Dr. Christopher Fox is a Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame and co-founder of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies

The Ambassador Award is presented each year to a person or organization that has worked to promote the relationship between the people of the Republic of Ireland and the people of the United States. Dr. Fox is the 28th recipient of this impressive award.

Dr. Fox was the first director of the Keough-Naughton Institute from 2001 through 2017. Upon his retirement as director, his colleague and noted scholar Professor Declan Kiberd said, “In the past three decades Chris Fox has done more than any other scholar-professor to deepen and enrich Ireland’s understanding of itself and of its place in the wider world. He has, in his work on Jonathan Swift and in leadership of the Institute, challenged us all to reimagine our disciplines. His combination of intellectual acuity and instinctual empathy enabled dozens of projects which have utterly altered our imaginative landscapes. He has inspired every worker in the field to recognize that Irish Studies is a truly global enterprise and at the same time a search for a home we may never have fully known.”

Before starting the Institute with co-founder Seamus Deane, Dr. Fox had established The IRISH Seminar, which convenes every summer (in places such as Dublin, Paris, Rome and Buenos Aires) to bring together Irish scholars, graduate students, and faculty in Irish Studies.  An intense intellectual exchange and experience, the seminar has been a formative experience for scores of Notre Dame graduate students and their peers from universities around the world.

One of Dr. Fox’s many roles as director of the Keough-Naughton Institute was serving as Executive Producer of the landmark documentary 1916: The Irish Rebellion.   The film was premiered in Dublin in March 2016 by the Republic of Ireland as a centerpiece of its international commemoration of the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rebellion.  The three-part documentary aired on the BBC, PBS, and RTE (an Irish television network).  It was also released in the format of a feature movie to a global audience.  It has been shown in over 60 countries and won major awards, including the PBS Quality Programming Award, Poland’s Silver Sabre Historical Documentary prize, and Irish Television’s 2017 Award for Best Documentary of The Year. The documentary highlighted connections between Ireland and the United States that have significance up to and including the recent Irish peace process.

Dr. Fox is a professor of English at Notre Dame University, as well as a Fellow of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values.  His research interests are in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Literature and Science and Irish Studies.  He has lectured widely in the United States, Europe, and Latin America.  Dr. Fox’s interests in Irish Studies grew out of his study of Jonathan Swift and eighteenth-century Ireland.  He has served on the national board of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the editorial boards of various journals, including Eighteenth-Century Thought, Eighteenth-Century Studies and Bullán:  A Journal of Irish Studies.  Dr. Fox has also served as President of the Midwest American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, President of the Samuel Johnson Society, and President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies National Irish Caucus.  At Notre Dame, he was the recipient of a Presidential Distinguished Service Award (2003) and has served as Chair of the Department of English, Chair of the Department of Irish Language and Literature, Director of the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, and Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.  He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Newberry Library, and the Folger.  Dr. Fox received an institutional Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that established a $2.25 million dollar fund for a library acquisitions program in Medieval English, Irish, and Old Norse literatures and permanent faculty fellowships in the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute.  He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles, and his current project is a book on Jonathan Swift.

Dr. Fox’s wife, Judith Fox, is a Clinical Professor of Law at the Notre Dame Law School, where she teaches and practices consumer law.  They are the parents of four children; Annie, Sean, Geoffrey, and Ashley.

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