Research Opportunities

Summer Internships

We are delighted to announce that the Government Department will once again fund several summer internships open only to Government concentrators through the Chair’s Traveling Fund. See below for information on these opportunities and how to apply.

Offered in partnership with several Harvard Centers, these internships offer the opportunity to fuse practical and academic experiences. 

Please note that selection in each case will be made by a joint Government/Center committee and may also require an interview with the host institution. 

We hope that circumstances will allow these internships to take place abroad, but if that is not possible by Summer 2021, they will be funded as remote internships.

 

Government Department

ZOiS Internship, Berlin, Germany

The Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) can offer research internships over the summer months. Thanks to the internship, young students can become involved in one of the capital’s key research institutes on Central and Eastern Europe and acquire a deeper understanding of the political and public dynamics of Germany.

The intern will be part of one of the Institute’s main research clusters (Youth in Eastern Europe, Societies between Stability and Change, Conflict Dynamics and Border Regions, Migration and Diversity, and the Political Economy of Eastern Europe). Therein, the person will contribute to one specific research project and will also have the opportunity to pursue work on an independent research paper in consultation with the supervisor. The academic leader of the chosen research cluster is also going to act as the personal supervisor of the intern.

The tasks of the intern may include, but are not limited to:

- Assistance in research projects: literature research, data analysis, visualisation and presentation of data and research findings, and support in conceiving new projects

- Background research for project- and event-related publications or lectures by ZOiS staff or for media requests

The precise content of the internship is going to be agreed on between the academic mentor and the intern.

Qualifications: Excellent Microsoft Office skills are required; knowledge of a statistical programming language such as R is an advantage but not a requirement. Knowledge of Russian or another East European language is desirable.

Application deadline: February 12, 2021. Apply via CARAT

 

Center for European Studies

The Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), Belgrade, Serbia

COVID-19 update: due to the current travel ban (until further notice) governed by Harvard University (in accordance with CDC rules and regulations) this internship will be conducted remotely.

IMPORTANT: If you are planning to be on leave this spring, you will need to get Ad Board approval in order to apply to summer funding opportunities. You should contact your Resident Dean in the early spring term to start this process. The leave application policy appears both on the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships website and the Harvard College Handbook.

The Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) in Belgrade, Serbia is a non-profit, non-governmental, international network, oriented to educational work related to strategic nonviolent conflict. CANVAS founders were part of the team that organized a successful nonviolent movement, which lead to the overthrow of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Our mission now is to reach widest possible international audience, in order to share experiences and learn more on strategic nonviolent conflict spreading this knowledge to future generations. For further information about CANAVS work, please visit our website canvasopedia.org

Responsibilities:

The CANVAS Analytical Research intern will primarily conduct case study and situation analyses, and assist ongoing academic research projects with our University partners. The internship can be completed online/remote or on-the-ground (if health guidelines permit on-site option), and the duties are dependent on the current needs and projects.

Intern duties include:

  • Region-specific analyses and research
  • Case study research
  • Tracking current events
  • Drafting and proofreading English language publications
  • Social media management
  • Research and publication of our weekly reports

Schedule: Start date late May/early June, minimum duration 8 weeks. Awarded students will be expected to submit a report at the end of their internship.

Application deadline: February 12, 2021. Apply via CARAT

 

Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, The Hague, Netherlands

COVID-19 update: due to the current travel ban (until further notice) governed by Harvard University (in accordance with CDC rules and regulations) this internship will be conducted remotely.

IMPORTANT: If you are planning to be on leave this spring, you will need to get Ad Board approval in order to apply to summer funding opportunities. You should contact your Resident Dean in the early spring term to start this process. The leave application policy appears both on the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships website and the Harvard College Handbook.

Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation / EuroClio

The Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) a research center at EuroClio--European Association of History Educators in The Hague is seeking interns to assist with its Contested Histories in Public Spaces project. Work will include research and evaluation of project materials, assisting in the drafting of research papers and mapping studies, as well as the development of interactive, online materials and assisting in program development.

