School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Chen Bar Itzhak

    Chen Bar Itzhak

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Taube Center for Jewish Studies

    BioChen Bar-Itzhak is a postdoctoral researcher in Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature. She is interested in the literary representations of cities and in the ways in which urban space interacts with language, memory and ideology in literary texts. Her forthcoming book, based on her prize-winning dissertation, develops a new theoretical model for the study of literary cities, and explores the city of Haifa in the Israeli literary imagination through a study of over 50 works of fiction. Her other published/forthcoming works address the complex relations between space, memory, language and ideology in Israeli literature and culture, the contact zones between Hebrew and Arabic fiction, and theoretical issues in world literature.
    She is currently working on a book-length study on Retrotopia in contemporary Israeli culture. This project analyzes expressions of nostalgia for the British Mandate in literature, theater, street art, exhibitions and online groups. The project asks why these nostalgic narratives emerge at this specific socio-historical moment, examines different forms of nostalgic narratives and highlights the critical potential of nostalgia.
    Chen is also the executive editor of Stanford's Dibur Literary Journal and a board member of the Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS). Before coming to Stanford she was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Hebrew and Judaic Studies at the University of Oxford.

  • Denise Lim

    Denise Lim

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Archaeology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDenise specializes in the cultural sociology of South African visual art, literature, and material cultures.

  • Dewei Shen

    Dewei Shen

    Postdoctoral Scholar, East Asian Studies

    BioMy research interests lie at the intersection of historical archaeology and manuscript studies, with a focus on the social and cultural history of early Chinese society. I am currently revising my dissertation, entitled “The First Imperial Transition in China: A Microhistory of Jiangling (369–119 B.C.E.)” into a book manuscript. In the dissertation, I challenge the dominant dayitong (“great unification”) narrative in studies of the rise of early Chinese empires through a micro-scale investigation of the collapse and transformation of Jiangling—the former Chu capital in southern Hubei—in the wake of the Qin and Han conquests. The dissertation was awarded the Marston Anderson Prize for Distinguished Dissertation at Yale. Built upon this case study, my book incorporates recent archaeological and manuscript evidence to examine the ascent and afterlife of the Chu Empire from the fourth to the first century B.C.E. The book will propose a new theoretical framework based on the idea of “parallel empires” to reveal the (long-forgotten) diversity of imperial models that once existed in ancient China.

    Research Area Keywords: Early China; archaeology; manuscript studies; early Chinese texts; empire studies; microhistory; material culture; mortuary studies; funerary arts; East Asian history; Japanese kokugaku.

  • Brendan Joseph McKinney Weaver

    Brendan Joseph McKinney Weaver

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Archaeology

    BioI am an archaeologist and historical anthropologist focusing on labor, slavery, and the African diaspora of the Andes. I earned my Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2015. Prior to coming to the Stanford Archaeology Center as a Postdoc in the fall of 2018, I was the Mellon Institute Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Anthropology at Berea College (Kentucky, 2016-2018), and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland, 2015-2016).

    My current research explores through material culture the daily lived experience of agroindustrial workers and residents, the vast majority of whom were both enslaved and of Sub-Saharan African origin, on wine and brandy producing estates owned by the Society of Jesus on the Peruvian coast in the 17th and 18th centuries. I direct the Haciendas of Nasca Archaeological Project (PAHN), centered on Nasca’s Ingenio Valley, which is the first to archaeologically study the African diaspora in what is today the Republic of Peru. By following daily praxis in both productive and domestic contexts, my research asserts that enslaved Afro-Andean laborers engaged with the oppressive structures of hacienda life, but developed strategies and found discreet and material ways of self-expression in response to hegemonic structures.