John M. Woodruff, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Spanish, Valdosta State University
 

Teaching

Spanish is an official language of twenty-one sovereign states and an increasing demographic within the United States. Spanish is not simply a medium of communication but rather a gateway to engaging other cultures more fully. From history to literature and from arts to economies, the ability to communicate in the language is perhaps the single greatest advantage. It can be summed up in Sir Francis Bacon's apocryphal quote: Scientia potentia est (knowledge is power). »»»

 

Research

The seventeenth century statesman George Savile once said, "Nothing has an uglier look to us than reason, when it's not on our side." This was clearly the case in colonial Central America where the early Spanish conquerors and missionaries had trouble making sense of the ancient Maya. Many social and religious parallels perplexed the colonizers and led many to draw peculiar conclusions such as the apostle Thomas having supernaturally appeared and evangelized the natives of the New World. The epistemological admixture was generally perceived as a danger to Indians' souls and missionaries destroyed or suppressed much of the native culture in their zeal to Christianize and civilize them. »»»

 

Technology

There are two ways of looking at technological outcomes: easier and better. When the wheel was first developed, it made work easier. When humans acquired fire, it made food better. Today we can still see this principle at work in a digital perspective. Computers make banking and accounting easier while computers make movies better. »»»

 

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