Responsibilities include

  • Researching and drafting new case studies and revising completed cases;
  • Assisting in the development and maintenance of the website (currently in development: contestedhistories.org);
  • Assisting with the coordination of the Contested Histories - On-Site project (in cooperation with the Memory Studies Association) and its related communication campaign;
  • Contributing to the publication of occasional papers, podcasts, blogs, and other digital media; and
  • Working with data cleaning (rebuilding missing data and standardizing data) and analyzing with the aim of supporting the development of an information management system.
  • Upon return, the student may elect to continue to reflect on the substance of their experience through an independent study for credit in the Government Department (Gov 91r).

Timeframe:

8 weeks - June and July 2021

Eligible

  • Juniors and Seniors
  • Background in government, history, or law.

Required

  • Strong academic record with demonstrated research experience
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, takes initiative
  • Works well independently and as part of a team
  • Proficient in WORD, EXCEL, PowerPoint and Google Suite
  • Knowledge of Canva, WordPress, and/or other content creation and management platforms
  • Interest in memory politics and the intersection of cultural heritage/history and human rights and security.

Desirable

  • Proficiency in other languages.
  • Strong editing skills
  • Proficiency in SQL and experience constructing relational database management systems.
  • Experience manipulating and analyzing data on ArcGIS platforms.

Awarded students will be expected to submit a report at the end of their internship.

Eligibility
Open only to Government concentrators.

Application deadline: February 12, 2021. Apply via CARAT

 

DRCLAS

Government Department Chair's Traveling Fund for Brazil

The Department of Government at Harvard University and the Brazil Studies Program & Office of Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies are partnering to offer an enriching remote internship experience in Brazil during summer 2021. Two highly qualified Government concentrators will receive a full stipend to take up one of the specified internship opportunities below, while also participating in weekly cultural immersive sessions led by DRCLAS.

Internships will take place in Brazilian organizations from all over the country. The Harvard-DRCLAS Brazil Office is located in São Paulo, and will provide logistical support, connecting students to Host Organizations, while offering cultural immersive programming for students participating in this program, as well as optional Portuguese Language sessions.

Internship descriptions can be found at 

https://drclas.harvard.edu/government-department-chairs-traveling-fund-brazil


Application deadline: March 1, 2021

 

Gov 92r

Gov 92r allows you to conduct research in the Government department for academic credit. It is graded SAT/UNSAT. If you are interested in any of these projects, please contact the supervisors directly. You will need to submit the Gov 92r form (available here) to Karen Kaletka before you can register for the course on my.harvard.

Spring 2021

 

Christina Davis
Japanese Foreign Policy and Global Governance

The research project examines Japanese foreign policy from 1853 when it first opened to the West through today with a focus on the role of international organizations to mediate its relationship to the world. Under what conditions can outsiders gain entry into international society? How do international organizations harmonize policies and change societies?  Whether Meiji Japan's effort to prove itself a respectable state that could win itself free of the unequal treaties or post-WWII Japan's effort to re-enter international society after defeat in war, IGOs have long offered leverage to bring domestic reforms. Students will conduct research into specific historical cases and the political context for decisions. Other parts of the research will include analysis of Japanese legislative testimony and personnel appointed to serve in international organizations.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Japanese language reading ability and familiarity with Excel spreadsheets required. Ability to use R software is helpful.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to
: Christina Davis (cldavis@harvard.edu)
 

Ryan Enos
Collection and analysis of social media data to learn about political behavior

We are launching a first of its kind project to ask citizens to donate their social media data.  With this data, we will look at behavior on social media (posting, following, commenting, etc.) to see if we can learn about their political attitudes from this data.  An RA will help to design and implement the collection and analysis.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): some familiarity with programming and willingness to learn more on the job.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
renos@gov.harvard.edu

 

Ryan Enos
Collection and analysis of electoral data for measurement of partisan geography

We are collecting data on recent electoral outcomes and will work to match those with lists of registered voters in the United States.  The ultimate goal of this project is to understand the political geography of every voter in the US. 
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): familiarity with statistical software, such as R. 
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
renos@gov.harvard.edu

 

