Diversity at Stanford

Faculty Perspectives

Faculty: Collaboration, Research and Interdisciplinary Study

Enrique Chagoya

Enrique Chagoya

Professor of Department of Art and Art History at Stanford.

Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 70’s, and also in Europe in the late 90’s, Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular,  and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world as well. He uses familiar pop icons to create deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues. Through these seemingly harmless characters Chagoya examines the recurring subject of colonialism and oppression that continues to riddle contemporary American foreign policy.

Chagoya was born and raised in Mexico City. His father, a bank employee by day and artist by night, encouraged his interest in art by teaching Chagoya color theory and how to sketch at a very early age. As a young adult, Chagoya enrolled in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where he studied political economy and contributed political cartoons to union newsletters. He relocated to Veracruz and directed a team focused on rural-development projects, a time he describes as “an incredible growing experience…[that] made me form strong views on what was happening outside in the world.” This growing political awareness would later surface in Chagoya’s art. At age 26, Chagoya moved to Berkeley, California and began working as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer. Disheartened by what he considered to be the narrow political scope of economics programs in local colleges, Chagoya turned his interests to art. He enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned a BFA in printmaking in 1984. He then pursued his MA and MFA at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1987. He moved to San Francisco in 1995. He has been exhibitng his work nationally and internationally for over two decades with a major retrospective organized by the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa in 2007 that traveled to UC Berkelye Art Museum and to the Palms Spring Art Museum in 2008 ( fully illustrated bilingual catalog was published). In the Fall of 2013, a major survey of his work opened at Centro Museum ARTIUM, in Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital city of the Basque Country, near Bilbao, Spain (with a trilingual catalog documenting the exhibition). The exhibition will travel to the CAAM in the Canary Islands in 2015.

He is currently Full Professor at Stanford University’s department of Art and Art History and his work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco among others. He has been recipient of numerous awards such as two NEA artists fellowships, one more from the National Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, residencies at Giverny and Cite Internationale des Arts in France, and a Tiffany fellowship to mention a few.

He is represented by Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, George Adams Gallery in New York, and Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. His prints are published by Shark’s Ink in Lyons, Co, Electric Works in San Francisco, CA, Magnolia Editions in Oakland, CA, ULAE Bay Shore, NY, Segura Publishing in Pueblo, AZ, Trillium press in Brisbaine, CA, Made in California in Oakland, CA, and Smith Andersen Editions in Palo Alto, CA

Michele Elam

Michele Elam

Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor and Olivier Nomellini Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, is Professor of English and Director of the Graduate Program in Modern Thought and Literature (MTL) at Stanford University.

Research crosses traditional disciplinary lines at Stanford. Michele Elam is a faculty member jointly appointed in the English Department and in the Research Institute at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She collaborates with students through her courses on African-American literature and culture in the English Department, courses that are also cross-listed with African and African-American Studies (AAAS) and Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE). Her research and work with undergraduates involves examining the relationship between art and politics, and specifically the politics of cultural and literary representation of race—African-Americans and mixed race in particular.

Stanford students explore the enduring legacy of literature through performance. Prior to his appointment as the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education, Harry Elam served as the Chair of the Drama department and Director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts (CBPA). The CBPA is committed to investigating issues of black performance by present artists and scholars, supporting academic research and instruction and collaborating with community groups and government agencies. Student projects and performances add perspective and experience to this exciting field.

"Stanford faculty enjoy undergraduate participation in research. We both believe that our work benefits from the involvement of undergraduates. Students contribute insight while they are learning how to do research and deciding whether to pursue it as a career. Undergraduates who have worked in our disciplines have gone on to graduate school, medical school, law school, as well as careers in public policy, education and many other fields. We are proud of this. For many Stanford undergraduates, this collaboration and research serves as an inspiring experience that shapes career aspirations and development. Undergraduates are making connections and exploring the world in their chosen concentrations and applying this research to their professional and academic goals. This is one of the most gratifying parts of the work we do as both teachers and researchers."

Kathryn Gin Lum

Kathryn Gin Lum

Associate Professor in the Religious Studies Department, in collaboration with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford (CCSRE).

