Field Summer School Bulgarian Culture for foreign students

 

The need for enhancement of knowledge and skills related, on the one hand, to anthropological understanding of the world and, on the other hand, the opportunity of applying this knowledge and the skills in the practice is out of doubt in the contemporary context. This Field Summer School is an appropriate strategic method to meet the challenge to academic education posed by the current developments.  

The Field Summer School is organized by the Department of Ethnology at the University of Plovdiv and run by university professors and experts in the field work. It is with an academic focus, targeting students with basic knowledge and skills in the field of humanities and social sciences accompanied by basic anthropological competences. On the one hand, we rely on our experience accumulated during the annual summer field practices carried out in various regions of Bulgaria. These have resulted in established tradition, cooperative initiatives, partners' networks, etc. On the other hand, the organization of the biannual Balkan Summer School on Religion and Public Life (http://logos.uni-plovdiv.net/en/web/logos.etn/bssrpl) also has contributed to enhancement of our know-how. 

The Field Summer School takes place in Bulgaria – a place which offers a truly interesting and diversified field of research; a sort of a crossroad of religions, cultures and traditions. In Bulgaria, as a part of the Balkans, one may observe traces of different historical heritage (Thracian, Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, etc.) as well as feel various cultural influences (European, Oriental, and Mediterranean). Particularity of the local culture reveals both in material artefacts and in the intangible cultural heritage of the region (songs, dances, rituals, narratives). The Summer School relies not only on the rational (cognitive) understanding of the specific cultural codes but also on the full sensory immersion (via tasting, smelling, touching) and emotional participation in the local environment.

The Field School aims at familiarization with the local particularities of the Bulgarian culture through preparing and conducting an ethnological/anthropological field research. A few introductory lectures and seminars are planned to present a specific field of study before participants start "discovering" the culture by applying methods and techniques of the field work (observation, interview, visual approaches, etc.). Visits to selected places of interest like churches, cultural clubs (tchitalishte), markets, Central Square, restaurants and cafes, parks will facilitate the perception, "tasting", "smelling" and "hearing" the city, village, sacred place.

During the Summer School the student will acquire skills of assessment and use of diverse methods; communication with local people; seeing and registering of ethnographic facts; systematization, analysis and problematization of collected information. Such tasks cannot be achieved without interaction between the professors, students and research team. This is the model of learning through practical participation in research programs that meet the need of the students for learning about different types of terrains so that they can compare and further develop their research work. Four research programs/terrains are developed and offered:  The Black Sea and Strandzha Mountains, The Rhodope Mountains, The Valley of Roses and Valley of Thracian Kings and Plovdiv.

Students who successfully complete the course of the Field Summer School receive certificates for the acquired skills and are awarded 6 ECST.