MLA Faculty

"There is nothing like teaching a group of mature students who come to an evening seminar after a full day of having a life outside of the university. They are among the best, most engaged students I have worked with."

- Paula Findlen, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of History and, by courtesy, of French and Italian

Stanford's faculty is one of the most distinguished in the nation. It includes 17 Nobel laureates, 4 Pulitzer Prize winners, 18 National Medal of Science winners, 150 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 263 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, 94 members of the National Academy of Engineering, and 31 members of the National Academy of Education. 

MLA faculty, who are recruited from among Stanford University’s most distinguished professors, are eager to share their own enthusiasm for their subjects with this group of students. In the small group setting of MLA seminars, students have the opportunity to get to know their professors in a way that many students have never before experienced.

Gerald Dorfman

Hoover Senior Fellow and Professor, by courtesy emeritus, of Political Science

Gerald Dorfman is an authority and does research on British and European politics including the European Union. He is also interested in U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Dorfman served in the Agency for International Development, Department of State. He was a professor of political science at Iowa State University, a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and a distinguished visiting professor at San Jose State University. He co-founded and published the scholarly journals in the social sciences, Politics and Society, Political Methodology, and Educational Policy. Full bio

Bill H. Durham

Bing Professor in Human Biology, Department of Anthropology, and Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment

Bill Durham is an internationally acclaimed human ecologist. His major contributions have been in the theory of coevolution in human populations, in the causes of scarcity and environmental degradation in Latin America, and in the dual challenges of conservation and community development in the tropics. He won a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1983, and has received fellowships from the Behavioral Sciences Center and the Guggenheim, Danforth, and National Science foundations. Among Durham's specialties is indigenous ecotourism, and his contributions to this field include co-founding the Center for Responsible Travel. Full Bio

Dan Edelstein

Associate Professor of French and, by courtesy, of History

Dan Edelstein focuses on eighteenth-century France, with research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, and political theory. He teaches courses on the literature, philosophy, culture and politics of the Enlightenment; on nineteenth-century novels; the French Revolution; and early-modern political thought. In 2006 he was awarded the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, and received the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011. His published works include The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution, and The Enlightenment: A GenealogyFull bio

Paula Findlen

Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of History and Professor, by courtesy, of French and Italian

Paula Findlen's main interests are in Italian history, 1300-1800 and the early history of science and medicine, including the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. Findlen specializes in the rise of modern science, medicine, and technology during the European Renaissance, especially in Italy, by looking at the intersection of science, art, and technology, the history of museums and collecting, and at the relations between knowledge and faith in the age of Galileo. Findlen received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and taught at the University of California at Davis and as a visitor at Harvard before coming to Stanford in 1996. Full bio

Anne Firth Murray

Consulting Professor, Human Biology

Anne Firth Murray, a New Zealander, was educated at the University of California and New York University in economics, political science, and public administration, with a focus on international health policy and women's reproductive health. She has worked at the United Nations as a writer, taught in Hong Kong and Singapore, and spent several years as an editor with Oxford, Stanford, and Yale University presses. For the past twenty-five years, she has worked in the field of philanthropy, serving as a consultant to many foundations. From 1978 to the end of 1987, she directed the environment and international population programs of the Hewlett Foundation in California. She is the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women, which provides funds internationally to seed, strengthen, and link groups committed to women's well being. Currently, she is a Consulting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University. Ms. Murray serves on several boards and councils of non-profit organizations, including the African Women’s Development Fund, Commonweal, Doctors for Humanity, the Global Justice Center (Board Chair), GRACE (a group working on HIV/AIDS in East Africa), SPARK (a women’s philanthropy), and UNNITI (a women's foundation in India). She is the recipient of many awards and honors for her work on women’s health and philanthropy, and in 2005 she was nominated as one of a group of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her book on the early years of the Global Fund for Women, Paradigm Found: Leading and Managing for Positive Change, was published by New World Library, California, in May 2006. Her most recent book on international women’s health, From Outrage to Courage: Women Taking Action for Health and Justice, was published by Common Courage Press, Maine, in 2008

Larry Friedlander

Professor of English (teaching), Emeritus

Larry Friedlander has been at Stanford since 1965, where his specialty has been Shakespeare and performance. In addition to his academic and critical activities, Friedlander worked in the professional theater as an actor and director for many years. He has participated in major research laboratories on a wide variety of projects connected to the arts, technology, and education, including work at the Apple Multimedia Lab and has created innovative interactive designs for many museums internationally. Full bio

Al Gelpi

Coe Professor of American Literature, Emeritus

From 1968 through 2002 Albert Gelpi taught Stanford undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature that ranged from its Puritan beginnings to the present day. He has written and edited books on Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Robinson Jeffers, C. Day-Lewis, Adrienne Rich, William Everson, Denise Levertov, and Robert Duncan. As a student of Perry Miller at Harvard, he became interested in the intellectual backgrounds of literary expression, and he has become increasingly interested in the connections between American letters and American painting. He has served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Chairman of the American Studies Program, and Chairman of the English Department. He received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1996. Full bio

Barbara Gelpi

Professor of English, Emerita

Barbara Charlesworth Gelpi is a Victorianist by training. Her first area of interest was the 1890's, and her first book was Dark Passages: The Decadent Consciousness in Victorian Literature (1965). Her growing interest in feminist theory and feminist literary criticism led to the editing, with Albert Gelpi, of Adrienne Rich's Poetry, which was expanded and revised as Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose in 1993. She has also worked with the group of editors at the Center for Research on Women at Stanford who published Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France, and the United States. Full bio

Denise Gigante

Professor of English

Denise Gigante teaches British Romanticism, as well as the longer historical tradition of poetry and poetics, the English periodical essay, taste, gastronomy, aesthetic theory, antiquarianism, and the history of the book.  She is currently working on The Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America and is the author of The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George,  Life: Organic Form and Romanticism, Taste: A Literary History, The Great Age of the English Essay, and Gusto: Essential Writings in Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy. She received her BA from Yale University and her Ph.D. from Princeton.


Allyson Hobbs

Assistant Professor of American History

Professor Hobbs graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford. She teaches courses on American identity, African American History, African American Women’s History, and twentieth century American history and culture.

Her first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, published by Harvard University Press in October 2014, examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present.  A Chosen Exile won two prizes from the Organization of American Historians: the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history.

Her next book, Far From Sanctuary: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights, explores the violence, humiliation, and indignities that African American motorists experienced on the road.  Jim Crow laws and local customs put mid-century American pleasures—taking to the road, exploring the country, enjoying the freedom and the autonomy of driving one’s own car—out of the reach of black drivers.  This book is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in the fall of 2019.

Paul Robinson, Chair, MLA Faculty Advisory Committee, Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus

Charles Junkerman, Associate Provost and Dean, Continuing Studies

Linda Paulson, Associate Dean and Director, MLA Program

Gerald Dorfman, Hoover Senior Fellow and Professor, by courtesy emeritus, of Political Science

William Durham, Bing Professor in Human Biology, Dept. of  Anthropology, and Senior Fellow, Woods Institute

Paula Findlen, Chair, Department of History, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History

Barbara Gelpi, Professor of English, Emerita

Allyson Hobbs, Assistant Professor of American History

Nancy Kollmann, William H. Bonsall Professor of History

David Palumbo-Liu, Professor of Comparative Literature

Grant Parker, Associate Professor of Classics

Jeremy Sabol, Lecturer, Structured Liberal Education program

Peter Stansky, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus