The award recognizes promising mid-career scholars

English professors John Levi Barnard and John Gallagher have been named 2024 Conrad Humanities Scholars by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The two were honored with the appointment alongside Maryam Kashani (gender and women’s studiesAsian American studies) and Natalie Lira (Latina/Latino studies).

The Conrad Humanities Scholars Award recognizes promising mid-career scholars and provides financial support for continued achievement, research, and scholarship in humanities. The designation is for five years. The awards are funded by a gift from the late Arlys Conrad (AB, ’44, education).

Since joining the University of Illinois in 2019, John Levi Barnard has become a leading scholar in the interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities. According to his nomination, he writes about the historical emergence of the global animal economy from fisheries and slaughterhouses to fast food restaurants and their importance to American culture. His honors include a Donnelley Family Fellowship from the National Humanities Center; he also was named a Helen Corley Petit Scholar by the College of LAS in 2021. In 2023, his essay “Colonization to Climate Change: American Literature and a Planet on Fire,” was awarded the annual Research Prize for Faculty from the Humanities Research Institute. 

John Gallagher is at the forefront of studying how digital technologies and artificial intelligence are reshaping the field of writing studies. According to his nomination, Gallagher has emerged as a leading scholar in his department working on generative AI. His first book, “Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing” (2020), and his upcoming second book, “Case Study Research in the Digital Age,” address writing pedagogy in rapidly changing digital environments. He was named a Helen Corley Petit Scholar in 2022 and has since published eight articles in leading journals in his field. Gallagher’s scholarship expands the study of literature, cultural theory, and writing.


Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published by the College of LAS.


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