AANA18107U Borderland: Critical Approaches to Field Research in the Global South (Summer 2023)

Volume 2022/2023

Summer school course 2023.


Jointly developed and offered by UC-Berkeley and University of Copenhagen.


This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to think critically about the research process in the conduct of research, through combined classroom learning, field engagement and immersion in local environment that include short term placement with local NGOs or ongoing research projects in and around Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.


Focusing on the research process rather than the mastery of a specific topic or method, it is not a methods course or a summer internship. Rather, it aims to provide students with the tools to raise and address critical questions in their own research and a foundation from which they can apply the knowledge and practices from the course to future research projects. By the end of the course, each student will have produced a well thought through research proposal draft (3-5 pages) that could be used for future engagement with the Global South.


The course is organized around the themes of Migration, Mobilities and Immobilities that have emerged as among the most pressing 21st century challenges, that cut across 11 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. In engaging migration, mobilities and immobility, we are interested in the different forms and facets of migration (internal, cross-border; regular and irregular), and of im/mobilities – e.g. social, political, economic), as well as intersectionalities among causes and consequences of migration and im/mobilities.

Learning Outcome

We envision that through lectures, meaningful engagement with issues and institutions, and collaborative learning, students will

  • Gain valuable experience and insights working on a project that is of critical importance, be it through an NGO, a research or a policy institution. 
  • Gain a deeper appreciation of the challenges facing researchers, communities, and activists working on these issues.
  • Contribute in meaningful ways to the work of affiliated institutions in which they are placed.
  • Have an opportunity to reflect on research implications and draft a short but well-thought through research proposal based on their field engagement that could be expanded into a longer proposal for future engagement with the Global South, be it through research, policy, advocacy, or other pursuits.


Course literature will be available on the online platform ‘Absalon’ by the end of May.

This course is open to advanced bachelor (undergraduate) students and postgraduate (Master level) students.

You must be enrolled at one of following universities within the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU):

The course is open to students from all fields and disciplines. Priority is given to students with interests in global development and the Global South – and/or the specific themes of this year’s programme, which can be approached from many different disciplinary angles. It is an advantage if the students have taken a field and/or methods course prior to enrolling in this field course.

Proficient English skills (written and oral) are a must.
Lectures, seminar style discussions and reflections, and field engagement.

The course is divided into the following components:
• Pre-departure research and preparation (remote)
• In-class lectures and discussions (at Chiang Mai University)
• Field placement (in and around Chiang Mai)
• Independent and supervised research writing (at Chiang Mai University)

Public presentation
This course will be based in Chiang Mai, Thailand (in partnership with Chiang Mai University), with field engagement conducted within and in the vicinity of Chiang Mai and in surrounding areas through student placement with NGO and local research projects and field excursions.

In addition to group field activities and depending on the organizations or research projects to which they are assigned, students may have other opportunities to visit projects within and outside of Chiang Mai as part of their project assignments.

The program schedule may be subject to change since this is a field course and we need to build in flexibility in order to be able to accommodate local circumstances and exigencies as needed.
Students will have to pay for the following:

• Flight ticket: to and from Chiang Mai
• Accommodation, including any deposits for a full month in double occupancy, not including breakfast. We are currently negotiating a good price that will be available asap. But one can expect around 2,000 DKK or 290 USD
• Living expenses: app. 500 THB/day (app. 100 DKK /15 USD)
• Visa: please contact your home Embassy for type and visa fees for Thailand
• Insurance: valid for the entire course period in Thailand
• Local transport
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 24
  • E-Learning
  • 72
  • Field Work
  • 88
  • Exam
  • 32
  • Total
  • 216
Continuous feedback during the course
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Course participation
Type of assessment details
In keeping with University of Copenhagen’s grading system, the final assessment is based on a scale of 7. For some students, this numerical grade will be translated into a letter grade as required by their institutions. The final grade will be based on the following matrix:
• Active participation 20%
• Performance during field placement and public presentation 40%
• Final Research Proposal (3-5 pages) 40%

The research proposal must be 3-5 pages (2400 keystrokes pr. page)
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Deadline for submission of the exam paper is Sunday 30 July 2023.


To be announced

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcomes.