2021-2022 Projects | Admissions and Financial Aid | Colby College
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Presidential Scholars

2021-2022 Projects

Adapting to Climate Change in Small Islands (Position filled)

Sponsor: Stacy-ann Robinson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (smrobins@colby.edu)

Which small islands are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change? What advances have small islands made in adapting to climate impacts? Are adaptations adequate, effective, and/or sustainable? The CARA Scholar will work with me to design and implement research protocols that will aim to answer these questions. Weekly activities will include reading reports to the United Nations and other institutions. The reports describe the vulnerabilities and climate actions of small island governments and other stakeholders. Students will learn how to extract data and other information from these reports.

Ancient Greek in Action

Sponsor: James Barrett, Associate Professor of Classics (james.barrett@colby.edu)

People often think that the ancient Greek language was a vehicle for philosophy, drama, poetry, historiography, medicine, science, and even ethnography. It was! But it was also the essential medium for public speaking whether for purposes of persuasion, commemoration, praise, or litigation. In other words, it was a key actor in the public arena and it was cultivated and studied as such. For some time, intermediate Greek students have had to make do with a limited number of texts written for these purposes, and some fascinating texts remain unavailable today. This project is devoted to expanding both the number and the reach of such texts by producing a collection of commentaries suitable for intermediate Greek students. (Authors currently in the queue include Gorgias, Antisthenes, and Alcidamas.) As a CARA scholar, your work will include helping me to identify suitable public domain texts, to write short introductions to these authors and texts, and to do the initial work on the commentaries themselves which will contain both historical and grammatical notes. Some experience with the ancient Greek language is required, although your work will be tailored to your level of proficiency.

Cities in Flames: The Impact of Urban Fires in the Early Twentieth Century

Sponsor: James Siodla, Assistant Professor of Economics (james.siodla@colby.edu)

Cities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were highly susceptible to fire. Dozens of city centers during this time period experienced large-scale fires that burned hundreds or thousands of buildings, while smaller-scale fires impacted nearly every city. Redevelopment following destruction often led to drastic changes in land use, infrastructure, and urban environments. This project aims to determine whether these historical conflagrations impacted various urban outcomes, either in the short run or long run. The primary research tasks include finding and requesting fire insurance reports through the college’s interlibrary system, using data from these reports to build and clean a central dataset for analysis, and gathering qualitative information on the impact of historical fires from a variety of sources such as newspapers and municipal reports.

Climate Change, Atolls, and Image Classification

Sponsor: Alejandra Geiger-Ortiz, Assistant Professor of Geology (acortiz@colby.edu)

Climate change resulting in rising ocean levels and increased frequency of big storms create significant hazards for atolls, those honey-moon locations where tropical coral reef platforms encircling an inner lagoon with small sandy islands perched on top. In my coastal eco-geomorph lab, we are working on automating image processing of tropical atoll islands using machine learning techniques. By using satellite images, we are able to investigate the change of atolls over the last 30 years and begin to understand the role humans and climate change have on these gorgeous and unique ecosystems. We need a student to help manually classify these satellite images into different categories. The student would work closely with Prof. Ortiz to understand how to identify and classify different parts of these islands and be part of a larger study of using machine learning to automate this process. This project is an ideal match for students with interests in climate change from geology, environmental science, and/or computer science perspectives.

Coding Club

Sponsor: Elizabeth Jabar, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships, elizabeth.jabar@colby.edu.

In partnership with Waterville Junior High School, this program provides enrichment in computer science outside of the traditional classroom setting. Colby students lead workshops on the central concepts of computer science and the fundamentals of programming through hands-on, collaborative projects. Through learning basic coding skills, students instill excitement and interest in computer science and discover future opportunities in programming skills and STEM fields.

Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Spatial Navigation and Memory

Sponsor: Derek Huffman, Assistant Professor of Psychology (derek.huffman@colby.edu)

Spatial navigation is a critical ability of many mobile organisms. Moreover, spatial environments play a role in our ability to remember the events of our lives, a cognitive process called “episodic memory.” Sadly, memory-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, disrupt our ability to navigate within spatial environments (e.g., the city in which we are living) and to form and retrieve episodic memories. My research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of human spatial navigation and episodic memory. In my laboratory, we use a combination of techniques, including real-world navigation and memory tasks, immersive virtual reality, human neuroscience (scalp electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging), and computational techniques. You will be able to work on projects across these various methods. Given the computational nature of my research, previous programming experience desired, but not required. For more information, please see https://www.colby.edu/psych/cognitive-neuroscience/

Community Engagement with Waterville Nonprofit Organizations

Sponsor: Elizabeth Jabar, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships, elizabeth.jabar@colby.edu.

Students have the opportunity to engage in community service projects at local community partner sites. We maintain a current opportunities page that identifies organizations and needs in the Waterville community. Through weekly community service students gain exposure to the mission and vision of the organization, and can work towards developing a collaborative project with a community partner in year two.

Corrective Feedback and Acquisition of Chinese as a Second Language

Andie Wang, Assistant Professor of Chinese (andie.wang@colby.edu)

How do learners acquire Chinese as a second language? How do they learn from the errors they produce in interactions with their instructors, tutors and peers? How can corrective feedback be best provided for learners in order to facilitate the acquisition of target language features? This is a multi-year project that aims to investigate the interaction of corrective feedback and learners’ acquisition of certain target language features in Chinese. The CARA scholar involved in this project will assist in various aspects of the project including conducting a literature review, collecting data from interactions in and outside class, transcribing and analyzing data. As part of the project, you will learn theories of second language learning, methods of data collection, and analysis of language data. Students must be fluent in both Chinese and English (including advanced learners in Chinese) and ideally interested in language learning research and/or language teaching.

Economic Civil War

Sponsor: Nicholas Jacobs, Assistant Professor of Government (nfjacobs@colby.edu)

Economic inequality in the United States is growing. My research focuses on the reasons for growing inequity between states, as well as between urban and rural areas within those states. I argue that it reflects a deliberate political strategy, which is augmented by two recent political developments: the concentration of budgetary authority in the Executive Office of the President, and the increasing reliance on non-traditional spending tools by the federal government, especially tax expenditures. The CARA scholar will assist me in collecting data to help describe and interpret this problem. The project can be tailored the student’s particular interests. For example, students interested in history can assist me in archival work, documenting the relationship between the president and his partisans in Congress; students who want to gain experience with big data may choose to help build a dataset on multi-governmental tax receipts/expenditures.

Global Health and Economic Development

Sponsor: Dan LaFave, Assistant Professor of Economics (daniel.lafave@colby.edu)

Research in the economics of global health brings students to the intersection of economics, public health, and medicine. My work focuses on issues related to young children and early-life human capital development in China, Indonesia, and Ethiopia, and works with both publicly available surveys and personally collected datasets. Some current projects examine the role of infrastructure – roads, electricity, etc. – in impacting health as well as how health traits and habits are passed down between generations. I’m looking for a student interested not only in global health but also in computer programming to assist in data acquisition, formatting, and cleaning. Qualified candidates should have strong quantitative and analytical skills. Prior programming experience is also welcome, although not necessary. The selected student can expect to gain an understanding of how health is central to the process of economic development and how international researchers approach frontline issues.

Graffiti on Frescoes / Word and Image Studies

Sponsor: Véronique Plesch, Professor of Art (veronique.plesch@colby.edu)

Why would someone deface Renaissance paintings with graffiti? My current research deals with a fascinating and ignored practice: that of writing on frescoes. I am writing a book that features a small northern Italian chapel that contains more than 150 graffiti scratched on its 15th-century frescoes that record four centuries of important events in the life of the village. The CARA scholar involved in this project will track and organize materials (both visual and scholarly) and help with historical contextual research and with editorial matters. The CARA scholar might also assist me in other projects, in which I consider works in which words and images interact.  

Immigration, Ethnic Diversity, and Civic Life across Contemporary Advanced Democracies (Position filled)

Sponsor: Christel Kesler, Assistant Professor of Sociology (christel.kesler@colby.edu)

More than at any other time in recent memory, immigration is front page news across advanced democracies. Some countries struggle to respond to massive waves of new migrants fleeing ongoing war and poverty and drawn by the promise of political stability and economic security. Other countries continue to wrestle with longer-term issues of integration and multiculturalism policies. Existing literature in the social sciences suggests that immigration-generated diversity may result not only in anti-immigrant sentiment, but also in a more general turn away from civic and public life, and an erosion of the social solidarity necessary to sustain generous welfare states. But we also have reasons to believe that this is not a universal response, that these processes may be strongly conditioned by a country’s existing social institutions and social policies. This ongoing project focuses on documenting and explaining variation in public responses to contemporary immigration-generated diversity across Western European and North American countries, particularly the effects of growing diversity on civic engagement and support for the welfare state. The CARA scholar involved in this project will assist with reviewing the scholarly literature, analyzing existing survey data, compiling a database of relevant social policies, and further data collection. A student with a broad interest in the social sciences and particular interests in immigration, ethnic diversity, or cross-nationally comparative policy research would be ideal for the position.

