Scholar Profile

Dr. John WoodruffJohn Woodruff is a contract linguist, irregular adjunct professor, and Alt-Ac colonialist scholar. He holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages, an M.A. in Spanish/​Latin-American Studies, and a distinctive B.A.U.H. in Spanish/​Mathematics.

A specialist in Spanish-American colonial texts, Dr. Woodruff applies critical theory of paratext, marginalia, and rhetoric to an eighteenth-century manuscript containing the oldest surviving text of the Quiché Maya narrative known as more ›

Marginalia Theory

In their introduction to Ma(r)king the Text: The presentation of meaning on the literary page, Joe Bray, Miriam Handley, and Anne C. Henry point out that “to mark a text is also to make it; [and] features such as punctuation, footnotes, epigraphs, white space and marginalia, marks that traditionally have been ignored in literary criticism, can be examined for their contribution to a text’s meaning” (xvii).more ›

Digital Humanities for the Lone Scholar

Position Paper. Digital Humanities (sometimes stated as Humanities Computing) has long been a walled garden and generally misidentified as the mere use of computer or information technology. This has led many humanists to mistakenly believe themselves to engage the discipline and many other humanists to regard it as inaccessible. My definition seeks to cure both ills.more ›

Statement of Research

My principal expertise lies with the periconquest narrative commonly known as Popol Vuh which recounts the mythological, historical, and religious heritage of the Quiché Maya who inhabited the highland region of present-day Guatemala City. Although it is one of the foremost works of the Spanish-American colonial period, shockingly little critical attention has been given to its colonial context. Popol Vuh survives by way of Dominican priest Father Francisco Ximénez. The position most commonly taken as to Popol Vuh’s survival is that a missionary-educated Indian used his knowledge of European alphabetic writing to capture and preserve, in written form, the oral recitation of an elder sometime in the 1550s. In the late 1600s or early 1700s, Father Ximénez is popularly theorized to have obtained this phonetic redaction from a parishioner, which he then would have transcribed and translated in parallel Quiché and Spanish. After Ximénez’s death, his writings remained in the library of his convent near the capital until 1829 when more ›

Statement of Teaching Philosophy

In the months following my velvet hooding, I had the wonderful experience of reading Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar,1 a Harvard lecturer on positive psychology. According to Ben-Shahar, there is no formula for happiness, but being happier is a function of self-actualization and the fulfillment found therein. That premise revealed to me the principles that characterized my best classes as a student. Moreover, it explained why the writing stage of my dissertation was an extraordinarily enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Admittedly there were moments of frustration, but in all, I thrived on the challenge and looked forward to working on it each day. Having seen how self-actualization produced such a positive experience for me, I believe that Ben-Shahar’s principles will help me to instill the same functions into the courses that I teach.more ›

Popol Vuh Prologues

My doctoral dissertation presented the first edited collection of all four Ayer ms 1515 prologues. My hope is that making these prologue transcriptions available online will raise awareness of their contribution to Poppl Vuh’s textual and narrative meaning and spark investigations by other scholars.more ›