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Undergraduate Research Opportunities at CESTA: Winter-Spring and Summer 2020

group of students standing together in CESTA
Nov 19 2019

See the full job announcement below to learn about the internship program, review the list of anticipated research projects, and find the application deadlines and how to apply.

About CESTA’s Undergraduate Research Internships

CESTA augments the student learning experience through project-based learning outside of the classroom. Research interns are matched with a faculty-led research project and participate in a formal program includes an orientation, discussions and workshops on various digital humanities topics,  and a capstone event and/or publication. Interns will have access to faculty and staff mentorship in addition to a great working space.

To read about the work and experiences of recent interns, please look at the 2019 CESTA Summer Research Anthology

And to hear directly from recent interns, please view the short Intern Spotlight videos on CESTA's YouTube channel.

Program Terms

There are two cohorts at CESTA each year: Winter-Spring (part-time) and Summer (full-time). Stanford undergraduates can apply to one or both terms; preference is given to students with interest in participating in multiple terms.

Winter-Spring 2020

  • January 6 through June 4, 2020 (excluding end-quarter periods and Spring Break)
  • part-time commitment, between 5-10 hours per week
  • regular program sessions (meetings with the full-cohort) every 1-2 weeks

Summer 2020

  • June 22 through August 15, 2020 
  • full-time commitment for the 10 weeks of Summer Quarter is preferred (standard schedule is Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm)
  • part-time and/or 8-week positions may be possible (depending on project needs and funding type)
  • program is more intensive, with frequent sessions and co-working

Position Types

Internship positions can vary according to individual project needs and policies associated with forms of support. Interns will receive information about their specific arrangement in their offer letters. Generally speaking, in Winter and Spring quarters, interns may receive academic credit via their project's faculty lead, or interns may be offered stipends or hourly positions. For our intensive summer program, research interns may be offered hourly positions or stipends. Students who qualify for Federal Work-Study awards in 2019-20 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.

Application Timeline

  • Sunday, December 8 (at 11:59 pm):  Applications received on/before this time may be reviewed early.
  • Monday, January 13 (by 11:59 pm): Deadline for submitting applications for regular review.
  • Week of January 13: Group Interviews at CESTA. 

Offers for Winter-Spring 2020 positions will be emailed the week of January 20 and 27. Initial project meetings may commence weeks 1-4 of Winter Quarter (depending on the timing of relevant offers). The first program session with the full Winter-Spring cohort will be scheduled for the week of January 27.

Offers for Summer 2020 positions will be emailed later in Winter Quarter. The Summer program begins with an orientation session on June 22; full-time positions span 10 weeks, until August 28, 2020.

To Apply

Through the application form, you'll share basic information about you, the type of digital humanities projects you'd like to work on, and details about your eligibility. You will also be asked to upload a resume and cover letter that addresses a brief prompt. The application should take under 45 minutes to complete. Once you submit, you'll receive an email confirmation of your responses from Google Forms. You may revise answers after submission, but changes made after the deadline may not be reviewed.

Click Here to Begin the CESTA Research Internship Application

As noted above, prompt applications will receive preferential consideration, as will applicants who are eligible for Federal Work-Study. Any applications submitted after the deadline will be considered only if additional needs arise. We encourage students who are not selected for this term to re-apply as additional projects become available and student interest and skills develop.

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. 

Potential Projects in Winter-Spring and/or Summer 2020

Below is a list of anticipated projects in 2020 (as of November 27, 2019). Project descriptions and summaries of intern responsibilities will be added soon. Note that students may also be considered for additional projects not listed here and some projects do not actively work with research interns in every term. Thus it’s helpful for application materials (i.e., cover letter, resume, and form responses) to broadly reflect the projects, themes, and technologies that suit you best.

