Previous Apprenticeships

Cothurnus in the Snow: Russian Mythological Tragedy and the Emergence of the Lyric Voice

Dr. Zara M. Torlone

This apprenticeship will contribute to a book to be published by Oxford University Press in the series Classical Presences.  The book, Cothurnus in the Snow: Russian Mythological Tragedy and the Emergence of the Lyric Consciousness, explores how Russian writers’ use of Greco-Roman mythological tragedy contributed to the creation and development of Russian lyric voice and poetic vernacular. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that as Russian national literature started to take shape, the Russian mythological tragedy served not as an imitative tool to provide the new literary canon with legitimacy but also to form and develop the articulated lyric consciousness, a phenomenon in which Russian literary output has few rivals.

Some knowledge of Russian is required for this apprenticeship.  The apprentice will:

1. Help translate significant parts of several mythological tragedies from Russian to English (none of this works have been translated into English previously). The fluent knowledge of Russian is desirable but not necessary since I will do the translation myself and then ask the student to proofread the English translation.

2. Prepare detailed annotated bibliography of the books and articles written on the subject both in Russian (if possible) and English.

3. Locate all the primary sources for the project and find any existing English translations.

Students with interests in literature and cultural studies will benefit from this apprenticeship by developing and honing their research skills and learning how to conduct serious research both online and in the library.  

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Mexico, California, and International Drug Control

Sarah Brady Siff

The project is the revision of my dissertation, “Tough on Dope: Crime and Politics in California’s Drug Wars,” into a book manuscript. The book covers the state-level drug wars from the turn of the 1900s to 1968, with an emphasis on the immediate postwar period. I seek an apprentice with excellent Spanish reading fluency and, ideally, an interest in modern U.S. history. The apprentice will read the relevant portions of my manuscript (about 40 pages) and the entire Spanish-language book Drogas sin Fronteras, noting parts of the book that are germane to my timeline and argument. Using this knowledge, the apprentice will compile a list of relevant State Department records for me to look at during a planned research trip to the National Archive at College Park, Md., in late December. If this trip nets Spanish-language sources and the apprentice has more time, I will also request translation of these sources. In addition, time permitting, I have a handful of letters written in Spanish by Mexican-American residents of Los Angeles in the 1950s, which I would like the apprentice to read and briefly explain.

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Agriculture and Empire in Ancient Neo-Assyria

Dr. Melissa S. Rosenzweig

I am seeking a research apprentice to help me manage the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory where I conduct research on ancient plant remains from the Neo-Assyrian empire (ca. 900 – 600 BCE) in the ancient Near East.  In this lab (UPH 056) I analyze the carbonized remains of seeds that have been recovered from several different excavations throughout the Middle East (Turkey, Israel, and Iraqi Kurdistan).  As laboratory manager, the research apprentice will assist me in managing and organizing this archaeobotanical collection.  Responsibilities include:

-Cataloging and curating the archaeobotanical collection.

-Keeping track of laboratory supplies and placing orders as need.

-Assisting with the maintenance of lab equipment.

Prior experience is not required (training will be provided), but a scientific background is helpful, and attention to detail is a must.  This apprenticeship is ideal for a student interested in humanities-based laboratory research, as well a student interested in the study of ancient history or the environment. 

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Neoliberal Sexuality: Limit, Ubitquitous Computing and Neoliberal Reason

Andrea Righi

I am currently working on a book-length project titled Neoliberal Sexuality: Limit, Ubiquitous Computing and Neoliberal Reason. This study offers a broadly conceived gender-based critique of recent neoliberal transformations in the political, symbolic, and social domains by looking at the relationship between digital technology and sexuality. Presently, I am working on a chapter, titled “Quantifying the Captive Self,” that discusses the meanings and emotions that self-tracking media users attach to their lived-experience, and the ways in which they represent them through online narratives. 

