Summer Student Research Project: (Digital) Mapping Political Uncertainty in Revolutionary London

An educational project looking for up to 6 students to teach how to use digital mapping to understand 17th century London.

Map of London

This summer, Duke’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Rhodes Information Initiative are sponsoring a remote undergraduate summer project, “Mapping Political Uncertainty in Revolutionary London in the 17th Century.” This educational project will teach a group of up to six students how to use digital mapping as a research tool by focusing on the English Civil Wars, particularly 17th-century London. 

The project is designed and led by Dr. Astrid Giugni, Lecturing Fellow of English, in conjunction with graduate assistant Nicholas Smolenski, a third-year graduate student in the Department of Music.


Open to all undergraduates with an interest in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, students on the team will combine technical skills and humanistic studies. The project will access digital archives and databases to make historical research possible in a remote setting. With the use of ArcGIS StoryMaps, a software product designed for entry-level to advanced users, students on the project will be introduced to historical mapping, an interdisciplinary discipline within the digital humanities.

Dr. Giugni, in her fourth summer working with Duke’s Data+, an undergraduate data-oriented summer research program, hopes that students will have the opportunity to conduct original research despite this summer’s unprecedented circumstances. Through the “Mapping Political Uncertainty in Revolutionary London”project, Dr. Giugni seeks to foster collaboration among students to organize findings from a diverse set of primary sources and convert this data to visually represent it on a map.


The project’s focus, 17th-century England, was inspired by Dr. Giugni’s own work on this period, including John Milton and the English Civil War. 17th-century London provides a fascinating historical lens to explore the ways in which English people coped with the crisis of the civil war through writing and the experimental publication that took place. Students participating in the project can expect to research political and radical religious literature from the period, including many fringe texts that circulated only because there was little enforcement of censorship laws. Through the use of online resources, such as Early English Books Online, “Mapping Political Uncertainty in Revolutionary London”makes historical discovery possible without access to a physical library or traditional methods of on-campus research. 

It is not surprising that Dr. Giugni recognizes the relevance of this topic to our own present crisis, particularly the concern with reasoning at times of uncertainty which dominated 17th-century England. The project will run from the beginning of June through the end of July, and asks for a  weekly commitment of ten hours, including team meetings through Zoom each week. Student researchers will receive a $500 stipend, funded by the Rhodes Information Initiative.

Applying to the project

Download the flyer to read more about the project here.

Students interested in applying for “Mapping Political Uncertainty in Revolutionary London”should email Dr. Giugni at astrid.giugni@duke.eduSubmit a single document that contains a resume/CV and a brief paragraph (no more than five sentences) expressing interest. The resume should include GPA and a list of relevant courses and/or academic experiences. The deadline for application is May 8 at 5:00 pm.