Tita Chico specializes in Restoration and 18th-century British literature and culture. Designing Women: The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Culture (2005) considers the prevalence of what seems to be a most ordinary image in eighteenth-century literature, the lady's dressing room, and argues that its development and circulation reflect a variety of key literary and cultural transformations, for it is linked to the eroticism and theatricality of the playhouse tiring-room and to the learning and privilege of the gentleman's closet. As a symbol of both progressive and retrograde versions of feminity, the dressing room trope redefines the gendered constitution of private spaces and offers a corrective to the literary history of satire and the novel.
With Toni Bowers (University of Pennsylvania), she edited a collection of original essays, Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment (2012), which model new ways to understand the unexpected roles that seduction stories and sentimental narratives played for readers struggling to negotiate previously unimagined differences between and among people, institutions, and ideas.
Chico's current project, Experimentalism: Literary Knowledge and Science in Eighteenth-Century Britain, studies literary celebrations, elaborations, and alternatives to the epistemology of experimental philosophy. She argues that late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature allowed writers and their readers to imagine new possibilities for individuals and the worlds they inhabit by specifically addressing the structures of authority and objectivity that practitioners and advocates of early science were beginning to formulate.
Chico is also Editor of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, a quarterly published by Penn Press.
At the University of Maryland, Chico has served as Associate Dean for Fellowships and Awards in the Graduate School (2010-12), Coordinator of the College of Arts and Humanities's Critical Theory Certificate Program (2009-11), and Associate Director of Graduate Studies and Director of Placement in the English Department (2006-09).