School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Michael Penn

    Michael Penn

    Teresa Hihn Moore Professor of Religious Studies and Professor, by courtesy, of Classics

    BioMichael Penn, the Teresa Hihn Moore Professor of Religious Studies, is a specialist in the history of early Christianity with a particular focus on middle eastern Christians who wrote in the Aramaic dialect of Syriac.

    Professor Penn’s first book, Kissing Christians: Ritual and Community in the Late Ancient Church, was published in 2005 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. In 2015 he published two books on Christian-Muslim relations: Envisioning Islam: Syriac Christians in the Early Muslim World (University of Pennsylvania Press) and When Christians First Met Muslims: A Source Book of the Earliest Syriac Writings on Islam (University of California Press). For these projects Professor Penn has received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, the British Academy, the American Philosophical Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning.

    Professor Penn is currently working on an Andrew Mellon Foundation funded collaboration that uses recent advances in the computerized analysis of handwriting to help analyze ancient Aramaic manuscripts. In addition to this work in the digital humanities, Professor Penn has begun several related projects that focus on the history of Syriac Christianity and the manuscripts they produced.

    Before joining Stanford, Professor Penn was on the faculty of Mount Holyoke College. He has also taught at Brandeis University, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, and Duke University. He has additional experience as a secondary school teacher, including six years as the director of forensics at Durham Academy High School, where he ran a nationally competitive policy debate team. Professor Penn has also held research positions at Apple Computers, the Weizmann Institute (Israel), the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital, and Ames Research Center, NASA.

    Ph.D. (Religion) Duke University (1999)
    A.B. (Molecular Biology) Princeton University (1993)

  • Bissera Pentcheva

    Bissera Pentcheva

    Professor of Art and Art History and, by courtesy, of Classics

    BioBissera Pentcheva's work focuses on Byzantium and the medieval Mediterranean, more specifically aesthetics, phenomenology, and acoustics. Her most recent book Hagia Sophia: Sound, Space and Spirit in Byzantium (Penn State University Press 2017) explores the interconnection among acoutsics, architecture, and liturgical rite. She has also edited, Aural Architecture in Byzantium: Music, Acoustics and Ritual (Ashgate, 2017). Pentcheva has published another two books with Pennsylvania State University Press: Icons and Power: The Mother of God in Byzantium, 2006 that won the John Nicholas Brown prize form the Medieval Academy of America in 2010 and The Sensual Icon: Space, Ritual, and the Senses in Byzantium, 2010. She has held a number of prestigious fellowships among them: J. S Guggenheim, American Academy of Rome, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Mellon New Directions Fellowship for the study of Classical Arabic, Alexander von Humboldt (Germany), Onassis Foundation (Greece), Dumbarton Oaks, and Columbia University's Mellon Post-doctoral fellowship. Her work has been published at the Art Bulletin, Speculum, Gesta, and Res. Anthropology and Aesthetics, and Convivium.

  • Brittany Perham

    Brittany Perham

    Lecturer

    BioBrittany Perham is the author of DOUBLE PORTRAIT (W.W. Norton, 2017), which received the Barnard Women Poets Prize; THE CURIOSITIES (Free Verse Editions, 2012); and, with Kim Addonizio, the collaborative chapbook THE NIGHT COULD GO IN EITHER DIRECTION (SHP, 2016). She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow from 2009-2011. She lives in San Francisco.

  • Petra Persson

    Petra Persson

    Assistant Professor of Economics
    On Leave from 09/01/2021 To 12/31/2021

    BioPetra Persson is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford’s Department of Economics, where she teaches in the PhD program. She is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Stanford Center for International Development, and a Research Affiliate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research. Her research agenda centers on social insurance and family structure, and explores the interaction between government-provided insurance and intra-family insurance.

    Petra Persson was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research from 2013 to 2014, and a Predoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program from 2012 to 2013. She earned her PhD in Economics from Columbia University in 2013, her MSc in Economics from Stockholm School of Economics in 2006, and her BA in Political Science and Mathematics from Stockholm University in 2005.