Robert Oscar Lopez received his B.A. from Yale in 1993, with a Political Science thesis entitled: “The Pornographic Regime.” It was a reading of the theories of Catharine Mackinnon and Andrea Dworkin through the legal history of obscenity, discrimination, and First Amendment law. His advisor was Cathy Cohen.
After graduating from Yale, he worked for Hispanics United as a bilingual court advocate, then as a translator and paralegal for a law firm in New York. He dealt mostly with French-English translations involving asylum applicants from Haiti, Congo, and other African nations.
In 1996, Dr. Lopez took a position at MTV Networks, owned by Viacom, specializing in dubbing and acquisitions for Nickelodeon International. In that capacity he oversaw the translation of roughly 2,000 hours of programming into Spanish and Portuguese. He also led training seminars for Portuguese markets in Brazil. He was promoted twice while at MTV Networks, first to programming coordinator for Nickelodeon Latin America, then to the position of program operations manager.
Eventually Dr. Lopez left television to pursue graduate work in English and Classics in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. His first commercial publication came out in 1998. He defended his English dissertation, Antiquity and Radical Authority 1773-1861, in 2003, looking at the role that ancient literature played in inspiring modern British and American writers including Swift, Pope, Wheatley, Blake, Thoreau, Delany, and Brown. In 2003, the State University of New York at Buffalo conferred its doctorate on Dr. Lopez, and he began an assistant professorship in New Jersey.
For two years Dr. Lopez taught in New Jersey and continued his scholarship around the theme of ancient-modern connections in American and British literature, including black diasporic literature in English. In 2005, he returned to Buffalo once again to try his hand at teaching at a religious college while he finished his Classics graduate degree at SUNY Buffalo.
By 2007, Dr. Lopez passed his comprehensive exams in Greek and Latin and was awarded his MA in Classics. His MA project was “Cadmean Girls Gone Wild: Women and the Meltdown of Enmity in the Theban Civil War.” This project examined Pindar’s and Aeschylus’s respective versions of the war between Oedipus’s sons. It also looked at the role gender played in the poetic and dramatic presentations of the war story.
In 2008, Dr. Lopez’s screenplay, Snow in Miami, won first place in the Latino Screenplay Competition. It was a comedy about a Latino professor who was raised by a gay couple, a storyline to which Dr. Lopez could relate, having been himself raised by a lesbian with the help of her lifelong female partner.
Also, in 2008, Dr. Lopez moved to Los Angeles to begin his job at California State University-Northridge. He continued publishing in journals such as Nineteenth-Century Prose, Edgar Allan Poe Review, and the French series IDEA (Interdisciplinarité dans les Etudes Anglophones.) The culmination of much of his research was the publication of The Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients from Wheatley to Whitman, by Rowman & Littlefield, in 2011. This was a monograph examining Phillis Wheatley’s conversation with Horace, Edgar Allan Poe’s conversation with John Winthrop, Henry David Thoreau’s conversation with Homer, William Wells Brown’s conversation with Cato, and finally Walt Whitman’s conversation with Virgil.
The Colorful Conservative received praise from Mark Bauerlein of Emory University and Steven Justice of UC Berkeley, both of whom considered it a unique exploration of the forgotten conservative streak in American letters.
Since receiving tenure in 2013, Dr. Lopez has been an active writer and commentator in conservative circles, publishing extensively in venues such as American Thinker, Public Discourse, Daily Caller, Ethika Politika, The Federalist, and most recently, the peer-reviewed publication Humanum Review. His focus shifted to concern for children’s rights, a topic on which he wished to combine his personal experience as an early product of same-sex parenting and the broad interdisciplinary research he has conducted into the history of family structures.He has delivered numerous lectures on this topic, to groups at Stanford, Notre Dame, Princeton, UCLA, Catholic University, and others. He has also delivered lectures on such topics in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, and Italy. Many of his speeches are accessible at English Manif. In 2014, he was appointed president of the International Children’s Rights Institute.
In February 2015, along with co-editor Rivka Edelman (another scholar raised by gay parents), Dr. Lopez published Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family “Equality.” His current book projects include Solomon’s Babies, a collection of essays about writers who were raised by gay parents; Disco on a Hill, a collection of essays about gay exceptionalism; Discipline and Demonize, a collection of essays about the role of invective in world literature; and Putting Text on Trial, a collection of essays about the role of interactive and innovative events in literature classrooms.
Dr. Lopez is an active member of the Southern Baptist Convention and has sought to give support to conservative Christian students struggling to reconcile their faith and the demands of university life. He speaks or reads eight languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Greek, and Latin.