Travis Landry came to Kenyon College in 2008 after earning a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (with degree certification in Theory and Criticism) from the University of Washington.

His first book, "Subversive Seduction: Darwin, Sexual Selection, and the Spanish Novel" (University of Washington Press and the Mellon Modern Language Initiative, 2012), is an interdisciplinary exploration of the reciprocity between science and literature in the nineteenth century. This study examines how the courtship plot sheds new light on Charles Darwin’s theories in "The Descent of Man," and by extension, how the indeterminism of Darwin’s thought relates to the socio-political stakes of women’s self-determination at the time.

More recently, his research and teaching have focused on the legacy of Islam in Spanish literature since the Enlightenment. The approach uses today’s theorizing on world literature to reimagine hybrid examples of Spain’s multicultural past and present. In addition to a monograph study of this subject (in preparation) and related publications, he has a second book, a critical edition and translation of al-Ghazzāl, Aḥmad ibn al-Mahdī, in collaboration with Abdulrahman al-Ruwaishan (translator), entitled "The Fruits of the Struggle in Diplomacy and War: Moroccan Ambassador al-Ghazzāl and His Diplomatic Retinue in Eighteenth-Century Andalusia" (Bucknell University Press, 2016). This first complete English translation of the eighteenth-century Muslim ambassador’s travelogue about Spain uncovers an early example of modern diplomacy and makes plain the significance of Andalusia for one who saw the region through its Islamic past and his own ancestry.

As editor and author of the introduction, Landry explains the history of the visit of al-Ghazzāl, draws connections to the Enlightenment context, and reveals how the ambassador’s visit relates to the Cartas marruecas of José Cadalso.

In 1997, Landry received a B.A. with honors in comparative literature from Brown University and, in the four years following, taught and earned certification in secondary education (Spanish). He is trained in multiple national traditions and periods, as well as second language acquisition and regularly offers literature and language courses at Kenyon. Landry also contributed to the creation of the comparative world literature concentration and in 2013 he was awarded a Whiting Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding teaching by junior faculty in the humanities.

Areas of Expertise

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Spanish literature, science and literature, theory of the novel, Islam and Spain, world literature.

Education

2008 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Washington

2003 — Master of Arts from University of Washington

1997 — Bachelor of Arts from Brown University

Courses Recently Taught

This course is designed for first-year students with two aims in mind: 1) an exploration of literary texts from around the world, and 2) an introduction to the discipline of World Literature. “What in the World is World Literature?” is at the forefront of literary study as it brings global perspectives to Kenyon. It emphasizes the study of literature as a way of crossing linguistic, national, and cultural borders. The course draws attention to language by placing novels, poems, plays and short stories written in different languages and translated into English in conversation with each other. It questions the boundedness of the nation by showing how the writing, publishing and reading of literary texts is already a transnational activity. Finally, it reveals how local and global cultures are intertwined in the literary text. Course readings may include Murasaki Shikibu’s “The Tale of Genji,” Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children,” Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth,” Luigi Pirandello’s “One, No One & One Hundred” and Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing.” The theme and texts taught in the course will vary each year and students are encouraged to contact the course instructor to find out the specific reading list for a given year. This course counts toward the core course requirement for the concentration. Only open to first-year students. This course paired with any CWL course counts towards the Humanities diversification requirement. These courses must be taken at Kenyon. No prerequisite. Offered every fall.

This course is designed for first-year students with two aims in mind: 1) an exploration of literary texts from around the world, and 2) an introduction to the discipline of World Literature. “What in the World is World Literature?” is at the forefront of literary study as it brings global perspectives to Kenyon. It emphasizes the study of literature as a way of crossing linguistic, national and cultural borders. The course draws attention to language by placing novels, poems, plays and short stories written in different languages and translated into English in conversation with each other. It questions the boundedness of the nation by showing how the writing, publishing and reading of literary texts is already a transnational activity. Finally, it reveals how local and global cultures are intertwined in the literary text. Course readings may include Ahmed Saadawi’s "Frankenstein in Baghdad," Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City, Luigi Pirandello’s One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Haruki Marukami’s “The Elephant Vanishes,” Virginia Woolf’s "The Waves," and Gabriela Mistral’s "Poem of Chile." The theme and texts taught in the course will vary each year and students are encouraged to contact the course instructor to find out the specific reading list for a given year. This course counts toward major requirements in MLL (Tracks I, II, III) or toward any minor offered in MLL. Only open to first-year students. This course paired with any other course taught in the MLL Department counts towards the Humanities diversification requirement. These courses must be taken at Kenyon. No prerequisite. Offered every fall.

