401 Benson Science Hall
Monday and Wednesday 10:00-11:15
Humberto Garcia is an Assistant Professor of English at Vanderbilt University who specializes in British Romanticism and eighteenth-century literature, with a focus on Romantic Orientalism, postcolonial criticism, and global/transnational studies. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007, along with a certificate in Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Based on his dissertation work, his research examines the formative role played by Islam in shaping radical Enlightenment critiques of church and state in early modern England. A corrective addendum to Edward Said’s Orientalism, his book, titled Islam and the English Enlightenment, 1670-1840 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), shows that Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Edmund Burke, Samuel T. Coleridge, Robert Southey, and Percy and Mary Shelley not only were influenced by international events in the Muslim world but also saw in that world and its history a viable path to interrogate, contest, and redefine British concepts of liberty. He has published numerous articles on this subject in peer-reviewed journals such as Studies in Romanticism and The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation. He has also presented at many national and international conferences. In general, his teaching and research seek to encourage cross-cultural dialogue between East and West, post-9/11, drawing attention to the formative role played by nonwestern cultures in shaping enlightenment discourses during the long eighteenth century, 1660-1840. His work is inspired by his life-long romantic quest for the sublime in nature, an imaginative well-spring for creating knowledge that re-connects disparate ethnicities, religions, and nations.
He is currently working on a second book, titled Romanticism Re-Oriented: Indo-Persian Travelers and English Literary Culture, 1760-1820. This study focuses on Indo-Persian travelers whose ethnographic accounts of England and Europe, originally written in or translated into English, indirectly shaped the aesthetic, political, and literary sensibilities retroactively labeled British Romanticism. By examining the writings of Mirza Sheikh I’tesamuddin, Sake Dean Mahomet, Abu Taleb Khan, and other Indo-Persian writers who visited or lived in eighteenth-century England, he explores the literary techniques they used to adapt, transfuse, and resist Romantic and Orientalist tropes; the means through which they negotiated their mixed identities and conflicting political allegiances. He argues that their writings perform complex acts of intercultural exchanges that helped bridge the British and Indian cultures that they dually inhabited and represented, as both English East India Company employees and elite Mughal officials. Garcia’s work revises British imperial and literary history by stressing the crucial role of circulation and mediation in the construction of Romantic notions and practices as they moved across continents and communities, nations and religions.
- ENGL 117W: Introduction to Literary Criticism
- ENGL 208B: Representative British Writers