David Agruss has taught courses on nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century British literature, colonialism, imperialism, postcolonialism, race, gender, and sexuality; Victorian adventure fiction, travel literature, science fiction, and dinosaur novels; white masculinity in U.S. popular culture; archival research in gender and sexuality; gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial studies, queer theory, and animal studies; and literary theory and criticism.
Professor Agruss specializes in Victorian literature and culture. His current book project, "Between Boys: Metropolitan Masculinity and the Colonial Imaginary in Victorian England," examines the relationship between boyhood masculinity, imagined scenes of colonialism, and cross-racial identification in nineteenth-century boys’ public school fiction, colonial adventure fiction, and island-stranding fiction. This project is particularly interested in how imagined scenes of colonial encounter and racial difference work not merely to inflect but to produce and regulate normative masculinity and sexuality in the metropole. His Victorian literary and cultural research interests also extend to geology, paleontology, and physiology; Russia and Central and South America in British popular culture; Roman ruins in Britain; antivivisection debates; lost-world novels and the emergence of science fiction; and cookbooks. He has published in journals such as Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism and The Victorian on various topics pertaining to Victorian literature and culture, including articles on vivisection and on island-stranding narratives.
Before coming to Arizona State University, he taught in the English Department at Montana State University; in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and in the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University; and in the Departments of Comparative Literature and Romance Studies at Cornell University.