The Undergraduate Research Internship program at CESTA matches Stanford undergraduate students with faculty-led research projects, giving students the chance to enrich their learning experience by contributing to research in the digital humanities under faculty tutelage. In addition, students join a vibrant cohort of Stanford undergrads from many majors and backgrounds in a supportive program that includes discussions and workshops on topics related to the digital humanities, as well as participation in a capstone publication—the CESTA Research Anthology. Finally, students receive mentorship and training from faculty and graduate student mentors and access to a great working space on the fourth floor of Wallenberg Hall.
You can read about the work and experiences of recent interns in CESTA's 2020 Research Anthology.
In the 2021-22 academic year, students will have the option of two program terms: Winter and Spring (a two-quarter part-time internship) or Summer (a one-quarter part-time or full-time internship). Applicants may apply to one or both of these programs.
Internship positions can vary according to individual project needs and according to the policies associated with different forms of support. Interns will receive information about their specific arrangement in their offer letters. Generally speaking, interns working part-time may receive academic credit via their project's faculty lead or be offered stipends or hourly positions. Interns working full-time may be offered hourly positions or stipends. Students who qualify for Federal Work-Study awards in 2020-21 should let us know about their eligibility at the time that they apply. Students offered positions supported by VPUE stipends are required to complete a Student Contract prior to participating in our program.
The deadline for online applications is Wednesday, January 5, 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis before January 5, so students are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure full consideration of their application. On January 6 and 7, CESTA will hold informations sessions in our space in Wallenberg Hall where applicants can ask questions about the program and see where they'll be working if selected for an internship. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of these sessions to meet the team.
Offer letters for all quarters will be sent out from January 10. For students in the winter/spring program, the internship will begin on January 18.
NB. If you have previously interned at CESTA, you are required to fill out a new application form. (The form for returning students will allow you to skip several questions, so should take about 30 mins to complete.)
The application form will ask about you research interests, skills, and prior experiences of team-based work. You will also be asked about which faculty-led projects you would prefer to work on. While we cannot guarantee that you will be matched with the project you request, we will do our best to meet your preferences. You will also be asked to upload a resume. The application should take less than an hour to complete. Once you submit, you'll receive an email confirmation of your responses from Google Forms. If you need to make changes to your application after submitting, please email us.
As noted above, prompt applications will receive preferential consideration. Any applications submitted after the deadline will be considered only if additional needs arise. Check out the FAQs for further info. We encourage you to contact us if you have further questions about the application process, our internship program, or specific projects.
Below is a list of anticipated research projects in Winter, Spring and Summer 2022. Note that students may also be considered for additional projects not listed here and some projects may not work with research interns in both program terms. In the application form, it's a good idea to select as many projects as you think you could be happy working on, and to explain your top choices in terms of the broader themes, approaches, and technologies that interest you.
This CESTA project stems from a course that Sarah Derbew and Denise Lim are currently co-teaching (Fall 2021) in which students will complete a prototype of a virtual exhibition for some of the 300 objects that form the African Collection within the SUAC (Stanford University Archeological Collections). During winter and spring quarters 2022, the project’s focus will be to present the virtual exhibition on a platform such as Figma or StoryMaps, and to gain all the image, video, and other media rights permissions required. The intern working on this project will contribute in multiple ways, including: 1) transfering all the materials created by students in the "African Archive Beyond Colonization" course onto one website platform; (2) working with Dr. Lim to edit any written, visual, or audio material to be included in the final virtual exhibition; (3) producing user-centered and graphic design solutions to how best to display the virtual exhibition for multiple devices, including laptop/desktop, tablet/iPad, and smart phone; (4) producing user-centered and graphic design solutions to ensure the virtual exhibition is accessible for those who may be hearing or visually-impaired; (5) ensuring that we have copyright or digital reproduction permissions for any media used on the final virtual exhibition site.
Digital Humanities Asia (DHAsia) is an initiative at Stanford University focused on South, Southeast, East, and Inner/Central Asia. The intern joining DHAsia will focus on the project “Hot Metal Empire: Script, Media, and Colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East” which is a history of linotype, particularly in the non-Latin alphabetic world. The “linotype” is a hot metal typesetting machine designed to displace moveable typesetting. Once invented in 1884, it swept through newspaper plants throughout the United States and Europe – and soon through Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Through the examination of linotype and its career in the non-Latin alphabetic world, this project explores the intersection of script, media, and colonialism in the modern period. The intern on this project will become familiar with this history of modern technology and contribute to the creation of a mapping site to tell this story in compelling and accessible ways.
