School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur current focus is on maize anther development to understand how cell fate is specified. We discovered that hypoxia triggers specification of the archesporial (pre-meiotic) cells, and that these cells secrete a small protein MAC1 that patterns the adjacent soma to differentiate as endothecial and secondary parietal cell types. We also discovered a novel class of small RNA: 21-nt and 24-nt phasiRNAs that are exceptionally abundant in anthers and exhibit strict spatiotemporal dynamics.
Senior Lecturer in the Language Center
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research interests include sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, acquisition of cognate languages, development of cultural competence, and translation. I am one of the creators of the international symposium on Portuguese for Spanish Speakers: Acquisition and Teaching, which had its fifth edition in 2014, and an author and editor of several scholarly articles and books. My current focus is on the acquisition of Portuguese by speakers of Spanish and other Romance languages.
Holbrook Working Professor in Commodity Price Studies and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
BioFrank A. Wolak is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Stanford University. His fields of specialization are Industrial Organization and Econometric Theory. His recent work studies methods for introducing competition into infrastructure industries -- telecommunications, electricity, water delivery and postal delivery services -- and on assessing the impacts of these competition policies on consumer and producer welfare. He is the Chairman of the Market Surveillance Committee of the California Independent System Operator for electricity supply industry in California. He is a visiting scholar at University of California Energy Institute and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Professor Wolak received his Ph.D. and M.S. from Harvard University and his B.A. from Rice University.
Assistant Professor of History
BioIn my work, I examine the intersection of social, political, environmental, and technological change in modern Mexico and Latin America by focusing on the history of agrarian reform, water control, hydraulic technology, drought, and climate change. I offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in Mexican, Latin American, environmental, and comparative and global history, on topics such as the history of water control, climate ethics, economic development, international relations, revolution and film (see course offerings below).
My first book, Watering the Revolution, recipient of the 2018 Conference on Latin American History's Elinor Melville Prize for Latin American Environmental History, transforms our understanding of Mexican agrarian reform, Latin America's most extensive and longest-lasting (1915-1992) through an environmental and technological history of water management in the emblematic Laguna region. Drawing on extensive archival research in Mexico and the United States, it shows how during the long Mexican Revolution (1910-1940) engineers’ distribution of the water paradoxically undermined land distribution. In so doing, it highlights the intrinsic tension engineers faced between the urgent need for water conservation and the imperative for development during the contentious modernization of the Laguna's existing flood irrigation method into one regulated by high dams, concrete-lined canals, and motorized groundwater pumps. This tension generally resolved in favor of development, which unintentionally diminished and contaminated the water supply while deepening existing rural social inequalities by dividing people into water haves and have-nots, regardless of their access to land. By uncovering the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were ecologically unsustainable, the book tells a cautionary tale of the long-term consequences of short-sighted development policies.
The research I completed for my first book led to my second book project tentatively entitled “Revolution in the Air: A Comparative Historical Climatology of the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions.” The book makes climate endogenous to the story of revolution. It contends that climatic events did not simply happen once, only to disappear in importance. Rather, revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries interpreted climatic variability through a mixture of geopolitical, scientific, and religious knowledge and practices. These interpretations, in turn, shaped how revolutionary societies incorporated climatology into a broader state policy toward the environment.