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.
His second book is 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.
Currently, Landry holds the distinguished title of William P. Rice Professor of Literature, which, together with a U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Grant (Spring 2023), has supported a third book project centered on Spanish Romantics in relation to the philosophy of José Ortega y Gasset. He is using his 2022-2023 sabbatical to conduct research and travel in Spain toward the completion of the manuscript.
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 Spanish language and literature courses at Kenyon, including on Romanticism, the novel, and the legacy of Islam in Spain from the Enlightenment to the present. In 2013, he was awarded a Whiting Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding teaching by junior faculty in the humanities. Beyond his book projects, Landry has published numerous articles, chapters and reviews covering a broad range. His interest in the field of world literature has also shaped his teaching and scholarship.
Areas of Expertise
Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Spanish literature, science and literature, theory of the novel, Islam and Spain, world literature.
2008 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Washington
2003 — Master of Arts from University of Washington
1997 — Bachelor of Arts from Brown University