Dr. Julian Murchison has travelled to and conducted research in Tanzania for the past two decades. His interest in Tanzania began when he first visited the country as an undergraduate exchange student at the University of Dar es Salaam.
During his time there he learned to speak Swahili and developed close friendships and relationships with local citizens. These relationships blossomed into professional contacts that largely influenced Murchison's decision to do his dissertation fieldwork in southern Tanzania. Dr. Murchison focuses mainly on religion and healing in his research.
Through his experience and contacts in Tanzania, Dr. Murchison has developed a summer program for Millsaps students in Tanzania. The program asks students to engage the ethnographic perspective as a way into the everyday experience of things like culture, history, politics, and economics. Students spend time living with Tanzanian host families and have the opportunity to practice their ethnographic skills as well as their Swahili!
Several students have conducted honors research in Tanzania (including Chelsi West's comparison of hip hop in Tanzania and Albania and Erin Jordan's examination of grieving experiences). Erin, class of 2011, returned to Tanzania in the fall of 2011 and is currently teaching English in a secondary school. Victoria Gorham ('12), the college's first African Studies minor, traveled to Tanzania in the summer of 2011 and will continuing her pursuit of African Studies as a graduate student in political science at the University of Florida.