Informational Meeting for New Course

dscf5312.jpgHi all,

Just in case you missed the posters up around campus, Professor Robin Jacobson and I have organized an informational meeting tomorrow about the new course we’ll offer in the Spring of 2019 — CONN 397: Migration and the Global City. Here’s the key information:

Migrants and the Global City: Informational MeetingIMG_3056
Wednesday March 28, 2018
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Wyatt 226

At this meeting, we’ll review our basic plan and outline some of the additional costs associated with this course. In this course, we’ll be exploring migrants’ experiences in diverse global cities, the policies that shape those experiences, and how other nations grapple with the migrations and mobilities that characterize our contemporary world. Over Spring break, we’ll travel to Doha, Qatar — a truly fascinating city on the frontier of global modernity. At the conclusion of the semester, we’ll travel to Amsterdam to explore how that city continues to accommodate newcomers after several centuries of doing so.

We hope to see you there!






A New Course on the Horizon — CONN 397: Migrants and the Global City


Nepalese migrants on the waterfront corniche, with the gleaming skyscraper of Doha’s West Bay in the background

Hi all,

Professor Robin Jacobson and I are planning a new course for the Spring of 2019. The tentative title for the course is Migrants and the Global City, and while much of the course will happen on campus, it also includes trips to both Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Doha, Qatar. We intend to hold an interest meeting for students in February, so please look for our forthcoming announcement. But in the meantime, Robin and I have just finished scouting the possibilities for students in Qatar. While this is all still fresh in my mind (I’m on the plane home now), let me provide a glimpse of some of the activities we have in mind.


Deep in the bowels of Souq Waqif

Architecture, urban space, and urban planning are a fascinating topic of study in Qatar. We’ll visit the ultra modern West Bay with a diverse set of glowing high rises ringed by the water. In contrast, we’ll stay in Souq Waqif, a revitalized Middle Eastern bazaar in the historic center of the city. It’s an impressive and bustling public space, worthy of attention itself, but walk a few blocks and more contrasts await. Robin and I wandered from the glittering streets of the Souq, scrubbed by migrants on hands and knees every morning, to the broken, trash-filled sidewalks of the nearby neighborhood where such workers might live. As Qatari citizens suburbanized in decades past, the core of the old city was abandoned to the legions of low wage foreign workers who make up a majority of the current population. In Qatar, migrants make up almost 90% of the total population, and while


A villa in the center city, abandoned to foreign migrants in years past as Qatari citizens moved to the suburbs

they work everywhere, many of them reside offstage from the impressive city. In the Industrial Area, on the fringes of the city, labor camps fill the horizons, and on their day off, migrants from around the Indian Ocean gather to shop, eat, and socialize. Robin and I met with some old friends of mine and they drove us to a labor camp and the market area that workers frequent on their single day off in their work week. We hope to arrange a lunch where each student gets to meet a transnational labor migrant and learn a little bit more about their lives and experiences, and to see some of the Industrial Area. Migrants are everywhere you look, and they make use of the city in their own ways. Students will be able to experience and explore the energy they bring to the urban landscape, and the diversity that makes up this small Gulf State.


For midday prayer on Friday, hundreds of muslim foreign workers pray on the city streets

Students will also get to talk with others who live, work, and study in Qatar. We had the pleasure to meet with scholars and those working for the government in various capacities. Students will get to connect with their peers at one of the many universities in the city, officials at the Ministry of Urban Planning, and Museum curators. In museums, the state oftentimes presents and codifies its national narrative — the stories nations tell themselves about themselves. In the Msheireb Museums, we encountered the stories Qatar has to tell about slavery, abolished in 1952, and about the transition from an economy based on pearls to one based on oil. We want our students to engage and explore those narratives, and to assess how the nation thinks about the integration of migrants into the stories it tells about itself.

DSCF5317 2

In the heart of the Industrial Area, thousands of foreign workers gather on Friday to shop, socialize, and connect with friends from home

If you’ve never been to the Middle East, this trip is going to reshape the way you think about the region. You’ll be safer than you are in America, and you’ll have an opportunity to engage with a sort of diversity that makes America look provincial. And Doha’s only half of our plan, as we’re also going to be traveling to Amsterdam!

If this might be of interest to you, look for our forthcoming announcement for a February student interest meeting.




A Qatari traditional band rollicking on the cobblestones of Souq Waqif. Note the bagpipes — an instrument that traces its roots deep in Middle Eastern history.

Spotlight on the SOAN Department at UPS


Hi all,

I was recently asked to pen a description of the SOAN department, our curriculum, and how we go about training students in anthropology, for the newsletter of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). As you may know, students from Puget Sound have regularly attended the annual conference of the SfAA, where they’ve received numerous accolades and prizes for their work.

In this brief article, I provide an overview of our program, and also feature our current crop of seniors and the impressive constellation of independent research projects they’ve now commenced.

Please check it out!


SOAN Fall Mixer, this Thursday!

Hi all,

The SOAN department, in conjunction with the SOAN student club, will host its Fall mixer this Thursday. Learn more about the SOAN major and minor, hear about research opportunities, meet other students, ask about the courses offered in the Spring, and grab some free food. Here are the details:

What: SOAN Fall Mixer
Where: Tahoma Room
When: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Thursday October 27

We hope to see you there!


