Jackman Scholars-in-Residence (SiR) is an intensive 4-week residency in interdisciplinary humanities and humanistic social-science research for upper-year undergraduates. It provides students with an opportunity to acquire advanced research skills and experience while collaborating with an interdisciplinary and intellectually vibrant community of peers, professors, and research professionals. Students selected for SiR will live in residence May 1-26, 2017 and work in small teams on one of 10 research projects, each led by a professor. Students share meals and group activities including multidisciplinary workshops on research methodologies, standards, protocol, and professional communication; excursions to archives, museums, and cultural events; and talks featuring professionals such as lawyers, policy-makers, and documentary filmmakers that highlight research-intensive career trajectories. Eligible students must apply by 8 February 2017 and be selected to work on one of the projects (see project descriptions below). Scholars-in-Residence is a research community supported by the Jackman Humanities Institute and the Colleges of the University of Toronto.


SiR offers a range of benefits to participants, including:

·      4 weeks free accommodation in a St George campus college residence

·      A dining plan

·      A $1000 Jackman Scholar Award

·      The opportunity to contribute to original faculty research projects, develop skills, and build supportive relationships with peers and professors

·      A certificate of successful completion



Undergraduate students in any program in the Faculty of Arts & Science, the Faculty of Music, or the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at St. George, or at UTM or UTSC with a minimum CGPA of 3.0 who are currently in second year or higher are eligible to apply. Students must create an account in the JHI website to apply: click on Register to set up your account. Selection criteria include academic achievement, commitment to the research project, and suitability for team-based research as shown by the application material and references. Enrolment is limited to 50 students.

The Application

Applications consist of transcripts, a resume (including the names and email addresses of 2 academic referees whom we may contact), and a one-page letter of interest outlining how SiR (and / or one of the specific projects) furthers the applicant’s educational or career aspirations. Students are asked to rank their top 3 projects in order of preference.


Applications open January 18th on the Jackman Humanities Institute website. Materials must be submitted by 8 February 2017.


1. A Hiker’s Guide to Dante (supervisor: Prof. Randy Boyagoda) In this project, students with strengths and interests in literature, religion, art history, and geography will collaborate in the creation of a hiker’s guide to Dante’s Inferno. We begin with a close investigation of Dante’s canonical text, drawing out the many descriptions of the pilgrim’s hike-like movements through Hell. The team will then plot these experiences and coordinates in linear terms and geo-spatially, research historical and contemporary visual representations, assess relevant models for the proposed guide itself, and develop background material for a new book, A Hiker’s Guide to Dante. Experienced hikers are welcome to apply; an openness to cross-genre imagining is essential.

2. Activism, Archives, and LGBTQ Oral History (supervisor: Prof. Elspeth Brown) This project seeks five outstanding undergraduate researchers with a specific interest in LGBTQ history, digital humanities, queer archives, and community-engaged scholarship. We will work on the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, a five-year (SSHRC-funded) project that explores the histories of trans people, queer women, gay men, and lesbians in the U.S. and Canada. Specific projects will include: digitizing audio cassette and VHS tapes; writing metadata; building digital exhibitions using Omeka; researching and writing exhibition text; making audio and video clips. All training provided; work is in collaboration with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA).

3. The iSquare Research Program (supervisor: Prof. Jenna Hartel) Students are invited to join the award-winning iSquare Research Program based at the Faculty of Information to experience innovative, arts-informed inquiry (see www.iSquares.info). Our approach uses original drawings to understand the nature of information in this Information Age. Alongside the iSquare team and other JHI junior scholars, you will collect a special set of JHI-Squares, catalogue and manage the corpus, perform visual analysis, synthesize findings, mount a digital exhibition, and then archive the collection for perpetuity. This project is situated at the fertile crossroads of the social sciences and humanities. You will participate in the entire knowledge discovery and dissemination process. This opportunity is ideal for students with interests in arts-informed methodology, visual studies, the digital humanities, interdisciplinarity, and “information” broadly construed.

