Field Schools, DIS Programs and Study Abroad

Bronislaw Malinowski (1922): “Imagine yourself suddenly set down surrounded by all your gear, alone on a tropical beach close to a native village, while the launch or dinghy which has brought you sails away out of sight… Imagine further that you are a beginner, without previous experience, with nothing to guide you and no one to help you…This exactly describes my first initiation into field work”

Anthropology is distinctive from the other social sciences in its emphasis on fieldwork as the principal methodology through which data is gathered. This is true for sociocultural anthropologists, archaeologists, primatologists, paleoanthropologists, forensic anthropologists—indeed, for all sub-disciplines of anthropology.

Through fieldwork we come to intimately know our informants, excavate material culture and hominid remains and record the behavior of non-human primates.

For sociocultural anthropologists, this means ethnography—the scientific study of human societies and cultures in situ and through prolonged interaction (participant-observation) with the persons being studied. For archaeologists, this typically entails field excavations and for biological anthropologists this can mean ethological observation, gathering of biological and genetic samples and excavation.

Drew Anthropology focuses on placing students in the field as soon as possible. Starting at the introductory level, through to senior methodology classes, students are required to perform fieldwork in their communities. However, fieldwork in and around the NY/NJ area is just the beginning.

Drew anthropology students are strongly advised and encouraged to take part in one of the off-campus study programs in the areas of ethnography, archaeology or biological anthropology. These include programs in the United States, South America and Africa.