John graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 with a B.A. in Spanish, a B.A. in Latin American Studies, and a minor in African and Afro-American Studies. He earned his M.A.Ed. in Spanish and Portuguese Education (K-12) from Wake Forest University in 2011, after which he moved to Salvador, Brazil where he was awarded his M.A. in Ethnic and African Studies from the Universidade Federal da Bahia, and his manuscript, “Meninos diferentes: Construção e performance de masculinidades de homens negros gays em Salvador, Bahia” (“Different Boys: Construction and Performance of Gay Black Masculinities in Salvador, Bahia”) is currently under review for publication in Brazil.
John’s research interests broadly examine intersections of blackness, gender, and sexuality with the Latin American state. His dissertation will read cultural production as co-constitutive to the intellectual development and state-sanctioning of the myth of Brazilian racial democracy from the late-nineteenth century through the digital age, and how racial democracy’s simultaneous inclusion of blackness and queerness to the point of their invisibilization pushes culture to become a primary tool of grassroots opposition. Other research interests include poetry and prose of the African diaspora in the Americas, the violence of gay white male power on black survival, blackness vis-à-vis settler colonial narratives, and diaspora theory in black religion. John has taught creative writing and critical courses on African American poetry in Brazil and at Berkeley. He has published poems in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and is currently working on publishing his first poetry anthology.