Emeritus Faculty

Janel M. Mueller, Formidable Intellect and Pioneering Figure at UChicago, 1938–2022

Janel M. Mueller

Janel Mulder Mueller, the William Rainey Harper Professor Emerita in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago and former dean of the Humanities Division, died Oct. 21 in Chicago. She was 83 years old.

The first woman to lead an academic division at UChicago, Mueller combined a formidable intellect with an awareness of her role as a pioneer in higher education.

“Janel’s teaching was rigorous and inspirational at all levels,” said UChicago colleague James K. Chandler, the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of English Language and Literature and Cinema and Media Studies. “She trained generations of young scholars in and beyond early modern studies who are now, in their turn, leaders in their fields.”

Michael Murrin, Leading Scholar of Allegory and 'Dracologist,' 1938-2021

Michael Murrin by Perry M. Paegelow, via Hanna Holburn Gray Special Collections Research Center

Michael Murrin, a leading scholar of the genres of epic, romance and fantasy in the Western literary tradition, died July 27. He was 83.

The Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Murrin was a treasured member of the University of Chicago faculty for 50 years.

A specialist in the history of criticism and allegorical interpretation, Murrin traced the tessellations of reality and fantasy in medieval, Renaissance and early modern European literature. Throughout his career, he read original works in more than half a dozen languages—including Italian, Persian and Old Norse.

Norman Golb, Dead Sea Scrolls Contrarian, Is Dead at 92

Norman Golb, University of Chicago Archives

The first scholars to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls theorized that they were the work of the Essenes, a small ascetic Jewish sect living in the nearby settlement of Qumran who, in their messianic beliefs and monastic sensibility, probably exerted a strong influence on another breakaway group, the early Christians.

But Norman Golb, a maverick professor at the University of Chicago, took issue with that thesis, and in time he galvanized a few other scholars to question it as well.

Humanities Emeritus Professor Receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Advancing Persian Literature and Linguistics

John R. Perry

A seminal figure in the historical sociolinguistics of Iran, UChicago scholar John R. Perry recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Association of Teachers of Persian at the Middle East Studies Association Conference in New Orleans. Fluent in several languages including Persian, Tajik, and Russian, he wrote about changes to the Persian language over the centuries, Persian and Tajik linguistics and culture, and Persian literature and folklore.