Joshua Ginder '15 and Ava Muhr ’15 bring off-campus research home through the International Bridge Course

An avid outdoorsman, Joshua Ginder ’15 first became interested in Sherpa culture after reading about Sherpa mountaineers in Jon Krakauer’s bestseller, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. Through his study abroad program, Ginder decided to merge this passion for the outdoors with his coursework in Anthropology and Globalization Studies, and applied for the IBC program to study the economic and environmental impacts of the mountaineering industry on the Sherpa community.

Working with his faculty mentor, Associate Professor of Anthropology Matthew Amster, Ginder hopes to produce an ethnographic film capturing the sentiment of these Sherpa youth. He has prepared for the experience through coursework in ethnographic film, South Asian religion and culture, and anthropological theory and fieldwork methods. You can learn more about Ginder’s semester abroad—and view some of his incredible photography—on his blog.

“Cultural anthropology, in a sense, is a modern record and analysis of history as it happens,” said Ava Muhr ’15, double major in History and Anthropology. As she studies abroad in Nantes, France this semester, Muhr’s IBC project merges these fields to explore women’s participation during the French Revolution, historical and academic conceptions of their roles, and public understandings of gender and civic engagement today.  

Under the guidance of her project mentor, Professor of History Bill Bowman, Muhr is reviewing primary sources at the National Library of France and the University Library in Nantes that describe and debate women’s roles during this period. She’ll also conduct interviews with present-day educators, citizens, and feminist groups to better understand how these historical depictions affect contemporary conceptions of gender.  

Through the IBC program, students pursue three-semester long projects in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences under the guidance of a faculty mentor. In the first semester, the IBC Scholars develop a project, create a bibliography of texts, and conduct pre-departure research on campus. While abroad the following semester, the Scholars conduct international research in archives, communities, and out in the field—communicating regularly with their mentors throughout the process. When they return to campus, their mentors guide them in a culminating independent research project or Senior Capstone that showcases their findings.  

Read more about Ginder and Muhr’s IBC experiences