Research Apprenticeships

2020 Research Opportunities

To apply for one of these research apprenticeships please fill out an application and return it to or 231 Umrath Hall.

Graphic Novel First Year Seminar

Professor of Italian seeks a research assistant to help draft the syllabus for a first year seminar built around the graphic novel, The Hunting Accident. The RA will be tasked with identifying readings to complement the primary text; these will include historical, philosophical, and literary texts. Other tasks will include research on high-profile crimes in St. Louis. No language skills besides English are necessary. 2-4 hours per week.

Love in Religion, Ethics, and Political Thought

Assistance needed for work on a book on Love in Time, which proposes a view of love for religious, ethical, and political thought. The project spans different literatures in philosophy, critical theory, religious thought, literary theory, and art criticism. The research assistant will be asked to conduct literature reviews for sources concerning the central interlocutors in the text, and to extract formal bibliographies and citations for the textsunder discussion. The R.A. may also be asked to assist with light editorial work necessary for preparing manuscripts for submission.  The work requires strong organizational skills and research skills; no foreign languages required. Roughly 4 hours per week.

Black Kings and Queens in the Festive Practices of Colonial Mexico

Assistance needed for a book on black kings and queens in the festive practices of colonial Mexico City, 1539-1640. The tasks will include work on the bibliography and index, along with some reference-checking. The workload would be 2-4 hours a week. 

Leftists in Postcolonial Algeria

This research project explores the participation of leftist intellectuals and authors from the Middle East in Algerian, French-language print culture networks (particularly in journals and newspapers) during the 1960s and 1970s. The RA will identify and summarize articles by leftist authors in key Algerian publications from the period. S/he must be comfortable reading in French and be willing to work with microfilm sources. Hours are negotiable (approx. 3-5 per week).

Radio Plays in Post-War Germany

Assistance needed for a book project on the soundscapes of German-language radio dramas composed between 1945-1960. I would like help creating a database of plays, including titles, authors, and broadcast dates. The RA will also be asked to locate recordings and possibly contact archives or radio stations to secure copies. Reading knowledge of German and familiarity with Microsoft Excel preferred. Approximately 3 hours a week, biweekly meetings.

Frankenstein and European Medical Culture

Professor in the Department of History is looking for a student research assistant. The student will have a variety of tasks, from assisting with the preparation and publication of a special volume on Frankenstein to helping with research in German history and the history of medicine. The successful candidate will have excellent reading and writing skills, exhibit careful attention to detail, and demonstrate willingness to develop new skills and areas of knowledge. Reading knowledge of German is desirable but not required.  Hours per week: 2 to 5, depending on the week.

Enlightenment Freemasonry Rituals

As part of a book-length research project into Freemasonry in eighteenth-century France, I would like a student to assist me in organizing and creating an index for a large number of photographic images. I have obtained digital photos of several dozen manuscripts used in Masonic ritual performances, most of which are housed in the French National Library. I would like help sorting these into files, and creating a document that comprehensively identifies their contents. The person I work with must have some background in French. A facility with Microsoft Excel is also helpful. Approximately 3-4 hours a week.

How to Ask for A Job, in the 18th-Century French Atlantic World

RA needed to do preliminary work for a project on patronage and the rhetorical strategies in "asking for a job" in the 18th century French Atlantic World.  The R.A. will analyze one or two sample years taken from a letterbook from the French Ministry of the Navy, preparing a database on patrons and protégés. This requires the student to be able to read French at least well enough to recognize standard formulations requesting "protection" or a posting for someone.  Approximately 3 hours per week (hours negotiable).

Tennessee Williams Project

Professor of Drama seeks assistant for two projects, both focused on American playwright Tennessee Williams: one is a study of Williams and the visual arts, a second on the playwright’s relationship to St. Louis in the early decades of the Twentieth Century. Assistant will help locate materials in various collections; arrange for permissions and reproductions of paintings and photographic materials; assist in compilation of historical and bibliographical materials. Some on-site research (Missouri History Museum, WU archives) will be involved. Approximately 4 hours per week, including weekly meetings.

History of Galen of Pergamum

Professor of Classics seeks an assistant for compiling a database of case histories in the written corpus of Galen of Pergamum (2nd century CE). Working from an existing index, the assistant will produce a short narrative for each of  histories (ca. 200) and compile them into a master document.

The undergraduate assistant must have at least a working knowledge of ancient Greek. Some Latin would be desirable. Workload will be 4-6 hours per week with meetings weekly or biweekly.

Just Following Orders

RA needed to find court cases involving "just following orders" defenses in the American legal system. This will include both individual and corporate cases. In addition to finding cases, student will produce short (≤one paragraph) summaries of case verdicts. Student need not be familiar with locating court case files, but should be familiar with searching document databases, MS Word, and MS Excel. No language requirements. Approximately 4 hours/week, including weekly meetings. 