This project stems from the world’s largest alumni newsletter: in the mid-9th century, Thomas, the East Syriac Bishop of Marga (a region in modern day Iraq), decided he would collect as many stories as he could concerning those who graduated from his home-monastery of Beth Abhe. Titled The Book of Governors, the resulting hagiography runs 685 pages and has just shy of 500 profiles. It contains a treasure trove of information on topics ranging from Christian-Muslim relations to medieval economic history, ecclesiastical politics, and ancient pilgrimage routes. The Book of Governors makes for a particularly intriguing and productive case study for pre-modern social network analysis. Social network analysis is a set of visualization and quantification tools that helps scholars study and display how groups are structured and group members interact. The intern will assist the project in completing work on a bi-partite geographic network, bibliographic work (i.e. expanding our "library" of articles on social network analysis and pre-modern spatial history), data analysis, and data visualization. Previous CESTA interns have coded most of the social interactions and many of the geographic references for this work. Future research interns will contribute to additional data clean-up, attribute coding, data analysis, and literature review and also help prepare the work for publication. Some experience with social network analysis and GIS is preferred, but not required.
Egypt has held an exceptional place in the western imagination: located within the world’s largest desert, the country is an elongated oasis along the Nile river. This setting nourished one of the world’s earliest civilizations, its monumental architecture and writing system conferring a distinctive cultural status. Westerners have viewed Egypt as timeless and exotic, an ‘orientalist’ fantasy. In South Africa’s history, ancient Egypt has been implicated in colonial ideologies, offering a template for monumentality and for antiquity itself. A relational database will make it possible - for the first time - to take stock of Egypt and Egyptianizing phenomena (broadly conceived) in South Africa. Relevant material will include collectible objects (many donated to museums by tourists); architectural style; artistic and literary themes in the creative arts. The database will be a counterpart to South Africa, Greece and Rome: a digital museum, created by CESTA and housed by Stanford University Libraries. It will also draw on resources collected within another relational database already created under CESTA's aegis but not yet published: A Museum of Museums in South Africa (MOMSA). Interns working on this project will develop an understanding of ancient Egypt and its complex cultural impact; become immersed in African pasts and their contested legacies, including debates around heritage and museums in colonial-era and post-apartheid South Africa; think creatively about museum-making, both digital and physical. Preferred skills: familiarity with Drupal and other multimedia databases. Any academic background in ancient Egypt, South African history, European colonial history, or heritage studies will be an advantage.
EpicConnect is an open-source, open access Learning Management System and productivity platform that uses Behavior Design principles to build community, enhance belonging, and help instructors collaborate on pedagogical projects. The initial target audience of EpicConnect is fellowship programs serving community college instructors. The platform's goal is to foster project development, increase the social impact of community college instruction, and promote a sense of belonging within an active community of innovative educators. The main objectives for EpicConnect this year are to design a prototype, survey our target audience, and develop a beta product to be used by the Epic Fellows in the Spring Quarter. The RA will be working closely with us to build our beta version of the platform.
In the eighteenth century, thousands of Northern Europeans traveled to Italy for a journey of cultural and symbolic capital they called the Grand Tour. These travels were a formative institution of modernity, contributing to a massive reimagining of politics and the arts, the market for culture, ideas about leisure, and the practices of professionalism. Since 2008, the Grand Tour Project has created and used digital tools, analysis, and visualizations to bring us closer to the diverse travelers, elite and otherwise, who collectively represent eighteenth-century travel to Italy. We have been digitizing and enhancing the Dictionary of British and Irish Travelers to Italy 1701-1800 to create a searchable database of more than six thousand entries and visualizations cataloguing the journeys and lives of those who made the Grand Tour. The project’s current focus is the public release of this interactive database with an accompanying digital volume of explanatory essays. While contributing to the development of the digital book and data explorer, research interns will consider how to make this material most accessible to readers, from advanced researchers to students, and explore what is at stake in producing a digital work that originates from a printed book.