Under my guidance, the apprentice will assist with the gathering, cataloguing and analyzing of narratives by locative media users that deal with digital representation of selfhood. In particular, the apprentice will: 

1. search online narratives

2. archive them in usable files with brief explanatory annotations so that I will later carry out close readings of the most significant ones

3. discuss with me the various cases the apprentice discovers along the way.

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The History of the Body: Concepts and Care

Cynthia Klestinec

My current research investigates the history of the body in a time period (1350-1650) that witnessed a shift, in some sectors of care and cultural production, from a body conceptualized through the four humors to a body conceptualized through solid structures and (eventually mechanical) parts. In the domain of medicine, for example, the seventeenth-century medical marketplace featured not only potions and elixirs that claimed to purge the body of malevolent humors but also wigs and other prostheses that, quite literally, added parts to the body. My research explores the actors involved in these conceptual and practical shifts: philosophers, anatomists, surgeons, barbers, artists or artisans (instrument makers, wig makers, etc), patients (where possible), and the marketplace. Why did people begin to accept, in a more fundamental sense, that the body was solid rather than fluid, built of parts rather than coursing humors? The research apprentice for this project will focus on creating a visual archive for surgical instruments, on reading and annotating a range of neoplatonic texts about love (including a number authored by women), and on developing an understanding of the history of prosthetics. In addition to taking an interest in the early history of the body and the interdisciplinary study of the history of medicine, the apprentice should be organized and capable of systematically searching databases and collecting materials, and a careful reader. Under Professor Klestinec's guidance, the apprentice will be asked to do some of the following:

1. Instruments: Search online databases and digitized collections of rare books for illustrations of instruments and build an annotated bibliography of these sources (especially important here is to identify the instruments that were designed for specific procedures)

2. The Body in Literature: Read and annotate a list of sources on neoplatonic love, including works by Plato, Pico della Mirandola, Castiglione, and Italian women writers in this tradition (all are available in translation).

3. The Mechanical Body: Compile a bibliography of images and texts on prosthetics, emphasizing the period of 1350-1650. Especially curious are mechanical hands that were illustrated in books and made to fit soldiers returning from war, who had lost limbs.

*From this experience, the apprentice will gain an understanding of how to constitute an archive, how to pursue an investigation of a topic, how to integrate visual and textual sources, and how to do the nuts and bolts of research (collecting, organizing, storing, annotating, and analyzing).

Completed in

DEFA in Divided Europe: Film Co-Productions and Exchange in East German Cinema (1946-1992)

Mariana Ivanova

This is a study of East German cinema during the Cold War in the context of its various exchanges with other cinematic traditions. The dialog between film and genre traditions; motion picture production studios; and politicians and cultural mediators who exchanged films across the Iron Curtain are at the center of my argument. The monograph relies to a large extent on new and unpublished archival research. For the project, I would like to work with an undergraduate research assistant who has advanced or excellent reading skills in German, as well as very good writing skills in English. I will offer guidance in the following tasks:

  • Translating quotes and short texts from German into English;
  • Proof-reading of already completed translations;
  • Compiling of a bibliography and a list of relevant film co-productions and archival sources.
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Indigenous Ancestry as Heritage Tourism

Sandra Garner

This new research project explores heritage claims of Indigenous ancestry from the perspective of heritage tourism.  I take as a starting point the argument that Indigenous is a legal and political designation and is a fruitful analytical category describing culturally distinct groups impacted by colonialism.  I am interested in sites of heritage tourism where claims of a particular ancestry are the impulse driving what Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett refers to as a “mode of cultural production in the present that has recourse to the past.” I am interested in studying this phenomenon at the local, national, and global levels and from the tourist and institutional perspectives. 

I seek an undergraduate researcher to create an annotated bibliography of resources on the topic of heritage tourism.  The apprentice will assist with bibliographic research, compiling a literature review and providing brief annotation of the sources broadly in terms of tourism and specifically in the area of heritage tourism. The candidate should possess basic research skills; have the ability to find and evaluate relevant academic sources; be detail-oriented; have strong organizational skills; and be able to identify and articulate key ideas/points. Candidates for this apprenticeship should send a resume and a paragraph of introduction that addresses their interest in this position to Professor Garner.

