School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Paula Findlen

    Paula Findlen

    Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of 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.

  • Marisa Galvez

    Marisa Galvez

    Associate Professor of French and Italian and, by courtesy, of German Studies

    BioMarisa Galvez specializes in the literature of the Middle Ages in France and Western Europe, especially the poetry and narrative literature written in Occitan and Old French. Her areas of interest include the troubadours, vernacular poetics, the intersection of performance and literary cultures, and the critical history of medieval studies as a discipline. At Stanford, she currently teaches courses on medieval and Renaissance French literature and love lyric, as well as interdisciplinary upper level courses on the medieval imaginary in modern literature, film, and art.

    Her recent book, Songbook: How Lyrics Became Poetry in Medieval Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2012), treats what poetry was before the emergence of the modern category, “poetry”: that is, how vernacular songbooks of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries shaped our modern understanding of poetry by establishing expectations of what is a poem, what is a poet, and what is lyric poetry itself. The first comparative study of songbooks, the book concerns three vernacular traditions—Occitan, Middle High German, and Castilian—and analyzes how the songbook emerged from its original performance context of oral publication, into a medium for preservation, and finally became a literary object that performs the interests of poets and readers. Her current research project, tentatively entitled "The Subject of Crusade: Penitential Poetics in Vernacular Lyric and Romance" examines how the crusader subject of vernacular literature sought to reconcile secular ideals about love and chivalry with crusade. This study places this literature in dialogue with new ideas about penance and confession that emerged from the second half of the twelfth century to the end of the thirteenth.

    Recent and forthcoming publications related to this project include "The Voice of the Unrepentant Crusader: 'Aler m'estuet' by the Châtelain d'Arras" (Voice and Voicelessness in Medieval Europe, ed. Irit Kleinman, Palgrave) that analyzes how a crusaders poet's unrepentant voice can be viewed as in tension with the confessional voice of pastoral literature, and "The Intersubjective Performance of Confession vs. Courtly Profession" (Performance and Theatricality in the MIddle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Markus Cruse, ACMRS) that compares penitential performativity and witnessing in courtly lyric and moral tales. "Jehan de Journi’s Disme de Penitanche and the Production of a Vernacular Confessional Text in Outremer" will appear in the volume Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France (Brepols) and asks how a confessional text composed by a Cypriot Frank in the thirteenth century is shaped by the political and social contingencies of the Latin East.

    Her multi-year Performing Trobar project seeks to cultivate, historicize, and compare the experience of troubadour lyrics in literary and performative modes. In exposing students and the Stanford community to the rich aural and verbal texture of the medieval world, Performing Trobar seeks to animate our engagement with medieval lyric both as a philological artifact and as a vernacular art that continues to be translated before various audiences around the world. She also currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Discussion Group on Provençal Language and Literature of the Modern Language Association and acts as Faculty Coordinator of the Theoretical Perspectives of the Middle Ages workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center.

  • Johannes Gumbrecht (test)

    Johannes Gumbrecht (test)

    Albert Guerard Professor of Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus

    BioHans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature in the Departments of Comparative Literature and of French & Italian (and by courtesy, he is affiliated with the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures/ILAC, the Department of German Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought & Literature). As a scholar, Gumbrecht focuses on the histories of national literatures in Romance language (especially French, Spanish, and Brazilian), but also on German literature, while, at the same time, he teaches and writes about the western philosophical tradition (from a "non-analytic" perspective) with an emphasis on French and German nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts. In addition, Gumbrecht tries to analyze and to understand forms of aesthetic experience in 21st-century everyday culture. Over the past forty years, he has published more than two thousand texts, including books translated into more than twenty languages. In Europe and in South America, Gumbrecht has a presence as a public intellectual; whereas, in the academic world, he has been acknowledged by nine honorary doctorates in six different countries: Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, and Russia . He has also held a number of visiting professorships, at the Collège de France, University of Budapest, Universidade de Lisboa, University of Manchester, Université de Montréal, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and Catholic University of Santiago de Chile.