  1. CESTA Communications |Prof. Giovanna Ceserani and Amanda Wilson Bergado
  2. Early Modern Mobility | Prof. Paula Findlen, Leo Barleta, Dr. Katie McDonough, Rachel Midura, and Dr. Luca Scholz
  3. Egypt in South Africa | Prof. Grant Parker and Dillon Gisch
  4. George Moses Horton Project | Prof. Zephyr Frank and Dr. Cecil Brown
  5. Global Medieval Sourcebook | Kathryn Starkey, Mae Lyons-Penner, and Quinn Dombrowski
  6. Global Urbanization and Its Discontents | Prof. Zephyr Frank, Erik Steiner, and Leo Barleta
  7. Immigration Detention: A History | Prof. Ana Minian
  8. Josquin Research Project | Prof. Jesse Rodin and Prof. Craig Sapp
  9. Land Talk | Prof. Deborah Gordon and Erik Steiner
  10. Literary Lab | Prof. Mark Algee-Hewitt, Dr. Laura McGrath, and Dr. J.D. Porter
  11. Mapping Ottoman Epirus | Prof. Ali Yaycioglu
  12. Modeling Mesoamerica | Dr. Christina Hodge
  13. Modernist Archives Publishing Project | Dr. Alice Staveley
  14. Oral History Text Analysis Project: Sexual Harassment and Violence in the 20th Century | Prof. Estelle Freedman and Dr. Natalie Marine-Street
  15. Poetic Media Lab | Prof. Amir Eshel, Cody Chun, Nelson Endebo, and Fyza Parviz
  16. Social Networks in Early Islamic Middle East | Prof. Michael Penn
  17. Text Mining Bias in Asylum Decisions | Dr. Bridget Algee-Hewitt
  18. Text Technologies | Prof. Elaine Treharne and Dr. Agnieszka Backman
  19. Visible Bodies: A Digital Archive of Twentieth-Century African Female Writers | Prof. Joel Cabrita

CESTA Communication and Community Intern
Project Leads: Prof. Giovanna Ceserani (Faculty Director) and Amanda Wilson Bergado (Center Manager)

Through myriad forms of communication, including newsletters, digital publications, and social media, CESTA strives to inform scholars, students, and the public about the timely and exciting digital humanities research happening at Stanford and elsewhere.

Communication and Community (Comms) interns help establish CESTA’s presence, both online and in the campus community. They are also instrumental in fostering community among students participating in the internship program and creating a culture of collective problem-solving and idea-sharing. Comms interns hone their skills developing and implementing a communications plan, designing digital and print media, and crafting effective research descriptions for various audiences across different mediums. They also gain experience in peer mentorship and facilitating group sessions to support learning and cohort-bonding.

Preferred Skills: A friendly, outgoing personality and a flair for teamwork are essential, as is enthusiasm for CESTA’s programs and projects. Excellent communication, design, and time management skills are desired. Experience organizing social media campaigns and using tools such as Adobe Creative Suite, Hootsuite, Mailchimp, and/or website management (Drupal) is preferred. Prior experience in facilitating workshops or providing peer mentorship is a bonus.

Early Modern Mobility
Project Leads: Prof. Paula Findlen (History), Leo Barleta (History), Dr. Katherine McDonough (Alan Turing Institute), Rachel Midura (History), and Dr. Luca Scholz (CESTA and History)

During the early modern period (1500-1800), individuals and communities experienced dramatic changes in communication and transportation, establishing practices, institutions, and infrastructures that opened up new political and economic possibilities, and changed the way people understood the world. This multi-year collaboration will support a transregional study of mobility, incorporating multiple languages and national historiographies. Inter-related studies include the following digitally-enhanced components:

  • Early Modern Digital Itineraries. A database and accompanying visualizations of published early modern postal itineraries.
  • Empire in the Backlands: Mapping Territorial Expansion in the Portuguese Empire. The project uses GIS and network analysis to map, measure, and analyse patterns of mobility of colonists and merchants of the expanding territory of Colonial Brazil.
  • Public Works Laboratory: Building a Province in 18th Century France. A multilayered, digital map of early modern roads in western France and visualizations of the relationship between construction practices and political action.

