Giovanna Ceserani is the new director of the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis

GIOVANNA CESERANI, associate professor of classics, is the newly appointed faculty director of the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA). Her three-year term began in November.

Giovanna Ceserani
Giovanna Ceserani (Photo: Steve Castillo)

CESTA is an international research hub in the digital humanities, supported by the Dean of Research and the Dean of Humanities and Sciences, and – as of Sept. 1 – is operating under the auspices of the Stanford Humanities Center. It offers fellowship programs, workshops and events for researchers from all walks of academic life working at the intersection of computing, design and the humanities.

“I’m looking forward to working with Giovanna, who understands CESTA’s needs and is making exciting plans for its future,” said Humanities Center Director ROLAND GREENE. “In this new partnership between CESTA and the Humanities Center, we expect that nothing will change in how CESTA operates or in its distinctive culture of highly original research. We intend to stage some events together, raise funds collaboratively and provide administrative support. It’s a new chapter for both institutions.”

A member of the Stanford faculty since 2003, Ceserani studies what early modern Europe’s deep interest in ancient Greece and Rome can tell us about those social and political contexts. Ceserani’s first book, Italy’s Lost Greece: Magna Graecia and the Making of Modern Archaeology (2012), examines the history of Greek archaeological remains in modern Italy. Her two current book projects concern the emergence of modern histories of ancient Greece and manuscript accounts of travels to Italy in the 18th century.

Ceserani succeeds ELAINE TREHARNE, the Roberta Bowman Denning Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, who most recently led CESTA since 2016.

“Under the leadership and vision of its founding director, history Professor ZEPHYR FRANK, and the subsequent directorship of my predecessor, English professor Elaine Treharne, CESTA has thrived and developed into the world’s leading digital humanities center,” said Ceserani.

“I very much look forward to building on their work. The digital humanities are inherently collaborative, and at CESTA original research by Stanford faculty actively involves graduate and undergraduate students from various fields across campus. The work is deeply interdisciplinary and transgenerational in ways that highlight the best of what a university can be.”

A two-time faculty fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (2007-08, 2017-18) and recipient of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship (2012-15), Ceserani earned her doctorate from the University of Cambridge and St. John’s College, UK, and previously held appointments at Princeton University, the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris, and Birkbeck, University of London.

Ceserani is also deeply involved in two key digital projects at Stanford: She was a founding member of Mapping the Republic of Letters and is director of The Grand Tour Project.

“The time is ripe to ask central questions about humanistic inquiry as it relates to the evolving methodologies of a changing world, such as what might publishing become in the digital age, or how can machine-learning change the way we investigate the past,” Ceserani added. “Our new partnership with the Stanford Humanities Center will ensure that CESTA continues to ask such questions.”