Undergraduate Research Experience

SHPRS’ Undergraduate Research Experience places undergraduate students into research assistant opportunities working with individual faculty members on their research projects. Students will enroll in HST/ PHI/ REL 494: Undergraduate Research Experience* and may earn up to 9 hours of elective credits (and in some cases, apply them towards their major). All students in good academic standing are invited to apply (minimum GPA 2.0). 

Undergraduate research opportunities will be added as they become available. Please check back regularly for new opportunities.

Apply now for fall 2018

* As with any course at ASU that earns credit, regular tuition charges apply. 

Benefits of the program 

  • First-hand experience of professional research
  • Learn applicable research skills
  • Invest in valuable relationships with faculty


Program highlights 

As a research assistant, you will:

  • Work with SHPRS faculty supporting his or her research
  • Earn credit commensurate with the number of hours of work (determined in advance and detailed in the URE contract)
  • Learn applicable research skills
  • Strengthen your resume and grad school application 


Steps to apply

1. Review the URE opportunities available and determine which one(s) interest you. 

2. Submit your application. You may apply to more than one research opportunity, but you must submit a separate application for each. Faculty leading the project may request a follow-up interview. 

3. Receive an email announcing selected applicants and next steps. Once you’re in the door make the best of the opportunity…learn what you came to learn, get your questions answered, make a connection that lasts a lifetime.

Questions? Email bkravetz@asu.edu

Fall 2018 Opportunities 


The Correspondence of the Rev. Samuel Bissell, 1820-1885: A Documentary Editing Project 
Professor Susan Gray, History

In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the Rev. Samuel Bissell ran a school, the Twinsburg Institute, in Ohio for young Indigenous men of the Great Lakes region. This project involves transcription of his correspondence with his former students, government officials, and clergy, and other members of the Benevolent Empire. I have collected a run of about one hundred letters and other documents from the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. These letters form part of a larger inquiry into Protestant missionizing among Indigenous peoples in the Great Lakes region on both sides of the international border. 



Environmental Oral Histories 
Professor Mark Tebeau, History

Student will work with Professor Mark Tebeau and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy to conduct oral histories into the history and development of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Student research will contribute to an ongoing project to document the region’s environmental history through studying the nation’s largest urban preserve and the activist community that led to its development. Oral histories will be archived by the Scottsdale Public Library so students will be exposed to the digital archiving techniques as well as the latest technological developing in collecting, processing, and representing oral histories. Stories will be curated to become part of the McDowell Sonoran Silver exhibition, presently on display at the Arizona Historical Society. Up to four students can work on this project. 



Mapping Religious Conflict in Eurasia, 1991-2017 
Professor Eugene Clay, Religious Studies

This project uses innovative methods to map religious communities and their conflicts on the territory of the former USSR since 1991, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. After the dissolution of the USSR into 15 independent countries, religion began to play an increasingly important political and social role in the post-So- viet space. Freed from the brutal antireligious persecution that characterized most of the Soviet period (1917- 1991), religious bodies such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate, the Russian Council of Muftis, and the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia have taken advantage of their new-found liberty to restore and construct churches, mosques, cathedrals, monasteries, and stupas. These new buildings have transformed the Eurasian landscape in ways that can be clearly seen in satellite images taken over the last quarter-century. Religious communities have also shaped social and ethnic identities, engaged in moral and civic education, lobbied legislatures for financial support, and articulated moral visions for their societies. At times, religions have come into conflict, most dramatically in the Caucasus, but also in Central Asia, where radical forms of Islam, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, challenge the more nationalistic Muslim establishment. New tools available to scholars, such as Google Earth, satellite photography, geographical information systems, and government databases that are accessible via the internet, offer innovative possibilities for visualizing important cultural, geographic, demographic, and religious transformations. By combining these tools with traditional sources (travelogues, newspaper reports, scholarly articles and monographs), this project will develop an interactive digital map of ethno-religious communities and their conflicts in the former USSR. 



War Brides Acts: Marriage and Migration in the Post-WWII Era 
Professor Julian Lim, History

I am currently working on a book about marriage priorities in U.S. immigration law. I seek research assistance with a chapter dealing with relations and marriages between American GI’s and the foreign women they met during their stays abroad during and after WWII, and in both the European and Asian contexts. Part social history and part legal history, the research will explore the circumstances under which American soldiers come into contact with foreign women, the similarities and differences between Europe and Asia, and the history of the legislative and any executive actions taken on behalf of the GI’s and their foreign spouses. 





