of your Master Thesis.
The Institute of Social Anthropology offers an exciting opportunity for MA students to take part in a field course in South Africa. The course will be led by Fiona Siegenthaler and Till Förster and provides an intensive instruction in the planning of anthropological research, ethnographic field methods, acquisition of methodological skills in the field and the analysis of field data:
- how to write a research proposal
- how to develop a concise research question
- how to chose the appropriate approach
- how to practice participatory methods
- how to keep records
- how to improve your research in the field
Analysis of field data
- How to analyse your findings
- How to write a convincing research report
- How to present your conclusions
The field course has an overarching theme to which the individual research projects of the participants are loosely related. The course will address “Urban articulations in South Africa”, focusing on Johannesburg and optionally small and medium cities in Gauteng province. The term “articulations” points in a wide sense at how actors, in particular urban contexts, express their identity, their views of the city and its society as well as their cultural convictions. It includes all forms of cultural expression insofar as they are visible to other actors in the urban sphere. They could range from religion or class-consciousness to individuality and sub-cultural collective identity.
The course starts with the autumn semester 2013 and ends with the spring term 2014. During the autumn term, students will look at concepts and theoretical frameworks of both the ‘urban’ and of ‘articulations’ as a social practice. They will also receive an introduction into methodological discussions in anthropology and the social sciences more generally. The individual topics will be defined at an early stage in cooperation with the lecturers and then developed by writing a literature review, drafting the research questions and preparing to conduct empirical research in South Africa. The first semester ends with the submission of a short research proposal of 4–5 pages that will serve as a frame to the subsequent stay in Africa.
Field research will be conducted from early January through mid-February 2014 (ca. 6 weeks). The spring term 2014 is dedicated to the analysis of the field data and the writing of the final report. The course is co-supervised by two anthropologists who have extensive field experience in urban South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. They will advise the students and monitor their fieldwork during the time in the field.
The project course is an introduction to the methods and practice of ethnographic field research. The course starts in the autumn semester 2012 and ends in the spring term 2013. It deals with "Work and Social Practice in Cameroon". During the autumn term, students will look at work and social practice from a more theoretical perspective, while they write a literature review, develop their own research questions and prepare to conduct empirical research in Cameroon. The first semesters ends with the submission of a short research proposal of four to five pages, which will serve as a frame to the subsequent stay in Africa. Field research will be conducted from early January through mid-February 2013 in various parts of Cameroon. The spring term 2013 is dedicated to the analysis of the field data and the writing of the final report. The course is co-supervised by two anthropologists that have extensive field experience in Cameroon and elsewhere in Africa. They will advise the students and monitor their fieldwork during the time in the field.