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Humanities Research Intensive

This course, taught over spring break, introduces freshmen and sophomores to the excitement of humanities research. It will prepare you to develop an independent summer research project, to work as a research aide for a Stanford professor, or to apply for undergraduate research grants.

Over seven days, you and your thirty classmates will take a deep dive into some of the most important methods and questions driving scholarly research in the humanities today. Your laboratory will be the archives and museum collections at Stanford, where you’ll work closely with Professors Usha Iyer (Film and Media Studies) and Emanuele Lugli (Art and Art History) doing hands-on research on ancient and modern books, manuscripts, artifacts, and monuments.

You will learn the following about humanities research:

  • How to formulate a solid research question
  • How to gather the evidence that will help you to answer that question
  • How to utilize Stanford archives, museums, and collections
  • How to write up research results
  • How to evaluate the research of your fellow students and offer useful feedback
  • How to deliver your results in a public setting
  • How to write an effective grant proposal

Why Participate in HRI?

Students who complete this course become Humanities Research Intensive Fellows and are eligible to apply for special HRI grants to support follow-up research during the summer or following academic year. In addition, they receive post-program mentorship during spring quarter and ongoing opportunities to engage with humanities faculty and advanced undergraduates. They become part of the broader intellectual community of humanities researchers at Stanford.

Fellowship Details

  • Two-unit course. Pass / No Credit. Units count toward spring quarter. (Note: you must be enrolled during spring quarter to participate in HRI).
  • Frosh and sophomores only. Transfer students are also eligible if they have completed 1 full-time quarter at Stanford and no more than 1 full year at their previous institution (or transferred in no more than 60 units, not including AP credit) by the time of application.
  • Open to all majors, as well as undeclared students.
  • Program dates: Spring Break 2024: Sunday, March 24 through Saturday, March 30.
  • Contact email: jschweg [at] (jschweg[at]stanford[dot]edu)
  • See our FAQ for more details.

The application for the spring break 2024 Humanities Research Intensive is now closed. Check back next fall to apply for spring 2025.

2024 HRI Faculty

Usha Iyer headshot

Usha Iyer is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies. Her research and teaching explore intersections between cinema, performance, and gender and sexuality studies. She is especially interested in body cultures and in Global South cultural traffic along the vectors of race, gender, caste, and religion. Her first book, Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema, examines constructions of gender, stardom, sexuality, and spectacle in Hindi cinema. She is currently working on a new book exploring the reception of Indian Cinema in the Caribbean.


Emanuele Lugli Headshot

Emanuele Lugli is an art historian who specializes in late medieval and early modern Italian painting, urban culture, trade, and fashion. His research and writing span a wide range of topics, from the history of measurement, to concepts of beauty and desire in Renaissance Florence, to the history of coloring books. He also regularly writes for magazines and newspapers such as The Guardian, Slate, Il Sole 24 Ore, Domani, Vogue, and Vanity Fair.  



Questions? Email the HRI Fellowship Advisor, Jeff Schwegman: jschweg [at] (jschweg[at]stanford[dot]edu)

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Learn more

Read and watch the video about the inaugural Humanities Research Intensive in the Stanford Report.