Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Summer Field Course: The Performance of Healing and a Brazilian Spiritist Healer

Anthropology 301, 4 units
People everywhere get sick and all societies have developed practices, technologies, and medicines to treat illness. However, not all peoples understand sickness and healing in the same way. In this course we examine healers, theatrical manipulation of cultural symbols, and what gives these rituals their power. In this month long course we spend the first two weeks in the classroom studying the anthropological literature on cross-cultural healing, placebo, meditation, and ritual and have our first fieldwork experience with Spiritist healers in Hollywood. The second two weeks we travel to Brasilia, Brazil to participate and observe John of God, a world-renowned Spiritualist healer. Integrating the classroom study with the field experiences, students participate in the healing rituals of John of God’s retreat center and interview patients, mediums, or business owners to research a central problem of their choice. Who is this farmer/entrepreneur/healer who has an international clientele? Is he a charlatan or a gifted medium? Who are his patients and what do they believe? What are the political and economic ramifications of this healing? How does one judge effective treatment?

For more information, contact Erin Moore (epm@usc.edu).
Click on the image above to see more photos from last year's summer field course.

Instructor: Erin Moore (epm@usc.edu)
Dates: approximately May 17- June 12
Schedule: 3 days a week at USC, 9-12 am, followed by two weeks in Brazil.
Cost: Approximately $2,000 for the field portion, plus U.S.C. summer tuition.

Summer Undergraduate Research Funds (SURF) are available to assist with the cost of the field portion of the course.

Weibel-Orlando Undergraduate Research Fund

In the fall of 2008 the Department of Anthropology established an undergraduate research fund with a bequest from Emeritus Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Joan Weibel-Orlando, and her husband, Dr. Robert Orlando. Research funds of up to $1000.00 per project are awarded at the end of each semester to one or two undergraduates currently enrolled in at least one USC anthropology or archaeology course. Students apply for the funds by completing a short application and submitting at least one letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor to the Weibel-Orlando Undergraduate Research Fund Committee. For further information about the fund, including deadlines for applications, please contact Ms. Rita Jones (ritaj@usc.edu) in the Department of Anthropology.

Overseas Study Opportunities for Anthropology Majors

Studying abroad for a semester or year is one of the best ways to understand a different culture in a meaningful way. It is an experience that can have a profound impact on a student academically, personally, and professionally. Anthropology undergraduates can participate in university-wide international study programs administered through the USC College Office of Overseas Studies. Programs of varying lengths of study abroad are offered in 29 countries, with several programs focused specifically on Anthropological coursework and fieldwork. Unique opportunities currently exist for study in Nicaragua, Ghana, and Kenya. To learn more about undergraduate international study programs, visit /overseas-

  • Department of Anthropology
  • University of Southern California
  • Grace Ford Salvatori Hall
  • 3601 Watt Way, Ste. 120
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089