Refresh a course with new activities. Give your undergrads a real community doing history together. Enjoy your colleagues in a research group. Have fun at work!

There are two flexible ways to participate in the lab and take advantage of its resources:

CORE PARTICIPANTEmbed your course in the lab for a semester.

AFFILIATE.  Shape your affiliation to suit your needs and interests: link your course to the lab with workshops or other teaching activities, collaborate in an ongoing research group, or propose and host a guest.

What is an “Embedded” course?

An embedded course meets in the lab and is adapted to focus key course work on researching and writing “microworld” papers.  Students may set up work spaces dedicated to their projects.  Students in embedded courses are encouraged to work on research projects collaboratively, use the lab space for meetings or work on projects.  Students may work in the lab or meet team members and classmates during times when the lab is not in use for regularly scheduled activities.

What is an “Affiliated” course?

An affiliated course draws on lab fellows and other lab resources for discrete activities in support of class assignments.  Such activities might include inviting a graduate student fellow to conduct a workshop on a MicroWorld method or practice in support of a short class exercise or as part of a research project, or to mentor and advise undergraduate students working on research projects.  Activities may take place in the lab or in the course classroom.

What is a “Research Group”?

Research groups are informal working groups organized around thematically defined research interests rather than subfield specialization; for instance, “Religious Microworlds” but not “Reformation Movements in Early Modern Europe.”  Groups should be set up to encourage cross-field discussions of methods, sources, project design, research questions and interdisciplinary links with work in other fields of the humanities and/or social sciences.  Members of Research Groups bring their own research projects into the lab, and work on them individually or collaboratively.  Research Groups will develop their own activities that encourage a lively mix of collaborative exploration and individual project development.

Current research groups at the lab are:

  • Religious Microworlds.  This working group explores the ways that religious beliefs and practices shape or contribute to significant social, political and intellectual movements.  Research projects currently include: Microworlds of the Protestant Reformation (student projects), Paranormal Microhistories (T. Robisheaux & students), Global Pietism (Robisheaux and D. Morgan), and The Politics of Dreams in a Time of War (Robisheaux).
  • Women’s Stories.  This group provides a community for workshopping research projects about individual women and women-centered events, with an emphasis on gender, race, and sexualities.  Bring to the group a project you’ve already begun or launch a new project with colleagues here. (K. B. Dubois)

Can any Duke faculty member propose and lead a new research group?

Yes!  Contact a convener.

Can any Duke faculty member propose a workshop?

Yes!  Contact a convener.

How do I propose a guest?

Guests to the lab are welcome to present a workshop on a microhistorical topic or method. Presentations must be no longer than 20 minutes, with the remainder of the hour devoted to Q&A.

To propose a guest to the lab, contact Tom Robisheaux ( and Katharine Brophy Dubois ( with your idea.

Is there support for organizing an event or activity?

Yes.  The lab is supported by a program co-ordinator who can help you with planning, room reservation, and any other support needed for an activity.

Where does the funding for all of the above come from?

The MicroWorlds Lab is fully supported by Duke’s Humanities Unbounded, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.