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The Project on Borders and Boundaries in World Politics has openings for up to six paid undergraduate researchers. This project is concerned with how and why humans demarcate the international space between “us” and “them.” It contextualizes international border architecture, infrastructure and institutions as expressions of various social, political and economic anxieties associated with globalization. This research team works on a broad range of questions relating to “bordering” in world politics. The initial commitment is for one year, 5 hours per week, with the opportunity to reapply for the position. Undergraduates will be working with Professor Beth Simmons, Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor, as well as a team of post-docs and graduate students.

There are three pillars to this research project:

Structures. This pillar examines state presence at and near political borders. We use Google Earth and ArcGIS to document and map barriers, inspection facilities, police and military presence at or near international borders in order to understand displays of state authority in border zones around the world. Experience with Google Earth and ArcGIS is a plus.

Sentiments. This pillar uses human coding and computer learning to examine global texts (including UN texts, news sources from around the world, and official websites and documents) that evidence positive and negative sentiments about international borders. Undergraduates will assist in collecting, preparing, coding and visualizing sentiments from these tests. Experience with Python is a plus.

Micro-foundations. This pillar examines border policy attitudes and perceptions around borders with the goal of understanding how physical borders and security features such as walls and fences affect the formation of policy preferences. Undergraduates will assist in collecting and reviewing public opinion polls and opinion editorial pieces related to border attitudes. Experience with research databases is a plus.


Preferred Qualifications

All positions require familiarity with excel, willingness to learn Stata and/or R,
and rigorous attention to instructions and detail. While not required for any
position, please note if you have skills in languages other than English.
Applicants from any school, year or major may apply. These positions are ideal
for students considering research careers or graduate school in the future.
Flexibility to meet Mondays in person during the academic year will be


Research Offering Type

Research Assistant, Independent Research


United Kingdom