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Previous research apprenticeship projects



Discourses of Migration in Spain

Marisol del-Teso-Craviotto

A research apprentice is sought for an ongoing project on the discursive construction of the migration imaginary in Spain (1880-2015). I have a collection of different materials (newspaper articles, personal narratives, pictures, creative writing) that need to be uploaded to NVivo, a software used to store and organize data from different audiovisual and textual sources for qualitative and mixed-methods analysis. My goal during the next year is to transfer my data to the program and conduct an analysis of personal narratives and experiences of migration. The research apprentice should have an advanced level of Spanish, some course work on linguistics, and the ability to pay attention to details and make connections. In the process of this apprenticeship, the student will:

1) Transfer data into the NVivo software.

2) learn to apply a mix-methods approach to the analysis of discourse.

3) Take reflective notes on the ongoing categorization and analysis of the data, and the research process itself.

Completed in

Tracking Islamophobia in Western Europe: A Study of Recent Hijab Bans in Selected Countries

Liz Wilson

Seeking a research apprentice to collaborate in the development of an annotated bibliography on religious dress bans targeting Muslim girls and women in Western Europe. The research apprentice selected will read and annotate a list of recent secondary sources in English and will search scholarly databases for newspaper articles and government documents to add to the bibliography.

The assistant selected will know the difference between primary and secondary sources, will be able to identify and summarize key ideas clearly, will have strong reading comprehension of primary source materials (in English) and interdisciplinary secondary sources, and will be familiar with standard databases in relevant fields such as the ATLA religion database.

Completed in

Chinese-language Scholarship on the Kirghiz Epic Tradition (Year 2)

Daniel Prior

The goal of this project is to survey Chinese-language research on the Kirghiz (Central Asian Turkic) epic tradition. I have a general sense of the field in China, but lack the linguistic skills necessary to form a detailed view of the scholarship. The apprentice or apprentices will help me survey the literature, then work on their own to produce English translations and/or summaries of key works. These will typically be articles in Chinese academic journals and monographs published by Chinese presses. Other tasks may arise as the work progresses. Knowledge of both Chinese and English (native Chinese and good English, or native English and excellent Chinese) is required; some interest in literature, history, oral tradition, or the minority nationalities of China is desired.

Completed in

Russia on the Verge of Politics: Public Opinion during the Putin Era

Hannah Chapman

A research apprentice is sought to aid in the development of a book manuscript entitled Russia on the Verge of Politics: Public Opinion during the Putin Era. This book examines the development of public opinion during the first decade of Putinism: from Vladimir Putin’s initial ascendancy to power in 2000 through the tumultuous election season and subsequent protests in 2011-2012. The book manuscript will be based on original focus group and survey data collected by one of the authors. Responsibilities include:

 1) Analysis of focus groups transcripts. The research apprentice will be expected to readRussian-language focus-group transcripts and analyze their tone and content along a variety of themes laid out by the author. Intermediate to advanced knowledge of written Russian is required.

2) Preparation of a detailed annotated bibliography. The book examines public opinion along a variety of themes. The research apprentice will be expected to read and synthesize academic books and articles on these themes.

Completed in

Altitude Affects Attitude: The Politics of Belonging in a Western North Carolina Town

Sheila Croucher

This research focuses on identity politics and sociocultural relations in Asheville, North Carolina. A mid-size Appalachian town, Asheville has undergone rapid change in recent decades as amenity migrants seeking retirement or vacation homes and Latino migrants seeking work settle in a city with an already complicated history of race and ethnic relations between blacks, whites, and indigenous peoples. Asheville navigates this evolving socio-cultural terrain just as the city confronts the vagaries of a shifting global economy that rewards some economic sectors and disadvantages others.  

An undergraduate student interested in migration, identity politics, and narratives of place and community is sought to assist with online searches of three local newspapers. Specific foci will include: Latino immigration into the New South, and its implications for race and ethnic relations in Asheville, the politics of queer identities in a southern Appalachian town, narratives of place-making and community belonging, and the gentrifying effects of a growing population of“lifestyle migrants”settling in Asheville.

The candidate should possess strong organizational and information literacy skills: the ability to identify information needs, search for and retrieve appropriate sources, evaluate information critically, synthesize information gained, and present ideas clearly.

Completed in

Germany’s Weimar Republic: An Introduction

Erik Jensen

An undergraduate research apprentice is sought to help frame a textbook overview of Germany’s Weimar Republic (1918-1933, ending with the Nazi regime) for an audience of undergraduate students who may have little or no familiarity with this period in German history.  The Research Apprentice would serve as a focus group for my manuscript and need not have any familiarity with German history at all, since most of the book’s ultimate readership will not, either.  

 Above all, the apprentice must be someone with an eye for clear writing and a willingness to point out its opposite.  The Research Apprentice would assist with the following: 

1) Reading the manuscript for clarity and offering suggestions for making it more engaging to novice audiences as well as more comprehensive, within the strict word limit set by the publisher

2) Assisting in the completion of the“Chronology” and the “Glossary,” which would entail highlighting important dates, names, events, pieces of legislation, regions, and terms that appear in the manuscript and might. warrant inclusion in these separate sections.