  • Robert Harrison

    Robert Harrison

    Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature

    BioProfessor Harrison received his doctorate in romance studies from Cornell University in 1984, with a dissertation on Dante's Vita Nuova. In 1985 he accepted a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford. In 1986 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He was granted tenure in 1992 and was promoted to full professor in 1995. In 1997 Stanford offered him the Rosina Pierotti Chair. In 2002, he was named chair of the Department of French and Italian. In 2006 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2014 he was knighted "Chevalier" by the French Republic. He is also lead guitarist for the cerebral rock band Glass Wave.

    Professor Harrison's first book, The Body of Beatrice, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 1988. A revised and elaborated version of his dissertation, it deals with medieval Italian lyric poetry, with special emphasis on Dante's early work La Vita Nuova. The Body of Beatrice was translated into Japanese in 1994. Over the next few years Professor Harrison worked on his next book, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, which appeared in 1992 with University of Chicago Press. This book deals with the multiple and complex ways in which the Western imagination has symbolized, represented, and conceived of forests, primarily in literature, religion, and mythology. It offers a select history that begins in antiquity and ends in our own time. Forests appeared simultaneously in English, French, Italian, and German. It subsequently appeared in Japanese and Korean as well. In 1994 his book Rome, la Pluie: A Quoi Bon Littérature? appeared in France, Italy, and Germany. This book is written in the form of dialogues between two characters and deals with various topics such as art restoration, the vocation of literature, and the place of the dead in contemporary society. Professor Harrison's next book, The Dominion of the Dead, published in 2003 by University of Chicago Press, deals with the relations the living maintain with the dead in diverse secular realms. This book was translated into German, French and Italian. Professor Harrison's book Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition appeared in 2008 with the University of Chicago Press, and in French with Le Pommier (subsequently appeared in German and Chinese translations). His most recent book Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age came out in 2014 with Chicago University Press. In 2005 Harrison started a literary talk show on KZSU radio called "Entitled Opinions." The show features hour long conversations with a variety of scholars, writers, and scientists.

  • Johannes Junge Ruhland

    Johannes Junge Ruhland

    Ph.D. Student in French, admitted Autumn 2018

    BioJohannes Junge Ruhland studies manuscripts in Old French and Old Occitan. He holds a BA in French and Latin from the University of Geneva, and MA in French from King’s College London, and is now pursuing a PhD in French at Stanford University.
    In his research, Johannes seeks to describe the effects of medieval manuscripts in elite settings. He is trying to understand how manuscripts could work as repositories of cultural capital, but he is particularly interested in how this capital could get lost, reinterpreted, reinvented, or repurposed. In so doing, his aim is to relate manuscripts to collectives, with a strong suspicion that manuscripts could have played a critical role in the constitution of the latter. At the same time, he wants to account for the many other possible ways any reader could have responded to the codex. But because there is always more than what can be accounted for, he strives to propose critical tools that allow for that possibility.
    In previous research, Johannes has worked among others on the effects of irony on generic consensus in Old French Arthurian verse romance and the representation of authors in Old Occitan chansonniers. More recently, he has been working on the textual tradition of the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César. His MA dissertation examined how the poetics of truth of London, BL, Additional 15268 is a matter of textual politics. This work has led him, on one side, to develop a pragmatic approach to poetics, and on the other, to reconsider the philological tools with which manuscript variance is discussed. A partial edition of the Venetian Vienna manuscript of the Histoire ancienne (ÖNB 2576), in collaboration with Federico Guariglia, is forthcoming with Winter.

    Visit Johannes’ Academia.edu profile for a list of publications: https://stanford.academia.edu/JohannesJungeRuhland (link to the right)

    Keywords: collectives, formative fiction, hermeneutics, historicism, irony, variance, non-intended readership, philology, poetics, pragmatics.

    A note on citing: please use both last names (Junge Ruhland) when citing Johannes' work.