Since its founding in 1980, the Stanford Humanities Center has been sponsoring advanced research into the historical, philosophical, literary, artistic, and cultural dimensions of the human experience. The Humanities Center's annual fellows, international visitors, research workshops, digital humanities laboratory, and roughly fifty annual public events strengthen the intellectual and creative life of the university, foster innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, and enrich our understanding of our common humanity. The humanities support democratic culture by nurturing an informed citizenry and seeking solutions to society’s most formidable challenges.
As I begin my second year as director of the Stanford Humanities Center, I note with pleasure and gratitude how the Center—now almost thirty-five years old—continues to thrive. As one of the largest humanities centers in the United States, the Stanford Humanities Center reminds us daily of the importance of the humanities in both civic life and scholarship. Shaded by the sprawling oaks of the Kennedy Grove, the Stanford Humanities Center is a gem on the campus, always ready to welcome back the over 700 fellows and other friends who have passed through its doors.
In late September, we are welcoming a new class of fellows who represent the full spectrum of humanistic scholarship from early Islam and Hellenistic Greece to twentieth-century art and music. They include both senior and junior faculty from Stanford and other universities, as well as our eight Geballe Dissertation Fellows and eight Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows. The weekday lunches at the Center remain a tradition that brings us all together for collegial conversation. We ring the bell at half past noon so fellows can introduce their guests from around the campus and around the world.
Over the last year, the Humanities Center launched several new initiatives in addition to our terrific new website and a video highlighting the work of the Center. The first is the new Manuscript Review Workshops, which give untenured faculty members a chance to host a “dream team” of scholars to review their first book manuscript in a collegial workshop setting with the aim of creating a polished, publishable book. The program continues this academic year with the review of several first book manuscripts on topics including Ottoman politics and U.S.-Mexico migration. We also welcomed our first class of Hume Humanities Honors Fellows, eight Stanford seniors who spent the year completing their honors senior thesis on a humanities topic; many have gone on to first jobs or graduate school, and we look forward to hearing about their latest achievements. Finally, we saw the continued success of the International Visitors Program, launched by former director Aron Rodrigue in 2008. Last year the program brought scholars and journalists from Japan to Lebanon who enlivened the campus and the Center.
As we do each fall, we look ahead to the new academic year with optimism and excitement. We thank our many generous friends and colleagues for their continued support for the important work of the Stanford Humanities Center.
Best wishes to all for a successful 2014-15!
Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities
Stanford Humanities Center