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Undergraduate Research

Summer Field Schools

There are numerous opportunities for students who are interested in archaeology to receive training in excavation and laboratory techniques during the summer. Announcements for field schools can be found on the Bulletin Board in the 4th floor hallway of Dinwiddie Hall. In some years, the department offers its own field school, and an announcement about it is posted on the Bulletin Board on the 4th floor. See your major advisor about receiving credit for courses taken as part of a field school. As a rule, you may earn up to 6-credits for Tulane field schools. Fieldwork taken through other universities typically transfers as 3 credits.

Funds for Undergraduate Research

The Tulane Anthropology Department administers two funds for undergraduate research:

Kenneth J. Opat Fund for Undergraduate Research in Anthropology

The Kenneth J. Opat Fund was established by the family and friends of the late Kenneth J. Opat, a distinguished anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences at the time of his death, with the purpose of encouraging undergraduate students to conduct and report original research in anthropology.

A variety of research expenses are eligible for support from this fund. Examples include travel to a research site or to a professional meeting to report on research or to confer with an expert on research plans; the purchase of research supplies, equipment, or library materials (equipment and books to be retained by the university on completion of the project); wages for informants, etc.

Priority is given to applicants conducting research for anthropology honors theses, for independent studies, and for other advanced courses involving research projects. A competition for such grants is announced by the department chair during the fall or spring semester.

In the past, awards have been made for field work on "Skid Row" in New Orleans, the Houma Indians of Louisiana, Chicano mural artists in Los Angeles, and plastic surgeons in Great Britain and the U.S.; travel to the Smithsonian Institution to study projectile point collections; a study of the leaders of messianic movements in several parts of the world; a comparative study of markets in several towns in East Africa; a study of primate behavior in Costa Rica; and the classification of prehistoric bone implements in Louisiana.

GRANTS-IN-AID from the Mesoamerican Ethnohistory Fund

The Mesoamerican Ethnohistory Fund, established in 1994, supports research and publication in the field of Mesoamerican ethnohistory by the faculty and students of the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University. Ethnohistory is here defined as the use of documentary sources of evidence to reconstruct and follow over time past societies and cultures, with a view to resolving questions of concern to the discipline. Documentary sources include colonial Spanish records, colonial records composed by indigenous peoples, and preconquest indigenous texts including codices and inscriptions.

Awards from the Fund, which may not exceed $2,000, are intended primarily to support research and publication activities on a limited scale, examples of which include self-contained research projects of limited scale such as undergraduate honors research, "seed money" for preliminary research that may culminate in a larger program of research also funded entirely or in part by other sources, and supplementary funding for a larger program or research also funded by other sources. Activities considered appropriate for funding include, but are not limited to:

  • Travel to conduct field or archival research
  • Document photocopying
  • Photographic supplies and services
  • Manuscript preparation and drafting services
  • Research aids (e.g., acquisition of reference books, microfilm)
  • Translation services
  • Publication subvention
  • Clerical, archival, or other services conducted by individuals on behalf of the grantee

Students pursuing a BS or BA degree with a major in Anthropology at Tulane, students pursuing an MA or PhD degree in Anthropology at Tulane, and faculty holding regular, full-time appointments in the Department of Anthropology at Tulane are invited to apply for grants to support eligible research. To the extent permitted by the financial condition of the Fund, there will be two competitions for grants-in-aid during each academic year. A fall competition would support research during the fall semester and the inter-semester break; a spring competition would support activities conducted during the spring semester and following summer.

How to Apply

Students should consult with faculty advisors regarding preparation of their applications. Applications should be made in writing and include the following:

  1. A research design or other description of the proposed use of the funds requested. Description should be concise (5 double-spaced pages, maximum) and link the proposed activities to a methodological or substantive problem.
  2. A timetable of proposed activities.
  3. An itemized budget showing how requested funds would be spent
  4. (For undergraduate applicants only) A letter of endorsement from a departmental faculty member acting as an advisor for the proposed research.

Applications should be addressed to:

The Mesoamerican Ethnohistory Funds Awards Committee
c/o Susan Chevalier, Administrative Secretary
Department of Anthropology, Tulane University

Deadlines for these applications will be announced each semester.