students and faculty in library

Humanities Research Intensive

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 seven 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 laboratory will be the archives and museum collections at Stanford, where you’ll work closely with Professors Giovanna Ceserani (Classics), Ronald Egan (East Asian Languages and Cultures), Héctor Hoyos (Iberian and Latin American Studies), and John Kieschnick (Religious Studies), doing hands-on research on ancient and modern books, manuscripts, artifacts, and monuments.

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. (Note: you must be enrolled during spring quarter to participate in HRI).
  • Frosh and sophomores only. Transfer students are also eligible if they have completed 1 full-time quarter at Stanford and no more than 1 full year at their previous institution (or transferred in no more than 60 units, not including AP credit) by the time of application.
  • Open to all majors, as well as undeclared students.
  • Program dates: Spring Break 2022: Sunday, March 20 through Saturday, March 26.
  • Contact email:
  • See our FAQ for more details.
  • Application deadline: Monday, November 1, 2021, 11:59 pm. 


Who Are the 2022 HRI Faculty?

A head shot of Giovanna Ceserani

Giovanna Ceserani is Associate Professor of Classics, as well as Director of the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), Stanford’s digital humanities lab. Ceserani grew up in Italy, a country full of classical antiquities, and is interested in how Italy’s classical past has been perceived across time—by Italians and foreigners, as well as tourists and scholars. Her research explores how ancient objects and texts generate passionate ideas and have impacted the course of history. These questions inform her book, Italy’s Lost Greece: Magna Graecia and the Making of Modern Archaeology (2012), as well as her current work on The Grand Tour Project, a digital humanities project that enriches our understanding of eighteenth-century travel in Italy. Professor Ceserani is especially interested in what the digital humanities and data science allow us to uncover about early modern travel, tourism, and society, and in how to enhance access to untold histories by way of digital tools.


Ron Egan

Ronald Egan is the Confucius Institute Professor of Sinology in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. He specializes in the study of Chinese and Asian cultures, particularly the rich history of writing and the visual arts. He has been learning Chinese (and still is!) since enrolling in Chinese language courses as a university student decades ago. He has published studies of some of China’s most famous poets and cultural figures from 1000 years ago, and is currently at work trying to understand and account for all that writing we regularly see inscribed on Chinese paintings. Since coming to Stanford, he has taken special interest in teaching undergraduate classes.  He is committed to humanistic studies and the value of comparisons across cultures and disciplines in academic pursuits.



Headshot of Hector Hoyos

Héctor Hoyos is Associate Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures (ILAC) and, by courtesy, of Comparative Literature. He directs ILAC as well as the interdisciplinary program in Modern Thought and Literature (MTL). Hoyos loves to examine the intersection of philosophical ideas with fiction, asking questions such as, "How do novels reflect upon and participate in globalization?” or "How are things represented in literature?” An internationally-minded scholar, he often examines Argentinian, Chilean, Colombian, and Cuban cultural production with, but also against, French and German concepts, drawing on literary theory and ideological critique. His scholarly publications include the monographs Beyond Bolaño: The Global Latin American Novel (2015) and Things with a History: Transcultural Materialism and the Literatures of Extraction in Contemporary Latin America (2019). He is a former Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin. 


Headshot of John Kieschnick

John Kieschnick is The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Professor of Buddhist Studies. He specializes in Chinese Buddhism, with particular emphasis on its cultural history. For this class, his most relevant work is a book called The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture, in which he examines the wide-ranging and sometimes surprising ways that Buddhism shaped the material culture of China, including its role in the history of icons, relics, prayer beads, books, bridges and chairs. His course The Religious Life of Things attempts to introduce the study of comparative religion through objects.

Questions? Email the HRI Fellowship Advisor, Jeff Schwegman:

Student in library

Learn more

Read and watch the video about the inaugural Humanities Research Intensive in the Stanford Report.