The Josquin Research Project (JRP) changes what it means to engage with Renaissance music. Our open-access website not only hosts an ever-growing collection of complete scores, but for the first time makes the music fully searchable: in a few clicks you can identify every instance of a given melodic and/or rhythmic pattern. The JRP also provides analytical tools that can be used to gain insight into individual works, the style of a given composer, or the musical lingua franca. The goal of the project is to facilitate a new kind of knowing that brings big data into conversation with traditional analytical methods. Research interns will work with the project leads to transcribe and mark-up scores and develop analytical tools for the open-access website.
Life in Quarantine (LiQ) is an online community platform that addresses the transformations we are experiencing in the age of COVID-19. At the core of the project, we have an open, online historical archive that houses personal written accounts in a wide range of languages from various countries. These stories document how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the lives of people from various backgrounds across the globe. Additionally, our website provides a space for different types of creative expression: personal stories, creative writing, blogs, and visual art. Our website is designed as an open education resource for students, educators, governments, organizations, and businesses to promote cultural solidarity and global interconnectedness with inclusivity at its center. In the next phase, research interns will assist with enhancements to the LiQ site, including a “Teacher’s Area,” by developing content and occasionally engaging with social media.
The Stanford Literary Lab hosts a number of digital humanities projects in which our RAs can participate. These include a project studying the gendered history of domestic technologies in women's magazines, a project on the circular reciprocity of readers and writers in the Harry Potter fan fiction community, a project on the epistemology of information in Romantic period poetry, and a project on description in literature. Interns will be involved across the spectrum of the Lab’s activities, including meeting with the project team, doing some reading and tagging work, assisting with training machine learning models, and creating visualizations for the project. Research interns may collaborate on one or more Literary Lab projects, with tasks involves programming, interpretive analysis, and information management. In addition, students will collaborate in presenting and authoring publications associated with these projects, adding their individual research to that of the collective team.
The Mapping the Republic of Letters project showcases the scholarly networks of the Early Modern era. These include networks of correspondence that stretched across countries and continents; the social networks created by scientific academies; and the physical networks brought about by travel. This foundational digital humanities project, featured in the New York Times in 2011, is currently undergoing a digital preservation and archiving effort, while also revamping its web presence and online presentation and publication style, and preparing to host and/or connect with offshoot projects that have developed since 2016.
Interns will assist with these efforts, gaining experiences in the practices of digital preservation, archiving of web content, and the design of sustainable long-lasting websites, attending to concerns of accessibility for specialized scholars, the general public and educational partners alike, so as to enable teachers at Stanford and beyond to use the existing and future research from the project in their classrooms.
Despite the existence of numerous shared sites of religious observance across the world, they remain largely unknown. Shared sacred sites are “holy” for members of multiple religious groups (which may also be ethnically or nationally distinct) and serve not only as places where people come together to respect the site in various ways, but also as sites where they are forced, by their coexistence, to mediate and negotiate their diversity and differences. This ethos of sharing has been customary throughout the world and throughout history. This project proposes to restore accounts of cohabitation, hospitality, and tolerance to the historical record, taking their place alongside the better known examples of communal strife and interreligious antagonism. Interns on this project will learn about this untold story of shared sacred sites and contribute to our efforts as we design and build an ArcGIS/Storymap site appropriate to the telling of this important story.
This project is a historical reconstruction of cultural and political movements in post-independence Senegal. We are working to reconstruct an archive of understudied texts (poems, pamphlets, tracts, manifestos, brochures), collect interviews with members of the movements in question, and map the proliferation of cultural clubs, as well as the involvement of Senegalese young people in solidarity networks at a national and international level. The first movement we will study is Le Front Culturel Sénégalais (Langug Caada Senegaal), a clandestine movement born in 1977 in Dakar. The documents already collected — which include both original compositions and translations into French and Wolof — show how the revolutionary youth adopted and adapted the ideologies and aesthetic views of Mao Tse-Tung, Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, David Diop, Seriñ Muusaa Ka, Che Guevera, Marx, Lenin, and others. Interns for this project will be involved in multiple activities, including designing and creating a visual map, building a website, and editing video interviews. Students with relevant language skills (French and/or Wolof) will also have opportunities to assist with translation.
