Stanford University
Our Team
Current Researchers
Nicholas Bauch
Nicholas Bauch is a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis and the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.  He received a Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA in 2010, where he specialized in spatial and environmental theory.  He is currently undertaking the revival of an early-twentieth-century photographic slideshow of the Grand Canyon made by Henry Peabody, using digital cartographic accompaniments to explicate the "hidden" space that lurks within this series of images.  In 2013 he self-published a Field Manual that was used during a two-week field work campaign to the Grand Canyon.
Waitman Beorn
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Waitman Beorn is the Louis and Frances Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and assistant professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned his PhD in History from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.  Waitman’s first monograph, Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus, focuses on the local participation of the German Army in the Holocaust in Belarus. It traces a progression of ever-increasing complicity in the Nazi genocidal project. Waitman has held Fulbright and Guggenheim Dissertation Fellowships and his work has been published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Central European History. He continues to center his research on the local experience of the Holocaust.
Cameron Blevins
Cameron Blevins is a PhD candidate studying digital and American history. His dissertation maps the geography of the U.S. postal system in the American West during the late-nineteenth century. Cameron is an active member of the digital humanities community at Stanford and beyond and can be found online at
Ethan Blue
Ethan Blue is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Western Australia. Though his previous work concentrated on the history of American prisons (Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons, NYU Press, 2012), he is collaborating with CESTA researchers to map the history US “Deportation Special” trains.
Cecil Brown
Cecil Brown’s undergraduate education was at Columbia University in Comparative Lit (German and French). He has a M.A in English Literature from the University of Chicago; and a PhD in Folklore, African American Literature, and Narrative Theory from UC Berkeley. He is a novelist and folklorist. He directed the first hip-hop conference in 2002 at U C Berkeley. He co-produced the first conference on the cell phone (“Cell Phone Justice”) and “Swinging and Flowing the Digital Divide” both sponsored by CITRIS (the Center for Information Technology Research for in The Interest of Society).
Gordon Chang
Co-Director, Chinese Railroad Workers Project
Gordon Chang is Professor of History, Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities; Director, Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University. His research focuses on the history of America-East Asia relations and on Asian American history.  He is affiliated with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the American Studies Program, International Relations Program, and the Center for East Asian Studies.  He is particularly interested in the historical connections between race and ethnicity in America and foreign relations, and explores these interconnections in his teaching and scholarship.  He is a recipient of both Guggenheim and ACLS fellowships, and has been a three-time fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center.
Jon Christensen
Jon Christensen is a principal investigator for Crowdsourcing for Humanities Research. He is directing a project crowdsourcing a new environmental history of the San Francisco Bay Area with museums, libraries, archives, and other partners as part of the Year of the Bay in 2013. He also has directed the Critical Habitat project, which has examined the spatial history of ideas, narratives, science, and practices of conservation across multiple spatial and temporal scales in the American West. And he coordinated Tooling Up for Digital Histories, a collaboration between the Spatial History Project and the Computer Graphics Lab at Stanford University and others to compile, test, create, and share new tools for digital and spatial research in the humanities.
Tim Cole
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Tim Cole is Professor of Social History at the University of Bristol. He received his PhD in Geography from the University of Cambridge. His books on social and cultural histories and historical geographies of the Holocaust are Images of the Holocaust/Selling the Holocaust (Duckworth/Routledge 1999); Holocaust City (Routledge 2003) and Traces of the Holocaust (Continuum 2011). Tim is also a co-editor of Militarized Landscapes (Continuum 2010) which includes research undertaken during an AHRC-funded research grant into comparative environmental histories of militarized landscapes. Tim is currently writing a spatial history of the Holocaust.
Stuart Dunn
Stuart Dunn is a Lecturer in Digital Humanities at King's College London. He is archaeologist with wide ranging interests in digital methods and spatial humanities. His current projects include spatial narrative theory, Cypriot cultural heritage and the archaeology of movement. Stuart gained a highly interdisciplinary PhD on Aegean Bronze Age chronology from the University of Durham in 2002, conducting fieldwork and research visits in Melos, Crete and Santorini. Having developed research interests in GIS, he subsequently became a Research Assistant on the AHRC’s ICT in Arts and Humanities Research Programme, and in 2006, moved to King's to become a Research Associate at the Arts and Humanities e-Science Support Centre, after which he became a Lecturer. Stuart leads numerous projects in the area of visualisation, GIS and digital humanities. You can find his blog at
Shelley_Fisher Fishkin
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Co-Director, Chinese Railroad Workers Project
Shelley Fisher Fishkin is Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, Professor of English, and Director of American Studies, Stanford University. She has taught at Stanford since 2003. She is the author, editor, or co-editor of over forty books, and has published over one hundred articles, essays and reviews, many of which have focused on issues of race and racism in America, and on recovering previously silenced voices from the past.  Her books have won two “Outstanding Academic Title” awards from Choice, an award from the the National Journalism Scholarship Society, and “Outstanding Reference Work” awards from Library Journal and the New York Public Library.   She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale. Before coming to Stanford, she was chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
Zephyr Frank
Director, CESTA and Spatial History Project
Zephyr Frank is an Associate Professor of History at Stanford University, Director of the Spatial History Project, and the principal investigator for the Terrain of History project. This project is an international collaborative project that seeks to reconstruct and analyze the social, cultural, and economic spaces of nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro. Professor Frank has been conducting this research for the last eight years.
