School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Jonathan Branfman

    Jonathan Branfman

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Taube Center for Jewish Studies

    BioProfessional website and CV: https://www.jonathanbranfman.com/

    Jonathan Branfman researches race, masculinity, and Jewish identity in popular media. His work invites Jewish, feminist, queer, critical race, and media studies to grasp how historical anti-Semitism shapes present-day U.S. visual culture, and how Jewish stars harness this stigma to enter America's core cultural debates.

    First book project: "Millennial Jewish Stardom: Masculinity, Race, & Queer Glamor." Under contract with New York University Press.

    Second book project: "Jews & News Satire: Embodying Candor in the Age of Fake News"

    Articles: Jonathan's research has appeared in Television & New Media, the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, the Journal of Homosexuality, and Frontiers, among others. For instance, to advance intersectional feminist theories of antisemitism, he has analyzed "Jewish-Progressive Conflict" in Frontiers (https://bit.ly/3N3LML0).

    Educational publications: To share feminist and queer education beyond academia, Jonathan has likewise published an intersectional LGBTQ children's book, "You Be You! The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality & Family" (https://bit.ly/3wWhljZ). This guide is now translated into 25 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Yiddish.

    Courses: "Passing: Hidden Identities Onscreen" (Fall 22)

  • 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. Additionally, as a fellow at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and a postdoctoral affiliate at the Stanford Archaeology Center, I am also collaborating with digital humanists and archaeologists to develop a database and visualization tools to study early urbanization and city networks of South 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.