Ethnographic Field School in Tallahassee, FL
Supported by the National Science Foundation
Through a grant to Brandeis University and the University of Florida, the National Science Foundation supports an ethnographic field school for Ph.D. students in cultural anthropology from universities in the United States.
In 2013, the field school will take place July 7 – August 10 in Tallahassee, FL. The field school is coordinated by Clarence (Lance) Gravlee from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida, in collaboration with community partners from the Health Equity Alliance of Tallahassee (HEAT). Guest faculty scheduled to participate include Drs. Jean Schensul, Stephen Schensul (Connecticut), Sarah Szurek (UF), and Tony Whitehead (Maryland).
The field school is designed to articulate with ongoing NSF-funded research in Tallahassee. In partnership with community members and organizations, Gravlee and colleagues are conducting community-based participatory research on the social and cultural context of racial inequalities in health. The research integrates conventional ethnographic methods with social network analysis, geospatial analysis, and survey methods. Students who participate in the field school will be exposed to a wide array of methods for data collection and appreciate how they fit together. The field school is conducted in partnership with local residents following principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR).
Who should apply: All Ph.D. students in sociocultural anthropology from universities in the USA are eligible.
Costs: Airfare and living costs are supported by the program through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
The field school is designed to expose students to the complete chain of research, from posing theoretically compelling questions to identifying the most appropriate methods of data collection and conducting preliminary analysis in the field. Although we introduce students to data management and analysis, the emphasis is on field-based data collection. We will work with students in the analysis of data they collect once they return home, but only if they ask for such mentoring.
We will focus the training on a set of research questions that students, faculty, and community members will work together to address. To take advantage of the research infrastructure and community ties already in place, we anticipate that the 2013 field school with focus either on social and spatial inequalities in food security or on the experiences and consequences of racism among African Americans in Tallahassee. To choose between these alternatives, we will engage students in dialogue with community members about which question is most feasible and of mutual interest.
For whichever topic we choose, we will specify a set of research questions that span the continuum of exploratory to confirmatory research questions and introduce students to a range of unstructured and structured methods of data collection and analysis. The major sets of methods we will introduce include:
- participant observation
- ethnographic interviewing
- systematic methods for cognitive anthropology
- social network analysis
- geospatial analysis
- development of culturally-based interventions
In all cases we will emphasize the links between research questions and the choice of methods for data collection and analysis.
The field school will adhere to principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR), which sustain the ongoing collaboration between University of Florida researchers and community partners in Tallahassee. For more information about these principles, please see the Health Equity Alliance of Tallahassee (HEAT) website. Students will be placed in homestays with families in the Frenchtown neighborhood of Tallahassee and will be paired with community members who will also participate in the training.