4. Communities, Collectives, and the Commons: 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities (supervisor: Prof. Eva-Lynn Jagoe) This project investigates shifts and changes in community and collectivity in the 21st century. Students will create a website that contains research findings, individual and collaborative essays by the students, links, and multimedia data about contemporary forms of community and collectivity. The four weeks will be devoted to research on 1) social networking; 2) social justice movements; 3) interviews in Toronto intentional communities, and 4) climate change activism. Students will be trained in contemporary cultural analysis in their investigation of movements such as Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, Standing Rock, and Kinder Morgan protests.

5. Culinary Ephemera and Practices of Looking (supervisor: Prof. Irina Mihalache) This project contributes to the research and interpretation of an exhibition of culinary objects, which will be housed at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in May-June 2018. The team of Research Assistants will contribute to the research phases of the exhibition and will produce content that will be included in the exhibition didactics.  Students will be paired with specific objects – restaurant menus, cookbooks, and home economics brochures – which they will research, looking into the cultural histories of the objects, biographies of the authors, and stories of their users.  Students will be trained in object handling, curatorial research and object label writing.

6. A Pain in the Neck: Ecocritical Biography (supervisor: Prof. Andrea Most) This project explores how central features of autobiography are shifting in light of climate change, species extinction, and the discovery of the human microbiome.  Scholars will assist with research for two chapters: the first on the cultural history of estrogen and the second on listening to bodies and the earth.  I am seeking students to assist with bibliographic research on the history of pharmaceutical estrogen, collect stories regarding experiences with hormonal birth control, participate in farming activities at a nearby farm, and write short pieces about the ways in which the project connects humanities research with land-based experience.

7. App Studies: Following the money and the data (supervisor: Prof. David B. Nieborg) This research project is concerned with the political economy of mobile platforms and apps. Together we will focus on the economic and technological position of Facebook’s popular “family of apps”—WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram—in the world of digital advertising. First, we will investigate the structure of the digital advertising industry. Second, we will use advanced visualization and tracking tools to conduct a series of mapping exercises to get a better sense of Facebook’s position of power. This project should pique your interest if you are interested in a critical understanding of mobile apps. A technological or economic background is not required, but familiarity with apps and common web & software tools (Excel, Google docs) is recommended.

8. The French Revolution and Language Teaching in England (supervisor: Prof. Carol Percy) How did studying French express class and gender in 18th-century England? (How) did refugees and the revolution affect pedagogies and attitudes? The students will reconstruct and interpret scenes of instruction in cosmopolitan London, contextualized in my work on English teaching. We will assemble bibliographies and examine books and periodicals in the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, Fisher and Robarts libraries, and full-text databases. Training will be provided in using secondary and primary resources and interpreting the findings. And there is a possible opportunity for some of us to participate in a panel connected with a local conference in October. French-speaking students are particularly welcome.

9. Legal Fictions, Ancient and Modern (supervisor: Prof. Simon Stern) This project involves research on primary sources for a book-length study on the theory and history of legal fictions (working title:  Law's Artifice: Legal Fictions and the Legal Imagination).  Students will undertake case studies on particular legal concepts that have come, over time, to be characterized by judges, lawyers, and commentators as legal fictions, or to be removed from that category.  The students will work mainly with primary sources in full-text databases of early printed books, serials and newspapers, and occasionally with printed sources in the Fisher Rare Book Library. Training will be provided on search strategies and the interpretation of the findings.

10. The Coming of the Cultural Revolution: Politics, Culture, and Ideology in Mao’s China, 1962-1966 (supervisor: Prof. Yiching Wu) This project involves background research for a new monograph on China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Student assistants will participate in the project in two interrelated ways. First, they will be exposed to the field through surveying, reading, and annotating key scholarly literature, with the aim of producing a review of literature that helps to frame the basic research questions. Second, they will work closely with me to explore the broader interpretive and historical interests that inform the project. Through intensive reading and discussions, the group will jointly develop a syllabus for a mini-course with the title of “How Rebellions and Revolutionary Crises Erupt, Escalate, and Unravel: Historical and Comparative Inquiries,” which I plan to expand into a regular seminar. I will welcome students from any relevant discipline, including history, Asian studies, political science, and sociology. Knowledge of Chinese history and politics will be appreciated, but not required.


