John earned his B.A. in Spanish and philosophy at Centre College in Danville, KY. He went on to study at the University of Minnesota, receiving his M.A. and PhD in Spanish and Lusophone Literatures and Cultures. He specializes in Modern and contemporary Iberian literatures and cultures with particular interests in the environmental humanities and Iberian studies. John arrives at the University of Missouri – St. Louis with ten years of experience teaching all levels of Spanish language, literature and culture. He has taught an array of courses at the University of Minnesota, Indiana University and the University of Montana, including two seminars; one focused on ecocritical approaches to the Iberian Peninsula and another studying the importance of Basque, Galician and Catalan literatures in Spain. At UMSL, he will offer several new courses including a seminar on the refuge, examining the global movements of people in Spanish and Latin American contexts. He is also developing a course called “Spanish for the Sciences” that will give students the opportunity to study environmental and scientific discourses in Spanish.
Among other articles, John has recently contributed an essay on Nunca Máis and the Prestige oil spill to the collected volume Ethics of Life: Contemporary Iberian Debates (Hispanic Issues, Vanderbilt University Press). Another article, “Submergence” lays out a framework for transatlantic ecocriticism, focusing in particular on hydroelectric dams, islands and archipelagoes. He is currently coauthoring a piece on the issues of ecological sovereignty and pyropolitics in the work of Galician author Manuel Rivas. His book project Beyond the Niche: Ecological Cultural Production in the Iberian Peninsulan explores the array of roles that nature and ecology play in both buttressing and unsettling fixed notions of cultural and national identity.
The core of John’s pedagogical approach is a passion for cultural contact through the discovery of a diverse range of texts, histories and places. His teaching challenges students to analytically approach difficult objects of study while fostering an open forum for productive dialogue. Whether the subject matter is an introduction to the subjunctive mood, an introspective Jimenez poem, or one of Goya’s Caprichos, his courses aim to create (re)encounters with languages, histories, cultures and literatures that, though important in their own respect, help us reevaluate core assumptions of everyday life.