Field research courses

Large group of smiling participants from the Field Research Course

Field Research Courses Summer 2019

The deadline to apply for the Summer 2019 courses is November 19, 2018 before 4 p.m.

We offer courses that enable students to conduct an independent study abroad and offer them the opportunity to increase their knowledge on particular issues linked to the host country. These courses represent six credits in the undergraduate program of study and three credits for students registered in a masters program.

Please note that each course has a maximum capacity of 15 students.


This course examines different forms of inequality in Brazil and some of the responses to those inequalities given by activists. Students will learn about significant theoretical approaches to social and economic disparity, while studying firsthand how activists in Brazil have organized associations and social movements to alleviate poverty and other forms of social injustice.

The course has three interrelated goals. 1) To better understand inequality, students will use the cities of Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, and a rural area near Itacaré, in the state of Bahia, as case studies that provide empirical knowledge and specificity in relation to global trends; combining fieldwork and coursework, we will draw comparisons between Brazil and other international sites. 2) The course will invite students to creatively explore activism as a response to inequality. Towards these ends, student will learn to think critically about some of the themes that underpin international activism. While students deconstruct certain forms of activism as problematic, they will also seek inspiration for building a more just society by listening carefully and learning from the work of the Brazil-based groups we encounter. 3) This is a research-intensive course which will allow students to learn and/or hone the core social science skills of observation, unstructured interviewing, writing fieldnotes, and, integrating these, ethnography.

Within the embedded study abroad context and the condensed format, it is also a chance for students to engage in stimulating and memorable discussions with each other about approaches to inequality, toward critical analysis of what they are simultaneously learning in the field and in the interdisciplinary scholarship addressing poverty. In combination, students will develop field observation, analysis, and writing skills in the fashion of professional anthropologists and other ethnographic researchers.

This course is offered in English to students from May 9 to 27, 2019.

Professor Contact Information

Professor Meg Stalcup
School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies

Office Hours Fall Trimester: Thursdays 12:30-2:20 PM
FSS 10008

Course Outline


Like all countries in the world, some Mexican populations suffer exclusion and discrimination from dominant groups in Mexican society. Be it sexual, linguistic, cultural, visible minorities, women, migrant populations and refugees, many social groups living in Mexico are subjected to various forms of injustice (legal, social, economic, formal or informal, regular or institutionalized, etc.).

Focusing on the issues of social justice, this course will seek to understand socio-economic inequalities and sociocultural conflicts in Mexico that lead certain social groups to be more socially, economically, legally and institutionally excluded and / or discriminated. To do so, we will study the sociological, historical, economic and political factors inherent in the processes of exclusion and discrimination. Throughout the course, we will analyze the various facets of the process of minorization, (prejudice, stigmatization, exclusion, discrimination, ordinary racism or institutional racism). Particular attention will be paid to the struggles, challenges and opportunities of these minority groups and how they have organised and organizing themselves in order to fight for their rights.

By interacting with various field practitioners (NGOs / academics / students / stakeholders), interactive seminars, field observation and visits in Mexico City and Puebla, students will explore socio-political challenges of various minorities in contemporary Mexico.

Finally, students will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to carry out scientific research through field immersion with one or another of these Mexican minority groups.

This course is offered at the undergraduate level in French and will take place from May 5th to 25th 2019. Some Spanish knowledge is required.

Professor Contact Information

This course is only available in French. to undergraduate students.

Professor Patrice Corriveau

If you have any questions, please contact professor Corriveau by email.

Course Outline


Rising political tensions between Russia and the West make this an important moment to study Russians’ perception of the world and their country’s place in it. To this end, this course will study Russian national identity, the nature of the Russian political system, Russian views on current international affairs, and Russian foreign policy. It will examine question such as: ‘Do Russians consider their country to be part of Europe, part of Asia, Eurasian, or something different?’ ‘Where do Russians consider that their future lies?’ ‘How do Russians explain the rising tensions with the Western world?’ ‘What solutions do Russians see for current international problems?’ ‘What are the main vectors in Russian foreign policy, and what factors and institutions shape it?’

The course will take place in two segments. The first segment consists of one week of introductory classes held at the University of Ottawa at the end of May 2019. The second consists of two weeks of seminars and field trips in Moscow at the start of June 2019, during which students will have the opportunity to visit institutions such as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Russian media companies, visit museums and historical sites, meet and interview Russian public figures, and learn about the Russian point of view.

The course is open to MA students only. The course is offered in English. No knowledge of Russian is required. It will take place from May 27 to June 16 2019.

Professor Contact Information

Professor Paul Robinson
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
613-562-5800 ext. 4174

Office hours: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., FSS6054

Course Outline

Taiwan (Hualien)

This is a three-week field course to the College of Indigenous Studies, National Dong Hwa University, in Hualien, Taiwan, an area with a large indigenous population. Through course works and field visits, students will gain knowledge of what international indigeneity means in the specific context of Taiwan and it its local communities. The course will enable students to get a hands-on experience with anthropological field research methods of participant observation research and taking field notes. Students will visit Paiwan and Rukai communities in Taitung, as well as the Truku community of Skadang, at an elevation of 1400 meters in the mountains of the Taroko National Park. This is a challenging uphill hike, but an unparalleled opportunity to get to know the forested mountains and the people who live there. The course will explore issues of indigenous peoples in Taiwan, including culture, state-indigenous relations, development and, above all, ecology.

This course is offered in English to undergraduate students from May 6th to 24th 2019

Professor Contact Information

Scott Simon
Sociological and Anthropological Studies
613-562-5800 ext.1363

Office Hours: Tuesday, 10am to noon and by appointment
Office:Social Sciences Building, FSS 10007

Course Outline

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