Disagreements Initiative

From 2019 to 2024, the PEP offered some three dozen independent research fellowships to Dartmouth students, which they utilized to explore a staggeringly rich variety of topics. Starting in the Summer of 2024, we begin a new chapter in the life of the Project with our inaugural student program "Exploring Disagreements in Independent Research." See details below!


The PEP invites applications from Dartmouth undergraduates who seek to undertake focused research lightly advised by a Dartmouth faculty member. The research should include engagement with rival theories pertinent to the student's area of interest, leading to a deeper understanding of the various sides of the topic. The disagreements--which need not be the only or even the primary point of the research--may concern, for example, the content of scholarly findings, research methods, or interpretive orientations. 

These fellowships need not culminate in any written work. They aim instead to help students broaden and deepen their education outside the classroom by devising an independent agenda of directed reading.  Proposals may be made on any topic, as long as it is related to the broad mission of the Political Economy Project.

The deadline for applications will generally fall at the end of the fourth week of the term before the fellowship term (with an exception for the inaugural X-24 term).


Proposals should include (i) a description of your project; (ii) an email from the professor agreeing to supervise it, which briefly describes your project and its duration, and (iii) a short summary of rival arguments that the research will equip you to understand.

More specifically, you should explain briefly how you conceived of the research idea, how it addresses themes of interest to the Political Economy Project, and how you expect it to contribute to your liberal-arts education.  Please include a bibliography of no more than one single-spaced page, listing some of the sources you expect to consult during the grant period, as well as a project title, a transcript, and a CV. Compensation will be $17.50 for up to 100 hours of work. Up to two fellowships will be funded per term.

In the term after you have completed the fellowship, you can expect to send a 1-page summary of your fellowship experience to the PEP program coordinator and your faculty sponsor. 

Since this program aims to foster habits of inquiry that are genuinely independent of extensive supervision, you are only required to meet with your faculty sponsor once: namely, when preparing a plan of research before sending in the application. (You are of course welcome to meet with your faculty sponsor more often if that is mutually agreeable). 

Email all application materials as Word attachments, as well as any questions you may have about the program, to the PEP program coordinator: henry.c.clark@dartmouth.edu. Indicate in the subject line that you are applying for this fellowship. Late applications will not be accepted; notifications will be sent within two or three weeks after the deadline.* 

*If you are applying for a leave term grant, consider the impact on your D-plan. There is a penalty for changing from a residence term to a leave term after the registrar's deadline, but there is no penalty for changing from a leave term to a residence term. Information about D-plan deadlines can be found here.


Ahaan Jindal ('27) will work on "Birth Rates and Balance Sheets: Charting China's Economic Trajectory in Light of Falling Fertility Rates." Will low birth rates in the global superpower free up resources for a more efficient political economy, or lead to fewer ideas, stagnation in living standards, and deadly economic and strategic decline? Ahaan will survey the divergent evidence on this suddenly hot topic.

Carly Retterer ('F24) will study "Capitalist Peace Theory: Cooperation and Conflict." The theory, developed in recent decades to account for the relative rarity of warfare between nations well integrated into broader market networks, is actually a remarkable reversal of a theory current in the first half of the twentieth century, when figures such as Lenin and Stalin saw capitalism as a breeding ground of strife and conflict. Carly will explore this earlier tradition for the light it sheds on the broader relationship between economic institutions and international relations.

Congratulations to Ahaan and Carly!