Undergraduate research interns will work on one or more of the sub-projects listed above, helping to transform data into cutting edge visualizations of roads, postal routes, and patterns of correspondence in the early modern period. As such, tasks may include digitizing sources, collecting and cleaning quantitative and qualitative data, geocoding spatial data, and generating maps and other visualizations of historic networks.  Some experience working with archival sources, databases, geospatial data visualizations, network analysis, R, Python and/or common programming languages are preferred. Reading skills in French, German, Italian, and/or Portuguese will also be helpful in different sub-projects, but are not necessarily required.

Egypt in South Africa
Project Lead: Prof. Grant Parker (Classics)

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 unique setting nourished one of the world's earliest civilizations, its monumental architecture and writing system contributing to a distinctive cultural status. Westerners have viewed Egypt as timeless and exotic, a status described by the cultural critic Edward Said as Orientalist. Reimagining Egypt's place in Africa, this case study focuses on South African representations of Egypt. In South Africa's colonial history, ancient Egypt has been a template for monumentality and for antiquity itself. In the late 19th century, Cecil John Rhodes and other entrepreneurs fantasized about a 'Cape to Cairo' rail link that would unite the possessions of the British Empire.

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).

Responsibilities, tasks and learning outcomes: A student 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: The main IT work will focus on Drupal and other multi-media databases. Any academic background in ancient Egypt, South African history, European colonial history, or heritage studies will be an advantage.

George Moses Horton Project
Project Leads: Prof. Zephyr Frank (History) and Dr. Cecil Brown

Who was George Moses Horton? What is his significance to American culture today? An African-American slave (1797–1888) challenged by laws that prevented him from learning to read and write, Horton developed a method of composing poetry orally. Like contemporary rappers JayZ, Common, and the Last Poets, he created a new way of making poems, generally called “free-styling.” Students paid 25, 50, or 75 cents for Horton’s poems, depending on the level of passion toward their object of affection. Using AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), the Horton Project will transport viewers to the antebellum world of the University of North Carolina, helping us to recover aural and spatial dimensions of oral poetry and performance  in the 19th century.

An undergraduate research intern will work in Blender, Lyrebird, Unity, and/or Xcode to create 3D visual content (models of people and environments) and audio content where users can interact with an avatar of George Moses Horton. Prior experience in developing AR or VR projects is preferred; an interest in learning the tools and methods as well as strong collaboration skills is necessary. The team aims to produce an app where the user is both narrator and actor who will communicate with Horton to reproduce a piece poetry using a process similar to Horton's 19th century methods.

Global Medieval Sourcebook
Project Leads: Prof. Kathryn Starkey (German and English)

The Global Medieval Sourcebook (GMS) is an online repository which brings together curated collections of texts dating from the sixth to the sixteenth century and originating in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Each work is presented in its original language and in a new English translation, with high resolution images of the manuscript source, where possible. The site uses an innovative page display to offer visitors maximum flexibility in their engagement with text and image. Concise introductions provide a contextual frame for users with little or no prior knowledge of medieval text cultures. Current thematic collections include fabliaux, love songs, and excerpts of world histories, but there are many others in the pipeline. The original texts featured in GMS thus far span the following languages: Old and Middle High German, Middle Low German, Medieval Dutch, Old and Middle French, Old and Middle English, Medieval Italian, Medieval Latin, Old Spanish (including Aljamiado), Medieval Hungarian, Chinese, Arabic, and Persian.

No programming experience required (basic experience with any programming language is a plus, but by no means necessary). Attention to detail is essential. The research intern will help prepare material for digital publication and will receive training in TEI-XML. An interest in translation and/or bringing medieval culture to new audiences is desirable.

