School of Humanities and Sciences
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Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Precourt Institute for Energy
BioBruce E. Cain is a Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. He received a BA from Bowdoin College (1970), a B Phil. from Oxford University (1972) as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph D from Harvard University (1976). He taught at Caltech (1976-89) and UC Berkeley (1989-2012) before coming to Stanford. Professor Cain was Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley from 1990-2007 and Executive Director of the UC Washington Center from 2005-2012. He was elected the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000 and has won awards for his research (Richard F. Fenno Prize, 1988), teaching (Caltech 1988 and UC Berkeley 2003) and public service (Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service, 2000). His areas of expertise include political regulation, applied democratic theory, representation and state politics. Some of Professor Cain’s most recent publications include “Malleable Constitutions: Reflections on State Constitutional Design,” coauthored with Roger Noll in University of Texas Law Review, volume 2, 2009; “More or Less: Searching for Regulatory Balance,” in Race, Reform and the Political Process, edited by Heather Gerken, Guy Charles and Michael Kang, CUP, 2011; “Redistricting Commissions: A Better Political Buffer?” in The Yale Law Journal, volume 121, 2012; and Democracy More or Less (CUP, 2015). He is currently working on problems of environmental governance.
BioWilliam Gow is a San Francisco-based historian, educator, and documentary filmmaker. His research interests include Asian American history, race and visual culture, and the history of California in the Pacific World. His current book project, tentatively entitled "Performing Chinatown: Hollywood, Tourism, and the Making of a Los Angeles Community," examines the social, economic, and political contexts through which representations of Chinese Americans in Los Angeles were produced and consumed during the Chinese exclusion era. The book project draws on oral histories, archival research, and analysis of film and related visual culture.
A proud product of San Francisco’s public school system, William holds an MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA and a PhD in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. Prior to entering his doctoral program, William worked for eight years as a high school history teacher in California. He also served as a community historian with the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in Los Angeles Chinatown. His documentary More to the Chinese Side (co-directed with Sharon Heijin Lee in 2003) was a finalist for the Golden Reel Award at the Visual Communications Asian American Film Festival in Los Angeles. The video is a first-person examination of his family history, mixed race identity, and Chinese American community. His writing and research have appeared in a variety of publications including Pacific Historical Review, Amerasia Journal, and the CHSSC's Gum Saan Journal.
In 2019, the Western History Association awarded William the Vicki Ruiz Award for Best Journal article on Race in the North American West for his essay, "A Night in Old Chinatown: American Orientalism, China Relief Fundraising, and the 1938 Moon Festival in Los Angeles" published in Pacific Historical Review.
BioElizabeth Kessler’s research and teaching focus on twentieth and twenty-first century American visual culture. Her diverse interests include: the role of aesthetics, visual culture, and media in modern and contemporary science, especially astronomy; the interchange between technology and ways of seeing and representing; the history of photography; and the representation of fashion in different media. Her first book, Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime, on the aesthetics of deep space images, was published in 2012. She’s currently writing on book on extraterrestrial time capsules, as well as developing a new project on fashion photography.
Senior Lecturer in English
BioJudith Richardson is a senior lecturer in English and program coordinator for American Studies. After receiving her PhD from Harvard University, Judith began teaching at Stanford in 2001, offering a range of courses on American literature, including classes on women writers, early American literature, autobiographies, and the literature of cities. The author of Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley (2003) she continues to write and lecture—at Stanford and beyond—on the history and literature of New York, and on issues of place and cultural memory more broadly. She is currently working on a book about nineteenth-century America’s “plant-mindedness,” its multivalent obsession with vegetable matters.