Japan - ANT399Y5Y

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The Course

This course provides senior undergraduate students who have developed some knowledge of a discipline and its research methods an opportunity to work in the research project of a professor in return for course credit. Students enrolled have an opportunity to become involved in original research, develop their research skills and share in the excitement and discovery of acquiring new knowledge. 

This is an archaeological research project that focuses on the relationship between plants and people in northern Japan, and early agriculture and its historical context there. The history of a culture and its relationship to the environment is written to a large extent in its relationship to, and use of plants. The culture in question is the Ainu of Hokkaido, Japan. The database is plant remains recovered from archaeological sites, but one in particular stands out, the Sakushu Kotoni Gawa River site on the Hokkaido University campus in Sapporo that was excavated in the 1980s. We will examine the plant remains, identifying and documenting them and building a digital database of the collection. The significance of the collection is profound. The research we have completed so far has transformed our ideas about Ainu identitiy and human ecology in Hokkaido. Using the plant database as a foundation we will consider Ainu history and issues of the meaning of being indigenous in Japan. 

Prerequisites: Students must have been selected for the ANT399Y5Y ROP. For application procedures and deadlines visit the ROP website.

The Trip

During the fall reading week travel with Professor Gary Crawford and a small group of students to Hokkaido. Visit the Sakshu Kotoni Gawa and other archaeological sites. Learn about heritage management and the world of aracheological practice in Japan. We will also learn about the natural history of Hokkaido. A visit to an Ainu community will cap our visit.

Want a student perspective? This is a new experience, but you can read student blogs from other trips here!

Why Participate

  • ­­Develop anthropological research skills;
  • Contribute to transformational research;
  • Add international experience to your resume; 
  • ­­Establish connections with fellow students and your professor.


Estimated cost of International Component*: TBD

*The amount posted is currently under review by the University Business Board. Approved amounts will be confirmed in March 2018. 

What is Included: Flights, transportation, accommodation, meals and in-country activities associated with the course. Funding Available!

What is NOT Included: Course fees, fees associated with travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance, additional optional tours/activities while abroad, visa applications, medical exams, vaccinations, and any other additional costs.

Funding: This experience is offered with the generous support of the Office of the Dean, which means;

  • All undergraduate UTM students enrolled in the course will receive $500 towards the international component of the course, should their application be successful.
  • Plus, additional bursaries will be awarded based on demonstrated financial need (not linked to OSAP) as shown in your funding request in your UTM Abroad application.
  • Read more about funding here!

Important Dates

Date Description
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Applications Open
Monday, March 5, 2018 ROP Applications Close
Friday, March 16, 2018 UTM Abroad Applications Close
Friday, April 20, 2018 Second Instalment Due
Friday, May 11, 2018 Third Instalment Due
Friday, September 7, 2018 Fourth Instalment Due
September - exact date to be determined Pre-Departure Session
Friday, September 28, 2018 Fifth Instalment Due
September & October - exact dates to be determined Mandatory Safety Abroad Workshop
October - exact date to be determined Second Pre-Departure Session
Thursday, October 4 to Sunday, Oct 14, 2018 

Travel Dates

November - exact date to be determined Post-Trip Session

Need To Know

  • The cost and itinerary are subject to change.
  • Students must be enrolled in ANT399Y5Y and will be required to abide by the corresponding UTM Abroad application requirements and deadlines to participate in the international experience.
  • Payments can be made over five installments. Fees must be paid in full by the required deadlines.
  • To prepare for the trip, students attending will participate in a mandatory pre-departure and safety abroad session during the month of September.

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