Photo of Dr Cheryl Hudson

Dr Cheryl Hudson

Lecturer in U.S. Political History History


Citizenship in Chicago: Race, Culture and the Remaking of American Identity, 1890-1930

The relationship of race to citizenship has long troubled historians, social scientists and philosophers. My research charts the changes that took place in the meanings attached to American citizenship at the turn of the twentieth century, examining the production of national and group identities in one emblematic city. It focuses on how the principles and practice of citizenship responded to, and were reshaped by, deepening social division and the rapid growth of racial and ethnic diversity at the dawn of urban modernity. It traces the evolution of social scientific thought about modernity, identity and belonging and asks how these ideas shaped public policy at both city and national level. How did Chicagoans reconcile emerging sociological identities with the political status of citizen? Between 1890 and 1930, Progressive reformers redefined citizenship intellectually and institutionally: it was perhaps their most powerful legacy. But the shift had unintended and unforeseen undemocratic consequences, evident in the growth of expert-led democracy and commission-style government. Ironically, the progressive desire to surmount social division resulted in the reification and entrenchment of those divisions.

Why Academic Freedom Matters

The issues of freedom of speech on campuses and academic freedom have become major talking points. Student politics, once something people left behind upon graduation, is now the daily fare of national, and even international, news coverage. Terms like ‘microaggression’, ‘trigger warning’, and ‘safe space’, virtually unheard of a decade ago, have entered mainstream vocabulary.

Yet despite the seemingly novel nature of current preoccupations, debates over academic freedom have a long history. This book explores why, for centuries, scholars have considered intellectual autonomy essential for the pursuit of truth and the advancement of knowledge.

Contributors to Why Academic Freedom Matters come from a variety of institutions, disciplines and career stages. Together, they consider the key threats to academic freedom today that emanate from national government policies, institutional practices, student-led groups and the desire from scholars themselves not to upset either students or colleagues. Each chapter offers a different perspective on the continued importance of academic freedom within a changing university. The volume as a whole provides a timely discourse on the connection between free enquiry and academia’s historic mission to advance the sum of human knowledge.In making the case for free, open and robust debate, this book points to the many ways in which academic freedom is being eroded and why this still matters for scholars, students and the future of higher education.Why Academic Freedom Matters: downloadable PDF

Ongoing Research Interests

My ongoing research interest is in the changing relationships between ideas and institutions in American political culture in the long twentieth century. I am particularly interested in race, social science, citizenship and public policy.

My next project will look at ideas about race and empire in the US-Japanese relationship, 1898 -1941.