Professor Christopher Freeburg was selected as one of the inaugural Presidential Humanities and Social Science Chairs, along with along with D. Fairchild Ruggles (landscape architecture). The endowment, with funds invested by the University of Illinois System president, is intended to support humanities and social sciences scholars whose research focuses on innovation and discovery.

Freeburg was one of nine University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty members to be named as a university endowed chair or professor, an honor awarded to the highly distinguished scholars for their excellence and prominence in research, teaching and service. 

“An endowed chair is among the highest honors bestowed to faculty at our university,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost John Coleman. “The remarkable accomplishments of these scholars make them leading and field-shaping voices in their respective fields. We are grateful for their role in making our university one of the best in the world and for the societal impact of their work across the nation and across the globe.”

Freeburg is the former John A. and Grace W. Nicholson Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has an appointment in the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. He is a distinguished critic of African American literature and culture. His recently published book, “Counterlife: Slavery after Resistance and Social Death,” advances the position that the last half-century of scholarship on slavery in the Americas is rooted in emergent sociology and social theory of the 1950s.

Learn more about campus-wide named chairs.


Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published by the Illinois News Bureau.

Related topics: