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Laboratory for 

Ethnographic Training

& Analysis (LETA)

LETA Lab Logo

The Laboratory for Ethnographic Training and Analysis (LETA) is dedicated to fostering a deep understanding of human experiences, cultures, and societies by equipping students with the necessary skills to conduct rigorous ethnographic research. Through immersive learning experiences, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovative methodologies, we empower our students to approach complex global challenges with empathy, critical thinking, and cultural sensitivity. Our mission is to cultivate a new generation of scholars and professionals who will actively contribute to shaping a more inclusive, compassionate, and interconnected world.

Working with qualitative data analysis software

Working with qualitative data analysis software.

LETA student interviews

Students conduct interviews.

John and Andy operating a bistatic GPR system, Colorado.

Meeting with tribal members in Gujarat, India.

LETA listening session with imigrants

Students conduct a listening session with Greeley-based immigrant group.

Career-Ready Skills

LETA students develop the following career-ready skills as part of their training:

  • Active Listening: Ethnographic training hones students' ability to actively listen to participants and engage with their stories. This skill is crucial for effective communication in any professional setting, as it enables individuals to understand others' perspectives, resolve conflicts, and collaborate effectively.
  • Empathy and Cultural Sensitivity: Learning to conduct ethnographic interviews helps students develop empathy and cultural sensitivity, as they become adept at understanding and respecting diverse perspectives. These skills are valuable in any career that requires working with diverse populations or addressing global challenges.
  • Qualitative Data Analysis: Students will acquire the ability to analyze and interpret qualitative data, which includes identifying patterns, themes, and insights from textual or visual information. This skill is useful in various industries, including market research, policy analysis, user experience design, and public health.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Ethnographic research requires students to think critically and solve complex problems by identifying underlying assumptions, evaluating evidence, and making informed decisions. These skills are highly sought after in various professions, including management, consulting, and academia.
  • Effective Communication and Presentation: Students will learn to effectively communicate their findings and insights, both in writing and through oral presentations. This skill set is crucial for a wide range of careers, as clear communication is essential for sharing ideas, persuading others, and collaborating on projects.

Current LETA Projects

  • The Indigenous Community Justice Knowledge Project is Dr. Michael Kimball’s research partnership with the Bhasha Research & Publication Centre, a cultural preservation NGO based in Gujarat, India. In collaboration with panchayat (village council) members from the Chhara, an urban Denotified Nomadic Tribe in Ahmedabad, and the Rathwa, rural Adivasis (“original people”) living in eastern Gujarat, a cohort of community-based and community-serving researchers are interviewing panchayat members and Kimball’s students are conducting analyses to identify key themes related to panchayat knowledge, stories, changing roles and traditions, and views of and aspirations for their respective communities.
  • Project HealthViews is Dr. Whitney Duncan’s collaborative, interdisciplinary medical anthropological project on state health policy and immigrant understandings, experiences, and perceptions of health and healthcare. Project HealthViews is a community engagement collaboration between Dr. Duncan, UNC students, local safety net clinics, and immigrant-serving organizations. The goals of this project are (1) to help legislators, local organizations, and the general public better understand immigrant health and healthcare challenges; (2) to help inform policy on healthcare and health insurance coverage for Colorado-based immigrants’ (3) to help improve immigrant healthcare access by providing information about what services and programs are available to immigrants, regardless of immigration status; and (4) to provide students hands-on health-related research experience in the local community.

LETA faculty

  • Whitney Duncan is a medical and psychological anthropologist who researches global mental health and migration and health. In particular, she has researched the globalization of psychology and psychiatry in Mexico, the emotional and mental health impacts of migration for Mexican migrants and their non-migrating family members, and Latinx experiences of health and mental health treatment in the United States.
  • Michael Kimball is an applied anthropologist specializing in critical cultural heritage studies and community engaged research and teaching. His work focuses on investigations into how people construct and preserve cultural heritage from memory, place, and relationships and how groups and individuals use heritage to build place and identity. Currently, his research is based on collaborations with partners in Gujarat, India, to record, analyze, and preserve intangible heritage of tribal groups.
  • Ather Zia is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and columnist. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Gender Studies program at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (June 2019) which won the 2020 Gloria Anzaldua Honorable Mention award, 2021 Public Anthropologist Award, Advocate of the Year Award 2021 and 2021 Rosaldo Book Prize, Honorable Mention.

Contact Dr. Kimball to learn more!