Rob did his honors BA at the University of Saskatchewan and an MA and a PhD at the University of Toronto (researching the latter in Paris during 1973 and 1974), taking up his position at UWA in 1975. He has since taught many units on modern European history and, more recently, on cultural and intellectual history, before retiring at the end of 2017. He is currently a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities. His research output has focused on the history of French Marxism, but is now concentrated on the ideological dimension of contemporary genre fantasy literature. During the last fifteen years of his appointment, he filled several administrative roles (including acting Head of School) in the School of Humanities, as well as Chairing the History Program.
Rob's current research project will result in a book series around the theme of 'The Politics of Middle-earth: Tolkien's ideology', with a number of associated articles.
He has recently been responsible for three units in the History programme: HIST3009 'Mythistory: Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Historical Imagination', HIST2002 'The Rise and Fall of European Fascism', and HIST2007 'Thinking History'. HIST3009 and HIST2002 have been cancelled in view of Rob's retirement.
Rob's research interest in French Marxism resulted in 'Marxism at Work: Ideology, Class and French Socialism during the Third Republic' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) and 'Marxism and National Identity during the French Fin de Siècle' (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006), as well as a number of articles.