School of Humanities and Sciences
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Paul N. Edwards
Senior Lecturer in the Program in Science, Technology and Society
BioI'm Director of the Program on Science, Technology & Society (STS) and a William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford. I also co-direct the Stanford Existential Risks Initiative with Prof. Steve Luby.
I'm Professor of Information and History (Emeritus) at the University of Michigan, where I worked for almost 20 years in the School of Information, the Dept. of History, and the STS Program. I taught previously at Stanford from 1992-1998 in various capacities, mainly in the Science, Technology & Society Program that I now direct.
I study the history, politics, and culture of information infrastructures, especially climate knowledge systems. My books include A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010), The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (MIT Press, 1996), and Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2001, co-edited with Clark Miller). I'm academic editor of the MIT Press book series Infrastructures.
From 2018-2021, I served as one of 234 Lead Authors for the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group I (Physical Sciences), released in August 2021.
Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History and Professor, by courtesy, of French and Italian
BioI have taught the early history of science and medicine for many years on the premise that one of the most important ways to understand how science, medicine and technology have become so central to contemporary society comes from examining the process by which scientific knowledge emerged. I also take enormous pleasure in examining a kind of scientific knowledge that did not have an autonomous existence from other kinds of creative endeavors, but emerged in the context of humanistic approaches to the world (in defiance of C.P. Snow's claim that the modern world is one of "two cultures" that share very little in common). More generally, I am profoundly attracted to individuals in the past who aspired to know everything. It still seems like a worthy goal.
My other principal interest lies in understanding the world of the Renaissance, with a particular focus on Italy. I continue to be fascinated by a society that made politics, economics and culture so important to its self-definition, and that obviously succeeded in all these endeavors for some time, as the legacy of such figures as Machiavelli and Leonardo suggests. Renaissance Italy, in short, is a historical laboratory for understanding the possibilities and the problems of an innovative society. As such, it provides an interesting point of comparison to Gilded Age America, where magnates such as J.P. Morgan often described themselves as the "new Medici," and to other historical moments when politics, art and society combined fruitfully.
Finally, I have a certain interest in the relations between gender, culture and knowledge. Virginia Woolf rightfully observed at the beginning of the twentieth century that one could go to a library and find a great deal about women but very little that celebrated or supported their accomplishments. This is no longer true a century later, in large part thanks to the efforts of many scholars, male and female, who have made the work of historical women available to modern readers and who have begun to look at relations between the sexes in more sophisticated ways. Our own debates and disagreements on such issues make this subject all the more important to understand.
Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
BioGabrielle Hecht is Professor of History, Professor (by courtesy) of Anthropology, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute. She is President of the Society for the History of Technology.
Hecht's current research explores the inside-out Earth and its wastes in order to reveal the hidden costs of the so-called "energy transition," with research sites in the Arctic, the Andes, southern Africa, and west Africa. This project builds on her new book, Residual Governance: How South African Foretells Planetary Futures (Duke Univ. Press, forthcoming November 2023).
Hecht's graduate courses include colloquia on "Power in the Anthropocene," "Infrastructure and Power in the Global South," "Technopolitics," and "Materiality and Power." She teaches a community-engaged undergraduate research seminar on "Racial Justice in the Nuclear Age," in partnership with the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates (BVHPCA). She is currently working with BVHPCA and other partners to develop knowledge infrastructures to underpin community-driven public history that supports racial equity and environmental justice.
Hecht’s 2012 book Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade offers new perspectives on the global nuclear order by focusing on African uranium mines and miners. It received awards from the Society for the Social Studies of Science, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Suzanne M. Glasscock Humanities Institute, as well as an honorable mention from the African Studies Association. An abridged version appeared in French as Uranium Africain, une histoire globale (Le Seuil 2016), and a Japanese translation is due out in 2021. Her first book, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity (1998/ 2nd ed 2009), explores how the French embedded nuclear policy in reactor technology, and nuclear culture in reactor operations. It received awards from the American Historical Association and the Society for the History of Technology, and has appeared in French as Le rayonnement de la France: Énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la seconde guerre mondiale (2004/ 2014).
Her affiliations at Stanford include the Center for African Studies, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, the Center for Global Ethnography, the Program on Urban Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought and Literature. Before rejoining Stanford in 2017, Hecht taught at the University of Michigan’s History department for 18 years. She helped to found and direct UM’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS). She served as associate director of UM’s African Studies Center, and participated in its long-term collaboration with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (South Africa). She has supervised dissertations in STS, African history and anthropology, nuclear studies, and French history.
Hecht holds a PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania (1992), and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from MIT (1986). She’s been a visiting scholar in universities in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the South African and Dutch national research foundations, among others. She serves on numerous advisory boards, including for the Andra, France’s national radioactive waste management agency.
Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History, Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly Interestscivil wars; history of nuclear weapons
Professor of Anthropology
BioJain is an award-winning author and Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, Visiting Chair of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’ College London, and a Research Affiliate at VIAD, University of Johannesburg. His work aims to unsettle some of the deeply held assumptions about objectivity that underlie the history of medical research. Jain is the author of Injury (Princeton UP: 2006); Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (UC Press: 2013); and a book of drawings, Things that Art: A Graphic Menagerie of Enchanting Curiosity (U of Toronto Press: 2019).
Jain is currently working on two books. The first, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, develops the concept of The WetNet, which refers to fluid bonding among humans and animals in ways that create pathways for the transmission of pathogens. Specifically, mid-century bioscientific practices such as blood harvesting and transfusion, and vaccine development and testing involved exchanges in human and animal effluvia, the risks of which have largely been disavowed. Jain’s current book project elucidates the concept of The WetNet through a rigorous history of the hepatitis B virus and the development of the first hepatitis B vaccine.
The second project, “The Lung is a Bird and a Fish,” is a cultural history of drowning in prose and drawing.
Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy, Emerita
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am currently pursuing research in several different areas. 1) The concept of interaction in science and philosophy. 2) The epistemology of science, especially social epistemology. 3) The contributions feminist philosophy of science can make to understanding science and sustainability policy in so-called developing countries? 4) How engagement with communities can inform philosophical analysis.
Harold C. Hohbach Curator - History of Science & Technology; Film & Media, Humanities Resource Group
Current Role at StanfordHarold C. Hohbach Curator, Stanford Libraries
Professor of History and, by courtesy, of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThomas S. Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University. He is the author of Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China and principal editor of Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China’s Majority. He received his BA and MA degrees from the Johns Hopkins University, and his PhD from Columbia University under the direction of Madeleine Zelin.
His most recent project, The Chinese Typewriter: A Global History, examines China’s development of a modern, nonalphabetic information infrastructure encompassing telegraphy, typewriting, word processing, and computing. This project has received three major awards and fellowships, including the 2013 Usher Prize, a three-year National Science Foundation fellowship, and a Hellman Faculty Fellowship. The book manuscript is about to be submitted for formal editorial review.
He also directs DHAsia, a new Digital Humanities initiative at Stanford University focused on East, South, Southeast, and Inner/Central Asia. The program is supported by the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA). DHAsia 2016 will center around a series of intellectually intensive 3-day visits by a core group of scholars incorporating three components: (a) a 45-minute talk on their research; (b) a hands-on Digital Humanities clinic for faculty and graduate students (focused on the particular tool/technique/method/platform employed in their work); and (c) a schedule of one-on-one meetings with interested faculty and graduate student researchers.
He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Dissertation Reviews, which publishes more than 500 reviews annually of recently defended dissertations in nearly 30 different fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Patrick Suppes Professor of Greek Mathematics and Astronomy and Professor, by courtesy, of Philosophy and of History
BioNetz's main field is the history of pre-modern mathematics. His research involves the wider issues of the history of cognitive practices, e.g. visual culture, the history of the book, and literacy and numeracy. His books from Cambridge University Press include The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: a Study in Cognitive History (1999, Runciman Award), The Transformation of Early Mediterranean Mathematics: From Problems to Equations (2004), and Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic (2009).
He is also the author of the translation and commentary of the works of Archimedes, also with CUP, a three-volume work of which the first has appeared, The Two Books on Sphere and Cylinder (2004). Together with Nigel Wilson, he prepares the edition of the recently rediscovered Archimedes Palimpsest (evidence from which already gave rise to two major discoveries: a text showing actual infinity in Archimedes, published in SCIAMVS 2001-2002, and a text showing, possibly, combinatorics in Archimedes, published in SCIAMVS 2004.) Two volumes, Transcription and Critical Edition, are forthcoming from the British Academy, of which the transcription is already available online. His popular book on the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, The Archimedes Codex, (co-authored with William Noel, Neumann Prize) was published by Widenfeld and Nicolson, 2007, and is translated into 20 languages.
Related to his research in cognitive history is his interest in ecological history, and he has published Barbed Wire: an Ecology of Modernity (Wesleyan University Press, 2004, finalist for PEN award). Reviel Netz is also a poet (Adayin Bahuc, 1999 Shufra: Tel Aviv, AMOS prize), one of a group of Hebrew poets active today whose work revives formal verse and he is the co-author, together with his wife, the Israeli author Maya Arad, of a collection of essays on Israeli literature, Positions of Stress (Meqom Hata'am, 2008 Axuzat Bayit: Tel Aviv).
