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"Research in the humanities is often interdisciplinary, crossing boundaries between literature and history, philosophy and art, and/or music and religion. Because the subject areas are harder to categorize, the terminology used in humanities research may be less solid and agreed upon than in other fields. Researchers in the humanities are more likely to draw material from texts and artifacts than from original data gathering and experimentation." 

- As defined in Research & Documentation in the Electronic Age, Fourth Edition, by Diana Hacker

Students interested in doing research in the Humanities must be prepared to be 1) flexible, both in search terminology and in search strategy, 2) tolerant of multiple perspectives on the same object of study, 3) willing to go back and do more research over and over again as new and more questions arise.  Below is just a small sample of projects that were available to students in UROP in the past.

Collating Middle English texts for study on alliterative long

This project will be to review poetic texts in Middle English with attention to particular details of rhythm, sound, and meter. Emphasis will be on textual study and collation, with some attention as well to secondary research.

Student Tasks and Responsibilities
Student will assist with a number of separate tasks looking at text and recording where particular phenomena occur.

Passages in American Studies and Music

The Project Sponsor is a cultural and intellectual historian who works on the twentieth-century US. and currently writing a scholarly book entitled HEARING LOSS: THE DREAMLIFE OF MODERN JAZZ. This book involves original research and critical reflection on U.S. music, literature, film, and intellectual life, especially in the 1950-1970 period. The projects look at jazz music, fictional and non-fictional writings about jazz music, and cinematic reflections on the music life in that period. Research in archives and old periodicals is important to the project. In addition, the sponsor is also undertaking preliminary research on several other topics, including a study of US culture and film in the 1970s.

Student Tasks and Responsibilities: 
Students consult with the advising professor and then do research in campus libraries and collections and related resources of U-M. Students meet regularly with the advising professor to "process" the research, brainstorm new directions, and discuss methods and archives. Students will locate and retrieve (and often discuss) relevant sources in campus libraries, archives, the web, and so forth; photocopying or taking notes from said sources; retrieving books and materials from libraries; and related activities.


This project is a video production collaboration with an inmate serving life without parole at a State of Michigan Correctional Facility. Beginning January 2009 I have been collaborating on a video project with a 24 year old man serving a life without parole sentence since 1999.I first met Justin during a poetry reading at a local prison. His mastery of language and the power and courage of his imagery left a lasting impression on me. A year later, when I decided to follow the footsteps of my students, whom I guided through a prison outreach workshop, where they had spent a semester collaboratively working with teams of inmates on producing 5 minute video pieces, Justin was a natural choice of a partner for my own video project.

Student Tasks and Responsibilities: 
The student will be modeling and creating animation in Maya of various objects and figures (e.g. people, a tractor, a rat, a bird, insects, elements within the cell or the land fill). The modeling could rely on library or Internet resources, or not. The motion capture programming of some these models will be done by a professional technician. Sponsor will introduce student to the process of video/animation production.

Let Them Eat Cake

This Sponsor is creating a participatory performance piece that advocates for marriage equality. The piece is currently scheduled to be performed in Ann Arbor and Chicago, and perhaps in other locations.

Student Tasks and Responsibilities: 
There are several skill sets that would be useful, I don't expect one person to have them all: Web design and maintenance research on marriage, particularly visual imagery research on right wing anti gay campaigns technical theatre skills working with community groups publicity and marketing. Good computer skills, ability to communicate ability to be prompt, to maintain a schedule is vital. Must be comfortable with LGBT issues. Students will have a chance to work on with nationally known theater artists on an important political topic. Chance to travel to Chicago and possibly other locales.

God, Saints and Death in the Borderlands

This project studies the contrasting ways in which migrant deaths and their aftermath are viewed, experienced and commemorated in the communities of origin and destination. Building upon a database of cases taken from periodical and official sources, the study will engage theoretical work on and employ methodologies from communication studies, religion, death, ritual and civic culture as it examines the place of the outsider/adventurer in the public imaginary of two countries.
Student tasks and responsibilities: 
The first phase of the project entails the construction of a database, using available periodical records compiled by official and other sources. The second phase will cross-reference the database with other available ones. Phase three will select and develop individual and community case studies. Phases will overlap; phases one and two will probably occupy the bulk of the academic year.