Greene, a scholar of early modern literature, will lead the Stanford Humanities Center starting this fall

The professor of English and of comparative literature will begin his term at the helm of the renowned hub for advanced research Sept. 1.

Stanford literature Professor Roland Greene has been named the new director of the Stanford Humanities Center. He will begin his term on Sept. 1, 2019.

Roland Greene

Literature Professor Roland Greene has been named the next director of the Stanford Humanities Center. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

Greene’s appointment was announced by Stanford’s Vice Provost and Dean of Research Kam Moler and Debra Satz, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at the beginning of July.

The Humanities Center is a world-renowned hub for advanced research that supports scholars at all stages in their academic careers as they investigate and interpret the human experience. Each year it welcomes nearly 50 fellows and international visitors, hosts over 100 research workshops and presents more than 50 public events.

Greene is the Mark Pigott KBE Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and holds appointments in the Departments of Comparative Literature and English. As director of the Humanities Center, he will hold the Anthony P. Meier Family Professorship.

Moler said that as the new director of the Stanford Humanities Center, Greene will be an “excellent leader who will ensure that the center contributes deeply to opportunities for Stanford scholars and continues to build a strong base for sharing humanistic knowledge and research globally to engage the wider public.”

Greene’s research spans the early modern literature of different parts of the globe: England, Latin America, and the Transatlantic world, as well as poetry and poetics from the Renaissance to the present.

Greene received his doctorate from Princeton University and previously held appointments at Harvard University and the University of Oregon. He is the author of several books, including Five Words: Critical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes (2013); Unrequited Conquests: Love and Empire in the Colonial Americas (1999); and Post-Petrarchism: Origins and Innovations of the Western Lyric Sequence (1991). Greene is also the editor in chief of the fourth edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (2012), considered the leading reference book on poetry. He is a past president of the Modern Language Association and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Greene is also the founder and director of Arcade, a digital space for readers and writers interested in literary studies and humanities research.

“Some other disciplines solve problems. We return to the problems that can never be solved but must be addressed again by each intellectual generation in its own ways.”

—Roland Greene

Greene oversees two research working groups with colleagues and graduate students. In 2004, he established Renaissances: A Research Group in Early Modern Literatures, and in 2006 he created the Stanford Poetics Workshop, which includes a regular membership of faculty members, advanced graduate students and fellows at the Humanities Center. These groups invite both Stanford scholars and visitors to present research in progress and help assemble the community of doctoral students currently working in these areas. Greene has also directed more than 40 dissertations.

Additionally, Greene is actively involved with the Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, the Bing Overseas Studies Program and the Program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE), of which he is a former director.

“As the leading institution of its kind, the center houses research across the fields of the humanities and shares it with the campus and the world,” said Greene. “Humanities research is diverse, as different as philosophy is from art history; it is complex; and it approaches ideas and objects, even the oldest ones, not as static or inert but as living in the present.”

“Some other disciplines solve problems. We return to the problems that can never be solved but must be addressed again by each intellectual generation in its own ways,” he says.

History Professor Caroline Winterer has served as the Humanities Center director since 2013.

During her term, Winterer substantially expanded the center’s undergraduate programs with the aim of helping to introduce humanities research protocols to more Stanford students. She also founded the Manuscript Review Workshops, which help early-career professors in the humanities and arts to refine a first book manuscript for publication. Additionally, she brought Stanford’s distinguished Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities under the administrative purview of the Humanities Center in order to encourage collaborations among all the scholars touched by the center.

“In her role, Caroline Winterer successfully championed initiatives that encouraged and strengthened development of the center as a collaborative, interdisciplinary research hub, connecting diverse communities of scholars across campus and beyond,” says Satz, the Vernon R. and Lysbeth Warren Anderson Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences and Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society.

While directing the center, Winterer also continued her own research on American intellectual history; highlights include the publication of her book, American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason and election to the Society of American Historians.

Greene voices his gratitude for the accomplishments and vision of his predecessor. “Caroline Winterer leaves an extraordinary legacy. Her success in expanding the center’s range of fellowships and also bringing undergraduates into the community has really transformed the institution,” he says. “We’ll honor her work by building on it.”

Winterer says that Greene is perfect for the position. “Not only is he a leading literary scholar, but he also has a long history of deep involvement with the Humanities Center. We’re looking forward to seeing the center thrive in new ways under his leadership.”