After earning a BA in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a MA in English from California State University, Long Beach, Patrick Bixby completed his PhD in English at Emory University in 2003. He served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College for one year and then joined the faculty of ASU’s New College in 2004. In 2015, he became Resident Director of the University Studies Abroad Consortium Summer Program at the National University of Ireland, Galway; in 2017, after stepping down from his post as Director of Graduate Studies, he also became Coordinator for International and Tribal Initatives in the New College.
Dr. Bixby's scholarly interests span a variety of fields. While his research falls primarily under the heading of Irish studies, it also includes a range of articles and chapters on British modernism, postcolonial theory and criticism, Continental philosophy, and the history of the novel, as well as issues of sexuality and the body. He teaches courses in these fields and in film history, postmodernism, the history of literary criticism, twentieth-century thought, and methods of interdisciplinary research. He recently co-edited, with Gregory Castle, Standish O'Grady's Cuculain, a scholarly edition of the Irish historian's writing on the great mythic hero (Syracuse UP, 2016); and the two are currently co-editing A History of Irish Modernism, a collection of 24 essays that traces a long historical arc through Irish cultural production from the 1890s to the 1950s (Cambridge UP, forthcoming).
His current monograph project, “Nietzsche and Irish Modernism,” examines the circulation of the German philosopher’s ideas in the work of Irish writers and, more broadly, in the Irish public sphere between 1896 and 1923 -- tumultuous years of cultural revival, revolution, civil war, and nation building. By exploring Nietzsche’s thought in this context, the study addresses the problematic notion of Irish modernism, focusing on exchanges between an ostensibly narrow, often conservative nationalist culture, and a more expansive, sometimes radical European perspective in order to offer a new understanding of the intricate cultural dynamics at play in early twentieth-century Ireland.
His first monograph, Samuel Beckett and the Postcolonial Novel (Cambridge UP, 2009), set out to revise the Irishman’s reputation as a distinctly “apolitical” and “ahistorical” writer. Placing Beckett’s novels in the context of the newly founded Irish Free State, the study explores for the first time their confrontation with the legacies of both Irish nationalism and British imperialism. In doing so, it reveals Beckett’s fiction as a remarkable example of how postcolonial writing addresses the relationships between private consciousness and public life, as well as those between the novel form and a cultural environment including not only the literary tradition, but also political speeches, national monuments, and anthropological studies.