Improving Rodent Models of Human Psychological Disorders

Sponsor: Melissa Glenn, Associate Professor of Psychology (melissa.glenn@colby.edu)

The behavioral neuroscience lab in the Psychology department at Colby is working on a large-scale project in collaboration with scientists at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada to develop new, ethologically-rich methods of studying behavior in rats. We aim to derive improved and accurate analogs for complex human behaviors, including cognition, emotion, and sociality. This project was initiated in response to problem of translating pre-clinical animal findings to human clinical applications. A major objective of our research is to understand animal behavior in naturaistic contexts in order to make extensions to human behavior and treatment. We are excited to leverage state of the art technological tools to house and study rats in large, complex social environments here at Colby and at Concordia in Montreal.

Indigenous Representations in Contemporary Popular Culture in the Americas

Sponsor: Sandra Bernal Heredia, Assistant Professor of Spanish (sandra.bernal.heredia@colby.edu)

My research explores the construction of contemporary urban indigenous identities through an analysis of a wide range of cultural mediums (popular music, audiovisual arts, image based storytelling, performance, comics, video games, aesthetics, among others) in order to analyze emerging patterns of cultural variegations, affective energies, and decolonized daily practices. At the moment I am doing a hemispheric comparison of the representation of indigeneity in comic books in the Americas. I am analyzing the representation of gender and ethnicity portrayed in the first Peruvian female superhero “La Chola Power” with Navajo superhero Ayla, The Monster Slayer, whose adventures happen in post-apocalyptic spaces and present an intersection between narratives of environmental humanistic climate change and indigenous resilience. A CARA scholar will help answer questions such as, how are indigenous representations struggling to be “listened to” and “seen” within the constructions of national identities?  The CARA scholar involved in this project will read and discuss existing scholarship on the topic, retrieve and organize visual and scholarly material, and use bibliographic management tools such as Zotero. Proficiency in Spanish is required.

Knots and Their Combinatorial Interpretations

Sponsor: Scott Taylor, Associate Professor of Mathematics (scott.taylor@colby.edu)

Mathematical knots are closed loops in 3-dimensional space that don’t cross through themselves. They can be studied mathematically using a wide range of tools from algebra, analysis, geometry, and topology. In this project, you’ll learn necessary background for studying knots combinatorially and will frame and investigate an original research question. This project is ideal for students with a strong interest and background in mathematics.

LGBTQ History and Art

Sponsor: AB Brown, Assistant Professor in Theater and Dance (anjbrown@colby.edu)

My research explores the ways LGBTQ history is represented and reimagined through artistic practices. I am currently working on a project about how LGBTQ people tell stories about joy, pleasure, personal memory and regional history, which will result in several creative works: an installation, a walking tour, and a live performance. The CARA scholar involved in this project does not need prior artistic experience. We will work together to determine which aspects of the project best suit you. These may range from conducting historical research about LGBTQ history in Maine, conducting and transcribing interviews with LGBTQ youth and elders, documenting the creative process and, if desired, directly participating in creating installations, objects, tours, or performances. This project also offers the opportunity to connect with LGBTQ organizations across Maine, engage directly with members of local LGBTQ communities, to interact with cultural programming organizations, museums, and galleries, and to work across campus with the Art Department, Special Collections, and technology and design.

Mapping Jacob Lawrence’s Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

Sponsor: Valerie Dionne, Associate Professor of French (vmdionne@colby.edu)

Colby has recently acquired a rare complete series of prints on The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture by Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000), one of the most prominent American painters of the twentieth century. The project, which will start in one of my classes in Fall 2021, will be completed with the help of a CARA student. The goal is to create a digital map of the world that will connect the different moments of Toussaint L’Ouverture’s life as depicted by Lawrence. Born into slavery in Haiti, L’Ouverture gained his freedom, and then became the leader of the first successful Revolution run by slaves. Sadly, he was captured by Napoleon, and died in captivity in France. Also called the Black Napoleon, Toussaint L’Ouverture helped to create what became the world’s first free and independent Black Republic in 1804. I am looking for a student with: the ability to read French, an appetite for academic research, a willingness to learn digital technology, and a desire to celebrate the incredible life of a black hero.