“Studying religion lets me ask what people care deeply about and what they do about it. Being a historian allows me to spend time in dusty archives hearing what they have to say. I enjoy telling stories rooted in archival finds and love sharing the richness of American religious history with students at Stanford. “One thing that people don’t often realize about studying religion is that religious concepts can offer a unique window onto seemingly non-religious people and environments. ‘Religion’ doesn’t just have to mean traditions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism. The features of many religions—such as myths, rituals and end-times scenarios – can be found in environments that seem secular, too. Stanford, for instance, has myths about its founders and rituals like fountain hopping. The culture at Stanford, and Silicon Valley in general, instills a drive to save the world and preserve our minds through technology. Stanford creates community and a shared sense of identity as much as many churches or temples. Understanding how humans are religious is key to understanding what it means to be human in the world, both historically and in the present.”

Hakeem Jefferson

Hakeem Jefferson

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a faculty affiliate with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and the Stanford Center for American Democracy (CCSRE).

My research focuses on questions of race and identity in American politics, especially the politics of marginalized groups. Instead of focusing on more dominant groups—white Americans and their attitudes toward African Americans, for example—I’m much more interested in the lived experiences of the stigmatized. How does being Black condition one’s politics? What are the concerns and considerations that come about because of that experience of living on the margins of society?

I grew up in rural South Carolina, and it was clear to me early on that politics matter. When my mom worked late, I’d spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and my granddad in particular. Neighbors would stop by to talk about politics on the front porch, and it was never an occasion where I was told to go away and be quiet; I could engage in those conversations. I learned about politics literally at the feet of people who understood its power both to set free and to oppress.

I had the occasion to travel around and speak publicly as a young teenager, after I won an essay contest for King Day. I only remember small bits of it, but it focused on the various inequities that remained in the public school systems of South Carolina. We have what’s called the “Corridor of Shame,” where schools built after the Civil War are falling apart, where students have access to so little, where teachers are forced to buy things out of pocket. I went to that kind of school. So thinking about these issues, and being unsettled by them, was part of my early socialization, and they move me still.

I think I’ve been teaching privileged folks about race for as long as I can remember. But in my formal role as a teacher, mentor and advisor here at Stanford, I see it as a deep obligation that I have. As I tell my students, my job is never to force them to think a certain way but it’s at least to force them to reckon with why they think the way they think—to engage the possibility of being wrong. I have attempted to create a space where truth is held in very high regard but students can feel comfortable laying bare their ignorance on some topic, their belief set that differs from my own. And I also think I benefit from telling my students the truth about who I am.

I think treating students as full beings who can understand the complexities of the world, who can engage you as a serious interlocutor—students are ready for that kind of education. And that’s what I try to give every time I have the privilege of teaching them.

Paula Moya

Paula Moya

Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor of the Humanities and Professor, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures

"To what extent is it possible to describe an 'American' experience? How are different people included in or excluded from the imagined community that is America? How do a person's race, class, gender and sexuality affect his or her experience of belonging to this country? These are just some of the questions my students and I ask in a Stanford Introductory Seminar I teach called 'Growing Up in America.' As my students and I encounter, in literature, the great diversity of childhood and young adult experiences of people who have grown up in this country, we explore the different rhetorical and aesthetic strategies authors use to write about the 'self' in literature. In the process of learning about literature, we learn about ourselves—and vice versa. It is one of my favorite classes to teach, and one through which I have met some truly outstanding young people.

In all my scholarship and my teaching, I am concerned with the relationship between identity, experience, and knowledge. One of my most basic working assumptions is that our identities have consequences for how we experience and interpret the world. It is a sociological fact that who we are—who we perceive ourselves or are perceived by others to be—will significantly affect our life chances: where we can live, whom we will marry (or whether we can marry) and what kinds of educational and employment opportunities will be available to us. What fascinates me is how this sociological fact figures into the production of cultural products like literature, and of the production of knowledge more generally. One of my most popular undergraduate lecture classes, 'Writings by Women of Color,' addresses precisely this question.

The kinds of questions I am interested in demand an interdisciplinary approach. I feel fortunate to be teaching at an institution with a strong commitment to interdisciplinary research. My own work has been considerably enriched by the opportunity to team-teach courses with faculty who specialize in other disciplines. I have been able to do this through my affiliations with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and Feminist Studies.

