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Matthew Landers

Associate Professor at The University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez

Education

  • Louisiana State University

    • 2009 Ph.D., English Language and Literature
  • University of Dallas

    • 2002 B.A., English Language and Literature

Experience

  • The University of Puerto Rico - Recinto de Mayagüez

    • 7/2009 - Present Associate Professor of Humanities

Publications

  • "The Brain and Memory in 'Tristram Shandy': A Materialist Examination of Sterne's Narrative Structure"

    Forthcoming 2018 Configurations

  • “Increasing Student Engagement Through the Development of Interdisciplinary Courses: Linking Engineering and Technology, the Sciences, and the Humanities”

    Nayda G. Santiago, Hector Huyke, Christopher Papadopoulos, J. Fernando Vega, Ana Nieves-Rosa, Anderson Brown, Raul Portuondo, Matias J. Cafaro, Matthew Landers

    10/2015 Frontiers in Education

  • “Anatomy and the Encyclopedic Plan: Charting the ‘Wilderness’ of Knowledge”

    2014 An Expanding Universe: The Project of Eighteenth-Century Studies

  • Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500-1850

    Eds. Matthew Landers & Brian Muñoz

    10/2012 Pickering & Chatto

  • “Early Modern Dissection and a Physical Model of Organization”

    10/2012 Anatomy and the Organization of Knowledge, 1500-1850

  • "Units of Analysis: Defining ‘Systems’ in Atlantic Studies"

    2007 Atlantikos: A Journal of Transatlantic Scholarship

About Me

As a member of the Humanities department, I have pursued a variety of interdisciplinary research interests. Although my training is in Enlightenment literature and culture, the majority of research that I do now unites with the emerging field of Biohumanities, with specific emphasis on theories of mind, The Anthropocene, and the ethics of conservation.

Throughout my career, I have held to the belief that teaching is foundational to everything one does as an intellectual and as a scholar. My professional goal has been to argue for the fundamental importance of interdisciplinarity in a STEM-oriented educational system. Most of the concerns that frame my research originate in the interactions that I have with students from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The nature of my work often puts me in a position to collaborate on the development and teaching of interdisciplinary courses with colleagues in other departments. I have taught courses in the departments of Humanities, English, Art, and Biology (as a regular consultant). I have taught and written on a range of discipline-specific subjects in literature as well. The constant thread in all of my work, however, is a scholarly commitment to expand each subject beyond its traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The University of Puerto Rico is recognized as one of the best engineering schools in the United States, servicing a 99% Hispanic student population. Working in this highly-specialized intellectual community has pushed my professional work in some unconventional directions. I spent the last few years working with a group of colleagues on an ongoing initiative called Gprovidence, the purpose of which is to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching at our university. A major component of the initiative included the creation of a new, interdisciplinary sequence (“The Convergence of Culture and Science: Expanding the Humanities Curriculum”), the initial three years of which were funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. I co-developed and co-taught one of three courses in the sequence, “Cosmology, Evolution, and Belief.” The course explored a broad range of topics in Physics, Biology, and Humanities, all of which centered on the themes of origins and the future of the human species. My specific scholarly contribution included lectures on consciousness in neuroscience, free will and the biological mind, bioethics, the Anthropocene, artificial intelligence, humanness, post-human, and transhumanism. The goal of the project was to provide students a rare opportunity to think through traditional ideas about human origins — and the intellectual, historical construction of ‘humanness’ and ‘mind’— from the different optics of literature, culture, philosophy, theology, ethics, physics, and evolutionary biology.

My disciplines and areas of professional expertise include…

Current work

Most recently, the majority of the research work that I do unites within the emerging field of Biohumanities. Most recently, my research has focused on the Anthropocene, extinction, and the ethics of conservation. This past summer, I was an invited lecturer at the ‘Recent Advances in Conservation Genetics’ conference (ConGen 2016) in Hungary, where I presented a paper entitled, “Towards a Philosophy of Conservation.” It was an enormous privilege to have been the only non-scientist invited to speak at the conference.

Presentations

  • "Towards a Philosophy of Conservation"

    6/2016 Advances in Conservation Genetics (CONGEN)

  • "The Ethics of Space Colonization"

    5/2016 Student Association for Astrobiology and Exobiology (AEXO)

  • “Transhumanism and Enlightenment Optimism"

    2/2016 South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference

  • “Free Will and the Biological Body: Rethinking the Western Tradition”

    3/2015 Daviciana Lecture Series, UPRM

  • “’Engines Moved by the Wheels of Custom’: Francis Bacon and the Critique of ‘Culture’”

    10/2013 Sixteenth Century Society & Conference

  • “Narration and Memory Theory in the Structure of Tristram Shandy: The (Medical) Aesthetics of Digression”

    3/2010 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

  • “Almanacks and the Medical Tradition: Exploring the Decline of Semeiology as a Medical Device”

    2/2008 South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

  • “To Encircle a Body of Knowledge: Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica and the Influence of Systematic Organization on the Literary Anatomy”

    10/2007 Everything: Enlightenment Encyclopedisms Colloquium

  • “‘The Anatomy of the World’: Donne, Burton and the Critique of ‘System’ in the Long Eighteenth Century”

    2/2007 South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

  • “Raillery and Sensus Communis in Eighteenth-Century Satire: Toward a Theory of Humors in Dryden, Shaftesbury, and Sterne”

    10/2006 Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association

Courses Taught

  • INTD 3990 - Cosmology, Evolution, and Belief

    Undergraduate

    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

  • HUMA 4995 - “The Radical Enlightenment”: From Libertine to Philosophe

    Undergraduate

    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

  • INGL 4097 - Restoration and Eighteenth Century British Literature

    Undergraduate

    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

  • HUMA 4995 - History of Violence

    Undergraduate

    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

  • HUMA 3111 & 3112 - Introduction to Western Civilization 1 & 2

    Undergraduate

    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

  • ARTE 4995 - Artistic Portraiture

    Undergraduate

    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

  • ENGL 2220 - Major British Authors

    Undergraduate

    Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge

  • ENGL 2148 - Introduction to Shakespeare

    Undergraduate

    Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge

  • ENGL 1001 - Introduction to Composition

    Undergraduate

    Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge

  • ENGL 1002 - Argumentative Writing

    Undergraduate

    Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge

Projects

  • NEH Project: ‘The Convergence of Science, Technology & the Humanities: Expanding the Humanities Curriculum at UPRM’

    Co-developed and Co-taught an interdisciplinary course for an NEH-funded collaborative, ‘The Convergence of Science, Technology & the Humanities: Expanding the Humanities Curriculum at UPRM.’ The title of my course was Cosmology, Evolution, and Belief. The course was offered in Fall 2014, and repeated in Fall 2015.