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Research Group

Laura Stokes, Director

Laura Stokes is an Associate Professor of History at Stanford. Her book, Demons of Urban Reform, examines the origins of witchcraft prosecution in fifteenth-century Europe against the backdrop of a general rise in the prosecution of crime and other measures of social control. In the process she has investigated the relationship between witchcraft and sodomy persecutions as well as the interplay between the unregulated development of judicial torture and innovations within witchcraft prosecution. Her current research is an examination of quotidian economic culture during the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries.

Laura serves as the director of the research group, which grew out of a project on the multigenerational legacies of trauma and pragmatic questions about the efficacy of humanitarian intervention. She leads the group as it seeks new directions for humanitarian aid and development that take into account the dynamics of collective and intergenerational trauma and work to strengthen local and internal mechanisms of collective healing.


Mackenzie Cooley, Graduate Student Coordinator

Mackenzie Cooley is a doctoral student in the History department and a PhD minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stanford University. She concentrates on the history of culture and science in Renaissance Italy, Spain, and the Spanish-American colonies. Mackenzie is pursuing research in several areas including definitions of personhood, the history of breeding and its relationship to race, and natural history. As her research is concerned with changing ideas of the effects of nature versus nurture in the early modern period, questions of inheritance and the physical ramifications of institutional practices are particularly relevant. With a deep interest in historical theory, she is eager to work with this research group to learn more about how physical and social realities of intergenerational relationships affect our understanding of history's shape.


Lindsey Martin, Graduate Student Coordinator

Lindsey Martin is a PhD Candidate in History at Stanford. Her dissertation, "Policing and the Creation of an Early Modern City: Moscow under Catherine the Great, 1762-1796," focuses on how rulers and officials attempted to radically transform the physical, social, and imagined space of Moscow through the process of policing the city. As a member of the research group, she is interested in the politics of memory and how societies do (or do not) tell stories about the past, particularly in Russia and the former Soviet Union. She also hopes the work of the group will encourage more historians to actively engage in public discussions, particularly those that touch upon how traumatic events of the past continue to resonate in the present.


Thao Nguyen

Thao P. Nguyen ( is a solo performer, playwright, and comic storyteller. Her creative work often reframes experiences of oppression in terms of a trauma that is both systemic and based in day-to-day interactions. The characters in her stories reveal how structural inequality makes life absurd, ridiculous, painful, and utterly hilarious. She is a doctoral student in the Theater and Performance Studies department at Stanford University, conducting research on the ways that Queer and Trans* People of Color respond to oppression with aesthetic and quotidian performances. Prior to coming to Stanford, Thao worked for six years with victims of sexual trauma at the rape crisis center in San Mateo County and received an MPH from UC Berkeley after completing her thesis: "VietStory: War Trauma, Mental Health, and Storytelling in Vietnamese America."


Mojgan Rahbari-Jawoko

Mojgan Rahbari-Jawoko, PhD is a specialist in social/public policy and administration. Her primary expertise is in immigration policy, and she has special interest in lived integration experiences of migrant families in their host society. Her current research focuses on immigration, refugees, and asylum seekers in Canada, US, and UK. Migrants and their families experience trauma psychologically and socio-culturally at varying levels and depending on multiple factors, such as the conditions that forced them to leave their homes, their migration experience, and their level of acceptance and adaptation.

Dr. Rahbari-Jawoko is the Training and Development Specialist at Stanford Peace Innovation Lab within the Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute at the Graduate School of Education. She also serves as a Research and Capacity Development Manager on a consultancy basis with African Diaspora Network, a Silicon Valley-based non-profit/NGO that facilitates direct collaboration between emerging African leaders in STEM fields, social entrepreneurs, and business leaders in Africa and Silicon Valley.


Hannah LeBlanc

Hannah LeBlanc is a PhD student studying history of science and minoring in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. She concentrates on the history of biomedical and environmental sciences in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Hannah’s research interests include the use of race and gender in scientific research, human-environment interactions, food history, and history of neuroscience. She is interested in working across disciplinary divides between the humanities and natural sciences, while at the same time developing the critical insights of history of science and science studies.