Values on Your Plate 
Professor Joan McGregor, Philosophy

This project, “Values on Your Plate”, is to create a public forum website that features six short, two to five minute, webisodes which will critically engage the public about the humanities’ dimensions, for example, the ethical, historical, cultural, and religious aspects of the food system in Arizona. 



Biraben 2.0: A Black Death Digital Archive 
Professor Monica Green, History

This project involves preparing background readings for a small international conference that will bring together the world’s top researchers working on the history of the 2nd Plague Pandemic (13th- 18th centuries). The 2nd Plague Pandemic, which includes the devastating Black Death of the 14th century, plus all persisting outbreaks in Eurasia and Africa for the next 500 years, has produced a considerable amount of historiography, and is increasingly also being researched by archaeologists and paleogeneticists. But the data that has been used to study this largest pandemic in human history is very uneven, widely scattered, and difficult to synthesize. The participants will be meeting to discuss plans for a comprehensive Digital Humanities (DH) database that brings together data from a variety of sources and begins to standardize it for common use by researchers, be they historians, biologists, or epidemiologists. This is a prime opportunity for a student wanting to see how a major research project gets started from the ground up.



Salt River Stories 
Professor Mark Tebeau, History

Student will work with Professor Mark Tebeau and the Arizona State Office of Historic Preservation to conduct research into historic landscapes (on the National Register of Historic Places) and develop stories about those landscapes for Salt River Stories (saltriverstories.org), a mobile app developed through which ASU students curate the history of the greater Phoenix region. Students will develop interpretive stories and tours, including perhaps leading a walking tour during the annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference. Up to five students can work on this project. Review Salt River Stories for examples of other work. 



Global Terrorism in the Early Twentieth Century
Professor Linh Vu, History

While we often associate terrorism with the 9/11 attacks and events of similar nature thereafter, terrorism has much deeper roots in history. I am currently working on global terrorist networks and acts since the late nineteenth century. This project explores terrorism as an ideology, a tactic, and an end in itself by examining its historical developments and manifestations. I also investigate various forms of terrorism, such as anti-imperial terrorism, state terrorism, colonial and anti-colonial terrorism, and religion-motivated terrorism. I examine rhetorical tools used to accuse individuals, organizations, and governments of organizing, supporting, and encouraging terrorist activities. This research moreover focuses on how modernizations, in terms of technology (firearms, explosives, etc.) and of communication (telegrams, newspapers, telephones, etc.), have transformed terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Since my area of expertise is violence in East Asia, this project will have a regional focus on terrorism and counter-terrorism in early twentieth-century East and Southeast Asia. Please note that it will cover other parts of the world. Primarily, relying on newspapers, memoirs, and government documents, I hope to expose networks of terror-conspirators and their financiers that organized attacks on the imperial and colonial government officials and collaborators in cosmopolitan cities, especially those with multiple contending authorities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi, Taipei, and Hong Kong. This research interrogates transnational Asia at the intersection of modern weapon technologies, firearm trade across the Pacific Ocean and Eurasia, sociological and psychological impacts of violence on the population, and governance techniques of counteracting terrorist acts.



Applied Philosophy and Its Uses 
Professor Elizabeth Brake, Philosophy

The project is to gather the best online resources for an applied philosophy website hosted by SHPRS. These may include links to research centers, academic and non-academic articles, news articles, relevant blogs, and faculty research pages. They will showcase what applied philosophy is and its real-world uses - in ethics, AI and computing, robotics, experimental philosophy and philosophy of psychology, and any other areas of interest. I will give the student examples and criteria for guidance, but he or she can also take initiative in proposing new ideas. This will form part of a larger website which also includes information on faculty at ASU, our courses focused in applied philosophy, and our students. 



Interviewing Applied Philosophers 
Professor Elizabeth Brake, Philosophy

Applied philosophy includes applied ethics, applied philosophy of science, experimental philosophy, applied metaphysics and epistemology (theory of knowledge), and many other areas. To introduce applied philosophy to prospective students and the ASU community, SHPRS is creating an Applied Philosophy website. Among other things, this will feature interviews with professors and graduate students working in applied philosophy - both local ASU professors, former ASU students, and international scholars. 



The Limits of Black Wealth in America, 1619-2019
Professor Calvin Schermerhorn, History

This project attempts to explain why African Americans have one-seventh the wealth of white Americans today, on average. That fact is the result of a 400-year history of barriers to African descended people building wealth and passing the fruits of their labor to the next generation. This Undergraduate Research Opportunity will focus on one chapter or era, e.g. The Civil Rights Era or the post-Reconstruction Era and learn best practices in the art of historical detection, uses of evidence, and basic historical writing.