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Materializing the Bible

James S. Bielo

Materializing the Bible is a one-of-a-kind project of public digital scholarship. Launched in July 2015, the site curates an interactive catalogue of attractions throughout the world that transform the written words of scripture into physical, experiential environments. It is intended for both popular audiences and fellow scholars in anthropology, religious studies, and related disciplines that examine issues of materiality, the senses, globalization, entertainment, tourism, and pilgrimage. The undergraduate apprentice who is selected will help design and implement at least one new component for the site. Possible additions include:

  • Creating virtual tours of attractions using photography and video;
  • Creating an interactive timeline to illustrate when attractions opened to the public;

These are examples; part of the initial work will be to propose further possibilities by researching other examples of digital scholarship. Students with particular interests in the study of religion, as well as students with general interests in public scholarship, are welcome to apply!

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Empire and American Religion

John-Charles Duffy

I am seeking one or two research apprentices to help prepare an innovative textbook that presents the religious history of the United States through the thematic lens of empire. My immediate goal is to complete, by the end of spring 2017, a book proposal and two sample chapters to submit to publishers.

The research apprentice(s) will

  • pursue leads for historical documents to excerpt for inclusion in the textbook.
  • compile historical data for timelines and maps.
  • compile comparative data on leading textbooks in U.S. history and U.S. religious history.
  • offer feedback about the readability of the sample chapters.

This apprenticeship would be ideal for a student of history, American studies, or international studies who wants to place U.S. history in global contexts. Experience with desktop publishing (Microsoft Publisher, Adobe Photoshop, etc.) would be a plus, as would an interest in cartography.

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Rescuing Archives in Pará, Brazil

Paula Gândara

This project aims to identify and create a provisional inventory of parish documents in the area of Belém do Pará, Brazil. These parishes hold baptismal, marriage, and marriage related documents, and other kinds of ecclesiastical sources, particularly from the end of the 18th to the 19th century and are extremely important for the history of colonial Brazil, specifically the history of the old state of Grão-Pará, which constituted one of the most important regions of the Portuguese Empire during the 18th century.

The inventory will comprise information from at least two books, the book of slaves and the book of deaths.  It will contain the name, date, place of birth, race and civil state whenever provided for each entry of these books – an average of three entries per page on a total of 283pp. I expect to use these records in order to study the specific role of indigenous women in the family, be it through numbers of mixed Portuguese-Indigenous marriages, the ratio of Portuguese husbands/wives vs indigenous husbands/wives and the concomitant alteration of social and political practices that accompanied the phenomenon as time went by.  This inventory will be shared with the British Library and made available to all researchers.

The research apprentice will help create the inventory both in English and Portuguese. He or she should speak Portuguese and should have an interest in Brazilian history as well as an excellent academic record. 

Completed in

Religion and Human Sexuality

Liz Wilson

The goal of the project is a textbook on religion and human sexuality. The textbook will focus on sexual practices within religious communities and among mythic figures. Each of the book's seven chapters will begin with a case study grounded in a sacred text or interpretive writing. Under Professor Wilson's guidance, the apprentice will gather English translations of seven primary sources (e.g., sacred texts). Using a sourcebook of primary sources (The History of Sexuality Sourcebook[Broadview, 2006]) and standard databases in religious studies, the apprentice will help build a bibliography of secondary source literature related to the translation case studies. If the apprentice has web design and content management skills, s/he will be asked to build a database that Professor Wilson and her co-authors can access. This will help us to keep track of source materials and share our interpretations of these materials.  The apprentice must be able to do bibliographical research (including finding primary source material) and will ideally have web design and content management skills.

