History professor receives Principal Emeritus Daniel Woolf professorship

Nancy van Deusen hopes to attract international students to Queen’s

The professorship is a rotating position.

The Faculty of Arts and Science awarded the Principal Emeritus Daniel R. Woolf Professorship in the Humanities to Nancy van Deusen at the end of January.

The professorship is a rotating position within the 11 humanities departments that moves every five years. It was created through a special campaign chaired by past Queen’s Board of Trustees Chair William Young, Sci ’77, with aid from Chancellor Emeritus Jim Leech, MBA ’73, according to a press release.

In honour of Daniel Woolf, ArtSci ’80, the professorship recognizes his achievements as the twentieth Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s and his current position as a professor in the Department of History.

Queen’s awarded Woolf this professorship title for his decade of service from 2009 to 2019 and his support in teaching and faculty research conducted in the humanities departments.

Van Deusen is a professor in the Department of History and has publications in fields related to slavery, Indigeneity, and gender in the historical context of Spain and colonial Latin America.

Currently on sabbatical at Oxford University, Van Deusen said in the press release she initially applied for the professorship because it allowed her the freedom to continue with research and 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 added.

Van Deusen’s work has advanced knowledge of slavery, colonization in the Spanish and Latin American context, decolonization, and reconciliation, according to the press release.

Woolf spoke with The Journal about Van Deusen’s appointment.

“There was a competition, applications, and Professor Van Deusen was named. Any program of research or anything coming out of that is entirely up to her,” Woolf said.

“This was a great honour to have this [professorship] named after me. My colleague, in history, is going to be the first occupant of this professorship, but it's one that will actually switch around.”

The professorship is not intended as strictly a history award, Woolf said. He spoke on his own experience in the humanities.

“I've always been fairly interdisciplinary myself. I’m interested in English, classics, and philosophy, among other departments.”

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