"With its diverse undergraduate student body, Stanford is a wonderful place for me to explore the relationship between identity, experience, and knowledge. And if the cards and letters I get from my students are to be believed, Stanford is a wonderful place for them, too!"

Debbie G. Senesky

Debbie G. Senesky

Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department and by courtesy, the Electrical Engineering Department. In addition, she is the Principal Investigator of the EXtreme Environment Microsystems Laboratory (XLab).

“It’s an exciting time to be an aerospace engineer. There have been amazing breakthroughs in the field, such as the realization of rockets that can launch, land and launch again. My research group is developing micro- and nanoscale sensors that can survive and function within extreme conditions found on the surface of Mars, Venus or within rocket engines. It’s thrilling to think that our work could eventually impact space exploration.

“Deciding which engineering problems to solve and how to pursue the best solutions can be challenging. After completing my doctorate, I didn’t know which career path to choose. I ended up taking a job in industry, which opened my eyes to the challenges of commercialization and taught me how to transition a design concept to an actual product. However, I realized that I missed being in an academic research environment, so I took a nontraditional path and became a postdoctoral researcher after working in industry. It was a risky career choice, and people close to me questioned my decision, but the move was a helpful deviation in my career path. As a postdoctoral researcher, I learned how to run a lab, mentor students, teach classes, write proposals, and eventually, I decided to pursue a career in academia. Now, as an assistant professor, my work is multifaceted – I’m never doing the same thing every day – and I get to work with amazing students.”

Ge Wang

Ge Wang

is an Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

“Anything worth designing is worth designing beautifully. There’s an art to shaping our world in a way that’s both useful and human. Only recently have I realized that my work with music and technology is unified by design, specifically a notion of ‘artful design.’ We can’t simply ‘smush’ disciplines together and hope things work out – and design is how we fit all the elements together in the right place and order to create something new. Stanford is a place where creative things happen naturally at the intersection of many different disciplines, and such an intersection is where I work and play. And the weather here is pretty good, too.

“It’s not enough to follow your interests—you have to fight for them. Back when I was an undergrad, there was no academic program that combined computers, music and design. Even as I pursued it out of interest, it was with constant doubt in my mind: ‘By doing this, am I shooting myself in the foot, or ultimately making myself unemployable?’ The one reassurance was knowing that if I were to ‘fail,’ it would be without regret because it was done out of solid interest. Looking back, life feels like a feedback loop, and I seem to be living what I am working on. And much like the book I’m currently writing, and the design process itself, I have no idea how it will turn out – and along the way, it’s enjoyable, sometimes agonizing, but always filled with curiosity.”

Michael V. Wilcox

Michael V. Wilcox

Joined the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University in 2001 as an Assistant Professor and Senior Lecturer in Native American Studies, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

His dissertation, entitled "The Pueblo Revolt of 1680: Communities of Resistance, Ethnic Conflict and Alliance Formation Among Upper Rio Grande Pueblos," articulates the social consequences of subordination, and explores the processes of boundary maintenance at both regional and communal levels. During his graduate studies at Harvard, he was very involved in strengthening the Harvard University Native American Program and in designing and teaching award-winning courses in Native American Studies.

His recent publications include: The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of Conquest: An Indigenous Archaeology of Contact, University of California Press (2009) (book blog ); Marketing Conquest and the Vanishing Indian: An Indigenous Response to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse; Journal of Social Archaeology, Vol. 10, No. 1, 92-117 (2010); Saving Indigenous Peoples From Ourselves: Separate but Equal Archaeology is Not Scientific Archaeology", American Antiquity 75(2), 2010; NAGPRA and Indigenous Peoples: The Social Context, Controversies and the Transformation of American Archaeology, in Voices in American Archaeology: 75th Anniversary Volume of the Society for American Archaeology, edited by Wendy Ashmore, Dorothy Lippert, and Barbara J. Mills (2010).

Professor Wilcox's main research interests include Native American ethnohistory in the American Southwest; the history of Pueblo Peoples in New Mexico; Indigenous Archaeology; ethnic identity and conflict; DNA, race and cultural identity in archaeology and popular culture; and the political and historical relationships between Native Americans, anthropologists and archaeologists.

Related Sites

Go Global

Access Stanford's portal to international activities including related research, education, events, funding and study abroad information.

Updated on August 2, 2022 1:31 PM