Alisha Holland
Campaign Finance in the Developing World

How do politicians fund their campaigns in countries where private donations and public funding sources are scarce?  This project examines an alternative source of campaign finance: public contracts.  More specifically, it looks at the electoral cycles around the assignment of large infrastructure contracts in developing countries.  Research assistants will help to clean and analyze a data set on when politicians sign large contracts as a way to test the hypothesis that politicians give out contracts when on the campaign trail in exchange for donations.  They also will follow judicial and media investigations that link contracts to campaign donations. 
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills):
Some course work in quantitative methods is a plus; knowledge of Spanish also is ideal, given that many of the countries that we will focus on initially are in Latin America.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
aholland@fas.harvard.edu

 

Kosuke Imai
Legislative Redistricting in America

Legislative districts serve as the fundamental building block of democratic representation in the United States. Congressional redistricting, which redraws district boundaries in each state following the decennial Census, plays a central role in influencing who is elected and hence what policies are eventually enacted. Unfortunately, because the stakes are so high, political parties often engage in gerrymandering by manipulating district boundaries in order to amplify the voting power of some groups while diluting that of others.
Our research group has recently developed several statistical and computational methods that allow one to detect gerrymandering. We are gearing up for the upcoming redistricting cycle that is likely to occur next year after the 2020 Census. We look for undergraduate students who help us apply these methods to evaluate redistricting from past decades in various states. Students will collect necessary data, apply the methods, and produce a final report. Depending on their background, students may also contribute to the software development.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Interested students should have at least one statistics class (e.g., Gov 51). Familiarity with statistical programming language R is required. Students should also be interested in legal and political aspects of redistricting.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to: Those who are interested in this course should email the following materials to Ms. Emilee Martichenko at
emartichenko@wcfia.harvard.edu

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Transcript
  • One page application essay explaining your qualification and motivation

 

Horacio Larreguy
Does information moderate or polarize?

Many recent studies on the effect of information on partisan beliefs and attitudes find mixed results. Some studies show that information is successful at moderating partisan beliefs and attitudes. Instead, other studies indicate that information might actually polarize them. We intend to survey the literature to identify the conditions under which information has a type of effect. In doing so, the student will produce a paper over the term.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): None
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to
: Please send an email with your C.V. and references to Professor Horacio Larreguy at hlarreguy@fas.harvard.edu.

 

 

Christoph Mikulaschek
Digital Technologies and 21st Century UN Peace Operations

Digital Technologies (e.g., social media, Internet, wireless phones) have transformed contemporary armed conflicts. United Nations (UN) peace operations can employ them to enhance their analytic capabilities and to protect their staff and civilian populations, e.g. by tracking and responding to hate speech in countries at risk of genocide. At the same time, warring factions increasingly use, promote or block access to digital technologies during armed conflict and thus create new challenges for UN peace operations deployed in war theaters. The UN Department of Peace Operations asked me to write a research paper that analyzes these opportunities and challenges. This paper will inform the development of a Peacekeeping Technology Strategy by the UN, which will be presented at the Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference later in 2021. You will be asked to conduct independent online research (literature review, case study analysis based on news reports, policy briefs, and academic studies) under my supervision. You will summarize your research in memos and discuss it with me in Zoom meetings. The start date is negotiable - but the sooner the better. Ideally, you can frontload your work so that you will spend more time on this project in February than in the subsequent months. Your presence on campus is not required.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Prior coursework on armed conflict, conflict resolution, and/or digital technologies may be helpful, but it is definitely not required.  
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to
: mikulaschek@gov.harvard.edu

 

 

Pia Raffler
Does Debate Participation Matter?

We are exploring whether debate participation hurts or promotes electoral success. A growing number of countries hold Presidential debates, including in the developing world. Whether candidates participate is a strategic decision, of which we do not yet understand the ramifications. Organizations promoting debates, such as NDI, wonder about this as well. We have constructed a dataset with presidential elections, whether a debate took place, and if so, who participated in it for Africa and Latin America. In addition, we have collected time-series polling data of each case where a debate took place, before and after the debate, as well as Twitter data. This data will allow us to estimate the effect of debate participation on voter sentiment through a difference-in-difference analysis. Data analysis is already underway. We are recruiting RAs to help with the data analysis and -- depending on skillset -- the scraping of Twitter data. In the process, students will learn about politics in Africa and Latin America and a host of data sources and will build their skills manipulating and analyzing data.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Statistics background and experience coding in R or Stata a strong plus.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to Pia Raffler (praffler@gov.harvard.edu), Horacio Larreguy (hlarreguy@fas.harvard.edu)

