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Roland Hsu

Roland Hsu, PhD

Associate Director of The Stanford Humanities Center
Associate Director of The Stanford Humanities Center

Stanford Humanities Center
424 Santa Teresa Street
Stanford, CA 94305


Hsu is dedicated to fostering humanities research, and bringing creative and multi-disciplinary thinking to the challenges of international cultural dialogue, and post-conflict peace and reconciliation.  Currently his research focuses on immigration and ethnic identity formation.  His publications combine humanistic and social science methods and materials to uncover the mass movements of peoples, political responses, and experiences of integration.  His book on “Ethnic Europe” combines essays by leading scholars whom Hsu brought to Stanford for a conference on the subject, and the book is edited and begins with an essay by Hsu on the state of our thinking in this area.  His essay in Le Monde Diplomatique engages the contemporary politics of immigration and ethnicity in Europe and France. 

Hsu’s new work-in-progress is a book-length publication – co-edited with Christoph Reinprecht at the University of Vienna – with contributions by scholars from multiple disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences on the politics, history, and culture of immigration and integration in Europe and East Asia.  On the same large subject area Hsu is preparing to launch a web-based, curated and dynamic clearing house of the best new thinking on migration in national, regional, and trans-national settings.

Hsu developed this interest based on work with Stanford and international faculty, and with the scholars, and policy and civil society leaders he has helped bring to Stanford.  Hsu’s long list of research conferences, workshops, research seminars, and public events includes:

  • Authors: Ian McEwan, Orhan Pamuk, Aris Fioretos
  • Conferences/workshops/seminars: New thinking on Nobel Laureate Nelly Sachs, Diversity and Community in Sweden in film and the arts, Context of Hirsi Ali, Faculty Roundtable on Salmon Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton: A Memoir”, Hannah Arendt in the Humanities, Ethnic Europe, Conscience, Democracy in Adversity and Diversity, Migration and Integration
  • Scholars/Analysts: Francis Fukuyama, Vali Nasr, Olivier Roy, Timothy Garton Ash, Istvan Deak
  • Journalists: John Micklethwait (Editor, the Economist), Josef Joffe (Die Zeit), Frederick Mitterand
  • Policy leaders: Catherine Ashton (EU High Representative and Vice President), Jan Eliasson (former UN Secretary General), Jonathan Phillips (Permanent Secretary, UK Northern Ireland Office), Lionel Jospin (former French PM), Daniel Cohen Bendit, Ambassadors to the US, Foreign Ministers, Presidents from Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Algeria, Ukraine, Spain, Basque Region

Hsu’s current interest also stems from his previous research and teaching on historical and cultural points of conflict.  At the University of Chicago, Hsu taught numerous courses on political thought and literature (investigating themes including “evil”, “revolution”, and early modern womens’ literature”).  His dissertation on public monuments, history texts, and the political use of the French Revolution forms the basis for multiple subsequent research projects on political and cultural conflict, legitimacy, and reconciliation in Europe.  Hsu deployed humanistic and social science methods across disciplinary boundaries to investigate visual arts, audience response, political philosophy, and historical schools of thought of medieval origins of the modern European nation-state.  His dissertation reveals the role of history and revolution in legitimizing modern French regimes.

At the University of Idaho, Hsu was Assistant Professor of History, completing research on visual representations of revolution and reception theory in nineteenth-century France, and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on nineteenth-century European intellectual and political history, world history (ancient through modern), empire, colonial and emancipation eras, and the French Revolution.

At Stanford, Hsu was awarded a three-year Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in the Introduction to Humanities Program.  Serving as a Fellow he conducted research on collective memory, and inspired by Stanford faculty and students turned his focus to post-conflict and post-atrocity research.  He has increasingly focused on investigating the history and future of post-conflict studies and models for truth and reconciliation and emancipation, using material and methods from the humanities (history, philosophy, literary criticism, visual arts) and the social sciences (political science, sociology, anthropology.)

In his more than seven years of research and administrative leadership Hsu helped build the Europe Center from its founding as the European Forum, its subsequent growth to the Forum on Contemporary Europe, and now a full research center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Hsu’s contribution to the growth of the Europe Center, includes building multiple research scholar exchange and fellowships (with new funding) for residencies at the Europe Center.  Hsu has also cultivated institutional partnerships with more than six European universities for on-going cooperative programming and scholar exchange.

Previously at Stanford, Hsu served as Associate Director of the Europe Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies.  Hsu was also Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Advising and Research, and additionally served as Acting Associate Director of the Introduction to Humanities Program.

Hsu earned his Ph.D. in Modern European History at the University of Chicago.  He holds an M.A. in Art History from Chicago, and a dual B.A. in Art History and also English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley.

Other Affiliations

Stanford Humanities Center