Anthropology professor conducts SSHRC research in Tanzania

September 10, 2018 | Arts & Culture

Katie and regional tourism officer Fidia Venance (supplied by Katie Biittner)

While many students enjoy an escape from campus over the summer, they’re not the only ones making the most of the break. MacEwan’s professors also take advantage of the time away from classes, often travelling to conduct field research.

Dr. Katie Biittner, an assistant professor of anthropology, spent her summer in the Iringa Region of Tanzania on the East Coast of Africa, home to a long-standing tradition of basket making.

Katie, along with her research assistant Keyna Young (BA, Anthropology, ‘18) and the regional tourism officer Fidia Venance, conducted ethnoarchaeological research on the tradition of basket making as part of the Iringa Region Archaeology Project. The initiative is funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Katie is a collaborator on the project.

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“We spent our time connecting with local basket makers and sellers, and conducting preliminary interviews,” says Katie.

Katie and Keyna will return to Tanzania next summer to continue working with Fidia. They will focus on an intensive documentation of the basket-making process, and start sampling known archaeological sites to track how long the tradition has been practiced in the region.

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