Stanford Humanities Lab


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[Stanford Humanities Lab] is a center for "Trans/Post-disciplinary study" located in Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. According to SHL, by ignoring and crossing the disciplinary lines, new discoveries and fascinatine new projects can emerge from this collaborative space. As the name implies, emphasis is placed on the collaborative, team-based, experimental nature of research. SHL believes that there is no other way to be a researcher in our contemporary society, since developments in biological and health sciences, digital culture and global society have pushed the nature of questions being asked in the academic sphere toward a more interconnected approach.



Stanford Humanities Lab is guided by the following agenda:

??? animating archives - regenerating, bringing to life, and fostering new modes of interaction with the storehouses of human, cultural, artistic, scientific achievement - our focus is on the question of the relationship of the human past to efforts at conservation and preservation

??? building bigger pictures - putting specialized in-depth research into the context of big human questions; questions, for example, of rapid social change and innovation, the ethical implications of information technology, the character of distributed digital communities, the politics of digital citizenship, the past, present, and future of intellectual property

??? enabling co-creative collaboration - developing successful models of teamwork, learner-centered models of training (thinking through doing), and collaborative authoring tools and processes

??? building bridges - establishing innovative partnerships between industry, museums, foundations, and high-level university-based research


This is an affliate program with SHL with same guiding principles as the Lab itself. It aims to explore the changing and complex relationship between humanity and technology. However, it is also able to match corporate needs with academic research. In order to do that, Standford established a set of policies regarding Industry affiliation. While private companies can pay fees ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 per year to gain access to HumanTech lab and researchers, the university clearly states that "unlike sponsored projects, Affiliate membership does not convey specific project deliverables, nor are membership fees subject to Stanford University's negotiated indirect cost rates". Therefore, HumanTech does not guarantee any specific result or product as the ultimate end to the affiliation, as it would influence the quality of work being done and put the lab in a conflict of interest.


A variety of diverse, inderdisciplinary projects have and arecontue to come out of SHL. Most projects are represented in awebsite, links to which are found on the Lab.

Artificial Eyes'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Artificial Eyes'; = '#000000';">Artificial Eyes - Investigating the relationship betweennatural science and art in the early modern period, reconstructingobservational instruments and the skills required to use them.

AsianAmericanArt'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'AsianAmericanArt'; = '#000000';">AsianAmericanArt - A study and interpretation of visualart production by individuals of Asian ancestry in the UnitedStates from the mid-19th century to 1965.

Berlin - Temporal Topographies'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Berlin - Temporal Topographies'; = '#000000';">Berlin - Temporal Topographies :: Amultimedia, web-based research project that investigates thehistorical and cultural layers of a city space.

Body Language - A multimedia project that investigatesbody language in Russian and Soviet society through the 20thcentury.

Court Records :: A web based research andteaching environment using court records about ordinary people andeveryday disputes from Brazil and colonial Mali.

Changing All'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Changing All'; = '#000000';">Changing All :: A new 2004-05 projectfocusing on ongoing changes in the grammar and function of all inconversational American English, esp. its use as an intensifier,and its use to introduce quotations.

Crowds'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Crowds'; = '#000000';">Crowds :: A collaborative research projectthat examines the importance of the crowd in the modern era.

dpResearch'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'dpResearch'; = '#000000';">dpResearch :: A digital performance journal.(2001)

Historinet'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Historinet'; = '#000000';">Historinet :: Developing a software systemfor intelligent search of a scholarly archive of digital data,representing the stream of recorded events of a personal scholarlylife.

How They Got Game'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'How They Got Game'; = '#000000';">How They Got Game :: A project exploring thehistory and cultural impact of interactive simulations and videogames.

How The West was Shaped'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'How The West was Shaped'; = '#000000';">How The West was Shaped :: Constructing acomputer model to bring dynamic conceptions of space intohistorical research and pedagogy, starting with railroads in the19th century North American West.





Philosophical Stages :: Experimentalpedagogy at the intersection of philosophy and drama with bothtraditional and new media.

The Rosetta Screen'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'The Rosetta Screen'; = '#000000';">The Rosetta Screen :: A literary-themedartwork to be installed in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Public andUniversity Library in San Jos??, CA

Thinking Aloud and Looking aHEAD at Museum Learning'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Thinking Aloud and Looking aHEAD at Museum Learning'; = '#000000';">Thinking Aloud and Looking aHEAD at Museum Learning :: A project that seeks to develop ahead camera and research protocol to study how people learn inhumanities museums.

Traumwerk'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Traumwerk'; = '#000000';">Traumwerk :: A web-based collaborativeauthoring environment designed to explore, experimentally, someclassic issues in the humanities.

Virtual Mandala'; = '#ff0000';" onMouseOut = "this.innerHTML = 'Virtual Mandala'; = '#000000';">Virtual Mandala :: A project located at theconfluence of the historical process in which a system of thoughtadapts itself to another culture and the development of newtechnology discourse.

OPENsource Lab

Founded in 2007, this is a space to discuss, learn, share and develop open source software. Stanford also holds a regular series of workshops, such as weekly Drupal training, for example, to allow people of various skill levels to come together and share their knowledge. OPENsource Lab website also functions as a space for news and events happening around campus that relate to open source software. The organizers of OPENsource Lab hope to expand this work into other areas such as "software development, university policy work, open access publishing". Several key open source software has come out of Stanford, such as Sakai, an online collaborative learning environment, Protege, open source ontology editor and knowledge-base framework, and Open Journal Systems,,a content management system for publishing open access academic journals. Other projects include: Deme/ Lingo LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) Open Culture Blog Simbios SULinux The Stanford SRP Authentication Project

OPENsource Lab provides a directory of free, open source tools that can be useful to any researcher, including desktop applications and web publishing and collaboation tools.

Partners, sponsors, donors

As their website states, The Stanford Humanities Lab enjoys durable and wide-ranging support from, and rich collaborative relationships with, entities and organizations both within and outside the University.

Sponsors include:

CiscoMondoBiotechInnovation Center DenmarkDanish Agency for Science, Technology and InnovationDaimlerChryslerArts and Humanities Research Council (UK)Herman Miller, Inc.The Seaver InstituteAir Force Office of Scientific Research, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) ProgramHPS SimulationsThe Langlois FoundationStanford President's FundStanford Office of the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate EducationStanford School of Humanities and SciencesStanford School of EngineeringAssociation for Theatre in Higher EducationWallenberg Global Learning Network


Stanford Humanities CenterSCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture)HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory)Institute for the FutureStanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL)Stanford Media X

Museums, Performance Spaces, Cultural Centers, and Libraries

Canadian Center for ArchitectureCantor Arts Center at Stanford UniversityKrannert Art Museum (U. of Illinois, Champaign)Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)Stanford University LibrariesSan Francisco Fine Arts Museum (De Young Museum)The Wolfsonian-FIUYerba Buena Center for the ArtsWorcester Polytechnic InstituteDepartment of Special Collections, University of Arizona Library


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