Undergraduate Researcher Program

Each summer, Stanford Public Humanities offers several full-time research opportunities for undergraduates. Working closely with a faculty mentor, students support one of the faculty projects funded by our Humanities Seed Grants. Participants contribute to groundbreaking research in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, while also honing skills that will set them up for a future honors thesis or independent project.

Undergraduate researchers are expected to devote themselves full time—roughly 40 hours per week—to these experiences for 10 weeks during the summer. They receive a base stipend of $7,500, along with a potential financial aid supplement of up to $1,500, depending on need.


To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Student Status:
    • Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors of any major are welcome. However, current seniors who will graduate before summer quarter cannot apply.
  • Restrictions on other Summer Activities:
    • You may not accept a second full-time summer stipend from another Stanford program, and you may not work a full-time job during the 10 weeks of your Fellowship. You may participate in a second, part-time research opportunity or part-time job, but we strongly urge you to limit additional commitments to no more than 5–10 hours per week.
    • You may not enroll in more than 5 units of summer coursework.
    • You may not participate in one of Stanford’s intensive summer courses (such as Sophomore College, the Arts Intensive, or a BOSP Global Seminar) while working simultaneously on your project. However, if your faculty mentor allows it, you may be able to arrange the ten weeks of your summer commitment so that they do not overlap with your chosen course. 

How to Apply:

To apply, have a look at the open positions below. If one catches your interest, send an email directly to the faculty member in charge of the project, and he or she will follow up with next steps. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until positions are filled.

Note: You are welcome to apply to multiple positions, but you must notify each faculty member of the other positions you are considering so that we can coordinate offers.

Questions? Email Jeff Schwegman: jschweg [at] stanford.edu (jschweg[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Open Positions

The Sonic Resistance Archive: Music, Poetry, and Memory in Afghanistan

Faculty Contacts:

Dr. Mejgan Massoumi, mejgan [at] stanford.edu (mejgan[at]stanford[dot]edu)

Munazza Ebtikar, munazza.ebtikar [at] sjc.ox.ac.uk (munazza[dot]ebtikar[at]sjc[dot]ox[dot]ac[dot]uk)

Project Description: 

Following the Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan in 2021, music and poetry, vital elements of Afghanistan’s culture, have faced harsh suppression, leading to the destruction of instruments and persecution of artists, forcing many into exile. Despite this, artists persist, utilizing underground networks and exile communities to continue creating and sharing their work through modern technology. To support this cultural resistance, we will create the Sonic Resistance Archive, a digital collection documenting music and poetry produced since 2021 by Afghanistan’s cultural producers, providing scholars and communities access to these significant cultural artifacts. By offering a resource for studying Afghanistan's music and poetry as forms of political expression, the archive aims to engage students and the public in exploring their role in shaping society and envisioning Afghanistan’s future, fostering a deeper understanding of the intersections among art, politics, and resilience in Afghanistan and beyond.


  • Identify and gather music recordings, poetry collections, and related materials representing resistance music and poetry from Afghanistan.
  • Review and analyze primary source material, such as audio recordings, written texts, visual and digital material, to determine their relevance and significance to the archiving project.
  • Document the historical context, significance, and provenance of each item.
  • Contribute to the creation of descriptive metadata for archival materials to facilitate searchability and accessibility.
  • Create and maintain an Excel spreadsheet of all documented music, poetry, and musicians in consultation with the project managers.
  • Collaborate with project managers on a regular basis.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of Afghanistan’s culture, history, and cultural expressions, particularly within the context of war and displacement.
  • Develop strong research skills in various languages.
  • Develop research skills in information retrieval, source evaluation, and data analysis.
  • Gain practical experience in digital archiving processes, including metadata creation, digitization techniques, and preservation.
  • Gain insight into the intersection of music, poetry, politics, through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and analysis.
  • Learn diverse methodologies for research.
  • Learn diverse ways of community engagement and collaboration in cultural preservation and representation.
  • Build valuable teamwork, communication, and project management skills.


Required Skills 

  • Research facility in Persian with a strong preference for candidates familiar with the Persian spoken in Afghanistan.
  • Ability to research diverse online and print sources in Persian and English.
  • Ability to research social media sites including Facebook, X (Formerly Twitter) and Instagram for diverse forms of cultural production.
  • Attention to detail and meticulousness in cataloging and organizing archival materials to ensure accuracy and accessibility.
  • Ability to work closely with a multidisciplinary team of researchers.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  •  Excellent written skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple tasks and deadlines effectively.
  • Proficiency in use of Microsoft Office applications including Word and Excel.


Desirable Skills:

  • Understanding of ethical considerations in research, including citation practices, intellectual property rights, and cultural sensitivity.
  • Basic knowledge of digital archival practices and some familiarity with archival software or platforms.
  • Familiarity with bibliographic management software (e.g., Zotero, EndNote) for organizing and citing research sources.


The work for this position can be completed remotely. The research assistant should be available to speak over the Phone/Zoom/Teams as well as via email during the duration of this opportunity.