Go Global Office of Global Engagement

Italy - Ethnography of Sardinia: Vernacular Religion and Cultural Heritage

ANTH 403 | 3 credits

Program overview

These courses are led by Sabina Magliocco, Faculty of Arts

  • Course dates: May 22, 2023 - June 26, 2023
  • Travel dates: June 5 - June 26, 2023
  • Locations: Bessude, Sardinia, Italy
  • Approximate fee: $4750 - $5250 + (plus tuition and flights)
  • Funding: 70%-100% of program fees and flight costs will be covered for qualifying Arts students (Vancouver). We encourage students who are not eligible for the ARA funding to apply for the Global Pathfinder Award. See Program Fees and Costs for more details  

Upcoming information session 
None scheduled

About the course                                                                                                      

This course allows students to conduct ethnographic research in Sardinia, Italy, examining the island region’s popular religious expressions as forms of cultural heritage, from prehistoric ritual sites and historical religions, to religious festivals as heritage events and the rise of New Age religions inspired by archaeology. Nearly every aspect of traditional life in Sardinia is in some way connected with religion and spirituality. Students will engage with local experts, both in communities and at the University of Sassari, to discover the region’s ethnohistory in regards to religious expressions: how they were lived historically as well as how they are currently being reclaimed and valorized in a context of global heritagization. Students will reside in the fieldsite, a pastoral village of 500 inhabitants in northwest Sardinia, in home stays and bed‐and‐breakfasts, participating in village life as they conduct research. Their final projects will contribute to an exhibit on popular religiosity in the local museum.

The course is led by Dr. Sabina Magliocco, who has conducted fieldwork in the region since the 1980s.

Program eligibility  
General Global Seminar requirements

To participate in a Global Seminar, students must: 

  • Be in good-standing in their faculty (I.e. not be under academic or non-academic discipline) 
  • Have full-time status in the year leading up to the Global Seminar 
  • Have completed 2nd year requirements before the start of the program (i.e. 3rd or 4th year standing) 
  • Have at least a 70% academic average in your last full-time academic session before applying 
  • Maintain a 70% academic average leading up to the program 
  • Meet any program specific requirements listed below including pre-requisites before participating 

Final selection will be done by the lead faculty program directors. Spots in the program may be limited. 

Students who wish to participate in the summer after graduating may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Specific requirements

ANTH 100 + 6 credits of ANTH coursework, or consent of instructor; 3rd year standing (54 credits of undergraduate coursework) or higher.

Experience and conditions in the Field

This course requires a five-week commitment: two weeks at UBC, followed by three weeks in Sardinia (Italy), a community of about 500 inhabitants located in the northwestern plateau. The town’s economy was once predominantly agro-pastoral, but now has a mix of agricultural and service industries, including tourism. It has one small museum and a second one, on vernacular religious traditions, in the planning stages. It is situated in an area rich in archaeological and historical sites, from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages to medieval times. The local language is officially Italian, but most people also speak Sardo, a Romance language distinct from other Romance languages in the Mediterranean that developed on the island. Knowledge of Italian is helpful, but not essential to participation in the course. The village is located at 600 m of altitude. Meals and transportation to and from heritage sites and class-related activities will be provided. The town has free WiFi and modern amenities, but is fairly isolated; there are few to no restaurants, nightclubs and entertainments within walking distance, and public transportation is confined to daylight hours.

This Global Seminar will take place in a small town in highland Sardinia with a hot, dry climate. We will be touring historic centers, archaeological sites, and museums.  You may be exposed to heights, enclosed spaces, and bridges, as well as sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, bees, insects, pollen, and dirt. The local diet is based on meat, cheese, and wheat products that contain gluten.  Vegetarian/ vegan options are not always available. In the application, students should discuss your suitability to undertake this work, and describe what you will do to ensure you remain healthy for the duration of the course.


Students will be staying in homestays and B&Bs.

Program fees and costs
Approximate fees: $4750 - $5250

ARA funding will offset 70%-100% of the program fee + flight costs for Arts students from the Vancouver campus.  

*The final fee depends on the number of students in the seminar. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program. 

Funding: This is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funded program. The ARA program aims to ensure that upper-level international research courses are accessible to academically qualified students, and that scholarly preparation and aspiration rather than financial means are the deciding factors for student participation. Funded by a generous gift from donors, the Faculty of Arts, and Go Global, the ARA program sponsors advanced research-intensive courses involving international travel.  For Arts students at the Vancouver campus, 70% of the program cost will be offset for academically qualified students; and up to 100% of the cost may be offset for academically qualified students who demonstrate financial need (as determined by Enrolment Services).

Students are responsible for covering the costs of tuition, incidental travel costs, visa/passport fees, etc.

Students can only be considered for one major International Learning Award throughout their degree e.g. ARA (Arts Research Abroad) funded Global Seminars, Undergraduate Research Conference. 

Program fees include:
  • Accommodation  
  • Program- related travel in-country; (e.g. buses)  
  • Excursions and entrance fees  
  • Some group meals  
  • On-site guest lectures
Not Included:  
  • Flights*  
  • UBC tuition for credits  
  • Visa/country entrance fees  
  • Health or travel insurance  
  • Personal spending money*  

*Some examples of incidentals are: personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the Program Fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.  

Travel to Italy is a separate cost.  You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book.