Christopher Freeburg is the John A. and Grace W. Nicholson Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is an award-winning author of three scholarly books and numerous articles including, Melville and the Idea of Blackness (Cambridge UP, 2012), Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life (University of Virginia Press, 2017), and Counterlife: Slavery after Resistanceand Social Death (Duke University Press, 2021). My book in-progress, Soul: A Brief History of Black Cultural Life is this culmination of my life’s worth of teaching African American history and culture from the church to hip hop, from slavery to the present. I hold a B.A. from Xavier University of Louisiana, an M.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. I’ve received numerous academic awards, fellowships and titles, most recently, University Scholar, Center for Advanced Study Associate (University of Illinois, 2019-2020), University Scholar (2019-) and Conrad Humanities Scholar (2015-2020), as well as the Hennig Cohen Prize, from The Melville Society, 2012.
Michael D. Snediker is the author of Contingent Figure: Chronic Pain & Queer Embodiment (U.Minnesota Press, 2021) & Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood & Other Felicitous Persuasions (U.Minnesota Press, 2009). He is also the author of two books of poems, The New York Editions (Fordham University Press, 2017) & The Apartment of Tragic Appliances (Punctum Books, 2014). His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including differences, ELH, The Henry James Review, Qui Parle, as well as edited collections with Cambridge University Press, Duke University Press, and Oxford University Press. He is presently writing about object relations minus objects in the work of Lauren Berlant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and the Proustian scenics of Thoreau’s journals. A fortunate recipient of residencies at both the James Merrill House & Yaddo, he is presently Professor of American Literature & Poetics at the University of Houston.
The English department’s Dean Family Speaker Series, which is endowed by a gift from the Dean Family, brings nationally and internationally recognized scholars to campus. It encourages critical conversations and dialogue related to the study of English. All talks are open to the public, and everyone is invited to attend.