Former principal honoured with professorship

Former principal honoured with professorship

January 26, 2023


The Faculty of Arts and Science has announced Nancy van Deusen will hold the inaugural Principal Emeritus Daniel R. Woolf Professorship in the Humanities.

Nancy Van Deusen
Nancy Van Deusen

Dr. van Deusen is a professor in the Department of History and has published extensively in areas related to slavery, Indigeneity, and gender in the historical context of Spain and colonial Latin America. Her work has been widely recognized, with her 2015 monograph, Global Indios: The Indigenous Struggle for Justice in Sixteenth Century Spain, being a finalist for two major book prizes.

This important work has further advanced knowledge in the area of slavery and colonization in the Spanish and Latin American context and further the institution's efforts toward decolonization and reconciliation.

The professorship was created by a special campaign chaired by past Queen’s Board Chair William Young (Sc’77), with support from Chancellor Emeritus Jim Leech (MBA'73). The professorship was established to honour Dr. Woolf (Artsci'80), the 20th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s and professor of history, for his decade of service (2009-2019) and to support high-quality teaching and research conducted by faculty members in the humanities at Queen's. 

A total of 87 donors gave $2 million for this professorship. Stephen Smith (Sc’72, LLD’17), Chancellor Emeritus David Dodge (Arts’65, LLD’02), and Christiane Dodge (Arts’65) helped lead the fundraising campaign.

Currently on sabbatical at Oxford University, Dr. Van Deusen says she applied for the professorship because it allows her freedom to continue her research and continue her academic work with students.

“The responsibilities involve working on my research project over the next five years and attracting international students to come to Queen's to work with me,” she adds.

Daniel Woolf stands in front of a vine-covered wall.
Daniel Woolf

Dr. Woolf's research has focused on two areas – early modern British intellectual and cultural history, and the global history and theory of historical writing. He is the author of five books and co-editor of several others, including the two-volume A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing (2 vols 1998). He says he is honoured by the new professorship.

“I’ve always been of the view that Queen’s needed more named chairs and professorships to which faculty could be appointed for exceptional career academic achievement, and I’m also a humanities scholar at heart,” he says. “I feel greatly honoured that the university has established this new professorship in my name, and in the corner of the university to which I feel most attached. I am especially happy to see my history department colleague Nancy van Deusen, one of our leading humanities researchers, appointed as the first occupant of the professorship. My thanks to the Board of Trustees members and generous donors who have made this possible.”

The Principal Emeritus Daniel R. Woolf Professorship in the Humanities is a rotating professorship position within the 11 Humanities departments every five years, with the inaugural professorship being held in the Department of History. It is designed to support other professional activities including student supervision, research, conferences, and lectures and to nurture interdisciplinary connections on campus, both within and beyond the humanities, through research, teaching, and service.

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