Stanford Humanities Lab


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Stanford Humanities Lab is a center for"Trans/Post-disciplinary study" located in StanfordUniversity, Palo Alto, California. According to SHL, by ignoringand crossing the disciplinary lines, new discoveries andfascinatine 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 thatthere is no other way to be a researcher in our contemporarysociety, since developments in biological and health sciences,digital culture and global society have pushed the nature ofquestions being asked in the academic sphere toward a moreinterconnected approach.

The SHL website also includes a list of courses that are a result of research done by the Lab or which are related to the aim of the organization. For example, Stanford students can choose from courses such as "Human and the Machine," "Digital Humanities: Literature and Technology", "History of Computer Game Design: Technology, Culture, Business" among others.



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. A selection that maybe of interest to students in HuCo:

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 :: 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 :: A collaborative research projectthat examines the importance of the crowd in the modern era.

dpResearch :: A digital performancejournal. (2001)

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 :: A project exploringthe history and cultural impact of interactive simulations andvideo games.

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 :: 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 :: A project that seeks to develop ahead camera and research protocol to study how people learn inhumanities museums.

Traumwerk :: A web-based collaborativeauthoring environment designed to explore, experimentally, someclassic issues in the humanities.

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 spacefor news and events happening around campus that relate to opensource software. The organizers of OPENsource Lab hope to expandthis work into other areas such as "software development,university policy work, open access publishing". Several keyopen source software has come out of Stanford, such as Sakai, anonline collaborative learning environment, Protege, open sourceontology editor and knowledge-base framework, and Open JournalSystems,,a content management system for publishing open accessacademic 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

The Stanford Humanities Lab enjoys "durable andwide-ranging support from, and rich collaborative relationshipswith", a variety of bodies and organizations both within andoutside the University.


Cisco, MondoBiotech, Innovation Center Denmark, Danish Agencyfor Science, Technology and Innovation, DaimlerChrysler, Arts andHumanities Research Council (UK), Herman Miller, Inc., The SeaverInstitute, Stanford President's Fund, Stanford Office of theVice-Provost for Undergraduate Education, Stanford School ofHumanities and Sciences, Stanford School of Engineering,Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Wallenberg GlobalLearning Network,


Stanford Humanities Center, SCI-Arc (Southern CaliforniaInstitute of Architecture), HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science andTechnology Advanced Collaboratory), Institute for the Future,Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (SCIL), Stanford MediaX,

Museums, Performance Spaces, Cultural Centers, and Libraries

Canadian Center for Architecture, Cantor Arts Center at StanfordUniversity, Krannert Art Museum (U. of Illinois, Champaign), LosAngeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Stanford UniversityLibraries, San Francisco Fine Arts Museum (De Young Museum), TheWolfsonian-FIU, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, WorcesterPolytechnic Institute, Department of Special Collections,University of Arizona Library


Stanford Humanities Lab
OPENsource Lab
Office of the Vice Provost of Research, Stanford

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