School of Humanities and Sciences
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Josephine Knotts Knowles Professor of Human Biology, Emerita
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWorking with English- and Spanish-learning children from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, our research examines the importance of early language experience in supporting language development. We are deeply involved in community-based research in San Jose, designing an innovative parent-engagement program for low-resource Latino families with young children. We are also conducting field studies of beliefs about child development and caregiver-child interaction in rural villages in Senegal. A central goal of this translational research is to help parents understand their vital role in facilitating children’s language and cognitive growth.
Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of History and Professor, by courtesy, of French and Italian
BioI have taught the early history of science and medicine for many years on the premise that one of the most important ways to understand how science, medicine and technology have become so central to contemporary society comes from examining the process by which scientific knowledge emerged. I also take enormous pleasure in examining a kind of scientific knowledge that did not have an autonomous existence from other kinds of creative endeavors, but emerged in the context of humanistic approaches to the world (in defiance of C.P. Snow's claim that the modern world is one of "two cultures" that share very little in common). More generally, I am profoundly attracted to individuals in the past who aspired to know everything. It still seems like a worthy goal.
My other principal interest lies in understanding the world of the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Italy. I continue to be fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society. As such, it provides an interesting point of comparison to Gilded Age America, where magnates such as J.P. Morgan often described themselves as the "new Medici," and to other historical moments when politics, art and society combined fruitfully.
Finally, I have a certain interest in the relations between gender, culture and knowledge. Virginia Woolf rightfully observed at the beginning of the twentieth century that one could go to a library and find a great deal about women but very little that celebrated or supported their accomplishments. This is no longer true a century later, in large part thanks to the efforts of many scholars, male and female, who have made the work of historical women available to modern readers and who have begun to look at relations between the sexes in more sophisticated ways. Our own debates and disagreements on such issues make this subject all the more important to understand.
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsChinese domestic and foreign policy, US-China relations, US foreign policy, intelligence analysis, mega-trends and global challenges, geopolitical consequences of climate change
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and of Electrical Engineering
BioChelsea Finn is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Professor Finn's research interests lie in the ability to enable robots and other agents to develop broadly intelligent behavior through learning and interaction. Her work lies at the intersection of machine learning and robotic control, including topics such as end-to-end learning of visual perception and robotic manipulation skills, deep reinforcement learning of general skills from autonomously collected experience, and meta-learning algorithms that can enable fast learning of new concepts and behaviors.
Professor Finn received her Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and her PhD in Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Her research has been recognized through the ACM doctoral dissertation award, an NSF graduate fellowship, a Facebook fellowship, the C.V. Ramamoorthy Distinguished Research Award, and the MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 Award, and her work has been covered by various media outlets, including the New York Times, Wired, and Bloomberg. Throughout her career, she has sought to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities within CS and AI by developing an AI outreach camp at Berkeley for underprivileged high school students, a mentoring program for underrepresented undergraduates across three universities, and leading efforts within the WiML and Berkeley WiCSE communities of women researchers.
Janet M. Peck Professor of International Communication and Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science
BioJames S. Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he is Professor of Communication, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy.
He received his B.A. from Yale in 1970 and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale as well as a second Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cambridge.
He is the author of Democracy When the People Are Thinking (Oxford 2018), When the People Speak (Oxford 2009), Deliberation Day (Yale 2004 with Bruce Ackerman) and Democracy and Deliberation (Yale 1991).
He is best known for developing Deliberative Polling® – a practice of public consultation that employs random samples of the citizenry to explore how opinions would change if they were more informed. His work on deliberative democracy has stimulated more than 100 Deliberative Polls in 28 countries around the world. It has been used to help governments and policy makers make important decisions in Texas, China, Mongolia, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Bulgaria, Brazil, Uganda and other countries around the world.
He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Joseph S. Atha Professor in Humanities
BioShelley Fisher Fishkin is the Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford. She is Director of Stanford's American Studies Program and is also Co-Director of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford. She is the author, editor, or co-editor of forty-six books, and has published over one hundred fifty articles, essays and reviews, many of which have focused on issues of race and racism in America, and on recovering and interpreting voices that were silenced, marginalized, or ignored in America's past. Her books have won two “Outstanding Academic Title” awards from Choice, an award from the the National Journalism Scholarship Society, and “Outstanding Reference Work” awards from Library Journal and the New York Public Library. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale. Before coming to Stanford in 2003, she was chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2003, the challenge of doing transnational research in American Studies has been a central concern. Her work has been translated into Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Georgian, and Italian, and has been published in English-language journals in Turkey, Japan, and Korea.
Her research has been featured twice on the front page of the New York Times, and twice on the front page of the New York Times Arts section. In 2009 she was awarded the Mark Twain Circle's Certificate of Merit "for long and distinguished service in the elucidation of the work, thought, life and art of Mark Twain." Her most recent book is Writing America: Literary Landmarks from Walden Pond to Wounded Knee (named runner-up for the best book award in the general nonfiction category, London Book Festival, 2015) (Rutgers University Press, 2015; paperback, 2017), a book that Junot Díaz called "a triumph of scholarship and passion, a profound exploration of the many worlds which comprise our national canon....a book that redraws the literary map of the United States." She was awarded a John S. Tuckey Award for Lifetime Achievements and Contributions to Mark Twain Studies in 2017.
She has served as President of the American Studies Association and the Mark Twain Circle of America and was co-founder of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman society. She has given keynote talks at conferences in Beijing, Cambridge, Coimbra, Copenhagen, Dublin, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kunming, Kyoto, La Coruña, Lisbon, Mainz, Nanjing, Regensburg, Seoul, St. Petersburg, Taipei, Tokyo, and across the U.S. Her current project is a collaborative transnational, bilingual research project dealing with the Chinese Railroad Workers whose labor helped establish the wealth that allowed Leland Stanford to build Stanford University.