Frederico Freitas
Frederico Freitas is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History studying the environmental and spatial history of the Southern Cone in the twentieth century. His research focuses on two bordering national parks in Argentina and Brazil. Frederico’s goal is to contrast the divergent histories of environmental and social change at each side of the border. Besides being a historian, Frederico also has over a decade of experience in art direction for print media and motion graphics, which now inspires him to explore new forms of historical narratives through visual media.
Andrew Gerhart
Andrew Gerhart is a Ph.D. candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. Now in his 4th year, Andy is researching the social and environmental history of the Chilean salmon farming industry in its historical center on the island of Chiloé.
Simone Gigliotti
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Simone Gigliotti is a Senior Lecturer in the History Program at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Her research interests include histories and journeys of displacement in twentieth-century Europe (Germany, Spain, Italy), and the application of spatial and transnational approaches to analyses of historical experience. She is co-editor, with Berel Lang, of The Holocaust: a Reader (Blackwell 2005), and author of The Train Journey: Transit, Captivity, and Witnessing in the Holocaust (Berghahn Books 2009) and many journal articles and book chapters on Holocaust representation, Central European refugee diasporas, and survivor testimonies.
Alberto Giordano
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Alberto Giordano is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at Texas State University in San Marcos. He holds a PhD in Geography from Syracuse University, an MA in Geography from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a BA in Geography from the University of Padua in Italy. Before pursuing an academic career, he worked in the map publishing sector and in the GIS field as a consultant for private companies and public agencies in Italy and internationally. His most recent work has focused on the geography of the Holocaust and genocide, spatial applications of forensic anthropology, and historical GIS. He is the author of one book (in Italian) on quality control in GIS and of several publications in GIScience, historical cartography, and hazards geography. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the 2009 edition of the Goode’s World Atlas.
Deborah Gordon
Deborah Gordon is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Stanford. Her research on the collective organization of ant colonies includes studies of the long-term demography and behavior of harvester ant colonies in Arizona; the factors that determine the spread of the invasive Argentine and in northern California; and the ecology of arboreal ants and ant-plant mutualisms in tropical forests in Central America. She is author of two books, Ants at Work (2000) and Ant Encounters:Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (2010). She has been awarded the Gores Teaching Award from Stanford and fellowships from Guggenheim and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences.
Sean Hanretta
Sean Hanretta is an associate professor in the Department of History and Director of the Center for African Studies at Stanford. He is particularly interested in the theory of historical evidence and in non-documentary forms of historical sources. His work focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of modern West Africa and he has turned to the tools of CESTA to help explore the connections between West African universities, their growing independence from European and North American institutions, and their impact on the political and social life of the region. His other research involves the relationship between ritual and identity, and the place of West African intellectuals in the global history of ideas.
Allyson Hobbs
Allyson Hobbs is an assistant professor of American and African American history at Stanford. Currently, she is at work on a book manuscript that examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. Allyson’s book is tentatively titled A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life. The focus of her second book project will be migration, a different form of “crossing over” than passing and a major theme in African American and American history. The Great Migration was a watershed in African American life: over the course of six decades (1910-1970), six million black southerners left the South in search of more meaningful experiences of freedom. She hopes to offer a different angle of vision on the migration by bringing to light the places where migrants slept, ate, got haircuts, and danced along the way. She plans to recreate their routes, keeping the following questions in mind: how did the experience of migrating create, nurture, and solidify African American identities? What fractures, contradictions, and tensions within African American identities did the migration bring into relief? What kinds of resources did African Americans draw upon to navigate the constraints of Jim Crow America on the road?
