Senior Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
313 577 2094
Department of English, 5057 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Educated at the University of California Santa Barbara (B.A.) and Harvard University (A.M. and Ph.D.), Robert D. Aguirre specializes in nineteenth-century British and American literature, with a special interest in how these traditions intersect with Latin American history and culture. He has also published on trans-Atlantic and hemispheric methodologies, empire, material culture, and U.S. Latino/a literature.
Informal Empire: Mexico and Central America in Victorian Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2005) examines the cultural forms of imperialism that structured Britain's relationship to the Americas. It tracks the history of those artifacts from Mexico and Central America that stirred Victorian interest—a history that reveals how such objects and the cultures they embodied were incorporated into museum collections, panoramas, anthropological displays, adventure novels, and records of imperial administrators.
Mobility and Modernity: Panama in the Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Imagination (Ohio State University Press, 2017) rewrites the history of the Panama Canal, assessing for the first time the literary culture of the preceding decades. In this period, U.S. and British writers and visual artists developed sophisticated languages of mobility, time, and speed to cast the isthmus as an in-between place, a point of connection to more important destinations. Offering bold new interpretations of Anthony Trollope, John Lloyd Stephens, and Eadweard Muybridge, among others, Mobility and Modernity shows how Panama became defined as a site of incipient globalization and a crucial link of empire.
As associate dean, Professor Aguirre's portfolio is focused on undergraduate education, retention and graduation, curriculum design, technology, advising, and orientation. He also has oversight for academic staff in the college, program assessment, and college teaching awards, and assists the dean in budget advisory and fundraising.
Undergraduate courses have included: Victorian Literature; Victorian Novel; British Literature since 1700; Recent World Literature in English; The Victorians and Latin America; Latino/a literature; Imagining America from Columbus to Jamaica Kincaid; Anglo-American Travelers to Latin America; Theorizing Museums; The Bildungsroman; Victorian Autobiography.
Graduate seminars have included: Victdorian Literature and Empire; The Hemispheric Turn in American Studies; Transatlanticism; New World Encounters; Victorian Travelers; Race and the Victorian Novel; Victorian Narratives/Post-modern Discourses; Victorian Autobiography