Prior to joining the English Department at Chico in 2006, Geoff Baker studied at Brigham Young University, the Freie Universität in Berlin, and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. His scholarly and teaching interests include the novel, literary realism, theories of imperialism, and the relationship between politics and literature.
Geoff has written one book, Realism’s Empire: Empiricism and Enchantment in the Nineteenth-Century Novel (Ohio State UP, 2009), and co-edited another one, with Eva Aldea, called Realism’s Others (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010). In addition he has published articles on a number of different writers, including Thomas Mann, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, J.M. Coetzee, Honoré de Balzac, William Shakespeare, Marguerite Duras, Friedrich Nietzsche and Antonin Artaud, and French hip-hop artist MC Solaar.
At present, two book-length projects related to realism are in the works. The first, called Literary Activism: The Purpose of Clarity and Confusion, traces the tension between realism and anti-realism in political literature and theories of literary engagement since the 1870s; it is completed and currently under consideration. The second project, tentatively titled The Critique of Judgment: Evidence and Belief in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, examines the duel between empirical and non-empirical theories of knowledge in legal discourse and detective and legal plots in the nineteenth-century novel.
Currently the undergraduate advisor for the major options in English Studies and Literature, Geoff teaches comparative courses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century topics and courses on later British literature.