3) Advising on the selection and editing of the“Primary Documents” section, which would entail reading through a number of possibilities that I have compiled and ranking them by relevance and interest.

4) Reading my translations of primary documents for clarity.

Completed in


Reflective Judgement

Elaine Miller

The research apprentice will need to be familiar with philosophy and ideally be a philosophy or other humanities major with an excellent academic record who is comfortable with theoretical texts (all in translation), and who is familiar with standard databases such as the MLA Index and the Philosophers' Index. The primary activity of this apprenticeship would be searching databases for secondary literature on reflective judgment, as well as primary texts that deal with this kind of judgment. A list would then be compiled as an annotated bibliography of articles that might contribute to the research. A secondary aspect of this research project is to examine artworks (particularly film) that display particularly well the possibility of a singular work being able to communicate across differences and to signify in an exemplary way, rather than through propositions or concepts.

The apprentice will gain knowledge of research techniques in the humanities and firsthand experience with the procedure of crafting a research project, including the need for constant reworking of the material in response to new source material.

Completed in

Participation, Performance, Contemporary Art, and the Insurmountable Video Archive

Annie Dell’Aria

Much of contemporary art incorporates the participation of the viewer. Interactive and socially engaged projects are activated and brought into being through participation, but how does this factor into art historical analysis and art criticism? The research apprentice for this project will assist the faculty advisor with finding ways to comb through and analyze hundreds of hours of video data from a recent participatory artwork, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, a work that featured a webcam in public space that was archived and livestreamed to the internet 24/7. Audio-visual data promises to be the next significant interdisciplinary “big data” research discussion. Together with the faculty advisor, the research apprentice will devise methods for watching samples of the archived feed, perform these methods while gathering quantitative and qualitative data from this archive, and begin synthesis of the research findings with the faculty advisor. The resulting article will both analyze the work of art through participation and be a self-reflexive examination of methods for tackling this unique research problem. The Research Apprentice will be appropriately cited in the article consistent with the level of engagement with the project.

The Research Apprentice assigned to this project does not need to have prior experience with art history or contemporary art, but should have an open mind about and interest in contemporary conceptual, video, and/or performance art. Basic knowledge of video software would be helpful, but not required. Attention to detail and ability to take clear notes and reflect on the method of research as well as conduct it would be helpful as well. The researcher should also be aware that video archive under study contains some instances of intolerant language and iconography.

Completed in

Agriculture and Empire in Ancient Neo-Assyria (Year 2)

Melissa Rosenzweig

A research apprentice is desired to help to manage and organize the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory where Professor Rosenzweig conducts research on ancient plant remains from the Neo-Assyrian empire (ca. 900 – 600 BCE) in the ancient Near East. In this lab (UPH 056) she analyzes the carbonized remains of seeds that have been recovered from several different archaeological excavations throughout the Middle East (Turkey, Israel, and Iraqi Kurdistan). As laboratory manager, the research apprentice will assist her in managing and organizing this archaeobotanical collection. Responsibilities include:

  • Cataloging and curating the archaeobotanical collection.
  • Keeping track of laboratory supplies and ordering products as needed.
  • Assisting with the acquisition of a comparative plant collection by compiling a list of the plant species to be requested from herbaria in Israel, Turkey, Iraq, and elsewhere.
  • Assisting with the maintenance of the laboratory equipment, which includes a number of microscopes, a muffle furnace (i.e. a laboratory‐grade charring oven), and a fume hood.

If the apprentice shows an affinity for the research, s/he can assist, under supervision, with some of the experimentation and analysis.

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 as a student interested in the study of ancient history or the environment. 

Completed in

Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and the Poetics of Global Cinema

Kerry T. Hegarty

The end result of this project is a scholarly monograph on the work of Mexican/ Hollywood cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. In it, I delineate a broad poetics of Lubezki’s visual style, as well as create a critical framework for looking at cinematography as both kinetic art form and critical praxis. I foreground the signifying power of visual language for various reasons (cultural, technological, economic), and analyze how the technological and aesthetic elements of Lubezki’s cinematography build upon and mediate each other within specific production contexts.

The research apprentice should be familiar with the language of film analysis, as well as with library databases in film studies. He/she will be responsible for conducting literature searches, cataloging information from secondary source material (production notes, scripts etc.), collaborating on creating annotated bibliographies of key critical studies, organizing bibliography and endnotes, among other things.

Completed in

American Debt

Carolyn Hardin

American Debt is a book project that explores the everyday experience of indebtedness in American culture with a theoretically grounded contextual analysis. It examines Americans’ use of credit cards, payday loans, mortgages, and student loans through the lens of cultural discourses of morality, freedom, individual choice, and perpetual growth. The undergraduate apprentice selected to assist with this project will contribute to three research tasks: 

1. Search out research reports on particular debt issues produced by debt-focused think tanks including the Pew Research Center and the Center for Responsible Lending. 

2. Summarize particularly relevant reports, with direction about what key issues to focus on and how to identify important data and quotations for the book. 

