School of Humanities and Sciences
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Assistant Professor of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe O'Connell lab studies how genetic and environmental factors contribute to biological diversity and adaptation. We are particularly interested in understanding (1) how behavior evolves through changes in brain function and (2) how animal physiology evolves through repurposing existing cellular components.
BioKhalid Obeid holds an Ed.D degree in Organization and Leadership from the School of Education at the University of San Francisco and a MPA from Notre Dame de Namur University. He received his B.A. in Arabic Language and Literature from Bir Zeit University in Palestine. Dr. Obeid is an ACTFL Certified OPI and WPT Tester/Rater in Arabic. He enjoys literature and loves teaching the Arabic language. His favorite activity is watching, playing and coaching soccer.
Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor in Honor of Constantine Mitsotakis, Professor of Classics, and Professor, by courtesy, of Philosophy
BioJosiah Ober, the Constantine Mitsotakis Chair in the School of Humanities and Sciences, specializes in the areas of ancient and modern political theory and historical institutionalism. He has a secondary appointment in the Department of Classics and a courtesy appointment in Philosophy. His most recent book, Demopolis: Democracy before liberalism in theory and practice, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. His ongoing work focuses on the theory and practice of democracy and the politics of knowledge and innovation, Recent articles and working papers seek to explain economic growth in the ancient Greek world, the relationship between democracy and dignity, and the aggregation of expertise.
He is sole author of about 80 articles and chapters and several other books, including Fortress Attica (1985), Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), The Athenian Revolution (1996), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (1998), Athenian Legacies 2005), Democracy and Knowledge (2008), and The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (2015). He has held residential fellowships at the National Humanities Center, Center for Hellenic Studies, Univ. of New England (Australia), Clare Hall (Cambridge), Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences , and Univ. of Sydney; research fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, and Guggenheim; and has been a visiting professor at University of Michigan, Paris I-Sorbonne, and UC-Irvine. Before coming to Stanford he taught at Montana State University (1980-1990) and Princeton University (1990-2006).
William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsPolitical economy and the process of reform in transitional systems, with particular focus on corporate restructuring and fiscal reform, including the tax-for-fee system in China's countryside
Kathryn Meyer Olivarius
Assistant Professor of History
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am an historian of nineteenth-century America, interested primarily in the antebellum South, Greater Caribbean, slavery, and disease. My research seeks to understand how epidemic yellow fever disrupted Deep Southern society. Nearly every summer, this mosquito-borne virus killed up to ten percent of the urban population. But it also generated culture and social norms in its fatal wake. Beyond the rigid structures of race and unfreedom in Deep Southern society, I argue there was alternate, if invisible, hierarchy at work, with “acclimated” (immune) people at the top and a great mass of “unacclimated” (non-immune) people awaiting their brush with yellow fever languishing in social and professional purgatory. About half of all people died in the acclimating process.
In New Orleans, alleged-imperviousness or vulnerability to epidemic disease evolved into an explanatory tool for success or failure in commodity capitalism, and a justification for a race- and ethnicity-based social hierarchy where certain people were decidedly less equal than others. Disease justified highly asymmetrical social and labor relations, produced politicians apathetic about the welfare of their poor or recently-immigrated constituents, and accentuated the population’s xenophobic, racist, pro-slavery, and individualist proclivities. Alongside skin color, acclimation-status, I argue, played a major role in determining a person’s position, success, and sense of belonging in antebellum New Orleans.
Most of all, disease provided the tacit justification for who did what work during cotton and sugar production, becoming the essence of an increasingly elaborate and tortuous justification for widespread and permanent black slavery. In the Deep Southern view, only enslaved black people could survive work like cane cutting, swamp clearing, and cotton picking. In fact, proslavery theorists argued, black slavery was positively natural, even humanitarian, for it protected the health of whites—and thus the nation writ large—insulating them from diseased-labor and spaces that would kill them.
By fusing health with capitalism in my forthcoming book Necropolis, I will present a new model—beyond the toxic fusion of white supremacy with the flows of global capitalism—for how power operated in Atlantic society.
I am also interested in historical notions of consent (sexual or otherwise); slave revolts in the United States and the Caribbean; anti- and pro-slavery thought; class and ethnicity in antebellum America; the history of life insurance and environmental risk; comparative slave systems; technology and slavery; the Haitian Revolution; and boosterism in the American West.