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Russia’s Italy: Inspired by the Sun

Zara M. Torlone

The end goal of this project is to complete and publish a scholarly monograph tentatively entitled Russia’s Italy: Inspired by the Sun. Some of the most quintessentially Russian works of literature were in fact written on the Italian soil.  This book project examines the reasons for this unusual phenomenon, focusing on the relationship of famous Russian intellectuals with Italy and the role of that relationship in inspiring such famous literary works as, for example, Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls.  The research apprentice for this project will need advanced reading comprehension of Russian and knowledge of Russian history and culture, as well as excellent writing skills in English. Under Professor Torlone’s guidance, the apprentice will do some of the following:

1. Translate parts of the correspondence of Nikolai Gogol, Vyacheslav Ivanov and Maxim Gorky into English.

2. Prepare an annotated bibliography of the books and articles written on the subject both in Russian and English.

3. Write some explanatory notes to be included in the endnotes.

4. Make a list of archival sources to be used in the research

5. Proofread.

Completed in

Queer Cartographies: Urban Redevelopment and the Changing Sexual Geography of Postwar San Francisco

Damon Scott

The City Aroused is a book project that maps out the intersections of urban redevelopment and sexual subjectivity in San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s. The transformation of San Francisco from an industrial port city into the urban core of an expanding metropolitan region disrupted and dispersed established patterns of queer sociability. Rather than simply undoing or relocating queer life, however, urban redevelopment aroused a cultural response that included new forms of social organizing around sexual identity, new vocabularies for understanding sexual difference, and new topologies of sexual subjectivity. Working with planning documents, city directories, real estate transaction records, and gay newspapers, the undergraduate research apprentice will collaborate with faculty to produce a series of maps suitable for publication using Excel spreadsheets, ArcGIS, and image files. The apprentice will gain research skills that include how best to abstract locational information from primary sources, how to interpret the social and political significance of past places through contemporary popular media, and how to best represent spatial information cartographically to support evidence-based claims in scholarly writing. Ideally applicants will have experience with ArcGis and/or graphic design. Must be detail oriented and willing to develop and manage databases with minimal errors.

Completed in

The Ophelia Studies Reader

Kaara L. Peterson

The Ophelia Studies Reader is an exciting book anthology/textbook project, bringing together 400 years of literary and visual media resources into a single volume focused on an enduring figure of unparalleled literary-cultural fame. From her origins in the Danish chronicle sources reshaped by Shakespeare to her still-flourishing afterlife in 2015, Ophelia’s character has never been a more vibrant cultural nexus, a unique subject of fascination for high-art, academic, and popular culture. More tellingly, Ophelia has become a key site for negotiating cultural identity, gender roles, and female agency, and she is perhaps the most recognizable character in Western culture to translate transnationally, from Cuba to China to Iran. She has also been a major source of inspiration for centuries of creative artists and scholars exploring constructs of feminism and gender roles in Shakespeare studies and the world of theater. The volume will include literary criticism, a gallery of artworks on Ophelia, excerpts from novels, plays and other works, and a comprehensive bibliography. 

Research apprentices will assist with the researching and gathering of literary and visual/audio materials. Ideally, apprentices will have an interest in at least one of the following areas—Shakespeare studies, art history and/or the visual arts, creative “rewritings” of literary characters—and enjoy independently tracking down new images and material for Dr. Peterson to review. Apprentices should also be comfortable working across a range of historical periods that reflect the 400 years of Ophelia’s reception as a cultural and literary subject. We will cover two key areas:

1.  Literary material: Focused on gathering a range of journal articles, book chapters, creative reworkings, etc., using MLA and other library databases; copying of longer book excerpts and creating PDFs; reading some longer/creative works and occasionally writing brief summaries.

2.  Visual material: The “Gallery” of artworks will involve researching images, investigating where artworks are held/where permissions might be obtained (if necessary, calling museum curators, contacting private collections, etc.), and cataloguing images and placing clearly titled JPEGs on a thumb drive. Apprentices will also gather a history of film clips and musical tracks for a “webography” of online material/placing on DVD.

