History

The Representation of Dictators in Contemporary Arabic Literature

Faculty Member: Sami Alkyam

This project focuses on the manifestation/s of dictators and dictatorships in contemporary literary genres—the representation of its various configurations, and the politics of re/writing history. Specifically, the project focuses on contemporary Arabic novels that call attention to the parallel/s between narrative and the rhetorical processes and structures that once played a role in empowering dictators and helping them to create godly-like figures of themselves. Each literary work offers an articulation of history and history-making where it is conceived as a fluid narrative that is ideologically constructed through interaction, rejection, and recognition. The project focuses on opening a discussion on how novels can be read as tools of dissent against “Arab dictators” ongoing rhetorical self-empowering over their own people and nations.

Project Title: The Abolition of Capital Punishment in Austria, 1770‐1970

Faculty Member: Alison Frank Johnson

Faculty member has collected from archives in Austria hundreds of decisions in death penalty cases made by the Habsburg Emperor. These decisions reveal the crime, information about the convict, rates of execution, and substitute punishments. Faculty member needs help organizing the data to allow quantitative analysis.

Constance Baker Motley and the American Century: A Biography of Race, Gender, Class and Social Change

Faculty Member: Tomiko Brown-Nagin 

This project considers what 20th century American history looks like if it is told through the life and workplace experiences of Constance Baker Motley—the black woman lawyer, politician and judge who rose from poverty to play a decisive role in three social movements that reconstructed American law and society.

The Origins of State Capacity in China

Faculty Member: Professor Yuhua Wang

This project examines the historical origins of state capacity at the sub-national level in China. Using historical, quantitative data, investigate the impact of war, crops, and the imperial civil service exam system on contemporary China's local state capacity.

Description of RA Duties: Responsibilities primarily include collecting data from Chinese sources, such as gazetteers. Some simple data analysis might be involved as well.

China Biographical Database Project

Faculty Member: Peter Bol

Description: This research project consists of prosopographical, social network, and spatial analysis.  We are in interested in how Chinese social and political elites interact from the 7th through the 19th century.  Students are responsible for research on items (such as historical placenames) used for coding data, some database management, research on historical bureaucratic titles.  A reading knowledge of Chinese is required.

The Emergence of Party Discipline in the British House of Commons

This project comprises the compilation of the most extensive database of British legislative records ever built.  We have already acquired every speech made in the British House of Commons after 1803, and are soon to acquire every roll call undertaken between 1832 and 1900.  Our research focuses on when and how party discipline emerged in the British House of Commons.  Primary responsibility of the student is  to 'clean up' of roll call records, which list member of parliament …

A Stylometric Analysis of Phillip Wright's "The Tariff on Animal and Vegetable Oils"

This research project is a continuing project of the stylometric analysis of Phillip Wright's Appendix B from his book, "The Tariff on Animal and Vegetable Oils", which outlined the method of instrumental variable regression. A number of letters between Phillip and Sewall Wright contain the development of IV regression. This project requires deciphering the statistical work in their letters.

Digital Humanities

Over the past two years, Afsaneh Najmabadi has developed a digital archive and website that preserves, links, and renders accessible primary source materials related to the social and cultural history of women’s worlds during the reign of the Qajar dynasty (1796 – 1925) in Iran. Over the next period, the project will be focused on is the development and launch of two new features: an interactive research platform and an interactive genealogy and geography feature.

Extraction and Coding of Biographical Data in Chinese Texts

Summer 2011

This project utilized text-mining techniques in order to extract and code biographical data found within Chinese texts.

  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Peter Bol
  • Undergraduate Research Scholars: Shuai (Charlotte) Chang, Cheng Li, Jinghao (Dan) Zhou, Wanxin Cheng, Heng Shao, Yifan Li, Tian Zeng, Yilun Chen, Siyu Wang, Yifan Wu, Xin Xiang, Nancy Xie, David (Wendong) Zhang