Assistant Professor, English
My current research project focuses on the role of Latin America in the development of British romantic period literature, particularly in relation to that literature’s engagement with the political controversies surrounding Britain’s uneven development as both a world empire and a modern liberal state. By linking the histories and writings of these two geographies through archival research of both British and Latin American texts, particularly in the years between the 1780 Peruvian revolt and the Latin American independence movements of the so-called Bolívar’s Wars (1817-1822), this research project seeks to uncover the complex but largely ignored political and literary crossings triangulating between Britain, Spain, and Latin America during the early part of the nineteenth century. In doing so, it reconstructs the transnational literary, political, and intellectual context for literary figurations of Latin America in order to examine the historical dimensions that allowed British writers to imagine Latin America as both an important horizon of colonial desire and an object of liberal fantasies of independence and liberation. By exploring the latent connection between Britain’s support of Latin American revolts from Spain and Britain’s longstanding desire to open Latin American markets to British trade, I argue that Latin America became an important topography through which British writers worked out the apparent ideological conflicts inherent in Britain’s coeval development of an imperial ideology premised on the subordination of difference—racial, economic, and other—and British liberal thought, which conversely emphasized the equality of free citizens.