Trowbridge Initiative in American Cultures Director; Professor of English

Gordon Hutner is the long-time editor of American Literary History. Among his many edited books are A New Deal for the Humanities: Liberal Arts and the Future of Public Higher Education (Rutgers, 2016); Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt (Oxford World’s Classics, 2010); The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth (Signet, 2006); Immigrant Voices: Twenty-Four Narratives on Becoming American (Signet, 1999); and American Literature, American Culture (Oxford, 1999). His most recent book is What America Read: Taste, Class, and the Novel (UNC, 2008).



Advisory Committee


Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair; Professor of History

Antoinette Burton is a historian of 19th and 20th century Britain and its empire, with a specialty in colonial India and an ongoing interest in Australasia and Africa. She has written on topics ranging from feminism and colonialism to the relationship of empire to the nation and the world. Women, gender, and sexuality are central to her research, much of which has been concerned with the role of Indian women in the imperial and postcolonial imagination. She has edited collections about politics, mobility, postcolonialism and empire and has frequently collaborated with Tony Ballantyne. She is the director of IPRH, is the principal investigator of Humanities without Walls, and is working on a Bloomsbury series on the cultures of western imperialism and a Duke University Press series on history teaching.



Professor of Religion; Department Head

Jonathan Ebel specializes in the religious history of the United States and has written on the role religion plays in shaping American soldiers’ war experiences and the nation’s war memories. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2017-18 to support work on his third book, a study of religion and the Dust Bowl migration in agricultural California. Ebel is the author of G.I. Messiahs: Soldiering, War, and American Civil Religion (Yale, 2015) and Faith in the Fight: Religion and the American Solider in the Great War (Princeton, 2010). He co-edited From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America (California, 2012) with John Carlson of Arizona State University.



Professor of Communication; Associate Department Head

Cara A. Finnegan’s research examines the role of photography as a tool for public life. Photographs are powerful forms of communication: they visualize social issues, make visible those who are often invisible, and foster or limit bonds of identification. Her book-length projects are best described as rhetorical histories of photography, in that she variously examines the production, composition, circulation, and reception of photographs at specific moments in U.S. history. Her most recent book is Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital (Illinois, 2021) and was preceded by Making Photography Matter: A Viewer’s History from the Civil War to the Great Depression (Illinois, 2015). During 2016-17, Finnegan held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.



John A. and Grace W. Nicholson Professor of English

Christopher Freeburg specializes in African American literature, Black culture, and media aesthetics. He is an affiliate professor with the Unit for Criticism and Interpretative Theory. His most recent books include Counterlife: Slavery and Resistance after Social Death (Duke, 2021) and Black Aesthetics and the Interior Life (Virginia, 2017). He is currently working on a book project titled The Book of Black Culture.




Associate Professor of Latina/Latino Studies and English

With affiliations in English, Comparative Literature, and Gender and Women’s Studies, Sandra Ruiz specializes in performance and theater studies, Puerto Rican studies, Latinx studies, and Caribbean studies, among other fields. She has published in Small Axe, Women & Performance, and Performance Matters, and her most recent books include Formless Formations: Vignettes for the End of This World (Autonomedia Press, 2021, coauthored with Hypatia Vourloumis) and Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance (NYU, 2019). She is an IPRH fellow for the 2021-22 academic term and a recipient of the 2021 Conrad Humanities Scholar Award.