Along with permanent faculty members, the history department brings a distinguished visiting historian to campus annually through the Douglas Southall Freeman Professorship, established in honor of the noted biographer and journalist by his family. The Freeman Professor teaches one course and either delivers a series of public lectures or organizes an historical conference.
The Department of History has named Edward Larson, University Professor of History and Hugh and Hazel Darling Professor of Law, Pepperdine University as the 2016–17 Douglas Southall Freeman Professor. He will be in residence during the spring semester.
Professor Larson works at the intersection of the history of law and science. His books include Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South; Summer for the God: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion; and An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackelton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science. The Scopes trial book won the Pulitzer Prize. He has just completed a book about George Washington. Before becoming an academic, he worked in state and federal government and as an attorney. He has both a J.D. and a Ph.D. (in the history of science). He is a regular guest on television and radio programs. He plans to teach a course on the history of science, medicine, and technology in the Atlantic World.