3. Produce short bulleted reports on current interpretations of key events in the history of debt (ex. the 1978 Marquette decision or the Credit CARD Act of 2009) from sources Hardin provides within the existing literature on debt. 

An ideal candidate would either have previously taken Hardin's section of AMS205 or have some coursework in economics or finance.

Completed in

Paintings for the Visually Impaired

John Humphries

Most art is for the sighted. The visually impaired do not have access to much art, classical or contemporary. The Paintings for the Visually Impaired project strives to use digital and mechanical processes of fabrication to re-create original paintings into a format which is easier for those with visual impairments to experience. The project will prepare images for production, digitally sculpt solutions into wooden surfaces, and present these in a public forum. The successful apprentice will have some familiarity with digital imaging software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop), wood working and using a camera; mentorship will be provided where there are deficiencies in the skill set. Research apprentices will assist with 1) the processing of images using Adobe Photoshop techniques developed specifically for this project, 2) depending on existing skill set, prepare the wooden blanks used for digital carving, and 3) using notes and photography assist with documenting the project.

Completed in

Chinese-language Scholarship on the Kirghiz Epic Tradition

Daniel Prior

The goal of this project is to survey Chinese-language research on the Kirghiz (Central Asian Turkic) epic tradition. I have a general sense of the field in China, but lack the linguistic skills necessary to form a detailed view of the scholarship. The apprentice or apprentices will help me survey the literature, then work on their own to produce English translations and/or summaries of key works. These will typically be articles in Chinese academic journals and monographs published by Chinese presses. Other tasks may arise as the work progresses. Knowledge of both Chinese and English (native Chinese and good English, or native English and excellent Chinese) is required; some interest in literature, history, oral tradition, or the minority nationalities of China is desired.

Completed in

Narrating the Afterlife of Nuclear Pacific

Yu-Fang Cho

Narrating the Afterlife of Nuclear Pacific is a book project on post-Fukushima transpacific literary and cultural works that grapple with the pervasiveness of military technologies as the condition of our modern way of life in the decades after US nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific and US introduction of nuclear energy in East Asia immediately after WWII. This project employs transnational feminist and critical ethnic studies approaches to examine the militarization of our everyday life. Under Professor Cho’s guidance, the undergraduate research will do some of the following: 

· Search online scholarly databases and digitized collections for images, newspaper articles, government documents, and other types of information on the Atoms for Peace Campaign and build an annotated bibliography of these sources.

· Read and annotate a list of recent secondary sources on both empirical and theoretical (especially new materialist) approaches to the circulation of nuclear waste across the Pacific, structured by the transpacific military industrial complex.

· Compile a bibliography of images and texts on atomic bombs and nuclear plants and nuclear waste repositories. I am especially interested in tracing how these objects and sites are signified and represented, and how their stories are narrated.

The candidate should possess basic research skills; have the ability to find and evaluate relevant academic and archival sources; have strong organizational skills; be able to identify and summarize key ideas clearly and effectively; and have strong reading comprehension of conceptually complex academic sources.  The ideal candidate would be someone interested in doing interdisciplinary research in the subject area, interested learning about transnational feminist and critical ethnic studiess, and open to learning new ways of compiling and analyzing information. 

Completed in

Materializing the Bible (Year 2)

James S. Bielo

Materializing the Bible is a digital scholarship project launched in July 2015, focused on attractions of religious tourism. The project curates a global, interactive catalogue of attractions that transform the written words of scripture into experiential, choreographed environments. It is intended for popular audiences as well as scholars in anthropology, religious studies, and related disciplines concerned with how materiality, the senses, entertainment, and sacred space intersect. The undergraduate apprentice who is selected will have multiple research opportunities available to them. Possible contributions include:

· Identify and implement digital resources for data presentation (e.g., interactive timeline);

· Qualitative data analysis (e.g., interviews; fieldwork video; archival materials)

Part of the initial work will be to propose further possibilities through exploring other digital scholarship projects. Students with interests in anthropology, lived religion, and/or digital scholarship are especially encouraged to apply.

Completed in

Heterogeneous Belonging and Ecopolitical Community

Suzanne McCullagh

This research is for a book project that explores the possibilities and limitations of understanding political community and belonging as populated and constituted by nonhuman entities and elements. The work argues that the dominant tendency to delimit political community from the natural and more than human world by seeing it as produced by exclusively human attributes and actions undermines our ability to think about both social and ecological justice adequately.

I am seeking an undergraduate research apprentice with an interest in environmental problems and questions from a humanities perspective. The apprentice will be majoring in a humanities discipline, have taken at least one philosophy course, have some familiarity with political theory, and possess strong analytic and writing skills. The research apprentice will:

· Consult in the development of the research process and plan.

· Participate in bi-weekly meetings to discuss research progress.

· Conduct book and journal article searches on key philosophical concepts and problems.

· Keep a log of research findings and organize research files.

· Collaborate in the writing of an annotated bibliography.

Completed in


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.  

Completed in

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.

Completed in

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. 

Completed in

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.

Completed in

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.
Completed in

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.

Completed in

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!

Completed in

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.

Completed in

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.

Completed in

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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