Summer 2012 Anthropology/Environmental Studies Course in Alaska


Summer 2013 Anthropology/Environmental Studies Course in Alaska

Culture, Environment and Tourism: Sitka, Alaska
July 25 - August 10, 2013

This 17-day, 4-credit Arrupe Social Justice Immersion course in anthropology (ANTH 280) and environmental studies (ENVA 280) examines the relationship between culture and the environment in the unique island setting of Sitka, Alaska. You will not only learn about the area’s terrestrial and marine environments and how Tlingit and non-Native residents of Sitka use its natural resources, but also about local controversies surrounding the  stewardship of the region’s natural resources – its fish and other marine life, timber, and scenic beauty.  The latter includes considering the social and environmental impact of different forms of tourism.

The course begins with a 3-day sea voyage up the Inland Passage abroad an Alaska Marine Highway ship.  While at sea you will be exposed to the geography and natural beauty of the region, learn about its history, and speak with tourists and locals. While in Sitka, you will stay in dorm rooms on the picturesque waterfront campus of the former Sheldon Jackson College, now the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

You will hear from anthropologists, biologists, environmentalists, tourism professionals, and local experts in a range of fields.  The emphasis throughout, however, is on hands-on experiential learning.  This includes numerous fieldtrips: hiking in the Tongass National Forest, staying at a Tlingit fish camp, beach seining and fishing, whale identification in Sitka Sound, bird watching on St. Lazaria Island, collecting wild foods, and participating in cultural tours. 

For permission to enroll or additional information, contact Professor Sharon Gmelch at

Information sessions in early spring will be announced as they are scheduled.

Application and Additional Information

Detailed Course Information for Sitka, Alaska
Flyer about Sitka, Alaska Summer 2012 Course
PowerPoint Presentation on Course (PDF)