Students in the humanities have ample opportunities to carry out original research at Puget Sound. Many classes involve students in research which results in digital publications or exhibitions. These examples from Art History, English, History, and Philosophy suggest the many possibilities for engaging in original research in the classroom. Beyond conducting research within courses, students also pursue research as independent study projects during the semester or as summer research projects. Many students opt for developing research projects over longer periods of time: for example, a student may start a research project in a course, then expand it with the support of a Summer Research Grant, and then refine it further in a senior seminar as a thesis. Each year several students also attend undergraduate or professional conferences (such as the Gender Studies Symposium held at Lewis & Clark University and the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Washington) to present the results of their research.
These awards offer students the opportunity to engage in independent research projects during the summer. These grants are awarded on a competitive basis to students who demonstrate research interest and ability. Students devote themselves full time to the project for at least ten weeks during summer, carrying out research on campus using library resources or studio spaces, or traveling to locations best suited to their project. Students present their work in an open forum in September, either as an independent public lecture or as a presentation during the Fall Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Symposium. Students publish their work online at Sound Ideas.
In 2020 the following students majoring in humanities fields have received a Summer Research award in the Arts and Humanities:
Under the guidance of Prof. MacBain in English, Sloan studied the journals of Tacoma artist Abby Williams Hill to understand how Hill supported the black community. Sloan even visited Tuskegee University in Alabama to compare Hill's record to the information found in speeches, rosters, and pamphlets from Booker T. Washington's time.
Helen, a History major in the Honors Program, received an AHSS grant to do independent research. Her study of the influence of historical memory on the development of the British constitution took her to libraries, museums, and historical sites in the UK where she was able to examine some amazing medieval artifacts relevant to her research, including a 1217 copy of the Magna Carta at Oxford’s Bodleian Library.
Nick has such a strong interest in philosophy for children that he wrote a philosophical book for children as an independent study in conjunction with his senior seminar. Dialogues with Phil and Sophia – Who’s Moving? follows the adventures of siblings Phil and Sophia as they work through some big questions about personal identity and agency.