Professor Christopher Freeburg named John A. and Grace. W. Nicholson Professor


Professor Christopher Freeburg has been appointed as the John A. and Grace W. Nicholson Professor in recognition of his outstanding literary achievements and invaluable dedication to the Department of English, the University of Illinois, and the larger community.

Freeburg joined the Department of English as Assistant Professor in 2006 after earning a PhD at the University of Chicago. In 2020, Freeburg was named a University Scholar.

Freeburg’s research interests include American and African American literature, the idea of Black culture, the American Novel after 1850, slavery in the Atlantic world, and media aesthetics. He is the author of numerous publications and Counterlife: Slavery after Resistance and Social Death (Duke University Press, 2021), Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life (University of Virginia Press, 2017), and Melville and the Idea of Blackness: Race and Imperialism in Nineteenth Century America (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Established to further the study of the humanities, with special preference given to the study of literature and the history of philosophy, the John A. and Grace W. Nicholson Professorship originates from a gift from Grace W. Nicholson who pursued undergraduate studies in the College of LAS and professor emeritus John A. Nicholson who taught in the Department of Philosophy for 33 years.