Anna Holian
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Anna Holian is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Arizona State University. She received her PhD in Modern European History from the University of Chicago in 2005. Her work with the Holocaust Geographies research project focuses on Italy. She is engaged in two book projects on the theme of the cultural and social reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War. “Somewhere in Europe: Children and the Legacy of National Socialism in Postwar Film” explores how postwar European filmmakers addressed one of the critical issues of the day, “war children.” The second project, “Jewish Space in Postwar Germany,” employs spatial history as a new window onto the reconstruction of Jewish life in early postwar Germany. She is the author of Between National Socialism and Soviet Communism: Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (University of Michigan Press 2011). She also co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies on “The Refugee in the Postwar World, 1945-1960.”
Paul Jaskot
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Paul Jaskot is professor of art history at DePaul University. He is a specialist in the history of modern art and architecture, with a particular research focus on how National Socialist policies, ideologies and practices have affected cultural production in 20th-century Germany.  In addition to his collaborative work with Anne Kelly Knowles, he is the author of numerous essays on the political function of architecture in the modern period as well as the books The Architecture of Oppression: The SS, Forced Labor and the Nazi Monumental Building Economy and, most recently, The Nazi Perpetrator: Postwar German Art and the Politics of the Right.  Jaskot is also the Co-Director of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Summer Institute on Digital Mapping and Art History (2014). From 2014-2016, he will be the Andrew W. Mellon Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art.
Anne Knowles
Holocaust Geographies Collaborative
Anne Knowles is Professor and Chair of the Geography Department at Middlebury College. She received her PhD and MSc in Geography from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Calvinists Incorporated: Welsh Immigrants on Ohio’s Industrial Frontier (University of Chicago Press 1997) and Mastering Iron: The Struggle to Modernize an American Industry, 1800-1868 (University of Chicago Press 2013), which is partly based on an HGIS of the industry. Formerly a professional book editor, Anne edited two of the first essay collections on HGIS: Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History (ESRI Press 2002) and Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship (ESRI Press 2008). In 2012 her work was recognized by the American Ingenuity Award for Historical Scholarship from Smithsonian magazine.
Michael Levin
Spatial Documentarian
Michael Levin is a documentary filmmaker and specialist in media for community development. He produced the documentary Dreams of a City: Creating East Palo Alto for Stanford University Libraries and the Committee on Black Performing Arts. The film has been widely used on campus as background for students working in the community and as a critical education tool for East Palo Alto community organizations, schools and municipal government. Other accomplishments during 15 years of work in East Palo Alto include being Executive Director of the youth social enterprise, working at local organizations Plugged In and Free at Last, helping to launch a youth video program at JobTrain, helping bring the UN Association Film Festival to East Palo Alto, and curating and programming the East Palo Alto 20th Anniversary Film Festival. He holds a BA in Communication from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Communication (Documentary Film Production) from Stanford University.
Franco Moretti
Director, Literary Lab
Author of Signs Taken for Wonders (1983), The Way of the World (1987), Modern Epic (1995), Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900 (1998), Graphs, Maps, Trees (2005), The Bourgeois (2013), and Distant Reading (2013). Chief editor of The Novel (2006). Has founded the Center for the Study of the Novel and the Literary Lab. Writes often for New Left Review, and has been translated into over twenty languages.
Tom Mullaney
Lead Researcher
Tom Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford. 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. His second book project, tentatively titled 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 is nearing completion. Tom is excited to partner with CESTA as he commences work on a new project on modern China.
Thomas Nygren
Thomas Nygren is Postdoctoral Scholar in Digital Humanities, funded by the Wallenberg foundation, currently studying Human Rights Education in history and the impact of digital media on knowledge production in history and education. With a background in contemporary world history, historiography and education his work centers around analyzing different uses of history. In Sweden, he is Senior Lecturer in Education in the Department of Education, Uppsala University, and researcher at HUMlab, Umeå University.
Sarah Ogilvie
Digital Humanities Co-ordinator
Sarah Ogilvie is Digital Humanities Co-ordinator at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and the Stanford Humanities Center. She also teaches in the Linguistics Department. She is a linguist and lexicographer with interests in technology and the digital humanities. She came to Stanford from Silicon Valley where she worked in software for Amazon Kindle. She was born in Australia and has a BSc in computer science and pure mathematics from the University of Queensland, an MA in Linguistics from Australian National University, and a DPhil in Linguistics from Oxford University. She was Alice Tong Sze Research Fellow at Cambridge University, and Reader in Linguistics and Director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University, before moving to the Bay Area in 2012. Her books include Words of the World: a global history of the Oxford English Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and (edited with Mari Jones) Keeping Languages Alive: documentation, pedagogy, and revitalization (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Jorun Poettering
Jorun Poettering is a Feodor Lynen Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, primarily hosted at the History Department of Harvard University. Before going to Harvard she spent one year at Universidade Federal Fluminense working in the archives of Rio de Janeiro. Her current research objective is a social history of colonial and imperial Rio de Janeiro from the perspective of the city’s water supply, integrating spatial history approaches. She tries to understand the development of early modern and modern political orders and social struggles, but is also interested in contemporary topics like labour history, authoritarian regimes and the history of human rights.
Andrew Robichaud
Andrew Robichaud is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. History. He specializes in environmental history and is working on a dissertation that examines the history of animals and human-animal relationships in America. Click here to view his online publication "Trail of Blood."
Maria J._Santos
Maria J. Santos
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Maria J. Santos joined the Spatial History Project at the beginning of 2012. She is a postdoctoral fellow with the Spatial History Project and the Bill Lane Center for the American West. She recently completed a postdoctoral period at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California Berkeley, and has a PhD in Ecology from the University of California Davis, a Masters in Environmental Science and Policy from Northern Arizona University, and a Bachelor's in Wildlife Biology from the University of Lisbon in Portugal. Prior to joining the Spatial History Project, Maria researched spatial and temporal dynamics of wildlife species and their habitat, and how these may or not be affected by land use/land cover and climate changes using Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing and statistical methods. During her research she has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship, several fellowships from the Portuguese government, and funding from US agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, NCSE, etc. Maria brings this expertise allied with a passion for using historical data to address ecological questions, embracing the multi-disciplinarity in the sciences on her research at the Lab.
Scott Saul
Scott Saul is an associate professor of English and American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where he teaches courses in American culture and history. He has written for Harper’s, The Nation, Boston Review, and other publications, and is the author of Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties (Harvard University Press, 2003). Currently, he is working with the Spatial History Project to develop an interactive supplement to his biography of comedian-actor Richard Pryor (HarperCollins, forthcoming).
Edith Sheffer
Edith Sheffer is an Assistant Professor of modern European history at Stanford university. Interested in the global consequences of everyday actions, she is the author of Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011). Her current book, Inventing Autism under Nazism: The Surveillance of Emotion and Child Euthanasia in the Third Reich, examines Hans Asperger’s creation of the autism diagnosis in Nazi Vienna, situating it within the context of efforts to define the national community and the murder of disabled children. Related research at the Spatial History Project, Forming Selves: The Creation of Child Psychiatry from Red Vienna to the Third Reich and Abroad, traces the transnational growth of the field of child development.
Gregory Simon
Gregory Simon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver and the principal investigator for the Vulnerability-in-Production Project. Focusing on the 1991 Tunnel Fire in Oakland CA, this interdisciplinary project explores notions of vulnerability as a historical process marked by geographic interconnectedness, risk momentum, environmental change and wealth accumulation. Gregory was a Post Doctoral Fellow in Stanford's Lane Center for the American West from 2007-2009.
Jim Tice
Professor of Architecture Jim Tice at the University of Oregon, is a Research Fellow at Studium Urbis, an international study center in Rome devoted to the study of the city’s urban history. As a teacher, scholar and architect, he has devoted 25 years to the study of Italian architecture and urbanism. He has co-authored two books on architecture one of which uses computer generated visualization techniques to reveal architectural principles. He has earned awards for work that is national and international in scope. His most recent projects include research and publication of two interactive websites with Erik Steiner, the "Interactive Nolli Map Website" that was honored with the NorthWest Academic Computing Consortium Award for outstanding project of the year and "Imago Urbis: Giusepe Vasi''s Grand Tour of Rome" that was the result of a major research grant from the Getty Foundation. Most recently he was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Digital Fellowship for his continuing study of Rome from antiquity to the present.
Lea VanderVelde
Lea VanderVelde is the Josephine R. Witte Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law and a Guggenheim Fellow in Constitutional Studies. She is the principal investigator for The Law of the Antebellum Frontier project. This collaborative project seeks to digitally analyze the legal and economic mechanisms at work on the American frontier or the early 1800s. Understanding these mechanisms reflects upon how empires expand and how American expansion shaped American identity and the constitutional amendments after the civil war. Professor VanderVelde has been conducting research in this field for the last fifteen years.
Richard White
Former Director
Richard White is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University and is the principal investigator for the Shaping the West project. This project explores the construction of space by transcontinental railroads in North America during the late nineteenth-century. Professor White has been conducting this research for the last twelve years.
Daryle Williams
Daryle Williams, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, is Principal Investigator for The Broken Paths of Freedom, a historical study of the geographies of enslavement, emancipation, and liberty traversed by approximately fourteen-thousand Free Africans [africanos livres] illicitly introduced into the Brazilian empire between 1821 and 1856. Williams has authored Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 1930-1945 (2001), winner of the American Historical Association's John Edwin Fagg prize, as well as several articles and book chapters on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazilian cultural history. Faculty Page
Spatial History