School of Humanities and Sciences
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Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and Professor, by courtesy, of History
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDistinguishing what is true in our current digital mess; the teaching and learning of history
New book out in 2018, Why Learn History (When It's Already on Your Phone)
How young people make decisions about what to believe on the Internet.
New forms of assessment to measure historical understanding
The creation of Web-based environments for the learning and teaching of history
Willilam Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics and of EducationOn Leave from 09/01/2019 To 08/31/2020
BioCaroline Winterer is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies at Stanford University. She is also Professor (by courtesy) of Classics.
She specializes in American history before 1900, especially the history of ideas, political thought, and the history of science. She is currently writing a book on the history of deep time in America.
Associate Professor of French and Italian
BioLaura Wittman primarily works on 19th- and 20th-century Italian and French literature from a comparative perspective. She is interested in how modernity articulates new relationships between religious experience, embodiment, mortality, health, and politics, and how these are mediated by literary and artistic creations.
Her book, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Modern Mourning, and the Reinvention of the Mystical Body (University of Toronto Press, 2011) was awarded the Marraro Award of the Society for Italian Historical Studies for 2012. It explores the creation and reception of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – an Italian, French, and British invention at the end of the First World War – as an emblem for modern mourning, from a cultural, historical, and literary perspective. It draws on literary and filmic evocations of the Unknown Soldier, as well as archival materials, to show that Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is not pro-war, nationalist, or even proto-Fascist. Rather, it is a monument that heals trauma in two ways: first, it refuses facile consolations, and forcefully dramatizes the fact that suffering cannot be spiritualized or justified by any ideology; second, it rejects despair by enacting, through the concreteness of a particular body, a human solidarity in suffering that commands respect. Anticipating recent analyses of PTSD, the Memorial shows that when traumatic events are relived in a ritual, embodied, empathetic setting, healing occurs not via analysis but via symbolic communication and transmission of emotion.
Laura Wittman is the editor of a special issue of the Romanic Review entitled Italy and France: Imagined Geographies (2006), as well as the co-editor of an anthology of Futurist manifestos and literary works, Futurism: An Anthology (Yale University Press, 2009). She has published articles on d’Annunzio, Marinetti, Fogazzaro, Ungaretti, Montale, Sereni, and Merini, as well as on decadent-era culture and Italian cinema. With Jon Snyder and Simonetta Falasca Zamponi, she recently co-edited a special issue of California Italian Studies on "The Sacred in Italian Culture" (2015).
She received her Ph.D. in 2001 from Yale University where she wrote a dissertation entitled "Mystics Without God: Spirituality and Form in Italian and French Modernism," an analysis of the historical and intellectual context for the self-descriptive use of the term "mystic without God" in the works of Gabriele d'Annununzio and Paul Valéry.
In Spring 2009, she was organizer of the California Interdisciplinary Consortium for Italian Studies (CICIS) Annual Conference, held at the Stanford Humanities Center; she is currently the organizer of the upcoming CICIS 2019 conference, also to be held at the Stanford Humanities Center. She was also organizer of the interdisciplinary conference on Language, Literature, and Mysticism held at the Stanford Humanities Center on 15 and 16 October 2010.
She is currently working on a new book entitled Lazarus' Silence that explores visions of the afterlife and visits to the underworld in modern literature and culture, as a window toward our changing attitudes toward death, accepting our mortality, and accompanying the dying.
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.
Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor, Emeritus
BioTobias Wolff is the author of the novels The Barracks Thief and Old School, the memoirs This Boy's Life and In Pharaoh's Army, and the short story collections In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, Back in the World, and The Night in Question. His most recent collection of short stories, Our Story Begins, won The Story Prize for 2008. Other honors include the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award - both for excellence in the short story - the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has also been the editor of Best American Short Stories, The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, and A Doctor's Visit: The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov. His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's, and other magazines and literary journals.
Richard W. Lyman Professor of the Humanities
BioAlex Woloch received his B.A. and PhD in Comparative Literature. He teaches and writes about literary criticism, narrative theory, the history of the novel, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature. He is the author of The One vs. The Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel (Princeton UP, 2003), which attempts to reestablish the centrality of characterization — the fictional representation of human beings — within narrative poetics. He is also the author of Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism (Harvard UP, 2016), which takes up the literature-and-politics question through a close reading of George Orwell’s generically experimental non-fiction prose. A new book in progress, provisionally entitled Partial Representation, will consider the complicated relationship between realism and form in a variety of media, genres and texts. This book will focus on the paradoxical ways in which form is at once necessary, and inimical, to representation. Woloch is also the co-editor, with Peter Brooks of Whose Freud?: The Place of Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture (Yale UP, 2000).
Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor, Emeritus
BioAllen Wood's interests are in the history of modern philosophy, especially Kant and German idealism, and in ethics and social philosophy. He was born in Seattle, Washington: B. A. Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Ph.D. Yale University. He has held regular professorships at Cornell University, Yale University, and Stanford University, where he is Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor emeritus. He has also held visiting appointments at the University of Michigan, University of California at San Diego and Oxford University, where he was Isaiah Berlin Visiting Professor in 2005. During year-long periods of research, he has been affiliated with the Freie Universität Berlin in 1983-84 and the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn in 1991-1992. Wood is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Allen Wood is author of many articles and chapters in philosophical journals and anthologies. The book-length publications he has authored include: Kant's Moral Religion (1970, reissued 2009), Kant's Rational Theology (1978, reissued 2009), Karl Marx (1981, second expanded edition 2004), Hegel's Ethical Thought (1990), Kant's Ethical Thought (1999), Unsettling Obligations (2002), Kant (2004) and Kantian Ethics (2008). His latest book is The Free Development of Each: Studies in Freedom, Right and Ethics in Classical German Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2014), co-authored with Dieter Schönecker Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Commentary (Harvard University Press, 2015). (A German language version of this commentary has gone through four editions since 2002.) His next book, Fichte's Ethical Thought, is due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2016.
Books by Wood have appeared in Hebrew, Turkish, Portuguese, Iranian and Chinese translation. With Paul Guyer, Wood is co-general editor of the Cambridge Edition of Kant's Writings, for which he has edited, translated or otherwise contributed to six volumes. Among the other books Wood has edited are Self and Nature in Kant's Philosophy (1984), Hegel: Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1991), Kant: Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (2002), Fichte: Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation (2010), and, with Songsuk Susan Hahn, the Cambridge History of Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century (1790-1870) (2012). He is on the editorial board of eight philosophy journals, five book series and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
In the past four years, Allen Wood has taught annual three-day intensive mini-courses at Stanford in early June. His co-teachers in these courses have been Marcia Baron (Indiana University), Frederick Neuhouser (Columbia University, Barnard College) and Arthur Ripstein (University of Toronto). At Indiana University Allen Wood has taught courses on the history of modern philosophy, modern political philosophy, Kant, Fichte and existentialism.