Global Urbanization and Its Discontents
Project Leads: Prof. Zephyr Frank (History and Urban Studies), Erik Steiner, and Leo Barleta

Over the last several decades, millions of people have migrated from rural villages and towns into urban contexts which now hold over half of the world’s population. The growth of cities also has been accompanied by an astonishing surge in land values and housing costs, driving housing prices upward and crowding out low-income residents. This multi-institution, NSF-funded collaboration investigates the spatial and temporal dynamics of property, rent, and displacement in multiple world cities and their hinterlands in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Research interns will work with a team to examine the potential use of AI and computer vision (CV) tools in humanistic research to understand issues related to globalization, such as displacement and urban farming. Interns will organize computer vision and other data on peripheral development to sketch a preliminary narratives about visual markers of urbanization (and AI). The current aim is to create a spatial typology of urban farming across studies cities using a CV model that recognizes of food growing. Skills in data analysis (preferably Python), GIS, data wrangling, data visualization are desired.

Immigration Detention: A History
Prof. Ana Minian (History)

This project tracks the history and growth of immigration detention in the United States from Ellis Island to the present. In particular it focuses on the detention of European migrants in Ellis Island, Chinese migrants in Angel Island, Cuban migrants in the Atlanta penitentiary, and Central American migrants who have experienced family separation. Through these case studies it hopes to tell the broader history of immigration detention.

Interns will be expected to find interviewees, transcribe interviews, and analyze sources and data. Spanish language fluency would be useful in this work.

Josquin Research Project
Project Leads: Prof. Jesse Rodin (Music) and Prof. Craig Stuart Sapp (Music)

The Josquin Research Project 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 a new visualization tool for musical form and a new, interactive platform for displaying scores. Interns would gain fundamental programming skills before implementing a series of changes and expansions to the platform. A knowledge of C++ and basic knowledge of musical notation is preferred.

Land Talk
Project Lead: Prof. Deborah Gordon (Biology)

Land Talk is a crowd-sourced collection of reports of changing landscapes from across the globe. This project seeks to empower people all over the world to document changes in weather and land within their own community. The website features oral histories collected by youth from older community members about the changes they have personally observed in their lifetime about places they know well. The project encourages younger and older people to talk together and amplifies real stories about changes in weather and land.

Research interns will develop additional web content), edit and post entries,  and enhance the site’s design, such as developing an interactive map application to present stories in their geographic context. Interns may also contribute to science outreach efforts and develop educational materials. Further analysis of entries through text mining and topic modeling could reveal patterns and further insights as the Land Talk corpus continues to grow. Experience with web development and design (e.g., WordPress, Docker, Node.JS, and Sublime) and text analysis is preferred. An interest in environmental issues, digital storytelling, and education is also essential.


The Literary Lab
Lab Leads: Prof. Mark Algee-Hewitt (English) and Drs. Laura McGrath and J.D. Porter

The Stanford Literary Lab is a research collective that uses computational methods of textual analysis to investigate questions of interest to scholars in the humanities and social sciences. We currently have over 16 active projects in the lab which are supported by over 25 collaborators. These range from the very literary to wider applications of textual analysis. For example, our literary projects include MircroGenres, were we are using machine learning models to identify disciplinary language in nineteenth century novels; The Soundscape of the Harlem Renaissance, in which we are collaborating with a scholar from Columbia University to explore the use of sound in African American writing in the early twentieth century; Serial Interactions in Harry Potter Fan Fiction, where we are studying a massive archive of posted fanfiction stories and comments. Our other projects include The History of American Celebrity, a collaboration between the Literary Lab and Smithsonian Museum of American History through we are identifying the markers and objects of celebrity in a corpus of American newspapers from the colonial period until today (which will be featured in an exhibit at the Smithsonian in 2022);  and Anti-Corruption, in which we are working with the OECD's working group on Bribery to identify how enforcement mechanisms are unevenly applied to different countries. In all of these projects, we apply computational models to large corpora of textual data in order to uncover patterns in the language, and forms, of literary and extra-literary writing.

