Project Description

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices before beginning the enrollment process. Program logistics are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices. Each field school syllabus includes specific information about COVID-19 as related to travel regulations and recommendations, accommodations, local protocols, face mask policy and managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for Ruby, Arizona:
CDC COVID-19 Tracker


The Undocumented Migration Project (UMP) is a long-term anthropological study of clandestine migration between Latin America and the United States that began in 2009. In the summer of 2021, we will expand this research through a multi-method study of the longer histories of migration, labor, and environmental transformations in Southern Arizona. This field school will focus on Ruby, AZ, an abandoned mining town twelve miles from Arivaca and less than four miles from the US/Mexico border. Founded in 1877, Ruby was one of the first mining towns and population centers along the US-Mexico border following the annexation of Southern Arizona by the United States. Funded by incoming Anglo-American capital, but mined by an array of Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese labor, Ruby was a productive silver, gold, and lead mine, and one of the largest towns in Southern Arizona until it was abandoned in the 1940s. Today, Ruby is a heritage site and tourist draw that purports to be a historic ghost town from the turn of the century, a snapshot of frontier life from the Old West.

During this field school we will establish a field camp at the ghost town of Ruby. In Ruby, we will survey, excavate, and perform limited environmental tests on the material remains of the mining community. Our research will investigate how the deep history of resource extraction, labor migration, colonial settlement, and border infrastructure have defined the border landscape over the past 150 years and continue to influence the life of locals in the area, as well as migrants who pass through.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: May 24-June 27, 2021

  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED

  • Total Cost: $4,430

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology, Historical/Contemporary, Environmental, Immigration

  • Payment Deadline: April 30, 2021

  • Instructors: Dr. Haeden Stewart & Dr. Jason De León

  • Orientation: April 18 at 10 am PDT / 12 pm CDT / 1pm EDT

  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)


The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Haeden Stewart
Dr. Haeden Stewart
Dr. Stewart is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dr. Jason De León
Dr. Jason De León
Dr. de León is a Professor of Anthropology and Chicana/o Studies at the University of California Los Angeles. He is the recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award in 2017.


This is a new IFR field school. No student testimonials are available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Room & Board
  • All local transportation

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is a $25 fee to submit an application. Once admitted, a payment of the nonrefundable deposit fee is required to secure a place in the program(s). The Tuition balance (total program cost minus the deposit fee) must be paid prior to the Tuition deadline as listed above under “Course Details.” A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Deposit: A nonrefundable $500 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the Tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full Tuition regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information. In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
Travel Insured International offers coverage for Trip Cancellation or Interruption for Any Reason (review coverage based on your state).
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


The entire project will take place at Ruby. This includes eating, sleeping, and doing our research. We will be camping at Ruby, and students need to bring their own camping gear (see Equipment List, below). Students will sleep alone in their own tents. Ruby’s facilities are very rustic. Outhouses and showers are available, and both will be routinely disinfected. Most of the research activities will take place outside, however some activities will take place inside lab facilities. Students working in the lab are expected to wear masks at all times.

Cooking and eating will occur mostly outdoors; some food preparation and storage will make use of an ad hoc kitchen. The program directors and staff will make a concerted effort to accommodate specific dietary needs of the students. Students will take an active role in both preparing and cooking meals for the rest of the team. After the meal is finished, students will help to clean up, wash dishes, and disinfect cooking equipment and communal cooking spaces.

All participants in a field school, students and staff, will wear masks while indoors (i.e. during lectures, during labs, in shared residential spaces, etc.).

Regular hand washing will be a part of the project’s daily schedule. Students are expected to maintain the cleanliness of their own tents and hand-wash their own laundry. Similarly, students are required to regularly disinfect their own private spaces and to share in the work of disinfecting high-traffic and common areas.

Travel Info

UPDATE: Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5-6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.


All students will fly into the Tucson International Airport (TUS), where they will be met by staff members and driven to the Ruby campsite. Currently, there are no statewide rules in Arizona concerning quarantine. However, students must arrange a test for current infection for COVID-19 through a RT-PCR test for themselves in their home location within 72 hours prior to arrival in Arizona. Proof of a negative result needs to have been uploaded to the IFR. Upon arrival at the Ruby campsite the students will help set up camp according to health protocols.

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email the field school directors immediately. A local emergency mobile phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.

Please email the field school directors if you intend to drive to this program.


Currently, there are no statewide or countywide regulations in Arizona or Santa Cruz County. However, in order to maintain resilience in the face of changing COVID dynamics, the Ruby field school will live, eat, and work isolated from the local community. We will camp 30 minutes away from any substantial population center, and we will only go into town for provisions. Given these circumstances, students and staff will be substantially isolated from people not participating in this field program.

In rare instances where we do meet with non-participants, interaction with the local community and others must be limited to situations where everyone can maintain the required 6-foot/2-meter physical distance, wear masks, and ideally be outside.


This field school will take place within the US; there are no visa requirements. Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field. If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students may contact IFR personnel directly.

Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.