School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Sociology
BioFlorencia Torche is a social scientist with expertise in social demography and social stratification. Professor Torche’s scholarship examines inequality dynamics including intergenerational mobility, disparities in educational attainment, family dynamics, and assortative mating, among others. Her research also examines the influence of early-life exposures –starting before birth– on iindividual wellbeing and inequality. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020, and to the Sociological Research Association in 2013.
Torche has led many large data collection projects, including the first national survey on social mobility in Chile and Mexico. She has served as deputy editor of the American Sociological Review (2020-2022 and 2015-2018), Consulting Editor of the American Journal of Sociology, and Editorial Board of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Forces, Sociology of Education, and Sociological Theory among others. She has served on the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey.
Professor Torche holds a BA from the Catholic University of Chile and an MA and PhD in Sociology from Columbia University.
Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum Professor of Education, Emerita
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsFounding partner of Understanding Language, an initiative that focuses attention on the role of language in subject-area learning, with a special focus on helping English Language Learners meet the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.
Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Earth System Science
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsVitousek's research interests include: evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; understanding how the interaction of land and culture contributed to the sustainability of Hawaiian (and other Pacific) agriculture and society before European contact; and working to make fertilizer applications more efficient and less environmentally damaging (especially in rapidly growing economies)
Professor of Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur current focus is on maize anther development to understand how cell fate is specified. We discovered that hypoxia triggers specification of the archesporial (pre-meiotic) cells, and that these cells secrete a small protein MAC1 that patterns the adjacent soma to differentiate as endothecial and secondary parietal cell types. We also discovered a novel class of small RNA: 21-nt and 24-nt phasiRNAs that are exceptionally abundant in anthers and exhibit strict spatiotemporal dynamics.
Senior Lecturer in the Language Center
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy research interests include sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, acquisition of cognate languages, development of cultural competence, and translation. I am one of the creators of the international symposium on Portuguese for Spanish Speakers: Acquisition and Teaching, which had its fifth edition in 2014, and an author and editor of several scholarly articles and books. My current focus is on the acquisition of Portuguese by speakers of Spanish and other Romance languages.
Paul H. Wise, MD, MPH
Richard E. Behrman, MD, Professor of Child Health and Society
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsHe is a health policy and outcomes researcher whose work has focused on children's health; health-outcomes disparities by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status; the interaction of genetics and the environment as these factors influence child and maternal health; and the impact of medical technology on disparities in health outcomes.
Holbrook Working Professor of Price Theory and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute, at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Precourt Institute for Energy
BioFrank A. Wolak is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Stanford University. His fields of specialization are Industrial Organization and Econometric Theory. His recent work studies methods for introducing competition into infrastructure industries -- telecommunications, electricity, water delivery and postal delivery services -- and on assessing the impacts of these competition policies on consumer and producer welfare. He is the Chairman of the Market Surveillance Committee of the California Independent System Operator for electricity supply industry in California. He is a visiting scholar at University of California Energy Institute and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Professor Wolak received his Ph.D. and M.S. from Harvard University and his B.A. from Rice University.
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.