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Carla Freeman named next director of the Fox Center
Carla Freeman

Carla S. Freeman, interim dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the next director of Emory’s Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. She will assume leadership of the Fox Center later this year.

— Sarah Woods, Emory Photo/Video

Carla S. Freeman, interim dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the next director of Emory’s Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. Freeman will continue to serve in her current role until the next College dean begins later this year, after which she will assume leadership of the Fox Center.

Since it was established in 2001, the Fox Center has advanced research and teaching across the humanities and fostered intellectual community amongst scholars at all stages of their careers. Through its fellowship programs and other initiatives, the center has greatly increased opportunities for humanistic research and engagement by undergraduates, graduate students and faculty at Emory, as well as post-docs recruited from around the country. 

“Carla is dedicated to interdisciplinarity, public scholarship, and expanding the impact of the humanities and humanistic scholarship at Emory and beyond,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, who announced her appointment Feb. 21. “She is well-positioned to lead the next chapter of the Fox Center with her excellent record of leadership, her commitment to scholarly innovation, rigor, collaboration and application beyond the academy, and her passion for community engagement and building a culture of inclusivity among faculty and students.” 

Freeman will serve as the third director of the Fox Center, which was founded in 2001 and named in 2006 after longtime Emory administrator Bill Fox, PhD (79G) and his wife, Carol. 

Freeman will succeed Martine “Tina” Brownley, the center’s inaugural director and Goodrich C. White Professor of English, and Walter S. Melion, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History and Fox Center director since 2017. Melion will be the Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, for the 2023-2024 academic year. 

“I am thrilled to take on this new role and build on the important legacy of Walter and Tina, who have firmly established the Fox Center as a locus of intellectual life at Emory and a vital space for collaboration, deep thought, and intellectual camaraderie,” says Freeman. “I look forward to working with colleagues across the university to continue to expand the center’s reach and impact, and to promote humanistic inquiry as a vital part of our collective pursuit of knowledge and social transformation. We also have many faculty forging important collaborations in Atlanta area institutions and working with graduate and undergraduate students across the humanities to identify professional pathways and meaningful trajectories.” 

Freeman says she will work to build more partnerships within and beyond Emory, including new collaborations and avenues for intellectual engagement for our students, faculty and alumni. The expansion of resources for digital research and publishing and securing more foundation and grant support for public humanities and humanistic scholarship will be a focal point, as well as continuing the center’s strong tradition of research support and manuscript development for faculty across ranks and disciplines. 

“The Fox Center is an important part of our ongoing commitment to nurture and invest in outstanding scholarship in the humanities, including through a university-wide arts and humanistic inquiry faculty hiring initiative launching this spring,” says Bellamkonda. “I am excited to see how Carla will build upon the success of the Fox Center and expand its reach, collaborative engagement, impact and visibility as an exciting intellectual hub for scholars and students.”

Freeman, a cultural anthropologist, joined Emory in 1995 early in her career, during which she has undertaken extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the Caribbean, melding traditional and new digital methods in her work. As the Goodrich C. White Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, she works at the crossroads of cultural studies and political economy, where she examines the entanglements of labor and economy, gender, race, kinship and class, love and self-making through the lenses of feminist, post-colonial and affect theory.  

During her time at Emory, Freeman has held numerous leadership roles in Emory College and across the university, including serving in the College administration since 2014 as senior associate dean of faculty, executive associate dean and her current position as interim dean. 

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