Christopher Freeburg

Conrad Humanities Scholar, Professor of English


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


African American Studies, American, later, Theory & Criticism

Work(s) in Progress

Emancipation Blues: Black Art and Culture 1940-1977 (book project) , "Urban Blight and Afro Pessimism" (article) , Slavery after Resistance and Social Death (book ms under review)



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

Publication Photo Publication Photo

Book Contributions

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

Journal Articles

  • "Unsettling Agency: Frederick Douglass's Heroic Slave." New North Star Spring/Summer.1 (2019): 9-17.
  • "James Baldwin and the Unhistoric Life of Race." South Atlantic Quarterly 112.Spring (2013):
  • "Teaching Literature and the Bitter Truth about Starbucks." Profession (2012):


  • "Pip and the Sounds of Blackness." New Melville Studies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • "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 Philadephia Freedoms: Black American Trauma, Memory, and Culture after King, American Literary History series .V (2016):
  • Rev. of African Culture and Melville's Art Leviathan (2014):
  • Rev. of Modernism, Race, and ManifestoesModern Fiction Studies 57.1 (2011): 185-187.
  • 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 Imagining Grace: Liberating Theologies in the Slave Narrative TraditionAmerican Literature 74.3 (2002): 638-640.

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