Learning about new cultural and natural contexts is always an embodied experience. Anthropologists have recently begun to carefully consider the role that walking – alone and with others, along well-marked paths and on routes that go against the social grain – can play in our processes of knowing social and natural worlds, as well as exploring the blurry boundary between these categories. In this group 2019 Winter Term project, students will explore how their bodily movements are “entangled in place-making processes” through the “routes and pathways” they choose and which are chosen for them (Pink 2008:179) on the small island of Gozo. We will engage in walks around the perimeter of Gozo’s coast, through its narrow interior valleys, and through its dense villages and cities, both as a group and through individual engagement with Gozitans who invite us on their itineraries. We will experiment with ways of recording and mapping not only routes and landscapes, but also the sensory experiences of moving through them and the social processes through which they are linked to stories, memories, and relationships. The participants in this trip will have the opportunity to co-author an article for the Off the Beaten Track field school’s peer-reviewed journal, Omertaa, reflecting on their experience with walking as a method of knowing in ethnographic research.
Pink, Sarah (2008). An urban tour: The sensory sociality of ethnographic place-making. Ethnography 9 (2): 175-196.
ABOUT MALTA AND GOZO
Gozo is part of the archipelago of Malta (one of the world’s smallest countries at 122 square miles, a member of the European Union). Due to their strategic position in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, Malta and Gozo have been centers of cultural contact throughout history. Most Gozitans speak English as well as Maltese. Here are a few more fun facts about the island:
-The poet Edward Lear invented the words"pomskizillious and gromphiberous" to describe the coastal cliffs of Gozo.
-There is a 5,550 year old Neolithic temple complex called Ggantija on Gozo, among other ancient ruins.
-Gozo is often claimed to be the site of Calypso’s cave, where Odysseus was captured for seven-years in Homer’s Odyssey.
Professor Hoffmann-Dilloway is partnering with the Off The Beaten Track ethnographic field school to offer this Winter Term project. The Off The Beaten Track is affiliated with the University of Leuven in Belgium, and is currently the longest standing anthropology field school in the world. We will be staying in their program house in the fishing village of Xlendi, and benefitting from their logistical support, experience, and long-standing relationships on the island.
While this project will be conducted through an anthropological frame, anyone with a genuine interest in the topic is welcome to apply, no experience with anthropology needed. What is needed is a willingness to want to respectfully engage with Gozitans and other inhabitants of the island and to learn from their perspectives.
As currently designed, this project will involve considerable walking and hiking through villages with uneven paving, and natural terrain that can be steep, hilly, and rocky. If you enjoy hiking, you’ll have a lot of fun! If you wish to participate but have concerns about mobility, contact Professor Hoffmann-Dilloway to discuss options.
Daytime temperatures are likely to be warm, evenings cold.
Number of students: 10