Research & UROP


UROP Opportunities in History

Members of the MIT History faculty offer students the opportunity to assist them in their research. Knowledge of a foreign language is occasionally helpful as are web skills. 

The most important qualities for a successful UROP student in History are the curiosity about the past and enthusiasm for original research.

The Economics of Gothic Cathedral Building

Professor Anne McCants, E51-255, x8-6669, employs economic and quantitative approaches to the study of the European past, and has embarked on a large project to study the various economic dimensions of cathedral building in the high middle ages. Will be trying to reconstruct where possible the financial underpinning and timing of Gothic cathedral construction in the Paris Basin, Norman England and elsewhere in France, the Low Countries and Scandinavia. The project will also assess the social overhead capital embodied in cathedral building and seek to make welfare assessments for this type of expenditure versus other possible investment or consumption opportunities.


French Politics and Theater of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Professor Jeff Ravel, E51-293, x 3-4451, studies French political culture from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Current projects include the history of playing cards and political regimes in France from the Old Regime to the nineteenth century; the digitization of the daily receipt registers of the Comédie-Française theater troupe in Paris from 1680 to 1800, in conjunction with MIT's HyperStudio; and the creation of a database with information on the publication of plays in the repertory of the Comédie-Française theater troupe in that time period.


Russian and Soviet History

Professor Elizabeth Wood, E51-282, x 3-3255, author of two books on politics and culture in the 1920s in the Soviet Union, is now working on a project on the performance of politics in contemporary Russia under Vladimir Putin, drawing on insights from her work in that earlier era of Soviet history. She is looking for a UROP student to do research in an enormous database of Russian newspapers today to obtain information about images of Putin that are being generated by central and regional authorities for mass consumption.




The French Indies Company in the Eighteenth Century

Prof. Malick W. Ghachem  E51-296 G X4-7284. 

Project description: This opening is for a research assistant to support work related to an ongoing study of the French Indies Company from roughly 1720 to 1800.  A major theme of the study is how France, like Great Britain, became a global commercial power through the vehicle of a joint-stock trading corporation, and what effect this growth had on financial and colonial politics in the Atlantic revolutionary era.  Among the principal research projects: creation of an historical timeline and map, using Neatline (a plugin for Omeka) or a similar software, that tracks the Company’s activities and locations over the course of the eighteenth century; organizing (on a Zotero database) manuscript documents (in French) detailing the principal legal disputes in which the Company was involved; potentially some work in local archives and libraries; and related tasks.

UROP type: credit/volunteer.


Qualifications: Strong French reading ability is essential.  Experience with Omeka, and Neatline (or similar programs) and Zotero is a plus but not a prerequisite.  Students who can continue after this spring into the summer are preferred.