I am not a humanities or social sciences student. Can I still apply?

Yes. All students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Faculty of Music, or the John H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture and Design at St. George, or at UTM or UTSC who meet the requirements in CGPA (3.0 and above) and are currently in second year or higher are encouraged to apply.

Can I take classes or work part-time during SiR?

No. The student benefits (including housing, meals, and financial compensation) are designed to provide students with a unique opportunity to focus on academic research and participate in an immersive residential experience.

Can I receive course credit for participating in SiR?

No. The project is intended to supplement the research opportunities already available in traditional classroom settings, not replace them. Students will receive a certificate of completion and financial support, but not course credit.

How important is prior research experience?

SiR is designed to provide students with their first intensive experience in original academic research. Faculty mentors will help students acquire the tools they need to thrive as independent researchers. Students with previous research experience are welcome to apply.

I have a job lined up for the last week of May. Can I still join for the first three weeks?

Unfortunately, no. Only students who can commit to the full 4 weeks of the project will be considered.

I already have an apartment; do I have to live in residence?

Yes. Living with other scholars in residence is crucial to the success of the project. For that reason, unless there are exceptional circumstances (e.g., the student is a caregiver) participants are required to stay in residence.

Do I have to participate in the workshops and other programming?

Yes. One of the central aims of SiR is to cultivate a strong community of intellectually curious, supportive, and engaged scholars. Therefore, while some recreational activities may be voluntary, selected applicants are encouraged to participate in the full slate of enrichment activities. Programming that involves U of T-affiliated researchers is mandatory.

Do I need to provide official transcripts for my application?

No. While official transcripts are preferred, you may submit a document that contains compiled images of your complete academic history in screenshots from ROSI/ACORN.

For more information please contact: ira.wells@utoronto.ca or call (416) 585-4514

2016 Student Testimonials

·      “[SiR] was the best single 'experience' I've had at the U of T thus far (and I've had some pretty wonderful experiences!).”

·      “[T]he project was hugely beneficial to me in terms of original research, professional relationships, and my frankly transformative development as a scholar.”

·      “I was trained in archival research and scholarly practices which I have been able to apply to my own work in various extended scholarly projects on Indigenous justice, education and work in western Canada, and the history of the Canadian labour movement. I am [now] comfortable immersing myself in the archives, approaching scholars for advice and contacts, and collaborating with communities, archivists, and fellow scholars. I can honestly say that for me, this has been a life-changing experience.”

·      “[SiR] created a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community that continues to shape the way I think today. I met curious and passionate thinkers who challenged me to think differently, with whom I’ve stayed in touch…Truly, it was life-changing for me.”

·      “It was a formative experience that I would recommend to anyone looking for personal and intellectual growth, which I hope continues for many years and grows in its ability to include as many students as possible.”

·      “Working on a project that fused theatre, sociology and information/technology studies, this program was one of the only times I felt I was receiving the full university experience.”

·      “Through conversation and debate with [my] fellow scholars and [guest] speakers, I was challenged to step outside my specialized academic bubble…and [to] look at university education and academics from a different perspective.”

·      “The SiR program gives undergraduates a chance to cross-pollinate with people from different disciplines and changes the way students think, instilling in them a deep sense of curiosity and enabling them to go on to make new and exciting contributions to their respective fields.”

·      “While the university offers its own [professionalization workshops], the advantage of the SiR sessions was their attendance by a close-knit community, in front of whom and of whom I was not afraid to ask questions. Indeed, our group discussions both before and after these events introduced me to a wealth of resources.”

·      “The SiR program was a highlight of my academic career.”