Tuesday, July 27, 2010

National Science Foundation REU Fiji 2010

The second year of UAB's National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates in Fiji fieldschool has come to a close! The Fiji REU program engages students in interdisciplinary problem based research, exploring long-term dynamics in human interaction with the environment. Project participants learn about anthropology (the study of humans and culture) as well as historical ecology, a discipline focused on the relationships between people and both physical and biological environments. In the context of various study areas in Fiji’s Lau Island Group, students and faculty engage in meaningful scientific research incorporating the methods of anthropology and ecology.

Helena Corzan surveys the post-cyclone landscape during a hike.

While last year's REU focused primarily on archaeological methods of investigation, this year's fieldschool took an ethnographic approach. Students investigated such topics as: foodways and cooking, education, adolescence and gender roles, music, adaptation to western culture, place names, oral histories, and kinship. Students also learned to utilize different methods of ethnographic research while adapting to the unique stresses of fieldwork.

Christel Carlisle helping to prepare a Fijian lunch in the bure.

Courtney Andrews, Mallory Messersmith, and Anna McCown analyzing data for their project involving indigenous and imported rubbish.

For more information (along with more photos, posters, and lesson plans), visit the Fiji REU's website.

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