Growing Under an Acacia Tree: An Open Letter on How to Raise an Anthropologist

  • Kelsey Timler University of British Columbia
  • Sheina Lew-Levy Cambridge University
Keywords: Fieldwork, Field school, Teaching Anthropology, Pedagogy, Anthropology at Home


Although fieldwork is foundational to socio-cultural anthropology, field methods are rarely incorporated into undergraduate classroom curricula. Drawing on experiences from a semester-long field school in East Africa, we provide a student’s perspective on the importance of fieldwork. We argue that bringing the field into the classroom will work to enrich students’ theoretical understanding, enhance practical skills within and beyond anthropology, and foster an appreciation for cultural difference. We outline concrete ways in which field methods can be integrated into classroom settings. Finally, we argue that providing access to field methods outside field school settings may work to reduce the economic barriers that students face, and enhance their ability to cultivate an 'ethnographic sensibility'. 

Author Biographies

Kelsey Timler, University of British Columbia
School of Population and Public Health
Sheina Lew-Levy, Cambridge University
Department of Psychology
Developing Teaching: Reports and Reflections