Associate Professor of English and Director of the English Honors Program
Professor Garcia specializes in British Romanticism and eighteenth-century literature, with a focus on Romantic Orientalism, postcolonial criticism, and global/transnational studies. His book, titled Islam and the English Enlightenment, 1670–1840 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), offers a corrective addendum to Edward Said’s Orientalism; Professor Garcia argues that British authors as diverse as 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, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, and Studies in English Literature. He has also presented at many national and international conferences. His teaching and research seek to encourage intercultural dialogue between East and West, drawing attention to the formative role played by Islamic ideas, histories, and cultures in shaping English enlightenment discourses during the long eighteenth century.
He is writing a second book, titled England Re-Oriented: How Central and South Asian Travelers Imagined the West, 1750–1857, supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 2015–16. Professor Garcia’s work revises British imperial and literary history by stressing generative cross-cultural exchanges at a crucial moment when ideas of East and West were still in flux yet gradually emerging as distinct social categories with the advent of British empire- building in India. Journal articles related to this book project have been published in Common Knowledge (2017) and Huntington Library Quarterly (2018).
Professor Garcia teaches classes on eighteenth century literature, Islam and literature, and environmental ethics in literature, as well as Introductions to Literary Studies and to Poetry.