The Undergraduate Research Assistantship Program is the Center's initiative to internationalize undergraduate education at Harvard. It gives students the chance to work with CES resident faculty members and visiting fellows on a project related to Europe.
Students who have participated in this valuable program in the past have researched topics such as Policy Choices and Preferences of the New EU Member States: the Cases of Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic and Hitler’s Regiment in World War I, and Ideas and Institutions in the Field of Healthcare.
Many recipients of the assistantships have continued their work through the summer. Assistantships involve meaningful research and usually require between 5-10 hours per week. The hourly rate is $13.50.
Please note that only currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible to apply.
Interested in a position with a focus primarily on history? The History Department at Harvard offers research and employment opportunities for undergraduate students focusing on political science and economics within the realm of history.
CES Resident Faculty Member Seeks Research Assistant, START ASAP: Death Penalty in Austria-Hungary, 1848-1918
This project analyzes thousands of petitions presented to the Habsburg Emperor-King related to people sentenced to death. Each death sentence in the Habsburg Monarchy was followed by a memo from the Minister of Justice describing the crime, the perpetrator's character and background, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. This memo would also (usually) include a recommendation for substitution of a prison term instead of death or (rarely) include a recommendation to allow the death sentence to be carried out.
Inters must be able to read German. Experience working with databases (FileMaker and Excel) desirable but not absolutely necessary. Extremely high level of organization and meticulous record-keeping are indispensable.
Depending on your skill set,help a) extracting key information from transcribed memos and putting them into a database; b) identifying and analyzing contemporary descriptions of the legal process in Austria (in comparison to other states); c) identifying and analyzing newspaper articles about particular cases; d) identifying and analyzing secondary sources that place the Austrian judicial system, court system, approach to death sentences, approach to execution in a global context; e) organizing archival data that has already been collected into a sensible storage system.
Hours (both in terms of how many and which hours per week) flexible.
CES JFK Memorial Fellow Seeks Research Assistant, START ASAP: Debates in the Council of the European Union” (DICEU)
The Council of the European Union is the main legislative body of the European Union (EU), in which all 28 national governments meet and negotiate over EU legislation. Since 2009 all legislative deliberations in the Council must be held in public and videos of these international negotiations are posted on a designated video-streaming website. The project is the first one to systematically collect and analyze videos of public deliberations in the Council. The collected data encompasses transcripts of hundreds of hours of video as well as thousands of hand-coded positions of governments during negotiations. These data allow for the first time to systematically analyze governmental behavior during international negotiations – from the positions governments take to the rhetorical style they use. The project investigates how governments behavior in the EU is influenced by domestic factors at the national level. In particular, it focuses on differences in political economy models and economic conditions to understand negotiations around the Eurozone crisis and political reforms in the economic and financial realm. Factors like the organization of the executive and the parliament as well as electoral pressures such as public opinion are also taken into account in explaining governments’ behavior.
Description of tasks:
The RA will be actively involved in the entire research process. Tasks include but are not limited to:
- Analyzing datasets in R using linear regression and/or time-series/panel regression and/or quantitative text analysis models, depending on skills and motivation
- Assisting in data collection and data management tasks involving video and documental data, in particular using R, Microsoft Excel and web-scraping routines
- Assembling, reading and summarizing scholarly work on international bargaining, government behavior as well as international political economy
Any significant skills in R will be a plus as well as statistical training (e.g. in regression analysis, and particular time-series/panel or quantitative text analysis) or experience with web-scraping. Some familiarity with either European/EU politics and/or international relations and international political economy is desirable. Strong motivation to learn about the EU and extend analysis skills in R is essential.
Working days/times and locations are very flexible and can be adjusted to special needs.
13.50$/hour pay as well as the opportunity to contribute to an exciting research project using novel data, gain familiarity with several stages in social science research, and learn about EU politics from actual research rather than textbooks.
CES JFK Memorial Fellow Seeks Research Assistant, START ASAP: Politics without Parties? Moisei Ostrogorski and the Crisis of Party Democracy
The Russian political scientist Moisei Ostrogorski (1854-1921) undoubtedly counts among the four or five truly undisputed classics of international party research. In his main work La dé-mocratie et l’organisation des partis politiques, published in 1903, he compared the political systems of the United States and Great Britain. Ostrogorski discovered a sort of iron law of the oligarchy, according to which the organized party machinery would necessarily dominate its social and parliamentary base. This led to the formation of bureaucratic-hierarchical struc-tures and thus to the downfall of democracy. The author therefore demanded the abolition of all permanent parties and their replacement by spontaneous ad hoc alliances (“Down with the party and up with the league.”). His famous hypothesis that the party organization allegedly has a natural tendency towards de-democratization marks the decisive starting point for the entire European party criticism from the 19th century to the present.
Working on his book Ostrogorski spent a good deal of time in the States and became part of an Anglo-American intellectual network, which alongside the well-known British historian James Bryce included the long-standing president of Harvard University, Lawrence Lowell. The project follows Ostrogorski’s trail to Boston studying the party system of the United States through the lens of the author’s theories and concepts. Still there is not much known about Ostrogorski’s life: What exactly did he read in the US libraries? With whom did he meet and talk? What kind of empirical material did he collect at the party conventions of his time? Most of his American adventure has never been told before.
Description of tasks:
The RA will be actively involved in the entire research process. Tasks may include:
Assisting in archive and library work. Special interest is on Ostrogorski’s stay in Boston around 1900 and the intellectual and institutional background of his main work on democracy and the organization of political parties
Dealing with Ostrogorski’s methodological approach and its ground-breaking in-fluence on the development of modern social sciences (beginning of quantitative data collection, fieldwork, interviews etc.)
Searching, obtaining, reading and summarizing also more contemporary scholarly work from the fields of Comparative Politics and Political Sociology with a focus on political parties, parliaments and elites as well as the democracy in America
Strong archive and library skills (or willingness to learn them), ability to read French (or even Russian) is a plus. Although knowledge of political parties and representative democracy is desirable, not only political scientists, but also students from related disciplines (e. g. history) may be considered. Working days/times and locations are very flexible and can be adjusted to special needs.
How to Apply
Applicants for the Research Assistantships should submit the following:
- A current CV
- A one-page CL explaining interest in the specific position, outlining any relevant qualifications and experience, and availability
Completed applications should by sent in one finished document (Word or PDF format)
All currently enrolled undergraduate students of Harvard College are eligible to apply.
Your eligibility status for work-study is not a selection factor.