Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies

The Undergraduate Research Center is one of the distinctive programs at Occidental College.

This exciting program provides funding for students to engage in full time, paid research on an original project in the summer. During summer 2020, the following students will be working with Religious Studies faculty:

  • In her project, "Myth and Memorial: The Precarity of Jewish Remembrance in Post-War Austria," Isobel Dickson, '21 will study Jewish and Holocaust memorials in postwar Austria as evidence of how Austrians negotiate communal memory and national identity. She will use theoretical works on monuments and memorials to analyze how these sites invoke history, memory, and cultural knowledge, as well as how they evoke responses from the public. She will also query the positionality of those whoses stories are told on the memorials, the narratives and the politics that motivate the them, and whether--after the atrocities committed by Austria during the war--there remains a possibility for Jewish remembrance in spaces and cultural memory of a state that has denied responsibility for decades. (Mentor: Upson-Saia)
  • Cassandra Gutierrez, '23 and Gahan Lahiri, '23 will work as research assistants for Prof. Upson-Saia to assist with tasks related to the final production of her book manuscript, Medicine, Health, and Healing in the Ancient Mediterranean (500 BCE-500 CE).

Students present their research findings at the Summer Research Conference (and sometimes also at the Southern California Undergraduate Research conference, the regional American Academy of Religion conference, or a specialized professional conference). Their research sometimes also forms the foundation for their Senior Comprehensive projects.