Christopher Ansell, Professor

Open (1) The Post-Socialist European City: Transitions, Variation, and Capacities

Open. Apprentices needed for the spring semester. Please do NOT contact faculty before February 5th (the start of the 4th week of classes)! Enter your application on the web beginning January 9th. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 23rd at 8 AM.

The European continent has undergone major shifts since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Eleven countries have emerged from a totalitarian Communist system, embracing capitalism and democracy and joining the European Union. These transitions had major effects on governing institutions and practice across the continent. Yet many scholars have found that Socialist legacies endure in spite of major reform efforts, learning initiatives, and aid conditionality. This project seeks to look at the differential legacies of these two major transformations largely in post-Socialist Europe, though will also use comparison cases in Western Europe. While existing research has explored the issue at the national level, this research will focus on subnational variation by looking at the city level.

Students will participate in the project by collecting data from existing government documents and compile research to build a new dataset to explore what makes city governments in Europe more or less effective. Students may also, if they have appropriate language skills, translate media reporting, academic articles, and city plans, so this project may be especially appealing to those who are either native speakers of European languages or advanced language majors with a secondary interest in politics. Students will discover the way that European cities fit within the complex multilevel governance of the European Union and the significant ways they vary from one another.

Students will receive hands-on training in data collection and interpreting the relationships and networks, and strengths and weaknesses, of subnational policy making in Europe. Their efforts will significantly inform research that will explore urban policymaking and subnational politics in contemporary Europe. Students will learn about urban and subnational politics in European countries and changes brought by both the post-Socialist transition and admission to the European Union. Beyond substantive areas, students will learn about the early, exploratory stages of large research projects, formulating research questions, and collecting/interpreting data. Supervision will be primarily done remotely with occasional group meetings, so students must be self-motivated and able to work independently.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Matthew Stenberg, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Applicants should have some background and familiarity with European politics. Language skills, especially in Central European languages (German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, etc.: any language of a post-Socialist EU member country), are strongly desired and a requirement. Students without languages skills who have interests in European history, urban politics, city planning, and/or the European Union are encouraged to apply to our second URAP project.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Open (2) Cities in the European Union

Open. Apprentices needed for the spring semester. Please do NOT contact faculty before February 5th (the start of the 4th week of classes)! Enter your application on the web beginning January 9th. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 23rd at 8 AM.

The European Union is a complex international organization that influences all aspects of contemporary European politics and society. While scholars have studied how the European Union interacts with nations a great deal, the ways that the EU influences cities directly are less clear. This research looks to qualitatively and quantitatively assess the European Union's impact on cities and to look at the ways the EU does, and does not, influence urban politics across the continent.

For the Spring 2018 semester, we are especially interested in having students research, develop, and code datasets relating to the Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, datasets which will be merged with our other datasets to create a more comprehensive database at project conclusion.

Initially, students will be responsible for coding and cleaning large datasets pertaining to the European Union's interaction with cities. Subsequent tasks may deal with data analysis using the sets prepared by the students. Additionally, students may be asked to read government documents and either A. take notes, B. code variables, or C. prepare a short memo. These materials may be from contemporary European sources or from historical primary sources, depending on what documents the project can obtain.

Students will discover the way that European cities fit within the complex multilevel governance of the European Union and the significant ways they vary from one another. Students will receive hands-on training in data collection and interpreting the relationships and networks, and strengths and weaknesses, of the relationships between levels of government in Europe. Their efforts will significantly inform research that will explore urban policymaking and subnational politics in contemporary Europe. Students will learn about urban and subnational politics in European countries and changes brought by both the post-Socialist transition and admission to the European Union. Beyond substantive areas, students will learn about the early, exploratory stages of large research projects, formulating research questions, and collecting/interpreting data. Supervision will be primarily done remotely with occasional group meetings, so students must be self-motivated and able to work independently.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Matthew Stenberg, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Experience with Excel is required. Background in statistics, especially with statistical programs, is desirable, though not essential. After the coding phase, the complexity of tasks given to students will depend on their technical training. Students with interests in European history/government, urban politics, city planning, and/or the European Union are also encouraged to apply.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated