Undergraduate Research Assistantships Scheme

Second and third-year undergraduate students and General Course students


The call for paid research assistantships is now closed.

After the applications have been selection, these roles will be offered to second and final-year undergraduate students and to General Course students in the department who are 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. 

This year, there are 7 available projects with 9 students required.

Completion of a project to the satisfaction of the staff member will result in payment of an honorarium worth £250 (up to £100 in travel expenses for archival/library visits will also be available if these form part of a research assignment, reimbursed once appropriate receipts for travel are supplied). Each project should take approximately 20 hours.

The deadline for applications was Wednesday, 27 November 2019.

Any queries should be sent to Alice Bryant.

Projects list:

Radio Education in the Andes

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Anna Cant

The research assistant will be required to compile a list of secondary works (preferably using Endnote or similar) relating to the subject of radio education in the Andes. Subjects of interest include how radio technology was obtained and circulated, which organisations were involved in using radio for educational purposes and the content of such programming. The particular focus is on Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.

If the project is completed in the early part of Lent term this work will directly contribute to an article for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History, which is due in late March. If this is not possible then the work will be valuable a research project, which is a comparative history of radio in the Andes over the course of the twentieth century.

Language: Spanish is desirable, but not essential


• Consultation of online catalogues of major research libraries in London.

• Inputting the bibliographical details of each work into the list/spreadsheet.

• Categorisation of each work based on the abstract, or where this is unavailable, consulting the work in the library.

2 research assistants required

"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.

Persian Shahs in Imperial Europe, and Anti-Colonial Revolutionary Movements

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr David Motadel

The research assistant will help with two research projects: Persian Shahs in Imperial Europe (Oxford University Press); and "Anti-Colonial Revolutionary Movements" (academic article).

Language: French is desirable, but not essential


• Transcriptions of British archival documents on the royal visits of the Persian shahs to Great Britain, 1873-1905.

• Library research for an article project on anti-colonial activism in 1945: Screening a number of newspapers and (published) historical memoirs, diaries, etc.

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.

The Vietnam War In Latin America

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Tanya Harmer

The Vietnam War had profound repercussions throughout Latin America. As in the United States and Europe, it sparked intense debate, fuelled protests, and stimulated solidarity movements. Many Latin Americans campaigned fiercely against US intervention in Vietnam, seeing it as an ominous threat of what the United States was capable of in the Western Hemisphere. Others supported US efforts, seeing them as a necessary means of stopping the advance of communism. As part of a bigger project on the Global History of the Cold War in Latin America, Dr Harmer is working to identify the way in which the Vietnam War was perceived and represented across the region, with particular emphasis on Chile and Cuba in the first instance. Research assistants will be responsible for identifying news stories on Vietnam between 1965-1975.

Language: One of the research assistants should be intermediate level in Spanish


• Work through paper and microfilmed Chilean newspapers at the British Library and

• Cuban newspapers at the British Library and the Tricontinental Bulletin, published in Havana, at the LSE library.

2 research assistants required (one with Spanish language).

Chinese Perspectives on US-China Relations

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Pete Millwood

This project will involve the expansion of a database of Chinese-language archival sources on the topic of Sino-American transnational relations in the 1970s, the subject of Dr Millwood’s current book project and of several journal articles.

The sources themselves are often rich, and students with an interest in Chinese and US international history would find them engaging to work with. This project also provides the opportunity to work with sources from Chinese archives on this period, many of which were hard to come by and some of which have now been reclassified and are unavailable to researchers.

Language: Chinese intermediate or native level


• To assist with the expansion of the database on Chinese-level archival sources. The archival sources themselves will be provided (in either paper or electronic form), as will an initial form of the database which includes preliminary information about all the documents. The assistant will work to expand the English descriptions of the sources so as to allow more efficient use of the sources for future research.

US-China Transnational Relations in the 1970s

Sponsoring academic staff member: Dr Pete Millwood

This project will involve the fact checking of the references of a complete manuscript on the subject of US-China transnational relations in the 1970s. The manuscript will be provided and assistance will be given in locating the secondary and primary sources, although the consultation of the secondary sources will necessitate some independent work in research libraries (largely the LSE library).

A student with an interest in the history of US-China relations and of Chinese international history will likely find this an engaging opportunity to work with the extensive historiography on this topic and to contribute to new research in this field.

Language: Chinese is desirable, but not essential


• To confirm the accuracy of references to published secondary and primary works and, where practicable, to archival documents. This accuracy will not only entail confirming the location of the cited works but also the analysis and arguments of the work of other historians as referenced in the manuscript.