School of Humanities and Sciences

Showing 11-20 of 28 Results

  • Kathryn Meyer Olivarius

    Kathryn Meyer Olivarius

    Assistant Professor of History
    On Leave from 09/01/2021 To 08/31/2022

    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.

  • Ana Cristina Lopes

    Ana Cristina Lopes

    Soc Sci Res Assoc, Buddhist Studies

    BioAna Cristina O. Lopes is Researcher in Residence at The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford. She is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in the transnationalization of Tibetan Buddhism and has conducted extensive fieldwork research throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. Ana Cristina is the author of Tibetan Buddhism in Diaspora: Cultural re-signification in practice and institutions (New York and London: Routledge, 2015), which explores the dynamics of the re-signification of Tibetan Buddhism in global settings.
    Her current research interests center on the interface between Buddhism, science, and technology in the contemporary world. Ana Cristina is working on two main lines of investigation. Firstly, she is exploring the impact that laboratory experiments on contemplative practices and its diverse applications has had on the reception of Buddhism in the global context and, in particular, on the way we understand our highest potential as human beings and what it means to lead a fulfilling life in contemporary societies. Secondly, she is investigating how the encounter with modern technology is changing the way Buddhism is spreading throughout the world. In particular she is exploring the case of Tara's Triple Excellence, a program of Tibetan Buddhist practice that is available through the internet in seven European languages, Nepali and Chinese. Ana Cristina is interested in examining the way this program is changing how practitioners relate to Tibetan Buddhism, while also preserving core elements of this tradition.
    Ana Cristina came to Stanford from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was on faculty at the Department of Religious Studies. She has also taught at the University of Virginia.