Apprentices should be detail-oriented, with good writing skills; familiar with doing deep bibliographic searches using a full range of Miami Libraries materials and databases, especially the MLA International Bibliography; and comfortable creating accurate, detailed MLA-style bibliographies/works cited for all materials, some with brief annotations.

Completed in

Disability and Knighthood in Malory’s Morte D’Arthur

Tory V. Pearman

The end goal for this project is to complete a book-length study of disability in Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur (1485). Using contemporary and medieval studies of disability in addition to studies of Malory’s depictions of violence and injury, this project seeks to bring the disability perspective to one of the most studied Arthurian texts in order to better contextualize the role of wounding and healing in medieval conceptions of knighthood. The student apprentice selected for this project will gather secondary research on Malory’s text, medieval knighthood, and medieval disability. In addition, the student may conduct preliminary studies of fifteenth-century sources written about chivalry, cataloguing when and where combat injuries are mentioned and how they are described. Depictions of disability in the Morte can then be measured against these more general depictions in order to contextualize the unique intersection between disability and knighthood in Malory’s text. The ideal apprentice should have an interest in medieval literature and critical theory, be able to conduct work on the Hamilton campus, and possess strong reading, writing, and research skills.

Completed in

The Language of Immigration Reform: Thematic Variation in the Discourse of Millennials and Political Candidates

Dr. Vincent J. Palozzi

This project examines U.S. immigration policy and current national discussions on the topic as they relate to the upcoming 2016 General Election. The student apprentice selected for the project should have some experience in literary, rhetorical, or discourse analysis; knowledge of the U.S. political process, including the rhetoric of presidential campaigns, would be welcome. The assistant needs to be detail-oriented, and s/he should have the research and technical skills necessary for locating and archiving print and video sources that include discussion of immigration reform.  Sources will include peer-reviewed journal articles, newspapers and other periodicals, public opinion surveys, written campaign materials, presidential debates, and political advertisements. The apprentice should also be willing to learn how to utilize the qualitative data analysis tool NVivo in preparation for the organizing, coding, and analyzing of the data; s/he will need to become familiar with APA citation style. By participating in this project, the assistant will gain first-hand experience of qualitative and mixed-methodology research, as well as knowledge of an important sociopolitical issue of our time.

Completed in

Medieval Studies and the Ghost Stories of M.R. James

Dr. Patrick J. Murphy, English

Medieval Studies and the Ghost Stories of M.R. James is a book project that seeks to understand a group of famous horror stories in light of the author's work as a professional academic medievalist. Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936) is the author of some of the most highly-regarded ghost stories of all time, thrilling fictions that have never passed out of print or lost their popular appeal. But James was also the Provost of King's College, Cambridge and a legendary and influential scholar, whose name is still well-known among academics indebted to his pioneering research, particularly in the study of biblical texts, medieval art and architecture and, above all, medieval manuscripts. This project, then, is about how detailed attention to James's creative "medievalisms"—the often-overlooked scholarly inspirations behind his fiction—can provide considerable insight into a formative moment in medieval studies, as well as into his methods as a master stylist of understated and influential horrors. The work of the apprentice will involve examining, noting, and at times transcribing digital images of original documents in James's own hand, including academic lectures, speeches, sermons, and personal correspondence. The successful candidate should be curious, detail-oriented, persistent, and prepared to struggle a bit at first with James's notoriously "spidery" handwriting. Ideally, too, he or she would have some background in medieval studies, literature in particular.

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The Other Side of Broadway: A Cultural Geography of Theatre’s Golden Era

Katie N. Johnson

The Other Side of Broadway is a book project that shows theatre’s centrality as a key shaper of attitudes about national identity, immigration, sexuality, race, and urbanization during the early twentieth century. The apprentice will gather and summarize historical materials, including published reviews, memoirs and diaries, magazines and newspapers, advertisements, historical periodicals, and digital cinema and theatre archives.  The successful apprentice should be detail-oriented, persistent, able to work independently (with clear guidance), and interested in making discoveries. She or he should be familiar with researching on standard databases in film studies and American culture (such as MLA Bibliography; Film, Television and Literature Database; International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance; Gender Studies Database; etc.

