Rob Thomas Portrait

Rob Thomas

( They/Them/Theirs )
Lecturer Faculty
Comparative and World Literature; Humanities; Video Game Studies
Location: Humanities Building, Room 219
Office Hours:
Tue: 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.via email, Canvas messaging, or Zoom
Thu: 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.via email, Canvas messaging, or Zoom


I have been teaching at SFSU since 1998. Over the past two decades, I have created unique courses on San Francisco modernism—bringing work from Benjamin, Foucault, Debord, and Agamben to bear on the unique history of 19th and early 20th century San Francisco; Images of Eroticism—tracing the history of images of sexuality across global cultures, particularly in relation to modernism/modernity; Myths of the World—re-thinking Barthes’ Mythologies in relation to the historical present; Thinking with Video Games—exploring affect and video game play in relation to post-disciplinary societies; Bay Area Culture—tracing the history of technology and global capitalism in relation to the aesthetics and history of Silicon Valley.

Since 2017, my work has focused on the potential of online teaching and learning, including its impact on issues of access, equity, and inclusion. This work has been among the most challenging and rewarding of my career.


Ph.D. Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Literature, and the Theory of Criticism (PLC), Binghamton University (SUNY Binghamton), 2005

M.A. Education, Instructional Design and Technology (ITEC), San Francisco State University, 2022.

M.A. Philosophy, Binghamton University, 2004.

M.A. Humanities, San Francisco State University, 2000

Research and Interests


Cinema and Media Studies

Continental Philosophy

Social Theory

Instructional Design and Technology

Machine Learning

Courses Recently Taught at SFSU

HUM 390 Images of Eroticism

CWL 380 Thinking with Video Games

HUM 376 San Francisco: Biography of a City

HUM 340 / AU 302 Bay Area Culture

CWL 260 Myths of the World


German (Reading)

French (Reading)