 

Pia Raffler
Holding Governments to Account

How can governments be held responsible for acting in citizens’ interests in low-income countries where oversight institutions are often weak? In particular, under what conditions are politicians willing and able to fulfil their mandate to oversee bureaucracies? This project builds on field experimental work from Uganda showing that (a) (local) politicians often have limited control over the bureaucracy and (b) their incentives to engage in greater oversight are conditioned by partisan politics. I am recruiting RAs to expand and analyze a cross-country dataset on local oversight institutions in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. In the process, students will learn about politics on these continents and a rich set of data sources and will build their skills managing and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data.Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): n/a
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to Pia Raffler (praffler@gov.harvard.edu)

 


George Soroka
Megachurch responses to COVID-19 pandemic

Utilizing a dataset of all megachurches (congregants >1000) in the United States, this project examines variation in how individual religious bodies have responded to the pandemic and surveys their justifications for doing so. The goal of this projects is to ascertain what steps, if any, these communities have taken as a reflection of the pandemic, and also to tease out the tensions between religious liberties and public health concerns. The study will involve interviews and content analysis of social media.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Knowledge of Excel. Knowledge of R and statistics to an intermediate level desirable.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
soroka@fas.harvard.edu

 

George Soroka
The Far-Right in Eastern Europe and Its Transnational Ties

This project aims to examine the growth of the far right in the post-communist space and the transnational ties that far-right groups are establishing across borders, particularly with similar-minded entities in the West over cross-cutting issues such as immigration and pandemic lock-downs. Specifically, the study will look at the transnational networks that far-right groups develop on social media.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Strong reading knowledge of a Slavic language, preferably Russian and one other (e.g., Polish, Czech, Bulgarian). Please note that high-level knowledge of at least one regional language is an absolute requirement for participating in this study.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
soroka@fas.harvard.edu

 

Julie Anne Weaver
Local Politics and Accountability in Low-income Countries

In the Global South, challenges like poor public services and high corruption are often rooted in government impunity and a lack of political accountability.  What inhibits citizens from holding their elected officials accountable in these settings?  I am seeking research assistants for a few different projects examining local politics and electoral accountability in the Global South.   Students can apply to work on one or more projects over the course of the semester.  These initiatives are ideal for students interested in learning more about politics in low-income countries and/or seeking to develop skills in data cleaning and visualization, survey design and/or text analysis.

1)        In a new project on the link between gender and accountability, I am examining how voters perceive the likelihood that female versus male candidates will be more or less accountable to them and whether this explains the gender gap in political representation.  Responsibilities could include conducting relevant literature reviews; accessing, cleaning and analyzing survey and electoral returns data from multiple countries; data visualization.

2)        The possibility of being re-elected is seen as the foundation of generating political accountability.  However, in 2015, Peru banned the re-election of mayors.  What impact has the law had on how voters hold their politicians accountable and on incumbent performance in office?  Responsibilities could include accessing and cleaning data on election returns, candidate CVs and performance in office, and visualization of results.

3)        Charting media coverage of Peru’s ban on re-election: How did the media cover the debate and approval of the ban on re-election in Peru, and what does this tell us about how average citizens view re-election and politicians more broadly?  Responsibilities would include searching media databases and accessing and analyzing relevant articles.  This could also be an opportunity for a student to conduct text analysis if interested. 

4)        How do mayoral candidates themselves – those elected and those who lose – view the possibility of re-election? How does it structure their behavior in office?  I am designing a new online survey of mayoral candidates who have run in recent elections.  Responsibilities could include reviewing similar surveys fielded elsewhere; helping design survey questions; programming the survey in Qualtrics; fielding and analyzing a small pilot survey.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Ability to use R is a plus (beginner-level is fine if you have an interest in developing more advanced skills over the course of the semester).  For some projects, Spanish language skills, experience with surveys and/or text analysis is an advantage. 
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to: Dr. Julie Anne Weaver:
julieanneweaver@fas.harvard.edu