School of Humanities and Sciences
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BioMark Wolfe is a lawyer and educator in the areas of land use, environmental law, and urban economics and policy.
He has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses in urban economics and public policy since 1999, first at U.C. Berkeley, and presently at Stanford University.
His articles have appeared in Urban Affairs Review, the Cornell Journal of Planning and Urban Issues, and the California Real Property Journal, and he has appeared as a commentator on “The PBS News Hour.”
His eponymous law firm, which he founded in 2002, represents non-profit, public interest clients in disputes over natural resources management, urban development, and local government administration.
He holds a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, a M.C.P. from the University of California at Berkeley, and a BA from Stanford University. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and three daughters.
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.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Psychology
BioDr. Wollast is a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory. He earned his PhD from Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. He has published numerous first-authored scientific articles in leading international journals and collaborated with highly regarded experts from America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Wollast won the prestigious Belgian American Educational Foundation Award to conduct research on emotion and emotion regulation at Stanford University. His primary research focuses on body image, self-compassion, and mindfulness through various lenses, including culture, gender, and mental health. Besides this main focus, Dr. Wollast studies dropout and perseverance in doctoral studies, and he is involved in several studies on collective action, group polarization, and ideological extremism. Currently, he is leading many projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including large-scale studies conducted in more than 100 countries and translated into 30 languages.
Richard W. Lyman Professor of the Humanities and Professor, by courtesy, of Comparative Literature
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).