The starting point of this project was a map documenting the life of Josquin des Prez (1450–1521), the most famous Renaissance composer, that I created for a seminar last spring. Buillding on that map, we are beginning to work on a much grander project where, proceeding year by year, a user will be able to visualize phenomena such as the movements of composers, singers, music theorists, and other musicians; places and dates where major musical sources were copied or printed; locations of benefices sought, promised, or received (benefices are lucrative church appointments — think of a benefice as ongoing income from a particular place, whether the person is in residence there or not); musical institutions (key locations, plus information about rosters, organizational hierarchy, and so on); geopolitical boundaries; political rulers and their courts; and sites of major battles, councils, treaties, and other political events. Interns for this project will be instrumental in developing this new initiative from the ground up, including assisting in conceiving and designing the core interface and infrastructure, as well as building it out into a usable service through core tasks such as data collecting, analysis, and entry.
The Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP) is a critical digital archive of early 20th-century publishing history. With rich metadata, the site displays, curates, and describes documents that contribute to the ‘life cycle’ of a book. It uncovers the often invisible industry actors — editors, illustrators, reviewers, printers — who bring works into the public eye. The collection contains thousands of images from archives and special collections relating in the first instance to Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press — letters, dust jackets, financial records, paper samples, illustrations, sketches, production sheets, and other ‘ephemera’ — but is actively expanding into other presses, with the long-term goal of building the infrastructure currently lacking in book historical studies to engage a comprehensive comparative landscape of 20th-century book publishing. Our newly digitized materials are presented with peer-reviewed summaries, biographies, bibliographical information, and other scholarly materials. A major project within MAPP, but not yet ingested into the operating system, is a large-scale transcription and data analysis project detailing all sales and purchasing records of the Hogarth Press, the first comprehensive quantitative and cultural historical project on the totality of a press’s sales history in modernist studies. Interns will assist in figuring out how to tag and organize financial data records already digitized for ingestion into MAPP, and will investigate whether software for machine reading can effectively process the bulk of untranscribed data in the records which would be necessary to write a book on this rich and unprecedented trove of papers.
OpenGulf is a transdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group analyzing historical texts produced in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq from the early nineteenth century to the present. The various projects associated with OpenGulf publish open historical datasets, corpora and digital exhibitions with the aim of opening the field of Gulf Studies to digital historical exploration, analysis and interpretation in the service of open research and pedagogy. Currently, OpenGulf includes six projects, with students, faculty, and staff at eight institutions actively contributing content, including handwritten text analysis of Arabic, English and Ottoman Turkish texts, interdisciplinary analysis of data from phone books from the city of Abu Dhabi from the 1970s-2000s, and close and distant readings of an expansive British gazetteer of the region that includes mapping over 20,000 unique named locations. During the 2020-21 academic year, CESTA interns worked on our Historical Texts as Data project, following a three-step workflow: preparing historical texts in various media formats and languages for digital analysis; extracting and annotating names of people and places in those texts to create reusable structured data; and creating and publishing visualizations and narratives derived from those datasets. This year's tnterns will be involved in a wide variety of activities, with many opportunities to learn and improve their fluency in core DH software. A few examples would include transcribing handwritten Arabic texts and training a Transkribus software model; annotating and extracting toponyms in Arabic (and possibly other-language) historical texts using Recogito; and cleaning our existing dataset of Gulf toponyms in English following detailed OpenGulf-generated tutorials. Interns may also identify additional texts related to historical Gulf geography, prepare website exhibits, and collaborate on article drafting.
This project examines discourses on epidemic disease against the history of outbreaks in early modern Europe, with case studies on Germany, England, and France. We examine and analyze metadata of early modern publications via online databases for themes related to epidemic disease, then map these occurrences against historical reports of plague outbreaks. These in turn will be examined against indices for persecution (witch-hunting, antisemitism, and religious strife) as well as climatological data. For our German case studies, these data streams will be visualized against structural data on the relative centrality of German cities, which allows a modeling of the impact of different forms of centrality on both the dynamics of epidemic disease and the discourses which preserve historical traces of them. The model will allow the visualization, examination, and testing of a variety of theses about the impact of environmental and social stress on the dynamics of panic and persecution. Research interns will transcribe and transpose data sets from paper and online databases into the project database and perform analysis on the collected data. For data collection and transcription tasks, knowledge of French, German, and/or Latin would be helpful, as would experience with text capture and cleaning. For analysis, relevant languages could be supplemented with knowledge of R or Python, ArcGIS, or data visualization. Experience with and interest in early modern catalogs, texts, and discourses will be a plus.
