Humanities Research

Our humanities research program explores how humans use philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record our world. We have three endowments that support our students’ humanities research.

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John Near & Mitra Family Scholar Grant Program

History of Student Scholar Grant Program

The scholar grant program was created in 2009 as part of the John Near Excellence in History Endowment to allow select senior students and their teacher-mentors the opportunity to pursue an independent, yearlong research paper on a topic of their choice in the discipline of United States history or American government.

The Mitra Family Endowment was founded in 2011 and broadened the scope to allow for independent research and experiential learning in the humanities, including literature, art, music and the social sciences. Students have explored such topics as European history, educational policy, economic policy, art history and music history.

Selection and Process

Scholars are selected in the spring of their junior years by a faculty committee that includes members of the history department and the library director. The award recipients work closely with a faculty mentor over the course of the year to produce a university-level research paper. The papers are published, presented to each student, placed in the John Near Center and put on display in the library.

Each student grant recipient receives monies to offset research costs, allowing students to pursue off-site research at libraries, private collections and museums.

Students and mentors are celebrated at a spring ceremony, where scholars place their signatures on the final copies of their papers.

Chen Lin Family Faculty Grant Program

The Chen Lin Family Faculty Grant Program was established in 2020 from the Chen Lin Family Endowment, to support and inspire faculty growth. Faculty who mentor Near and Mitra scholars are honored and recognized as Chen Lin Grant recipients.

The John Near Excellence in History Education Endowment Fund was established in 2009 “to help develop the history department, both through the acquisition of resources and by providing growth opportunities for both faculty and students.

John Near, August 19, 2009

[The Mitra Endowment] is to benefit the humanities with an emphasis on history education to support The Harker School and John Near’s vision of incorporating unique and meaningful humanities education at The Harker School. The subject matters taught under humanities such as history, languages, communication, philosophy are critical skills and knowledge that develop well-rounded Harker students. Humanities is the bedrock for a superior education and will enable our students to stand out as recognized contributors in their future professions.

Samir Mitra, March 2011

My husband, Yabo Lin, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact humanities teachers have, not only for the Near/Mitra scholars, but also how their involvements inspire their own professional growth. Their work is impactful on developing students’ critical thinking, social empathy and ethical leadership. We are honored to support the school in this area.

May Chen, June 2020

Examples of Near Papers

  • High Water Mark: Discussing the Impacts of National Power on Confederate Military Strategy through the Lens of the Gettysburg Campaign
  • The China Card versus the China Trade: Sino-American Economic Relations, 1972-1989
  • Can Charter Schools Close the Achievement Gap?
  • An Interview at Weehawken: An Extensive Analysis of the Causes and Overall Political Ramifications of the Infamous Duel
  • Aaron Copland's El Salon Mexico and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story: Twentieth Century Musical Manifestations of the Impact of Hispanics on the United States' Sociopolitical Stage
  • Phyllis Schlafly and Betty Friedan: An Examination of Political Battle over Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Ancients Alive: The Influence of the Roman Republic on James Madison’s Conception of the Senate and the Resulting Impact on the American Constitution
  • The Hidden History of the Disability Rights Movement: Improving Access to Education in the Shadow of the Feminist and Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s and 1970s
  • Islamic Student Experience in the Classroom after 9/11: A Holistic Analysis of Sociopolitical Influence on the Muslim Student Psyche“Straight Outta Compton:” Hip-Hop and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
  • “Straight Outta Compton:” Hip-Hop and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots

Examples of Mitra Papers

  • Pretty in Punk: An Examination of European Female Punk Rock of the '70s and '80s Through a Feminist Lens
  • The Eggleston Effect: Color Photography as Fine Art
  • Whispers in Russia: The Infuence of the Rumors Surrounding Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on the Russian Revolution and Their Role in The German Effort to Overthrow the Tsarist Regime
  • Using Antimalarial and Insecticide Resistance to Contextualize the Future of Malaria Control in Tanzania
  • The Truth Beyond Words: A Musico-Historical Analysis of Selections from Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich’s Compositions under the Stalinist Regime
  • Understanding Gender Differences in Depression: The Evolution in Our Understanding of Rumination and Co-Rumination in the Midst of the Social Media Revolution
  • Bit by Bit: An Economic Analysis of Bitcoin’s Viability as a Currency
  • Frida Kahlo, An Authentic Artist: Challenging Gender Roles and Sexuality Norms through Art and Identity Evolution
  • Winston Churchill’s Efforts to Unify Britain From 1940-1941

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