Professor Tita Chico
Department of English
University of Maryland
2119 Tawes Hall
College Park, MD 20742
Ph.D., with distinction, New York
A.B., with honors, Vassar
I am a scholar and teacher of British literature of the long eighteenth century, a historical designation that begins with the Restoration of monarchical rule in 1660 after the civil war (1642-60) and concludes with various political and cultural revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century (1800). My scholarship and teaching are devoted to unearthing the forgotten and to challenging our collective truisms, using detailed and rigorous primary research and analysis to do so. The old story of the British eighteenth century as a sign of modern progress has been challenged by the newer stories of the nascent empire’s darker sides. I take the stories that we tell about ourselves seriously, believing that our past is at once full of potentially liberatory change while simultaneously enmeshed in unmistakenly discriminatory and oppressive institutions.
My most recent scholarship studies how modern science emerged in the eighteenth century, finding that it depended enormously, if covertly, on what writers celebrated as the literary imagination. I am at work on a new book about wonder as simultaneously a feeling and a technology in the Enlightenment.
Together, my research and teaching urge us to imagine fully the relationship between language and experience, between imaginative worlds and lived experiences. The British Enlightenment is a moment in which ideas about authority and evidence were radically reconceived and vociferously defended, and we are still living through the implications of these changes.