Research interns would be especially welcome to collaborate in our projects on American Celebrity (where they would help us use Named Entity Recognition to identify celebrities in our newspaper corpus); our project on the Harlem Renaissance (where they would work with researchers to create vector space models of our corpus of African American writing in order to identify aural language; our project on Voice, where the would assist with visualizing the data; and our project on Harry Potter fanfiction, where they would help us analyze the data using NLP to find thematic and character identifiers that appear first in the comments to stories. In general, some knowledge of literature and text, some knowledge of and interest in literature, and some experience with data visualization are preferred but not required. Familiarity with data cleaning, text tagging, and with Python and/or R is a plus.

Mapping Ottoman Epirus: Space, Power and Empire
Project Leads: Prof. Ali Yaycioglu (History) and Prof. Antonis Hadjikyriacou (Bogazici University, Istanbul)

This project aims to construct a digital and interactive map of Ottoman Greece and to designate urban and village settlements, agricultural and pastoral landscapes, transportation webs and monuments, mercantile and intellectual networks, the structure of governance and administrative setting, and accumulation of power and wealth in Western and Central Greece. In doing so, we integrate complex and multifaceted data gathered from archival documents in Ottoman-Turkish and Greek (as well as French, Russian, and English), topographic data derived from our field trips and geo-historical sources, and historical maps and other visual material.

Students on this project work closely with a team of researchers including  professors Ali Yaycioglu (History, Stanford), Antonis Hadjikyriacou (Bogazici University), and Erik Steiner (Spatial History Project) to translate and research place names, classify data, build a geospatial database, and design visualizations and other content for a digital publication.

Modeling Mesoamerica
Project Lead: Dr. Christina Hodge (Stanford University Archaeology Center)

Modeling Mesoamerica is a digital humanities project to create public interpretive content relating to an upcoming student-curated exhibit of the same name, planned to open first week of June 2020. The exhibit will feature objects from the Stanford University Archaeology Collections: two at-scale rubbings on paper taken directly from monumental Maya carvings and several at-scale and reduced-scale plaster replicas of Maya and Aztec architecture elements and artifacts, as well as new 2D and 3D digitization of these materials (produced with Stanford Libraries).

The digital humanities component of this project will create one or two related visualizations: 1) Creating a module for a GIS-based mapping of the replicas showing what site the item is originally from; where the original item is now housed (site or museum); and where known replicas of the item are now (at Stanford and other museums), with supplemental interpretive media and text. 2) Creating a Mirador-style viewer for high resolution 2D scans of the two rubbings, on which students can annotate components such as iconography and glyphs. Components will augment information in the physical display and will be web-based.

The core student task will be helping to develop and design web-based visualizations. We are looking for design and advanced programming skills with special focus on or interest in html, GIS, IIIF, and interactive website development if possible. Students will work closely with the PI, project manager, and other researchers to create visualizations for the data both for public consumption as well as to aid in research and analysis. There may also be opportunity to set up an interactive digital kiosk.


Modernist Archives Publishing Project
Project lead: Dr. Alice Staveley (English)

The Modernist Archives Publishing Project is a critical digital archive of early twentieth-century publishing history. The goal of this site is to display, curate, and describe the documents that go into the making of a book. The collection contains thousands of images from archives and special collections relating to Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press including: letters, dust jackets, financial records, paper samples, illustrations, sketches, production sheets, and ephemera. These newly digitized materials are presented with peer-reviewed summaries, biographies, bibliographical information, and other scholarly materials.

Research intern tasks may include the following: transcribing manuscript information about sales and distribution records (names and addresses of buyers, individuals, and bookshops) into Excel spreadsheets in preparation for ingesting into CMS; creating data visualizations of transcribed order books including histograms, network graphs, and other visualizations, and working with PIs to interpret the data; and researching and writing up histories of major buyers and studying their influence on the global distribution networks for Hogarth Press books. Through this work, students will examine and unveil obscure details about the modernist era and book history.


