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.

Grant Parker

Associate Professor of Classics

Cape Town-born Grant Parker teaches in the Department of Classics as Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, and is faculty-in-residence at Toyon Hall. He teaches Latin and various topics related to ancient cultures and their modern reception. His publications include The Agony of Asar: A Former Slave's Defence of Slavery, 1742 and The Making of Roman India. He continues to be interested in Rome's Egyptian obelisks; the literature of travel; and the history of collecting. He is currently in the process of editing a volume entitled South Africa, Greece and Rome: Classical Confrontations.

Linda Paulson

Associate Dean and Director, MLA Program

Linda Paulson has her PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She has taught at Stanford since 1985. Her research focuses on the Victorian social novel, particularly on the works of Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Anthony Trollope; and on the development of the British woman's novel from Jane Austen to Doris Lessing. In 1989, she received Stanford's Dinkelspiel Award for distinguished teaching and service to Stanford.

David Riggs

The Mark Piggott OBE Professor of English, Emeritus

David Riggs is a biographer and film critic who specializes in Renaissance literature. His first book, Shakespeare's Heroical Histories: Henry VI and Its Literary Tradition (1971), traces the influence of Shakespeare's grammar school education and apprentice work in the theater on his earliest plays. Ben Jonson: A Life (1989), is a biography of Shakespeare's most famous rival. His recent biography, The World of Christopher Marlowe, was published by Faber and Faber (2004) in the U.K. and Henry Holt (2005) in the U.S. Riggs is currently working on the life of Shakespeare. Full bio

Jessica Riskin

Professor of History

Jessica Riskin received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.  She taught at MIT for several years before coming to Stanford, and has also taught at Sciences Po, Paris.  Her research interests include early modern science, politics and culture and the history of scientific explanation.

Riskin is the author of Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2002), which won the American Historical Association's J. Russell Major Prize for best book in English on any aspect of French history, and the editor of Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life (University of Chicago Press, 2007) and, with Mario Biagioli, of Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (Palgrave, 2012). Her new book, The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Debate about What Makes Living Things Tick, was published by the University of Chicago Press in fall 2015.

Eric Roberts

The Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Engineering, Emeritus

Professor Roberts received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, and went on to teach at Wellesley College. He came to Stanford in 1990 and from 1990-2002, Roberts served as associate chair and director of undergraduate studies for the Computer Science Department before being appointed as Senior Associate Dean in the School of Engineering and later moving on to become Faculty Director for Interdisciplinary Science Education in the office of the VPUE. While at Stanford, Professor Roberts has received several university-level teaching awards, including the Bing Fellowship, established “to recognize excellence in teaching and a committed interest to the teaching of undergraduates”; the Dinkelspiel Award, which recognizes “distinctive and exceptional contributions to undergraduate education”; and the Laurance and Naomi Carpenter Hoagland Prize, awarded for excellence in undergraduate teaching. In January 2002, Roberts was named one of the first eight University Fellows in Undergraduate Education, which are designed “to reward faculty who make truly outstanding contributions to Stanford’s undergraduate experience.”

Paul Robinson

Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus

Paul Robinson has written extensively on the history of European and American thought in the 19th and 20th centuries.  His books include, Opera, Sex, and Other Vital Matters; Gay Lives: Homosexual Autobiography from John Addington Symonds to Paul Monette; Freud and His Critics; and Opera and Ideas: From Mozart to Strauss. Professor Robinson describes his writing as primarily focused on three topics.  The first is the history of psychoanalysis.  The second is the history of ideas about human sexuality, especially the experience of gays and lesbians.  The third is the connection between intellectual history and the history of opera. Full bio

Nancy Ruttenburg

William Robertson Coe Professor of American Literature

Nancy Ruttenburg is the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Literature in the English Department at Stanford. She also holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.  She received the PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford (1988) and taught at Harvard, Berkeley, and most recently at NYU, where she was chair of the Department of Comparative Literature from 2002-2008.   Her research interests lie at the intersection of political, religious, and literary expression in colonial through antebellum America and nineteenth-century Russia, with a particular focus on the development of liberal and non-liberal forms of democratic subjectivity. 

Jeremy Sabol

Lecturer in Stanford's Program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE), and Lecturer in MLA

Jeremy Sabol majored in physics and literature as an undergraduate, then received his Ph.D. in French. His dissertation examined the conceptual role of fiction in Descartes' physics and philosophy, as well as the impact of this use of fiction in later 17th-century French literary texts. Jeremy specializes in early modern literature and philosophy, Cartesianism, and existentialism. He is currently working on the later writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. Full bio

Robert Siegel

Professor (Teaching) of Microbiology and Immunology

Robert Siegel holds appointments in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the Program in Human Biology and the Center for African Studies. He is the course director for the infectious disease component of the preclinical currciulum at Stanford Medical School. Siegel has taught a number of classes related to the environment, as well as classes related to the impact of environmental factors on infectious disease. He also teaches classes focusing on the use of photography as a tool in studying the natural environment. He has lead ecotourism expeditions in locations such as Tanzania, Papua New Guinea and the Galápagos. He is also a docent at Año Nuevo State Park and Stanford’s Jasper Ridge.

Peter Stansky

Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus

Peter Stansky has been at Stanford since 1968. He has written extensively on modern Britain, particularly about William Morris, George Orwell, the Bloomsbury Group as well of other aspects, political, cultural, and social, of modern Britain. He has taught three MLA courses and directed seven MLA theses. Full bio

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