Andrew Libby

Andrew Libby

Assistant Director, Human Biology; Lecturer, Human Biology

IU Bloomington

My academic route has been wide-ranging and varied and it is with pleasure and a bit of wonder at my good fortune that I have found a role teaching in an interdisciplinary program like Human Biology. My background is in English with a Ph.D in Victorian literature and a specialization in the rhetoric and aesthetics of 19th century British imperialism, though my teaching interests are much wider. Currently I am focused on issues related to poverty and 21st-century globalization. I am especially interested in the influence that global financial institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization have in emerging markets. What I enjoy so much about HUBI is the opportunity to design innovative, interdisciplinary courses that mix the scientific expertise of my colleagues with my own interests in public policy, history, and literature.

Prior to joining the HUBI faculty, I served as the community engagement coordinator for the Service-Learning program at IU and I have a strong commitment to experiential teaching and learning. Service-learning is both a pedagogical approach and a mode of civic engagement in which students volunteer in the community in order to enhance their in-class academic coursework. I am a big believer in service-learning because it helps students meet and understand people different from themselves and develop empathy for people who are vulnerable and struggling.

Though much of my current attention is on teaching, my earlier research in Victorian literature mapped aesthetic categories like the sublime and the beautiful onto 19th century adventure fiction and travel writing. Specifically, I was interested in the way pro-imperialist rhetoric and representation in British adventure narratives work to tame unexplored landscapes and wild natives and to reconfigure the sublime from a mark of native barbarity to a sign of British achievement in the name of civilization and progress. But to see how the natives and the native landscapes are represented in the register of the sublime, and to recognize that it need not be so, is to understand the assumptions upon which Victorian adventure narratives are based and the way in which the aesthetics of literaryrepresentation supported and encouraged the economic, political, religious, and scientific ambitionsunderwriting British empire-building.