Portrait: José Juan Villagrana

By Devina Martinez

Join the College of Humanities and the Arts in welcoming Dr. José Juan Villagrana to the Department of English, where he joins us as an Assistant Professor of Literature. Dr. Villagrana holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish from Northwestern University and received his Ph.D. in English at UC Berkeley, with a dissertation titled Doomsday Poetics: Early Modern England and Spain, 1561-1680.

Professor Villagrana comes to SJSU from Bates College, where he taught numerous courses such as The Global Renaissance; Shakespeare and Racialization; Milton; and Apocalypse and the Reformation.

A major part of Professor Villagrana’s decision to join our college was driven by our student body. “I came to SJSU specifically to work alongside creative, dedicated, and collegial students,” he says, and he hasn’t been disappointed. “I love working with SJSU students! Our discussions are exciting,” he says. “I get to learn something new from students’ broad interests and skills after each encounter with them. They’re redefining what’s possible in the field of English while promoting                                                         the discipline’s core principles of literacy and critical thought.”

Dr. Villagrana’s research interests include 16th and 17th century English and Spanish literature, with a focus on apocalypticism. In addition to these studies, he will continue his research into issues of religion and racialization in the early modern era while teaching courses on Shakespeare and surveys of Early Modern Literature. He says, “My goal is to work with students’ existing knowledge of Shakespeare and the major works of English literature that they encountered in high school or community college to understand how these works speak to England’s cultural and political interests in a global context.”

Dr. Villagrana is currently working on a book that uncovers the relationship between apocalyptic thought and the racialization of people during the Renaissance.

Welcome to SJSU, José!