Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Christopher Freeburg

Associate Professor of English

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PhD. University of Chicago; MA Stanford University; BA Xavier University of Louisiana


I teach advanced and survey courses in American and African American literature. I also teach discovery courses for new students that incorporate different forms of media like newspapers, television shows (cartoons and sketch comedy), and contemporary fiction.

Research Interests

American and African American Literature; The Idea of Black Culture; The American Novel after 1850; Slavery in the Atlantic World; Media Aesthetics

Selected Publications


  • Melville and the Idea of Blackness: Race and Imperialism in Nineteenth Century America. New York: Cambridge, 2012.
  • Black Aesthetics and Inner Life. 2017.

Book Contributions

  • "Walt Whitman, James Weldon Johnson and the Violent Paradox of U.S. Progress." Whitman Noir. University of Iowa Press, 2014.

Journal Articles

  • "James Baldwin and the Unhistoric Life of Race." South Atlantic Quarterly 112.Spring (2013):
  • "Teaching Literature and the Bitter Truth about Starbucks." Profession (2012):
  • "Unsettling Agency: Frederick Douglass' Heroic Slave." Journal of African American History (2017):


  • "Chasing Slavery's Ghosts ." American Literary History . 2015.
  • "Baldwin and the Occasion of Love." The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.


  • Rev. of Imagining Grace: Liberating Theologies in the Slave Narrative TraditionAmerican Literature 74.3 (2002): 638-640.
  • Rev. of Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640-1940; The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade, comp. Laura Doyle. American Literature 81.3 (2009): 613-615.
  • Rev. of Modernism, Race, and ManifestoesModern Fiction Studies 57.1 (2011): 185-187.
  • Rev. of African Culture and Melville's Art Leviathan (2014):

Works in Progress

  • Slavery and the Idea of Black Culture (book) Melville and Black Performance (essay)