Oral History Text Analysis Project
Project Leads: Prof. Estelle Freedman (History) and Dr. Nataline Marine-Street (Stanford Historical Society)

The Stanford Oral History Text Analysis Project is developing a methodology for data mining the rich but untapped collections of digital oral history interview transcripts housed in university library and other collections across the U.S.  OHTAP is currently exploring whether and how women interviewees named, remembered, and interpreted forms of sexual violence in the mid to late-twentieth century; how language and responses changed over time; how they differed across demographic groups; and what historical sources enabled resistance and activism. Our long-range goal is to establish methodologies for digital analysis of oral history that can be applied widely by a range of scholars, on multiple topics of inquiry.

Research Interns will work with text, metadata, and digital humanities tools (both quantitative and qualitative coding) to prepare texts and help analyze recollections related to sexual violence. Some background in CS and/or statistics (i.e., using Python) as well as prior history coursework would be helpful.


Poetic Media Lab
Lab Director: Prof. Amir Eshel (DLCL); Lab Co-Directors: Cody Chun, Nelson Shuchmacher Endebo, and Fyza Parviz

The Poetic Media Lab is a Digital Humanities research and design group. We design and build creative platforms and products that promote new ways of conducting research, teaching, and learning in the 21st century. Our interdisciplinary lab includes faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students from the humanities, computer science, and the school of education. We are currently supporting seven new projects.

Research Interns may contribute to one or more projects at the Poetic Media Lab that have literature and/or translation as their main themes. Applicants should have interests in languages, translation, and intercultural exchanges. Language skills in German, Hebrew, and/or East Asia languages would be helpful. Prior experience building websites is strongly preferred.


Social Networks in the Early Islamic Middle East
Project Lead: Prof. Michael Penn (Religious Studies)

This particular project stems from the world’s largest alumni newsletter. That is, in the mid-ninth 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 characters. It contains a treasure trove of information on topics ranging from Christian-Muslim relations, to medieval economic history, to ecclesiastical politics, to ancient pilgrimage routes.

In addition to the value of this work’s content, The Book of Governors is also particularly important methodologically. In recent years, humanists have increasingly applied techniques associated with social network analysis to historical sources. Social network analysis is a set of visualization and quantification tools that helps scholars display and analyze how groups are structured and how members of a group interact. It has been used for everything from mapping the interactions of billions of Facebook users to a Stanford based project exploring epistolary connections in the eighteenth-century Republic of Letters. But social network analysis has only rarely been applied to pre-modern history. In part, this is because few pre-modern sources are sufficiently rich in data on social interactions to be amenable to network analysis. But The Book of Governors has more character interactions than does the epic fantasy Game of Thrones (yes, we counted). It also makes for a particularly intriguing case study for social network analysis as this text is an amalgamation of data for what we’d consider historically plausible interactions (e.g. well-known abbots, caliphs, and theologians) alongside what we’d consider less plausible (e.g. teleporting trees, petrified dragons, and—in one case—a temporarily resurrected dog). That is, Thomas of Marga promiscuously mixed what we categorize as a historical network with a network of literary characters.

Previous CESTA interns have coded most of the social interactions and much of the geographic references for this work.Future interns would be in charge of some final data clean-up, additional attribute coding, data analysis, literature review, and helping prepare the work for publication. Some experience with social network analysis and GIS is preferred, but not required.

Text Mining Bias in Asylum Decisions
Project Lead: Dr. Bridget Algee-Hewitt (CCSRE)

Variation in asylum adjudication outcomes across the U.S. immigration courts is well-documented (some judges exhibit asylum grant rates of over 90 percent, others have grant rates in the single digits) but these disparities have led some scholars to conclude that asylum outcomes are less dependent on the legal facts of the case in question and more on the identity of the presiding immigration judge. While present research has extensively documented these discrepancies across time and across courts, little emphasis has been placed on why such disparities exist. In an attempt to shed light on this question, this study adopts a computational approach to identifying and quantifying bias in asylum granting, using immigration court transcripts to determine whether recurrent themes and the manner in which they are considered in the courtroom setting vary according to judge-level characteristics. We apply the techniques of text mining to document the judicial responses to refugees and their lawyers, in different stages of the asylum petition process, taking into consideration the personal life factors, like sex, age, language, geographic origin, marital/parental status, of the refugees that may influence the judges’ perspectives and ultimately asylum outcomes, and to reveal latent themes and to determine “sentiment” within a single text, across texts common to a single judge, and among all texts from a particular day, time period, or courtroom. These results will provide a novel dataset with which we can quantify trends and develop predictive models, and identify areas of bias/weakness in the system to provide recommendations.

Research interns tasks will include data collection, transcribing audio files into text files for analysis, tagging for sentiment analysis, and data visualization. The project team will build and manage a database and create a website. Some computer science and statistics knowledge and/or familiarity with text or language analysis will be helpful; a concern for human rights and social justice is important.

Text Technologies
Project Lead: Prof. Elaine Treharne (English)

Stanford Text Technologies investigates all forms of human communication from 70,000 BCE to the present day to determine patterns, trends, and characteristics of information systems. There are several sub-projects under this umbrella:

  • Text Technologies PR - the research intern will work on effectively communicating the project to a broad audience through the existing website and also by setting up a promotions exercise for the new coursebook just published, plus the findings of various projects completed in the last two years. Adeptness at communicating via websites and social media is ideal; PR expertise in any electronic form is helpful. A strong ability to synthesize and bring materials in various formats together for effective message delivery is essential.
  • Stanford Ordinary People Extraordinary Stories (SOPES): From vintage postcards, antique autograph books and other memorabilia, this project seeks to uncover and discover the lives and networks of people through an archive of disparate remnants filled with artwork, stories, letters, images, and more. Interns may contribute to research of archival and non-archival materials (i.e., from personal collections) and craft narratives about individual cases.
  • Materialities of Medieval Manuscripts in Digital Repositories: This project focuses on the affordances of digitized medieval manuscripts and compares them with the affordances of physical manuscripts to reveal the underlying theoretical frameworks governing platforms and impacting the manuscript’s meaning. Interns will find and make an inventory of digital platforms with medieval manuscripts, document use possibilities, make initial categorization, and collaborate in developing methodology for analysis.


Visible Bodies: A Digital Archive of Twentieth-Century African Female Writers

Project Lead: Prof. Joel Cabrita (History)

Where are the African female writers of the twentieth century? This project addresses the critical issue of the invisibility of female authors within established canons of twentieth-century African literature, and it urgently seeks to remedy the extent to which women-authored bodies of work from this period continues to be lost, misplaced, forgotten, and ignored. Entitled “Visible Bodies”, the project thus aims to give greater visibility to hitherto marginalized bodies of work. Assembling an interdisciplinary team of historians, literary scholars, and archivists, the project will create a critical digital archive displaying the key work of largely unknown twentieth-century African female writers. The archive will be aimed at scholars and the general public, especially emphasizing audiences on the African continent. Phase One of the project will digitize and curate the output of Regina Twala (1908-68), an important South African-Swazi politician and activist who wrote four manuscripts, none of which were published. The project will be launched at a high-profile public symposium, disseminating the key findings of the archive and increasing public awareness of neglected African female authors. Diverse media platforms – radio, Twitter and Instagram – will be employed to publicize and disseminate the archive.

Research interns will help identify and digitize selected extracts from written output of the Swazi-South African writer, Regina Twala, and assist with the creation of a digital archive to curate, explain, and display this material for public consumption. Familiarity with archival research, digitization techniques, and web design and content creation are preferred.

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