SOAN Students at the SfAA Meeting in Vancouver

Hi all,

Five students from the SOAN department recently returned from the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) in Vancouver, Canada. The SfAA is the second largest society in anthropology, and connects a variety of academic anthropologists with practitioners in the fields of international development, education, public health, conservation, and much more.


Marshall Glass

In addition to attending numerous sessions at the conference, all five students participated in the conference’s large and energetic poster session.

Marshall Glass (’16) presented a poster about the research agenda he first began exploring in SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods, and has now carried into the research-based senior thesis track offered by the department. His poster and project, entitled A Survey of the Differing Experiences and Culture Present among Various Realms of the Narcotics World, fit well in the thematic foci that coalesce at the SfAA.


Carolynn Hammen

Carolynn Hammen (’16) also presented a poster about her senior thesis project currently underway. Her project and poster, entitled Understanding the Latino Paradox: An Ethnographic Exploration of Cultural Preservation in Relation to Health, is perfectly located at the juncture between migration studies and public health — the culmination of the research interests she’s developed in the SOAN department. She’s currently wrapping up the fieldwork portion of this project in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area!

Sam Carp (’17) presented a poster about the project he completed in SOAN 299: Ethnographic


Sam Carp

Methods. His project and poster, entitled Relationships to Food: How Technological Limitations Inspire Individual Responsibility, explored how food choices shift as a result of technological limitations — in this case, how the separation between cars and residences at Tacoma’s Salmon Beach impacts individual decisions about food. His paper, and Sam’s broader research agenda, finds the synergy between the methods and topics of SOAN and a concern with our environmental future.


Elena Becker


Elena Becker (’17) presented a poster about her AHSS summer research project in Malaysian Borneo. That poster and project, entitled Cultural Authenticity and the Impacts of Cultural Tourism in Malaysian Borneo, used an ethnographic methodology to look at cultural tourism in Borneo — work that is described in more detail here. This poster was presented in addition to the paper she presented earlier the same day.

Finally, Kathryn Stutz (’17) presented a poster about the project she conducted in SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods. That project, entitled Native Identity in Pacific Northwest Coast


Kathryn Stutz and her prize-winning poster

Museums and Cultural Institutions, revisited some of the issues described by historian James Clifford in his pathbreaking work about Northwest museums and the presentation of indigeneity. Congrats to Kathryn for her excellent work!

At the poster session, students were able to network with a variety of anthropologists and other social scientists. Russel Bernard even stopped by to check out their posters! Several students received offers to publish their work, and others were able to survey the possibilities for Masters and PhD programs for their coming years. Finally, after an amazing and impressive day for Puget Sound students, we had a celebratory dinner at Sura Korean Restaurant.


The aforementioned celebratory dinner at Sura.


Elena and Kathryn talking with Dr. Diane Austin, Director of the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology (and my advisor in graduate school …) at the SfAA’s Sustaining Fellows reception in the hotel’s penthouse suite.

SOAN Spring Info Mixer

Hi all,

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the SOAN Club are hosting the pre-registration Spring Info Mixer tonight, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm in the Rotunda. This is a great opportunity to explore SOAN as a possible major or minor, to hear about some of the research opportunities in the department, and to hear a bit about the courses that will be offered in the Spring semester. It will also be an opportunity to meet some of the other students in the department and to chat with some of the SOAN professors. There will even be some food provided. We hope to see you there!

SOAN Dept Mixer[1]

SBOH: The Salmon Beach Oral History project

Hi all,

Those of you who’ve taken SOAN 299: Ethnographic Methods recently are already aware of this project, but over the first few weeks of summer I had the time to pull some initial interviews together and post them on their own blog. Here’s a brief description, and you can have a look at the initial iteration of the page here:

SBOH headerThe purpose of any oral history project is, at least, to build a compendium of stories, perspectives, and experiences told by those who lived it. That is this project’s core purpose. We build this compendium semester by semester, with small groups of students from an Ethnographic Methods course at the University of Puget Sound. These students loosely guide interview/conversations to thematic waypoints that the class determines to explore. From that angle, the Salmon Beach Oral History project provides multiple pathways by which the history of this truly unique community can be explored.

The community of Salmon Beach traces its roots back over a hundred years. What started as fishing shacks congregated around a boathouse became weekend and summer camps and cabins. Those cabins became cottages, electricity arrived, and decades of growth and change ensued. Through those decades, cottages grew upward and outward, summer cabins became homes, and the history of the present became more clear. Equally of note, automobiles are a ten minute walk up more than 200 stairs. Those stairs ascend a bluff that constantly threatens property owners. Property comprises a small strip of beach and houses on posts over the tidal zone of Puget Sound. Collective organization of the community is a structural necessity: utilities, the legal framework of ownership, and the management of communal spaces require it.

For the time being, the oral history interviews and other materials are housed here. The process of migrating these materials to the institutional safety of the Collins Library at the University of Puget Sound is under discussion. In both manifestations, this compendium will be publicly available. Anyone interested in exploring the particular experiences of this unique community is welcome.

Andrew Gardner, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Puget Sound, April 2015

The Salmon Beach Oral History project commenced in September of 2014. The curriculum at the University of Puget Sound’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN) requires all students to explore the craft and techniques of the interview. By orienting this perennial assignment to the collection of oral history interviews about life — past and present — in the Salmon Beach community, SOAN students are steadily building a substantial archive of knowledge about this fascinating community.