This course offers independent study for senior candidates for honors under the direction of the honors supervisor. Normally offered in the spring semester, this course may be offered in the fall with the approval of the student's honors supervisor and the chair of modern languages and literature. Permission of instructor and department chair required.

This second half of a yearlong course is a continuation of SPAN 111Y. The second semester consists of and continued study of the fundamentals of Spanish, while incorporating literary and cultural materials to develop techniques of reading, cultural awareness, and mastery of the spoken and written language. The work includes practice in understanding and using the spoken language. Written exercises and reading materials serve to reinforce communicative skills, build vocabulary and enhance discussion of the individual and community. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Prerequisite: SPAN 111Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

This first half of the yearlong intermediate-level language course is focused on language and culture for students who are interested in developing their ability to speak, read, write and understand Spanish. In addition to a comprehensive grammar review, the primary texts chosen for the course serve as a general introduction to Hispanic culture and literature. Other materials include short essays, newspaper articles, films, television series and songs, which together will provide a point of departure for discussions on a range of issues. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled in this course will automatically be added to SPAN 214Y for the spring semester. Prerequisite: SPAN 111Y-112Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

This second half of the yearlong intermediate-level language course builds on the concepts and skills addressed in the first semester, with a continued focus on language and culture for students who are interested in developing their ability to speak, read, write and understand Spanish. Students will be exposed to more complex Spanish grammar, while also expanding their vocabulary in context, using authentic materials similar to those of the first semester (including short novels, stories, essays, newspaper articles, films, television series, and songs). Students will produce more advanced analytic and creative writing assignments, and will be asked to actively discuss a range of challenging topics in class with increased proficiency (compared to fall semester). Like SPAN 213Y, this course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), though the days and times for these may be different from the fall semester. Prerequisite: SPAN 213Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

This course uses literature and film to give advanced students the opportunity to strengthen their ability to write analytically and creatively in Spanish. The course will also have strong emphasis on speaking and reading in Spanish. Works from various literary genres and selected Spanish-language films are among the materials on which class discussion and writing assignments will be centered. To deploy this content, we will use digital technology that supports the acquisition of advanced vocabulary, the development of reading comprehension and writing. A grammar review, focused mainly on typical areas of difficulty, may also be included. Prerequisite: SPAN 213Y–214 or equivalent. Offered every year.

Literature and science have enjoyed a fluid relationship for centuries, but in the particular case of the 19th century, the novel became a laboratory for understanding both the individual and society. In Spain, writers sought to capture and critique "reality" with new knowledge about the laws governing behavior and in the process they came to reveal unanticipated truths about the nature of scientific discovery. In particular, sex was on the mind, and in this course we will attempt to understand how and why. Across Europe, groundbreaking, often disquieting schools of thought fueled the popular imagination, from evolutionism to criminology, experimental medicine and psychoanalysis. Together, in Spanish translation, these writings and related essays on sex will frame our discussions of novels from several of the greatest Spanish realists, including Benito Pérez Galdós, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Jacinto Octavio Picón, and Leopoldo Alas (Clarín). Their representations both disturb and entertain, feeling more like fun-house mirrors than objective reflections of reality and thus we will no doubt question the science of such reflections. Our last author will be Miguel de Unamuno, as we look at how this wayward realist and his later novel "Niebla" (1914) managed to turn the entire enterprise on its head. Prerequisite: SPAN 321 or equivalent. Generally offered every three years.