Francisco Robles

Cohort 2009–2010.  I finished my PhD in May 2016, having entered in 2009. My committee members were Daphne Brooks, Valerie Smith, and Alexandra Vazquez, and Kinohi Nishikawa provided a departmental reader’s report (none of my committee was still at Princeton when I finished). The wonderful mentorship I received from Daphne, Valerie, and Alex pushed my project to its limits, helping me build a scholarly foundation I could continue developing. They taught me to see limits as jumping off points for further inquiry. I also benefited enormously from my cohort. This may have been the result of being the first (and maybe only) cohort in the department to be made up of more than half people of color, but of course there’s no way to definitively establish what helped us support one another so deeply and so consistently. That foundation of care made so much possible, and that comradeship has shaped my desire for relational, collegial thinking, whether it be while doing AAUP organizing, conference planning, editorial work, or graduate advising.

I had a number of wonderful opportunities grounded in hard work done by fellow graduate students. My first teaching experiences were with the Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI), at the invitation (or, rather, at the insistence) of Ross Lerner, who was instrumental in the development of PTI. I taught with PTI every semester from the fall of 2010 until spring of 2013, and then again in 2015. In 2014, I taught “American Migrant Communities” with Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education. While I still teach this course, my favorite version of it was and will likely always be the one I taught at the York Women’s Correctional Facility.

After graduating from Princeton, I took up a position as Visiting Assistant Professor in English at Connecticut College. I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to apply for this position, as I had had two largely unfruitful years on the job market and some especially sharp disappointments. I took the contract year and redefined my book project by developing new chapters and cutting some older ones, and this year meant that I could also take a chance on the job market. The faculty there was wonderfully supportive, and so were my friends still at and recently graduated from Princeton.

Currently, I’m an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, with affiliations in the university’s Institute for Latino Studies and the Gender Studies Program. Soon, I’ll be taking up the editorial mantle of Post 45: Contemporaries, alongside Michael Docherty (University of Kent). I’m working on my book manuscript, Migrant Modes: Aesthetics on the Move in Midcentury U.S. Multiethnic Writing, and have undertaken a number of other projects and collaborations. All of this has been possible because of the care I’ve received and continue to receive from family, mentors, friends, and colleagues, much of which took shape while I was at Princeton.

Select publications:

Transformation and Generation: Preliminary Notes on the Poetics of the Memphis Sanitation Strike

Unsettling Monuments of Chicanx Masculinity in Estela Portillo Trambley’s “Rain of Scorpions”

Jean Toomer’s Cane and the Borderlands of Encounter and Contradiction