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 term-length program, students will 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 will be 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 will have many opportunities to learn about contemporary African ways of life. The program will combine intensive Swahili language instruction, guest lectures by local researchers, officials, and activists, an independent research project, and several field trips, including an educational safari to the Serengeti. One term of Swahili study (offered for course credit in the preceding fall term) is required prior to departure.
Course of Study
Students will receive credit for the following three courses:
Although English is commonly-heard in Tanzania’s urban areas, Swahili is the lingua franca in the villages and on the streets. 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 the course.
Study tours and excursions are an important part of the program. Several day trips will be taken from Moshi, each with a different theme or focus relating to cultural ecology, Tanzanian history and culture, and/or tourism. At the mid-point in the term the group will go on an eight- to nine-day field safari to the areas in and around Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park. This trip will afford students with some opportunities for game viewing, but the primary emphasis will be on exploring the challenges that living with wildlife (and tourists!) poses for African people in the vicinity of these famous natural attractions.
Have taken at least one Anthropology course (okay to take after acceptance into the program).
Take a course in Introductory Swahili in the Fall term prior to the program.
After an initial week of orientation at a youth hostel, students will live in homestays with Tanzanian families. While on safari, accommodations will vary from camping to local hostel-type hotels.
(For specific dates, contact the International Programs Office, Old Chapel, Third Floor.)
April: Application deadline is the third Friday of spring term.
May: Non-refundable deposit due at the Cashier's Office in McKean House, and receipt brought to the International Programs Office
Fall term: Orientation meetings
Early January: Program begins
Late March: Program ends