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Directors and Staff

Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne, Director

Elaine Treharne is Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities at Stanford. In addition to serving as director of CESTA, she directs Stanford Text Technologies, an interdisciplinary program that draws upon both History of the Book and Digital Humanities to investigate the long history of "text." She is Principal Investigator of Stanford's contribution to the NEH-funded, multi-institutional project "Global Currents: Cultures of Literary Networks, 1050-1900", and also co-directs Stanford's Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Professor Treharne is a keen advocate and critic of the use of digital technologies in the classroom; in addition to a seminar on the history of text technologies, she offers an online course, "Digging Deeper," that explores the creation and interpretation of manuscripts. Since 2015, she has served as co-director of the undergraduate Digital Humanities Minor.

Giovanna Ceserani, Assistant Faculty Director

Giovanna Ceserani works on the classical tradition with an emphasis on the intellectual history of classical scholarship, historiography and archaeology from the eighteenth century onwards. She is interested in the role that Hellenism and Classics played in the shaping of modernity and, in turn, in how the questions we ask of the classical past originate in specific modern cultural, social and political contexts. Her interest in travel is engaging new digital approaches with a focus on the Grand Tour for the Stanford digital humanities project Mapping the Republic of Letters (

Ali Yaycioglu, Faculty Advisory Board

Ali Yaycioglu is a historian of the Ottoman Empire. His research centers on the economic, political, and legal institutions, ideas and practices; forms of accumulating and losing power and wealth; spatial organization of the empire; and the transformation of the social-religious order in the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. Professor Yaycioglu is the supervisor of a digital history project, Mapping Ottoman Epirus, a big data project, which aims to analyze and illustrate the spatial dimension of political, economic, infra-structural, and environmental relations in the Ottoman Empire.

Kathryn Starkey, Faculty Advisory Board

Kathryn Starkey is Professor of German in the Department of German Studies. Her primary research interests are medieval and early modern German literature and culture with an emphasis on visuality, material culture, language, performativity, and the history of the book.

Michael Penn, Faculty Advisory Board

Michael Penn, the Teresa Hihn Moore Professor of Religious Studies, is a specialist in the history of early Christianity with a particular focus on middle eastern Christians who wrote in the Aramaic dialect of Syriac. Professor Penn is currently working on an Andrew Mellon Foundation funded collaboration that uses recent advances in the computerized analysis of handwriting to help analyze ancient Aramaic manuscripts. In addition to this work in the digital humanities, Professor Penn has begun several related projects that focus on the history of Syriac Christianity and the manuscripts they produced.

Amanda Wilson Bergado

Amanda Wilson Bergado

Amanda Wilson Bergado is CESTA’s Program Manager. Amanda supports events, communications, and the research assistants program. Amanda received her MA in U.S. History from UC Santa Cruz, where her research focused on Chinese migration, gender and family, criminality, and social identity and organization. Previously, Amanda worked in Stanford’s office of Undergraduate Advising and Research where she coordinated new student transition and advising programs. Amanda cherishes Stanford’s history and traditions and is thrilled to be a part of CESTA’s highly collaborative and cutting-edge work.

Erik Steiner

Erik Steiner

Erik Steiner is the Creative Director of the Spatial History Project and came to Stanford as a founding member of the Lab in 2007. A geographer by training and a designer by practice, for over 15 years he has led the development of creative mapping projects for academic research in the fields of geography, architecture, ecology and the spatial humanities. At CESTA he has participated in dozens of projects with a focus on visual, data-driven, aesthetic, empirical and critical methods. His design work has work multiple awards and he is a former president of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). At CESTA and in everyday life, Erik is passionate about building deep creative partnerships that bring together people of diverse disciplines and expertise.

Brian Kersey

Brian is CESTA's administrative associate. Hailing from sunny SoCal, Brian moved to Berkeley to study History, where he received his BA and MA from the University of California. His studies ranged from Modern European History, South Asian History, and US History including: 19th/20th century urbanization, immigration, archaeology, and environmental history. He enjoys gardening, the outdoors, cooking, and raising chickens .

Amita Kumar

Amita Kumar

Amita Kumar is the Associate Director for the Center for the Study of Language and Information. She is responsible for administration and management of finances and human resources at CESTA.