Eric Slauter, Director

1115 E. 58th Street,
Walker 506


Eric Slauter is Director of The Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture and an Associate Professor of English Language and Literature. Professor Slauter’s research focuses on the history of slavery, abolition, and emancipation; labor history; environmental history; and Atlantic history. He is the author of The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution (University of Chicago Press, 2009), among others. He has a strong interest in the material history of books, and is completing a project, Walden’s Carbon Footprint: People, Plants, Animals, and Machines in the Making of an American Classic. A blend of environmental, labor, and literary history, the project examines the supply-chain of raw materials in the 1854 first edition of Thoreau’s book (from cotton-based paper and linen thread to animal-skin glue), considers the many people who contributed to its production (including enslaved African-Americans in the South, commodity brokers, northern mill workers, European rag-pickers, and women and children in the printing trades), and reflects on the literary genealogy of our contemporary desire to know the origin as well as the environmental and social impact of objects in our daily lives.

Nigel O’Hearn, Center Coordinator

1010 E. 59th Street,
Classics 114


As Coordinator of The Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, Nigel manages the Center’s finances, communications, and daily operations. Nigel earned an A.M. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, focusing in Theatre and Performance Studies. Prior to joining the Scherer Center, Nigel held positions with the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities as well as the university’s Writing Program. Outside his work at UChicago, Nigel is a playwright and poet whose works have been staged at various theaters across the country.