Prof. Rick Rodriguez

Rick Rodriguez


Location: VC 7-288
Phone: (646) 312-3938


Rick Rodriguez specializes in the study of nineteenth-century American literature and culture. He is the author of Immunity’s Sovereignty and Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century American Literature (forthcoming from Palgrave in 2020). In it he argues that the isolationist and exceptionalist ethos that defines U.S. national identity is an immunitary response to intense global contact and conflicts with such sites as Haiti, North Africa, and Cuba. Wars with North African regencies, responses to the Haitian Revolution, reactions to the specter and reality of slave rebellion in the antebellum South, and plans to acquire Cuba to ease tensions between the states all constituted immunizing responses that helped define the conceptual and aesthetic protocols by which the U.S. represented itself to itself and to the world’s nations as distinct, exemplary, and vulnerable. The book examines contradictions in literary texts’ dramatizations of these transnational events and their attending threats, revealing how democracy’s exposure to its own fragility serves as rationale for immunity’s sovereignty. He has also published articles on Edgar Allan Poe and Jacksonian democracy, Lucy Holcombe Pickens and U.S. filibustering expeditions to Cuba, Jose Marti’s affinities with the  Confederacy, and on the uncanny dimension of subaltern laughter in texts by Jean Rhys, George Orwell, and Ralph Ellison. He is currently researching a book project on nineteenth-century Cuban writers’ interest in the U.S. South.  Other research and pedagogical fields of expertise include Latinx literature and culture, hemispheric and comparative studies of the Americas, political philosophy, and affect theory.  At Baruch, he teaches the Survey of American Literature I, The American Novel, Latinx Literature, Literature and Globalization, and Great Works of Literature II.​

The City University of New York