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Humanities Research Intensive
Photo by Linda Cicero

Humanities Research Intensive

Everyone knows that scientists do research, but how do you conduct research in the humanities? Find out in the Humanities Research Intensive.

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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 assistant for a Stanford professor, or to apply for undergraduate research grants.

Over five days, you and your classmates will take a deep dive into some of the most important methods and questions driving scholarly research in the humanities today. Your laboratories will be the Special Collections Library and Cantor Arts Center at Stanford, where you’ll work closely with Professors Ronald Egan (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Marci Kwon (Art and Art History), Elaine Treharne (English) and Caroline Winterer (History), doing hands-on research on ancient and modern books, manuscripts, and artifacts.

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 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.
  • Freshmen and sophomores only.
  • Open to all majors, as well as undeclared students.
  • Enroll in Art and Art History 9R; EALC (East Asian Languages and Cultures) 9R; English 9R; or History 9R.
  • Program dates: Spring Break 2020: Sunday, March 22 (orientation dinner) through Saturday, March 28 (off-campus field trip).
  • Contact email:
  • See our FAQ for more details.
  • Application deadline: Monday, November 4, 2019, 11:59 pm.


Who Are the 2020 HRI Faculty?

Ronald Egan
Photo by Connor Crutcher
Ronald Egan

Ronald Egan is the Confucius Institute Professor of Sinology in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. He has been learning about China’s long tradition of literature since first enrolling in Chinese language courses as a university student decades ago. He is especially interested in poetry and its shared space and values with painting in Chinese culture, as well as the relationship between thought, religions, and literary writings. He regularly attends conferences in China and enjoys visiting the historical sites that poets there have been writing about for over two thousand years.


Marci Kwon
Photo by Linda Cicero
Marci Kwon

Marci Kwon is an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History specializing in the art and culture of the United States. Her research and teaching interests include the intersection of fine art with folk traditions, theories of modernism, cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas, and issues of race. She has written about art in the Japanese internment camps, surrealism, and Cantonese opera in the San Francisco Chinatown, and is currently working on a book entitled Enchantments: The Art of Joseph Cornell. Her other undergraduate courses include “Asian American Art, 1850–Present” and “Pacific Dreams: Art in California.”


Elaine Treharne
Photo by Elaine Treharne
Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne is Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities and Professor of English. Her main research interests are in early British manuscripts—their intentionality, materiality, functionality and value—and in digital and computational humanities. She has published widely in these areas over the last twenty years, focusing most specifically on religious poetry and prose and on manuscripts dating from c. 1020 to c. 1220. Her publications include A Very Short Introduction to Medieval Literature (2015), Living Through Conquest: The Politics of Early English, 1020 to 1220 (2012), and Old and Middle English, c. 890-1490: An Anthology (4th edition soon forthcoming). She blogs and tweets regularly—her most read publication was 'Beowulf in 100 Tweets' (#Beow100)! At Stanford, she is the Resident Fellow of Ng Humanities House. Professor Treharne is keenly interested in the use of digital technologies in the classroom and in research, and a passionate advocate for the Humanities in all areas of life.

Caroline Winterer
Photo by Linda Cicero
Caroline Winterer

Caroline Winterer is Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities. She specializes in American history of the pre-1900 period, especially the history of ideas, political theory, and the history of science. Her most recent book is American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (2016). In it, Professor Winterer shows how early Americans grappled with the promises of the Enlightenment—how they used new questions about the plants, animals, rocks, and people of the New World to imagine the relationship of the present to the past, and to spur far-flung conversations about a better future with counterparts around the world. She has used new digital technologies to map early modern social networks, including the letters of Benjamin Franklin (a project that won her an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution in 2013), and has curated exhibits of rare books and artifacts. As a teacher, researcher, and administrator, Professor Winterer sees humanities scholarship as the key tool for exploring the human world: “Everything that makes us human—that falls under the umbrella of the humanities.”