This project takes the routine experience of parking tickets as a window onto the history of privatization and urban governance in the post-Civil Rights era. Beginning in the late 1960s, in the context of tax revolts and increased fiscal stress, ‘scofflaws,’ or those who refused to pay parking citations became both a social problem and potential revenue solution. American cities increasingly partnered with corporate debt collectors to replenish municipal coffers. Often, the contracts ended in scandal and corruption, and very little return for cities. Ironically, many cities often spent more to collect than they took in. Interns working on this multi-city study of inequality, Black politics, and public-private partnerships will help assemble an archive of dispersed city government finance documents, online newspapers and trade bulletins, and corporate records. This will require the geocoding of various city finance documents. There will be further opportunities to contribute to the examination and analysis of revenue patterns, and the extent to which fares, fines, forfeitures, and licensing fees were the product of political struggle. Ultimately, this project will offer a network visualization of debt collection.
The Senegalese Slave Liberations Project builds on the Slave Voyages Database, which has transformed the study of the trans-Atlantic slave trade by presenting the most comprehensive collection of individual slave trade voyages and the most complete set of evidence of African ports of embarkation and American ports of disembarkation. The Slave Voyages Database, however, tells us virtually nothing about slavery and the slave trade within Africa. The Senegalese Slave Liberations Project provides a crucial counterpart to the Slave Voyages project in presenting evidence of slavery and the slave trade in the Senegambian, Mauritanian, and Malian regions of West Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Specifically, registers of liberation have survived as records of enslaved people under French colonial authority who sought their freedom. We are working to provide unique identifications for each case of liberation, analyze the data, and develop visualizations to support academic research and innovative pedagogy. Of the 28,000 liberations registered for the years 1857-1904, we have already analyzed over 12,000 cases. We are now beta-testing an interactive website that would facilitate the use and exploration of this data by researchers and students.
Interns will focus on coding the remaining 15,000 cases from a digital archive, visualizing the evidence, and developing the project website. Preferred skills: competence in French, website development and data visualization; the ability to work with "large-N" data; historical sensibilities.
This project aims to generate "social network maps" among characters in ancient Roman Comedy, specifically in the plays of Plautus. Plautus’ work is one of the few places in ancient Roman literature where we encounter people of different statuses, ethnicities, economic classes, and genders interacting with each other. (Most ancient Latin literature tends to feature elite, Roman, male figures; Plautus is a rare exception.) Thus the interactions among Plautine characters are crucial evidence for a more accurate understanding of ancient Roman society, but until now they have never been examined from a contemporary networking perspective. We fill this gap by using multiple indices of interaction — including the total lines spoken between characters, the total time onstage, and the total number of characters in a play, among others — to create the first visualizations of Plautine social networks. There are two core “threads” in this project to which interns will contribute. The first is technical: the continued development of the web-tech backend (currently D3.js, and related). The second is data oriented: collating and quantifying data from Latin plays for input into the visualization software.
Stanford Text Technologies investigates all forms of human communication from 70,000 BCE to the present day in order to determine trends and characteristics of information systems from the cuneiform tablet to the scroll to books, film, and mobile devices. Working with faculty, advanced researchers, and staff in CESTA, interns may collaborate on one or more subprojects, as well assist the lab broadly. Tasks including contributing to research and data creation (translating data from manuscript catalogs into digital and/or machine-readable formats); learning data standardization, schema adaptation, and data preparation for the R programming language; writing up recent case studies; thinking through how the current deployment of machine learning techniques on archival materials can be expanded and clarified.
The Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP) is developing an original methodology for data mining the rich but untapped collections of digitized transcripts of women’s oral histories housed in university libraries and other collections across the United States. OHTAP has created a database of 2700 transcripts from diverse regions and groups and developed a subcorpus extraction tool called Winnow. The current study asks whether and how the interviewed women named, remembered, and interpreted forms of sexual violence. Our project combines quantitative and qualitative analysis to understand which women spoke about sexual violence; what language narrators used to describe assault, abuse, and harassment; how responses to violence changed over time and across groups; and what historical contexts enabled resistance and activism concerning sexual violence. Tasks for interns include reviewing and expanding the existing code base (Python), exploratory data analysis and visualization, and possible frontend development (Node.js, React). This position offers the opportunity to work with historical data in a collaborative environment. An advanced undergraduate with data science and/or software engineering skills (in CS or other relevant fields) is preferred.
The Voortrekker Monument, inaugurated in 1949, marks the high noon of Afrikaner nationalism. Today it is both loved and loathed. Located on a hill that overlooks the southerly entrance of Pretoria, its block-like structure of steel and concrete stands all of 62 meters tall. Grandiose as it is from the outside, the inside “Hall of Heroes” contains something no less imposing: a 92-metre frieze, one of the world’s largest historical narratives in marble. It depicts the Voortrekkers or Boer pioneers who conquered South Africa’s interior during the “Great Trek” (1835-52). The genesis of the monument and frieze can be traced, directly and in detail, to the country’s socio-political debates of the 1930s and 1940s. Proceeding step by step, Elizabeth Rankin and Rolf Michael Schneider have charted its evolution from the earliest discussions through all the stages of its design to its physical realization in marble in post-war Italy and final installation inside the Monument. From Memory to Marble: the historical frieze of the Voortrekker Monument (De Gruyter and African Minds, 2019-2020) is a two-volume study based on unpublished documents, drawings and models. The book examines how visual representation transforms historical memory in what it chooses to recount, and the forms in which it depicts this. It also investigates the active role the Monument played in the development of apartheid, and its place in postapartheid heritage. Interns will assist in the development of Voortrekker Monumentality, a curated online archive related to From Memory to Marble, providing high-resolution images and documents on which the book was based, most of them previously unpublished. This archive will offer unique insights into political debates of mid-20th-century South Africa and contribute to broader discussions about public commemoration amid political change. A core task for the intern will be to map the original trails of the “Great Trek,” including creating new maps based on historical data.
This project originated when the Andy Warhol Foundation selected Stanford University as the home for a collection of more than 3,600 contact sheets. The reasons for this choice — Stanford’s history with photography starting with the experiments of Edward Muybridge, Stanford’s interest in researching and developing the technologies of big data, and Stanford’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research — live on in this project, and have already resulted in a special exhibit at the Cantor Arts Center and the book Contact Warhol: Photography Without End. Warhol brought his camera with him everywhere, taking at least 36 exposures each day in the last decade of his life. Warhol’s practice of photographing and documenting the moment anticipates the ubiquity of the camera today. The collection of Andy Warhol's contact sheets amounts to about 130,000 individual exposures. Each contact sheet records the exposures from a roll of film. Interns will assist in creating innovative, machine-learning aided ways to access this massive archive of digitized images.
Stanford University Archaeology Collections cares for over 100,000 cultural artifacts from around the world, dating from hundreds of thousands of years ago to the late 20th century. The Women in Provenance Project intertwines object and personal biography to explore how gender shaped this cultural collection. Through archival and historical work, the project will identify women named in our records, research their lives, and interpret their contributions in the context of Stanford’s institutional history and the broader history of archaeology, anthropology, colonialism, and gender. We will enrich SUAC’s basic provenance records (summaries of who owned an artifact) by creating a digital finding aid that helps users rediscover these overlooked women and the cultural collections they assembled. The project combines qualitative methodologies with computational pattern analysis to improve access to our aggregated provenance data—to the who, what, where, when, and how of our collection’s creation. Research interns will work with museum archives, database records, and external primary and secondary research sources and should have an interest in humanistic data/metadata. They will use digital humanities tools to review, prepare, analyze, and interpret provenance information and present it in an interactive digital finding aid/data visualization. An interest in museums, archaeology, history, heritage, or gender studies is beneficial but not required. They may also use quantitative coding methods, in which some background in CS and/or statistics would be helpful.