"Translational": A Critical History

Assistance sought for research in original sources for a project that examines the historical emergence and usage of the term “translational” within English-language texts using Digital Humanities tools. The research assistant's duties will primarily consist of researching the use of the term “translational” in Google Books and related databases, while compiling the data obtained using Goggle NGram Viewer and other digital tools. An interest in Digital Humanities and text analysis tools welcome. Hours are negotiable, but are likely to approximate 3 hours/week with monthly meetings.

Modernism, Distant Reading and Digital Humanities

 Undergraduate research assistant sought for guided work on a developing project about modernism, distant reading, and digital humanities. While no experience with digital humanities methods is required, some familiarity with modernist studies is recommended; ideally, student will have taken (or will be currently enrolled in) at least one 300- or 400-level course in modernist and/or twentieth-century literature. Student should be comfortable reading scholarly monographs, performing basic library research, working with Excel, meeting deadlines, and asking questions. All other skills will be developed over the course of our work together. Approximately 4 hours/week, with one mandatory meeting per week. 

Music in Greek and Roman Theatre

Professor of Classics seeks assistance examining and interpreting evidence for music in the performance of ancient Greek and Roman theatre.  Assistant will read ancient plays looking for evidence of music, find relevant bibliography in electronic databases, print bibliographies, and other works, and help compile a database of rhythmic variation in ancient drama.  The following skills are desirable but not required: some knowledge of ancient Greek and/or Latin, experience in theatre, and the ability to read music.  3-4 hours per week, including a weekly meeting.

Happiness and Value in Kant's Ethics

Assistance sought for completing a monograph on Happiness and Its Value in Kant’s Ethics aims to offer a systematic interpretation and assessment of Kant’s views about happiness, which have been widely neglected or largely misunderstood.  The RA's duties will include conducting a literary survey of the secondary literature, reading relevant portions of the Groundwork, the Critique of Practical Reason, and the Metaphysics of Morals, and helping the professor plan and draft a fellowship proposal and book prospectus.  3-6 hours a week, with weekly meetings beginning the week of January 19th.

Humanities Digital Workshop

IPH assists the Humanities Digital Workshop (HDW) in recruiting students to work with faculty on computationally-assisted research projects in the humanities. The HDW offers opportunities to join humanities "labs". Some of the projects on the table are:

The Spenser Project

The professor and five editors are producing the Complete Works of Edmund Spenser for Oxford UP. The work is being developed as an electronic edition, from which two print versions, and an online archive will be generated. Student RAs do a wide range of research depending on the tasks at hand, ranging from pure research projects, to proofreading the edited text against original witnesses, to writing software to process images and texts. RAs work five hours a week and attend a weekly project meeting. Visit the Spenser Archive for more information.

Nineteenth-Century Literary Internationalism

Assistance is needed on two projects: a study of German translations and adaptations of Jane Eyre (1848-1920), and the final development of a digital library of 19th-century German books in English translation. Most of the work will involve data-cleanup and proofreading. Prerequisite skills: at least third-semester German, the ability to play close attention to textual detail, the ability (and willingness)  to learn to read typographical characters in German blackletter (Fraktur). 3-5 hours per week (hours flexible).

City on a Hill Archive

Principal Investigator: Abram Van Engen.

This project tracks every use of the phrase “city on a hill” and its variants from 1600 to the present. Visit the City on a Hill Archive project page for more information.

Creating a Federal Government

 Principal Investigator: Peter Kastor.

Creating a Federal Government explores the functional realities of governance during the early American republic. Visit the Creating a Federal Government project page for more information.

Rethinking the History of German Literature, 1731-1864

Principal Investigator: Matt Erlin.

This project employs the techniques of probabilistic topic modeling to test a set of longstanding assumptions about the periodization of German literary history. Visit the Rethinking the History of German Literature project page for more information.

The Dada Networks Project

 Principal Investigator: Kurt Beals.

Drawing on databases and bibliographies of Dada and Expressionist periodicals, the Dada Networks Project uses network analysis to better understand the structure of these movements and the roles of key individuals who mediated between groups of artists and writers. Visit the Dada Networks Project page for more information.

Early Modern Print

Principal Investigator: Anupam Basu. 

Early Print offers a range of tools for the computational exploration and analysis of English print culture before 1700. It includes a set of visualizations of the EEBO-TCP as a collection of publications, as well as a historical N-gram browser and a reporting tool for Key Words in Context. Visit the Early Modern Print project page for more information.

Gender Violence Database

 Principal Investigator: Jami Ake.

The Gender Violence Database is an accessible searchable tool designed for researchers, practitioners, and the general public interested in the multidisciplinary field of Violence Against Women. Visit the Gender Violence Database project page for more information.