Completed in

Film and Fashion Amidst the Ruins: The Politics of Distraction in Post-War Berlin (1945-1953)

Mila Ganeva

Film and Fashion Amidst the Ruins explores East and West German film productions of the immediate postwar years within the broader context of the long 1940s and with a particular interest in the discourses and practices of fashion. By analyzing fashion in a selected corpus of ‘rubble films’ (Trümmerfilme) as well as in newsreels and press accounts of fashion shows and trends, the project recreate an interdisciplinary account of the tension between post-war politics and aesthetics, between the burden of the past and the aspirations for the future, the pressures of guilt and the desire for survival. The book relies on many original archival sources (magazines, newspapers, film trade press, diaries, correspondence, memoirs, interviews) that need to be included both in English translation (within the body of text) and in German (in the book’s endnotes). An undergraduate research assistant with advanced reading (and listening) comprehension in modern German, as well as excellent writing skills in English, will complete the following tasks under Professor Ganeva’s guidance: 1) translate the quotes from German into English; 2) transcribe and translate some audio material (quotes from films and newsreels); 3) compile a bibliography, filmography, and lists of archival sources used in the project; 4) crosscheck or double-check the use of terminology; 5) write some explanatory notes to be included in the endnotes.

Completed in

The Spiritual Biography of a Gabonese Bwiti Priestess and Healer

John M. Cinnamon

This project will result in a book-length spiritual biography of the Gabonese Bwiti priestess and healer (nganga), Mme. Fabienne Ngoungou.  Through life history, personal narratives, and detailed case studies of her healing practice, this book seeks to provide insight into the contemporary Gabonese healing imagination.  Mme Ngoungou resides next to her Bwiti temple on the outskirts of Libreville, Gabon and who received the call to heal at the age of three. Bwiti is a southern Gabonese initiatory religion that spread to northern Gabonese Fang speakers during the colonial era. The apprentice will need strong French-language skills and some familiarity with African studies.  He or she will help translate and transcribe, encode, analyze, and edit a number recorded interviews with Mme. Ngoungou.

Completed in

Creative Creationists: Making a Biblical Theme Park

Dr. James S. Bielo

The end goal for this project is to complete and publish an ethnographic monograph tentatively titled, Creative Creationists: Making a Biblical Theme Park.  The book is based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork with the creative team in charge of designing a creationist theme park in Kentucky. The undergraduate apprentice selected to work on this project will assist with data management, analysis, and critical discussion about the project.  The student might organize and analyze fieldwork photographs; transcribe interviews and field recordings; read and analyze primary source literature; review bibliographic notes and research relevant literature; and/or read and comment on draft materials for the book project.

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Changing Sex: A History of Transsexuality in Brazil

José Amador

Since the late 1960s, Brazilians seeking sex change therapies also pursued active political and civic lives. As a result of their struggles, in 2007 Brazil’s public health system began providing free sex reassignment surgeries and hormones therapies for transgender people.  Changing Sex: A History of Transsexuality in Brazil will answer two related questions: 1) How did the biomedical possibility of sex change and transgender activism turn an individual need into a universal right? and 2) How did transsexuals, and the doctors who treated them, change cultural understandings of sex, sexuality, health, and citizenship? To help answer these questions, the research apprentice will perform three main tasks. First, the apprentice will look closely at medical journals, newspapers, and popular magazines to track frequency of occurrence of the terms “transsexualism,” “transsexuality,” “transsexual,” and “sex change.” Second, the student will build a bibliography to situate the history of transsexuality in Brazil in global context. Third, he or she will follow the transgender violence tracking portal to monitor what is happening to transgender people in Brazil in terms of violent acts against them. 

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