About

John and Scruffy

I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, on my family’s land which adjoined my father’s parents’ farm, and all my formal education (public school in Austin; B.A. at Texas Lutheran College in Seguin; M.A. at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos; Ph.D. at Rice University in Houston) occurred in Texas.

In addition to those different places in Texas, I have lived in Durango, Mexico (where I taught English as a Second Language for two years); Mobile, Alabama (where I had my first full-time teaching position at the University of Mobile); and, presently, Wichita, Kansas (where I teach for Butler Community College).

I am a first-generation college graduate whose family was not well-off. Without going into a great amount of detail here, I’ll just say that, to the extent that I have achieved anything as a student and in my profession, I have been very, very lucky, and none of it would have happened if I had not (very reluctantly) decided to go to college in the first place. Something I tell all of my students at some point in the semester is, “Do not take this for granted.”

Among my academic interests are American and Latin American literature, Modernism and Postmodernism, New World writing and culture, narrative theory, and the teaching of composition. I’m also working on a book, whose title is also the title of this blog, that examines fictional and historical narratives and visual depictions of consensual interracial relations from throughout the Americas and argues that the textual and visual rhetorics of these narratives serve as a kind of allegory for the emergence of a still-evolving New World culture.

I am interested in a great many things, some of which manifest themselves as readings and writing assignments for my students: art; music; film; the influences of technology on relationships between people and culture; livability and sustainability issues for urban areas (especially promoting cycling as a viable means of basic transportation); the importance of place in a time when fewer and fewer people feel connected to place; and pedagogical and political issues facing community colleges.

I am an “it’s the journey and not the destination” kind of traveler. I have not traveled extensively, but I certainly enjoy it when I get the chance to go somewhere. Mexico is a favorite destination.  Indeed, Mexico City is a long-running intellectual and emotional preoccupation of mine.

I am married to Megan, who is a marvelous (and, with me, a marvelously-patient) woman.  We have a son, Benjamin, born in 2017.

I also have two daughters from my previous marriage who live with their mother in Mobile.  They have matured into accomplished young women, and I could not be prouder to be their father.

I of course cannot know why you’re here, but I’m glad you are.

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