Undergraduate Research Assistantships Scheme

Undergraduate students and General Course students


Applications to the Department of International History undergraduate research assistantship scheme are closed now.  

These roles were offered to all International History undergraduate students and General Course students in the department who were interested in contributing to the research projects of staff members through the completion of specific tasks. The research assistantships provide an opportunity to collaborate with a staff member in their research, gain experience of working on a project, and add to the depth of your CVs.   

There were 5 available projects for this year.

Completion of a project to the satisfaction of the staff member resulted in payment of an honorarium worth £250. Each project will take approximately 20 hours.  
The deadline for applications was Monday 16 November 2020 at 5pm. 

Projects list:

European Empires in the Second World War

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr David Motadel

 The research assistant will help with Dr Motadel’s research project Global War: Europe's Empires in the Second World War, 1935-1948' (Penguin Press).

Language: No language requirement, but French would be an advantage


• Newspaper research: Screening a number of historical newspapers (all available online) for articles on the Second World War in the colonial world.

• Library research: Screening a number of (published) historical memoirs, diaries, etc.

"Racial" Maps in Britain, 1770- 1830

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Paul Stock

This project takes as its starting point Dr. Paul Stock’s article "Almost a separate race": racial thought and the idea of Europe in British encyclopaedias and histories, 1771-1830, which explores the association between racial thought and the idea of Europe in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain.  The purpose of the new project is to determine the extent to which the categorisations of human difference discussed in the article are also presented in maps of the same period.

This work will go towards a new article about the cartographic presentation of "racial" thought, and materials found by the research assistant will contribute to this. The project would suit anyone interested in: British history, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history, cultural and intellectual history, the history of the idea of Europe, the history of race and identity.  

Language: No language requirement.


• Locating relevant maps through catalogue searching in a major research collection (for example, the British Library)

• Examining the maps in person and photographing them.

• Recording basic bibliographical and descriptive information about the maps for future reference.

Nixon, Kissinger and the Shah-Forsaken Kurds

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Roham Alvandi

The research assistant will compile an electronic briefing book (EBB) of documents for the National Security Archive (NSA) at George Washington University, drawing on Chapter 4 of Dr Alvandi’s book, Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah. The NSA’s electronic briefing books provide timely online access to critical declassified records on issues including U.S. national security, foreign policy, diplomatic and military history, intelligence policy, and much more: https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/

This EBB will cover the CIA’s covert operation to support the Kurds of northern Iraq, in cooperation with Iran’s SAVAK and Israel’s Mossad, between 1972 and 1975. The EBB should include documents that examine the Shah of Iran’s role in drawing the United States into the Kurdish war in 1972; the escalation of the US role in the conflict at the behest of the Shah in 1973/74; and the termination of US support for the Kurds following the Shah’s decision to reach an agreement with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in Algiers in 1975.

The work undertaken as part of the project will be provided with feedback.The completed EBB will be published on-line by the NSA.

Language: No language requirement.


• To select 10 documents that are cited in Dr Alvandi’s book chapter, drawn from the following two volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States series: https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76ve04; https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v27

• To write a short description for each document; as well as a 2,000-word essay summarising Chapter 4 of Nixon, Kissinger, and the Shah.

Insurrection and Abolition: Cuba, 1843-44

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Jake Subryan Richards

 By analyzing archival material about an insurrection by enslaved and free people in Cuba, 1843-1844, to produce a key list of sources for a chapter in a book manuscript about the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

This project is open to all undergraduates but may in particular suit second-year students who are interested in writing dissertations on Latin American and Caribbean history, the history of slavery, and/or the history of nineteenth-century empires. There is no expectation of prior knowledge about the topic.

Language: Spanish reading and writing ability at least at the level of A Level (CEFR B2/C1), or above.


• Read through digitized archival material about an insurrection by enslaved and free people in Cuba, 1843-1844, in the Escoto Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University (catalogue here: https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/24/resources/1481)

• Document in an Excel spreadsheet (to be provided) the dates and reference information of key documents, and write brief descriptions about them.

2 research assistants required for this project.