Kathryn Meyer Olivarius
Assistant Professor of History
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsI am an historian of nineteenth-century America, interested primarily in the antebellum South, Greater Caribbean, slavery, and disease. My research seeks to understand how epidemic yellow fever disrupted Deep Southern society. Nearly every summer, this mosquito-borne virus killed up to ten percent of the urban population. But it also generated culture and social norms in its fatal wake. Beyond the rigid structures of race and unfreedom in Deep Southern society, I argue there was alternate, if invisible, hierarchy at work, with “acclimated” (immune) people at the top and a great mass of “unacclimated” (non-immune) people awaiting their brush with yellow fever languishing in social and professional purgatory. About half of all people died in the acclimating process.
In New Orleans, alleged-imperviousness or vulnerability to epidemic disease evolved into an explanatory tool for success or failure in commodity capitalism, and a justification for a race- and ethnicity-based social hierarchy where certain people were decidedly less equal than others. Disease justified highly asymmetrical social and labor relations, produced politicians apathetic about the welfare of their poor or recently-immigrated constituents, and accentuated the population’s xenophobic, racist, pro-slavery, and individualist proclivities. Alongside skin color, acclimation-status, I argue, played a major role in determining a person’s position, success, and sense of belonging in antebellum New Orleans.
Most of all, disease provided the tacit justification for who did what work during cotton and sugar production, becoming the essence of an increasingly elaborate and tortuous justification for widespread and permanent black slavery. In the Deep Southern view, only enslaved black people could survive work like cane cutting, swamp clearing, and cotton picking. In fact, proslavery theorists argued, black slavery was positively natural, even humanitarian, for it protected the health of whites—and thus the nation writ large—insulating them from diseased-labor and spaces that would kill them.
By fusing health with capitalism in my forthcoming book Necropolis, I will present a new model—beyond the toxic fusion of white supremacy with the flows of global capitalism—for how power operated in Atlantic society.
I am also interested in historical notions of consent (sexual or otherwise); slave revolts in the United States and the Caribbean; anti- and pro-slavery thought; class and ethnicity in antebellum America; the history of life insurance and environmental risk; comparative slave systems; technology and slavery; the Haitian Revolution; and boosterism in the American West.
Robert N. Proctor
Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine)
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsTobacco and cigarette design; human origins and evolution; changing concepts of health and disease; medical history and medical politics
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.
John L. Hinds Professor of the History of Science
BioLonda Schiebinger is the John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science in the History Department at Stanford University and Director of the EU/US Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment Project. From 2004-2010, Schiebinger served as the Director of Stanford's Clayman Institute for Gender Research. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Schiebinger received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1984 and is a leading international authority on gender and science. Over the past thirty years, Schiebinger's work has been devoted to teasing apart three analytically distinct but interlocking pieces of the gender and science puzzle: the history of women's participation in science; gender in the structure of scientific institutions; and the gendering of human knowledge.
Londa Schiebinger presented the keynote address and wrote the conceptual background paper for the United Nations' Expert Group Meeting on Gender, Science, and Technology, September 2010 in Paris. She presented the findings at the United Nations in New York, February 2011 with an update spring 2014. In 2022, she prepared the background paper for the United Nations 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women’s priority theme, Innovation and Technological Change, and Education in the Digital Age for Achieving Gender Equality and The Empowerment of all Women and Girls.
In 2011-2014, Schiebinger entered into major collaborations with the European Commission and the U.S. National Science Foundation to promote Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment. This project draws experts from across the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Asia, and was presented at the European Parliament, July 2013 as Gendered Innovations: How Gender Analysis Contributes to Research. In 2018-2020, Schiebinger directed the European Commission Expert Group to produce Gendered Innovations 2: How Inclusive Analysis Contributes to Research and Innovation.
Schiebinger’s work has been featured in Science: A Framework for Sex, Gender, and Diversity Analysis in Research: Funding Agencies Have Ample Room to Improve Their Policies (2022); Nature: Sex and Gender Analysis Improves Science and Engineering (2019); Nature: Design AI so that it's Fair (2018); Nature: Accounting for Sex and Gender Makes for Better Science (2020).
Her work in the eighteenth century investigates the circulation of knowledge in the Atlantic World. Her Secret Cures of Slaves: People, Plants, and Medicine in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World reconceptualizes research in four areas: first and foremost knowledge of African contributions to early modern science; the historiography of race in science; the history of human experimentation; and the role of science in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Her prize-winning Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World investigates women's indigenous knowledge of abortifacients and why this knowledge did not travel.
Londa Schiebinger has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize and John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium (2013), the Faculty of Science, Lund University, Sweden (2017), and the University of Valencia, Spain (2018); the Berlin Falling Walls Breakthrough Winner in Science & Innovation Management (2022). Her work has been translated into numerous languages. In 2022/23, she served as an advisor to the Berlin University Alliance.
Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication, Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Professor, by courtesy, of Art and Art History and of History
BioFred Turner’s research and teaching focus on media technology and cultural change. He is especially interested in the ways that emerging media have helped shape American life since World War II.
Turner is the author of three books: The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties; From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism; and Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory. His essays have tackled topics ranging from the rise of reality crime television to the role of the Burning Man festival in contemporary new media industries. They are available here: fredturner.stanford.edu/essays/.
Turner’s research has received a number of academic awards and has been featured in publications ranging from Science and the New York Times to Ten Zen Monkeys. It has also been translated into French, Spanish, German, Polish and Chinese.
Turner is also the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Before joining the faculty at Stanford, Turner taught Communication at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also worked as a freelance journalist for ten years, writing for the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, and the Pacific News Service.
Turner earned his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego. He has also earned a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brown University and an M.A. in English from Columbia University.
William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics and of Education
BioCaroline Winterer is William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, and 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, to be published by Princeton University Press.
She teaches classes on American history until 1900, including American cultural and intellectual history, the American Enlightenment, the history of science, and the trans-Atlantic contexts of American thought.
She is the author of five books, including most recently Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era (Chicago, 2020), edited with her Stanford colleague Karen Wigen. Assembling a group of distinguished historians, cartographers, and art historians, the book shows how maps around the world for the last 500 years have ingeniously handled time in the spatial medium of maps.
Her book American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (Yale, 2016), showed how early Americans grappled with the promises of the Enlightenment – how they used new questions about the plants, animals, rocks, politics, religions and peoples of the New World to imagine a new relationship between the present and the past, and to spur far-flung conversations about a better future for all of humanity. Earlier books and articles have explored America's long tradition of looking at the ancient classical world for political, artistic, and cultural inspiration. She received an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution for mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/dear-sir-ben-franklin-would-like-to-add-you-to-his-network-180947639/.
She is currently accepting graduate students. For more information on the PhD program in the Department of History, visit: https://history.stanford.edu/academics/graduate-degree-programs.
Associate Professor of History
BioI am a historian of modern Latin America whose work centers on the intersection of social, political, environmental, and technological change. In particular, I explore questions of water control, agrarian reform, and the effects of climate and weather on the process of social revolution. I employ interdisciplinary historical methods in my scholarship and teaching that seek to transcend the imaginary boundary between the human and nonhuman environments.
I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in modern Latin American history, historiography and film, history of US-Latin American relations, comparative history of modern Latin America and East Asia, environmental history of Latin America and the United States, climate ethics, and water history (see teaching tab to the right. I am accepting graduate students to work under me, but before contacting me, please become familiar with my work. Specific questions engaging with my work and how it relates to your own research interests are more fruitful as a basis for conversation than generally asking to learn more about my work.)
My first book, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico (Duke, 2017; winner, 2018 Elinor K. Melville Prize for Latin American Environmental History; short-listed, 2018 María Elena Martínez Prize for Mexican History), investigates how people managed their water—via dams, canals, and groundwater pumps—in a great crucible of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-20, the arid north-central Laguna region. In so doing, it demonstrates how Mexican federal engineers were not merely passive implementers of large-scale state development schemes such as agrarian reform. Instead, to implement the latter, they actively mediated knowledge between state and society, identifying what they thought was technologically possible and predicting its environmental consequences.
The book also explains how engineers encountered an intrinsic tension between farmers’ insatiable demand for water and the urgency to conserve it. By closely examining how the Mexican state watered one of the world’s most extensive agrarian reforms, the book tackles an urgent question in the literature on postrevolutionary Mexican state formation, Latin American environmental history and history of technology, and global development studies: how and why do governments persistently deploy invasive technologies for development even when they know those technologies are ecologically unsustainable?
To answer this global question, my book integrates environmental and technological history along with social, economic, political, and legal analyses based on extensive research in archival sources, journals, newspapers, and government publications in Mexico and the United States. Using this “envirotechnical” analytical framework, the book uncovers the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were unsustainable.
My research on agrarian reform and water management in north central Mexico led me to investigate how weather shapes the process of social revolution across Cuba’s varied climates and environments. In my new book project, Rebellious Climates: How Extreme Weather Shaped the Cuban Revolutions, I combine environmental history and historical climatology to argue that extreme weather events such as drought and hurricanes were not merely infrequent external shocks to Cuba, quickly entering and exiting the main anthropocentric stage of its theater of revolution. Instead, these events were long enmeshed in Cuban politics, economics, society, and culture, and thereby shaped the origins and progression of the 1959 revolution in ways largely overlooked by historians.