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Distinguished Visiting Professors

Each year, the Humanities Center brings diverse voices and perspectives to Syracuse University through the following distinguished visiting professorships and residencies:


The Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship in the Humanities is a preeminent lectureship originally established by the Watson family to support on-campus residencies of prominent humanities scholars, writers, and artists. Previous holders of the professorship include: Saul Bellow, Laura Freixas, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Hans Mommsen, Toni Morrison, Martha Nussbaum, Mario Vargas Llosa, Leo Steinberg, Teresa de Lauretis, Stephen Greenblatt, Gesa Kirsch, William E. Wallace, Anthony Grafton, and Margaret Atwood.

Watson Professors engage the university community via public lectures, mini-seminars, readings or performances, and more. They are in residence for a semester, a sustained period within a semester, or conduct a series of short visits across the year. Visit our forms page to learn more.

Cherríe Moraga

Cherríe  Moraga 2017 Watson Professor.

Meet the 2017 Jeanette K. Watson Professor, Cherríe Moraga

Cherríe Moraga is a playwright, essayist, and activist. Co-editor of the groundbreaking volume This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, she recently collaborated with visual artist Celia Herrera Rodríguez on a play, New Fire: To Put Things Right Again. Presently, Moraga is completing a memoir, The Native Country of my Heart. Recipient of the Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature, the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lambda Foundation’s “Pioneer” award, Moraga is Artist in Residence at Stanford University in Theater and Performance Studies and in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She is also a founding member of La Red Xicana Indígena, an advocacy group focused on education, culture, and international and local indigenous women’s rights. Read more about Moraga's involvements while at SU.

Laura Freixas

Laura  Freixas 2016 Watson Professor.

Meet the 2016 Jeanette K. Watson Professor, Laura Freixas

Laura Freixas, born in Barcelona in 1958, has published four novels, several short story collections, a memoir, and numerous studies on women's writing and feminist issues. She has translated the works of Virginia Woolf and Andre Gide, among others. Her writings have been featured in Babelia of El País, Revista de libros, Letras libres, Mercurio, and Barcelona's daily newspaper, La Vanguardia. Freixas is also president of the Classics and Moderns organization, which promotes culture created by women.


Sponsored by The Central New York Humanities Corridor from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this initiative brings world-renowned scholars in disciplines across the humanities to Central New York for activities that stimulate research collaborations.

Recent Mellon Distinguished Visiting Collaborators include post-humanist and bio-ethicist Cary Wolfe(Rice University, 2016), feminist theorist Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht University, 2015), linguist David Pesetsky (MIT, 2014), and philosopher John Hawthorne (Oxford, 2013).