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 two endowments that support our students’ humanities research.

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John Near/Mitra Family 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.

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

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.

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

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

Near Papers Since 2010-11

  • 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
  • The UCMJ and Insubordination: Suitability of Military Judicial Responses during the Vietnam War
  • Arleigh Burke's Submarine-Based Finite Deterrent: Alternative to the Nuclear Triad
  • The Changing Dynamic of Unconventional Warfare: The U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam and Their Impact on Modern War
  • 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
  • Watching and Wiretapping: An Analysis of the Implications of the FBI’s Illegal Counter-Intelligence Programs against the Black Panther Party during the 1960s
  • Islamic Student Experience in the Classroom after 9/11: A Holistic Analysis of Sociopolitical Influence on the Muslim Student Psyche
  • The Role of Musicianship in George Balanchine’s Enduring Impact on American Contemporary Ballet
  • Blackout: The Case for Black Power in 1960s Liberation Politics
  • The United Fruition: A Historical Analysis of the Motives for the 1954 U.S.-Backed Guatemalan Coup
  • The Tet Offensive and the Macv’s Information Defensive: An Analysis of Limitations to Watchdog Journalism in the Vietnam War (1964-68)
  • Increasing the Efficiency of United States Healthcare: Addressing Adverse Selection in the Health Insurance Market through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • “Straight Outta Compton:” Hip-Hop and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
  • Learned Lessons: Financial Innovation and the Panic of 1873
  • A House Divided: Historical and Present-day Residential Segregation in Santa Clara County
  • Graphic Soldiers: Popular Sentiment as Reflected in Captain America and Spider-man
  • “BEE-BOPPA-DOE:” The Soul of an African-American Musical Revolution in a Post-World War II Era

Mitra Papers Since 2011-12

  • Pretty in Punk: An Examination of European Female Punk Rock of the 70'S and 80'S Through a Feminist Lens
  • The Eggleston Effect: Color Photography as Fine Art
  • Ideology Through Subliminal Propaganda: A Critique of Portrayals of Palestine and Palestinians in Israeli and Western Online News Media During Operation Protective Edge
  • 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 Enchantments of the Habit
  • 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
  • A Comparison of the Causes of the 1989 Collapse of Communism in Poland and the 2010 Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia
  • Bit by Bit: An Economic Analysis of Bitcoin’s Viability as a Currency
  • “Wanton Ringlets”: A Tangible Medium for Identity and Power
  • Frida Kahlo, An Authentic Artist: Challenging Gender Roles and Sexuality Norms through Art and Identity Evolution
  • Turning Tables: Key Interactions Between Hitler and Stalin that Ended the Possibility of a Nazi Reich and Brought the USSR to the Forefront of European Politics
  • The Side Effects of Progress: Skill-Biased Technological Change, Inequality, and Harms from 1970-2000
  • Winston Churchill’s Efforts to Unify Britain From 1940-1941

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