Medical Humanities and Racial Justice

Sponsors: Tanya Sheehan, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Art (tanya.sheehan@colby.edu) and Jay Sibara, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

In fall 2021, Colby College will launch a campus-wide faculty initiative that explores the relationship between medicine and race from the critical vantage points offered by the arts, history, literature, anthropology, and related disciplines. While the medical professions have recognized that racial and health inequities are closely linked, the humanities and social sciences point to structural racism’s impact on health outcomes across time and place and offer new ways of thinking about medicine in societies defined and divided by race. We are seeking a CARA scholar to support the efforts of Colby faculty to stimulate campus-wide interest in the medical humanities and critical race studies, to publicly lead in these fields, and to promote both scientific advancement and racial justice through research and teaching. This position involves conducting scholarly research and contributing to public events, publications, and innovative collaborations. It would be ideal for students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions and/or reflecting critically on their own health experiences.

Minimizing “Drawing a Blank”

Sponsor: Jennifer Coane, Associate Professor of Psychology (jhcoane@colby.edu)

One purpose of education is to build a foundation of knowledge that lasts a lifetime. Yet, knowledge is rendered meaningless if we cannot bring it to mind, or access it, when we need to. Such situations arise frequently for everyone, from older adults experiencing word or name retrieval failures to students taking exams and “drawing a blank”. The goal of this research project is to improve long-term accessibility of prior knowledge across the lifespan. The project draws on memory research and principles of learning with an eye toward developing ways to improve accessibility to long-term knowledge. Undergraduate research assistants on this project will assist with the review of the literature, preparation of materials for experimental studies, and preparation of instructional materials for other students and older adults for improving self-directed learning and maintaining healthy memory across the lifespan.

The Neurobiology of Prey Tracking in the Praying Mantis

Sponsor: Joshua Martin, Assistant Professor of Biology (joshua.martin@colby.edu)

A predator tracking moving prey must solve the same problems as an outfielder catching a fly ball: your head is turned to track the object, but your body has to run to where you will intersect the target. An animal’s nervous system has to solve this complex problem to eat and survive or to get the out and win.   In this project, we will investigate how an insect predator, the praying mantis, solves this problem. We’ll take high-speed, 3-D video of mantises hunting their prey, and use motion-capture software to understand how they coordinate their body parts to capture their target. We’ll test hypotheses about the strategies the animals use to catch prey (Can they predict where the prey can be intercepted?), and how the brain directs the body (Does the brain have to know where the body is now, to tell it where to go?) by combining this data with brain recordings and neural network modeling.

Neurodegenerative Disease: Inducing Dementia in Fruit Flies

Sponsor: Tariq Ahmad, Associate Professor of Biology (syed.ahmad@colby.edu)

Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the biggest challenges facing the biomedical community. Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are associated with progressive decline in the cognitive functions due to age-dependent loss of central nervous system neurons. Early diagnosis and intervention are particularly challenging. The development of early interventions has been inhibited by the lack of genetic markers. One genetic marker associated with hereditary form of FTD is a mutation in a gene involved in the endosomal-lysosomal pathway that delivers cell surface proteins for degradation. However, it remains unclear how these mutant proteins lead to neurodegeneration. My lab utilizes fruit fly Drosophila, a well-established model system for studying human neurodegenerative diseases to understand such problems. In Drosophila we have the ability to ask what happens when we ectopically express human mutant protein associated with the disease. Our goal is to determine the effects of expressing human mutant protein associated with FTD in the Drosophila brain on circadian rhythm – the ability of an organism to maintain a daily rhythm of physiological processes. We use a combination of histological, biochemical, and behavioral techniques in our projects. Student researchers are involved in all stages of the project, including experiment design, data acquisition and analysis, and manuscript preparation. Students are encouraged to suggest and design their own projects.

Performance Design and Production

Sponsor: James Thurston, Associate Professor of Theater and Dance (james.thurston@colby.edu)

Scenography, or design for the stage, shapes performance meaning in powerful and complex ways. My research investigates the intersection between visual design for the stage and performance process as it creates meaning for an audience. The study of creativity and imagination are at the center of this research. Using a four-phase design process (research, program, design development, presentation), this CARA scholar will serve as an assistant designer for the Department of Theater and Dance mainstage productions; working directly with me to research, conceptualize, and implement scenic, lighting, and projection designs. An exciting aspect of this research is the testing of conceptual ideas in the high-stakes performance environment with an audience. The CARA scholar involved in this project will learn Vectorworks (a design visualization and management software) and other elements of design thinking. The position is ideal for one or two students interested in scenography, 3-dimensional design, and architecture.

Prejudice, Behavior, and Judgment

Sponsor: Jin Goh, Assistant Professor of Psychology (jin.goh@colby.edu)

How do our identities (such as race, gender, sexual orientations) influence the ways we navigate this diverse world? In the Prejudice, Behavior, and Judgment (PB&J) Lab, students and I work together to understand this big question using many different approaches. Ongoing research in my lab looks at how gender bias predicts evaluations of women in various domains such as politics and workplace. Another project looks at how people think about the concept of race (for instance, who counts as Asian or Latinx). First year CARA scholars will join in study design, recruiting participants, analyzing participant responses, and preparing the findings for presentations or publications. For more information about my lab, see www.pbandjlab.com.

Private Social Investment in Latin America

Sponsor: Patrice Franko, Grossman Professor of Economics and Global Studies (patrice.franko@colby.edu)

Latin American nations are characterized by glaring inequality: extraordinary wealth alongside life-threatening poverty. The arrival of the Coronavirus brings into stark contrast the ability of the wealthy to self-isolate and access medicine while the poor are subject to open air living and the ravages of disease. The state, although omnipresent, lacks the financial capacity to address deep social divides in relatively calm periods; its weaknesses are laid bare in the current crisis. Given the challenges and the chasms, how can the private sector partner with the state to address gaping social needs? Even before Covid-19, the Latin American region was at a critical juncture: Could it meet the demands for decent health, education, and transportation with limited fiscal resources? A vibrant third sector of civil society participants had emerged to bridge the gaps. This project examines the development of private social investment (PSI) in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, and it focuses on these questions. (1) To what degree domestic and international factors weigh in decisions regarding the amount and the purpose of regional PSI? (2) What are we likely to see in terms of creating shared value between firms, civil society, and governments as the region emerges from the corona-virus? This project is ideal for a CARA scholar interested in Latin America, economics, and/or global studies. The student collaborator will compare sustainability reports of companies operating in the region pre- and post-Covid-19 to identify ways that firms and corporate foundations have innovated to address pressing social needs. Although the CARA scholar does not need to speak Spanish or Portuguese, language proficiency is a plus.

Reaction Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry

Sponsor: Das Thamattoor, Professor of Chemistry (dmthamat@colby.edu)

Research projects in my laboratory are developed with the undergraduate student in mind. They are carefully designed to address important questions in contemporary organic chemistry, have a high “education content,” and be compatible with the experience-level of the students. Current work is focusing on carbene chemistry, nonplanar hydrocarbons, and strained cyclic allenes. Student researchers are involved in all aspects of the research. Specifically, they will design and set up experiments; synthesize, purify, and analyze compounds; use research grade instruments and other experimental equipment to obtain data; become proficient in modern computational methods; retrieve information from the chemical literature; interpret results; work collaboratively with other scientists; write reports; give oral presentations; and publish their work in peer-reviewed journals. An especially important aspect of the lab’s educational goals is to help students realize their maximum potential in a friendly, supportive, and nurturing environment. For more information, please see http://web.colby.edu/dmthamat/.

Seed Library

Sponsor: Elizabeth Jabar, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships, elizabeth.jabar@colby.edu.

The Waterville Seed Library provides community members the resources to grow their own healthy, sustainable food at no cost. The seed library helps to reclaim seeds as a public resource and fosters a culture where local growing knowledge is easily shared.

Speculative Writing in the Black Press

Sponsor: Samantha Plasencia, Visiting Assistant Professor of English (splasenc@colby.edu)

This project seeks to investigate speculative writing in the early Black press. While speculative fiction and historiography (known as critical fabulation) are increasingly popular forms of writing today, what kinds of speculative writing existed in the Antebellum Black press, and more specifically, in Frederick Douglass’ Paper, the sequel of Frederick Douglass’ North Star? How did imaginative writing function in this newspaper? How did it inflect, and how was it inflected by, the varied range of content surrounding it? How did speculative writing address the Black press’ twin goals of controlling community representation and circulating useful knowledge? I’m looking for a CARA scholar interested in exploring the intersections of Black writing, history, and newspaper production to help me track archival content. The student collaborator on this project will learn how to navigate digital archives and develop both literary and historical research skills. Particularly outstanding student collaborators may have the opportunity to co-write an article with me on speculative writing in Frederick Douglass’ Paper.

