Skip to main content

Ethnographic Field Schools

Summer 2017 - Huanchaco, Trujillo, Peru


The USU Ethnographic Field School provides students with classroom instruction and hands-on experience/training in ethnographic methods. Originally designed and coordinated by USU Professor of Anthropology, Dr.Bonnie Glass-Coffin and currently directed by Dr. Michelle Grocke, the field school  provides students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn credit as participants in an ethnographic field school for anthropological research.

Ethnographic Field School 2017
ANTH 1010 Cultural Anthropology
Minimum age of 18
Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA

Contact:    Dr. Michelle Grocke (

Read this year's ethnographies here!

Watch Interviews with Students and learn more about day-to-day experiences!

Summer 2016 - Salavador and São Paolo, Brazil


Exploring Identity through Difference: An Immersive Experience of Race and Class in Brazil

This course provided students an experiential journey to understand how race and class construct Brazilian identity. The Brazilian patterns of these social systems are remarkably similar to those of America, yet manifest themselves very differently in national discourse. In order to analyze these similarities and differences, students will engage on a three-week experience of Brazilian society. Students  learned about the ethnic history of Brazil through the legacy of slavery and the intersection of race and class through service in the communities of Salvador and São Paulo; and understand community efforts of resistance through the eyes of leader, activists, and artists across Brazil.

To learn more about the field school's experiences visit:

Dr. Francois Dengah (




Ethnographic Field Schools 2002-2008

students in Peru during ethnographic field school in 2006

The USU Ethnographic Field School has provided students with classroom instruction and hands-on experience/training in ethnographic methods since 2002. Designed and coordinated by USU Professor of Anthropology Bonnie Glass-Coffin, the field school acts as an Asset-Based Community Development program for a small community while providing students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn credit as participants in an ethnographic field school for anthropological/sociological research. The program is located in Huanchaco, Peru, a fishing village on the northwest coast of Peru near Trujillo and several famous archaeological sites. A local option is also available.

"The decision to go to Huanchaco, was a response to the challenges posed to the people of Huanchaco, Peru, a fishing "village" just outside the city of Trujillo on Peru's north central coast. Mirroring the history of in-migration and urbanization in other parts of coastal Peru, this fishing "village” has exploded in size over the last 20 years. In this period, Huanchaco has been transformed from a sleepy hamlet of less than 1000 residents with a subsistence fishing economy to a sprawling, demographically diverse region with a district-wide population of more than 50,000. Tourism, agri-business and other service-based (and mainly informal) employment have all but replaced fishing. While half-a-dozen fishermen in their traditional reed fishing boats called caballitos de totora still ply the waves in early morning and late afternoon, their numbers have declined rapidly over even the last five years, and today it is more common to see surf-boards than caballitos de totora on the water. This is definitely a region undergoing rapid and dramatic transition.

These changes as well as requests from Huanchaco residents lead us to do a more "action” oriented anthropology, called applied anthropology. Beginning in 2006, the USU Ethnographic Field School changed its focus and priorities. While ethnographic research is still an important component of the field school training, a model for beneficial social change emphasizing both participatory research methods and Asset-Based Community Development was developed and implemented by USU students and community partners in four very different sectors of Huanchaco. Students were organized into research teams and charged with identifying local panels of community experts to inventory individual and community-wide assets and to envision, design and carry-out grass-roots development projects together with these community partners. Study areas included Huanchaco (the district "seat” and former fishing village that has been most transformed by tourism), Huanchaquito (a nearby fishing village with a less developed business/tourism center), El Tablazo (a recent settlement away from the beach originally designated for refugees who had lost their homes to a recent "El Niño” flood) and Las Lomas (the most populated sector of the district and a settlement away from the beach that has attracted migrants from the mountains and tropical forests of northern Peru)."
--Dr. Bonnie Glass-Coffin

For more information about previous field schools, please visit these websites:

Ethnographic Field School 2006-2008: Asset-based Community development, Peru: Huanchaco, Huanchaquito, Las Lomas, El Tablazo.

Ethnographic Field School 2002-2004: Huanchaco, Peru.