School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Vaughn Rasberry

    Vaughn Rasberry

    Associate Professor of English and of African and African American Studies

    BioVaughn Rasberry studies African American literature, global Cold War culture, the European Enlightenment and its critics, postcolonial theory, and philosophical theories of modernity. As a Fulbright scholar in 2008-09, he taught in the American Studies department at the Humboldt University Berlin and lectured on African American literature throughout Germany. His current book project, Race and the Totalitarian Century, questions the notion that desegregation prompted African American writers and activists to acquiesce in the normative claims of postwar liberalism. Challenging accounts that portray black cultural workers in various postures of reaction to larger forces--namely U.S. liberalism or Soviet communism--his project argues instead that many writers were involved in a complex national and global dialogue with totalitarianism, the defining geopolitical discourse of the twentieth century.

    His article, "'Now Describing You': James Baldwin and Cold War Liberalism," appears in an edited volume titled James Baldwin: America and Beyond (University of Michigan Press, 2011). A review essay, "Black Cultural Politics at the End of History," appears in the winter 2012 issue of American Literary History. An article, "Invoking Totalitarianism: Liberal Democracy versus the Global Jihad in Boualem Sansal's The German Mujahid," appears in the spring 2014 special issue of Novel: a Forum on Fiction. For Black History Month, he published an op-ed essay, "The Shape of African American Geopolitics," in Al Jazeera English.

    An Annenberg Faculty Fellow at Stanford (2012-14), he has also received fellowships from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

    Vaughn also teaches in collaboration with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and the programs in Modern Thought and Literature, African and African American Studies, and American Studies.

  • Rob Reich

    Rob Reich

    McGregor-Girand Professor of Social Ethics of Science and Technology, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for HAI, Professor, by courtesy, of Education, of Philosophy and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at FSI
    On Leave from 10/01/2023 To 06/30/2024

    BioRob Reich is professor of political science and, by courtesy, professor of philosophy and at the Graduate School of Education. He is a co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review), and associate director of the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. He was faculty director at the Center for Ethics in Society for eight years, and he continues to lead its ethics and technology initiatives.

    His scholarship in political theory engages with the work of social scientists and engineers. His newest work is on ethics and AI. His most recent books are System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot (with Mehran Sahami and Jeremy M. Weinstein, HarperCollins 2021) and Digital Technology and Democratic Theory (edited with Lucy Bernholz and Hélène Landemore, University of Chicago Press 2021). He has also written widely about philanthropy, including Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (Princeton University Press, 2018) and Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values (edited with Chiara Cordelli and Lucy Bernholz, University of Chicago Press, 2016). His early work is focused on democracy and education, including Bridging Liberalism and Multiculturalism in American Education (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and Education, Justice, and Democracy (edited with Danielle Allen, University of Chicago Press, 2013). He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wired, The Guardian, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

    Rob is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the Walter J. Gores award, Stanford’s highest honor for teaching. He was a sixth grade teacher at Rusk Elementary School in Houston, Texas before attending graduate school. He is a board member of the magazine Boston Review, of Giving Tuesday, and at the Spencer Foundation.

  • Jessica Riskin

    Jessica Riskin

    Frances and Charles Field Professor of History

    BioJessica Riskin received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught at MIT before coming to Stanford, and has also taught at Iowa State University and at Sciences Po, Paris. Her research interests include early modern science, politics and culture and the history of scientific explanation.

    Riskin is the author of Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment (2002), which won the American Historical Association's J. Russell Major Prize for best book in English on any aspect of French history, and the editor of Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life (2007) and, with Mario Biagioli, of Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (2012). She is also the author of The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Debate over What Makes Living Things Tick (2016), which won the 2021 Patrick Suppes Prize in the History of Science from the American Philosophical Society.