STEM on the Run

Sponsor: Elizabeth Jabar, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships, elizabeth.jabar@colby.edu.

In partnership with Waterville High School, this program provides tutoring ad hands-on activities that promote an interest in STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics). In addition, Colby volunteers facilitate a lecture series to provide the students with interactive conversations and insight into how science is applied in the world outside of the classroom.

Trilingual Medical Health Dictionary in Kaqchikel Maya, Spanish, and English

Sponsor: Tiffany Miller, Assistant Professor of Spanish (tmiller@colby.edu)

In Guatemala there are over 500,000 speakers of the Kaqchikel Mayan language, but historical legacies of racism dating to the Spanish colonization in the sixteenth century and the more recent genocidal civil war (1960-1996) have threatened the sustained existence of Guatemala’s 22 Mayan languages. To contribute to linguistic revitalization efforts, this project will result in the creation of an online trilingual dictionary of medical terminology in Kaqchikel, Spanish, and English. I have partnered with Wuqu’ Kawoq: Maya Health Alliance, a medical NGO based in Guatemala that provides health care in Mayan languages, to engage in community-based research and collaborate with a team of Maya and non-Maya researchers. This multi-year, interdisciplinary project would appeal to a CARA scholar interested in a variety of fields, including but not limited to global health (pre-medicine), anthropology, linguistics, and/or Indigenous studies. The CARA scholar will read and discuss existing scholarship on the topic, retrieve and organize scholarly material, use bibliographic management tools such as Zotero, and assist in compiling medical terminology for the dictionary, and (optionally) web design. As part of this project, you will learn theories surrounding language shift, Guatemalan Maya activism and linguistic revitalization initiatives, and traditional Maya approaches to health care in contrast to Western medicine. Proficiency in Spanish is required, though a proficiency in Kaqchikel Maya is not.

Twentieth Century Poetry (Avant-garde, Visual, Oral)

Sponsor: Gianluca Rizzo, Paul D. and Marilyn Paganucci Assistant Professor of Italian Language and Literature (gianluca.rizzo@colby.edu)

I am seeking a student interested in the history of Twentieth Century poetry, and motivated to learn more about the lives and works of its fascinating protagonists. Have you ever wondered how an anthology is made? Who decides which authors are included and which ones are left out? What’s the relationship between the various forms of avant-garde poetry: “linear,” “visual,” and “oral”?  These are some of the questions we will be addressing in preparing the groundwork for an anthology of Italian poetry of the first half of the 20th century, to be published by the University of Toronto Press. I need the help of a research assistant to locate, read, and summarize materials (books, articles, journals), relating to the writers and critics who made the first fifty years of the last century such an intriguing period in Italian history. Knowledge of Italian is not required.

Ultras: From Hooligans to Political Players in German Soccer

Sponsor: Arne Koch, Associate Professor of German (arne.koch@colby.edu)

The “cultures” of world soccer, time and again, have enabled scholars to publish wonderful but also at times disturbing studies on politics, religions, organized crime, and economics. Looking through the lens of German soccer, this project focuses on expanding our understanding of what exactly defines and drives German fan- and ultra-cultures. I am interested in a range of questions generated by the tensions between regional (even local) and national identity, socio-economic, religious (albeit, increasingly with less significance), and other factors, as well as the importance of performance and (club) politics. The relatively recent German documentary Ultras – unter Druck (Under Pressure, 2016) is a useful popular introduction to the topic, however, its focus does not include consideration of regional identities. Alongside my CARA, I plan to immerse myself in this field of study: by studying select team and fan club histories at different levels of professional soccer; establishing contacts with representatives of select fan clubs; and collaborating with other scholars in the field. The CARA will contribute to the project on different levels which will prepare them for their own future research: reading and discussion of existing scholarship on the topic; conducting academic research (database and library, locating and recording of sources, bibliographic citation, summaries and commentaries); presentation of preliminary research findings. Some reading knowledge of German would be a preferred student qualification but is not required.