Maddox elected as college/university representative for American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese

John Maddox, associate professor in UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences, will represent UAB at the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

Maddox 2John MaddoxJohn Maddox, associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, has been elected college/university representative for the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Maddox has taught at UAB for the past seven years, and it is his second time representing UAB at AATSP. Previously, he served as president of AATSP Alabama, which meets annually as part of the Alabama World Languages Association.

AATSP promotes the study and teaching of Spanish and Portuguese at all levels of education, which includes the corresponding cultures and literatures. It contributes to a better and deeper understanding between the United States and the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of the world. AATSP collaborates with educators, professionals and institutions in other countries to encourage, support and direct programs and research projects involving the exchange of pedagogical and scholarly information.

In his new role as a member of the board of directors of AATSP — which is a three-year term — Maddox is looking forward to reconnecting with world language colleagues beyond his academic realm. Part of his role involves supporting AATSP conferences, with two of the upcoming sessions in Puerto Rico and Spain.

“I enjoy getting out of my bubble and talking about Afro-Latinx poetry with an elementary school teacher, or mother-daughter relationships in literature with a Colombian professor living in Wisconsin,” Maddox said.

His work at UAB has contributed to the new applied professional Spanish concentration of foreign languages major in the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. His role in AATSP will help promote similar programs.

“UAB is a global leader in medicine, and this simple fact has made our department a pioneer in what we call Spanish for Specific Purposes,” Maddox explained. “Those ‘purposes’ are jobs outside teaching and research in languages. We strongly support future bilingual medical professionals, though we welcome everybody who wants to learn languages.”

In his professional career, Maddox is passionate about supporting and preparing graduate students in Spanish and Portuguese to compete in a shrinking humanities job market. Building on his previous term last year, he created and implemented the Graduate Student Day Paper Competition that gave students opportunities to give short talks, meet one another and network with professors from Georgia State University and Spelman College, who judged presentations.

The winner published her work in The Spanish and Portuguese Review, an AATSP peer-reviewed journal for graduate students. Through this competition, students compete for a prize that will build their resumes for an exigent job market, Maddox explains.

Maddox is a scholar of literature and culture, and his next AATSP conference presentations will be related to his book about Afro-Puerto Rican novels about enslavement and a dictionary of racial, ethnic, gender and sexuality terms he co-wrote. Other future presentations will be about medicine and will incorporate his interest in identity politics, which remain important for anyone in a democracy, regardless of major or profession, adds Maddox.