Teaching Areas: American Literature, African American Literature, Literary Theory
I received my PhD from the University of Victoria, taught for several years at the University of Calgary and for three years at the University of Maryland before coming to Brock in 2010. My research and teaching is mainly in American and African American literature, as well as literary and critical race theory. I regularly teach undergraduate courses in American literature and culture. Much of my research is interdisciplinary and incorporates aspects of political theory, history, and religious history. My first book analyzed the meaning of American civil religion and critical views of American exceptionalism and mission through literary and rhetorical works of early American and African American authors. That work is titled Strange Jeremiahs: Civil Religion and the Literary Imaginations of Jonathan Edwards, Herman Melville, and W. E. B. Du Bois (University of New Mexico, 2011).
My research has been focused on transnational and transatlantic temperance (anti-alcohol) writings and movements in the nineteenth-century, particularly African American writers and reformers. I also have researched transnational and hemispheric meanings of Americanism (including creolization, border crossings, and settlements in Canada). My second book explored how African American abolitionist authors and reformers mobilized temperance as a critically cosmopolitan discourse (Temperance and Cosmopolitanism: African American Reformers in the Atlantic World, Pennsylvania State University Press, Nov. 2018).http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08203-5.html
I welcome supervising student projects in all areas of American literature and African American literature,critical race theory and American literature, transnational and diasporic meanings of freedom, theory, and especially cross-cultural contacts in earlier American literature and culture.
Awarded the Faculty of Humanities Excellence in Teaching Award (2019).
Temperance and Cosmopolitanism: African American Reformers in the Atlantic World (Pennsylvania State University Press, Nov., 2018 http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08203-5.html)
Strange Jeremiahs: Civil Religion and the Literary Imaginations of Jonathan Edwards, Herman Melville and W. E. B. Du Bois (University of New Mexico Press, February 2011)
Read a review of this book: http://jsr.fsu.edu/issues/vol15/johnson.html
“Iola’s War on Alcohol, Lynching, and the Rise of the Carceral State,” Canadian Review of American Studies (CAAS), University of Toronto Press, print, 49, no. 2, 2019, 185-204. *Winner of the 2019 Ernest Redekop Prize for the best essay published in the Canadian Review of American Studies in 2019
(related blog post, “The War on Alcohol as the First War on Drugs?” August 6, 2019, University of Toronto Press journals, http://blog.utpjournals.com/2019/08/06/war-alcohol-first-war-drugs)
“American Civil Religion, the Gift, and the Economy of Revolutionary Freedom,” in With This Root About My Person: Charles H. Long and New Directions in the Study of Religion, eds. David Carrasco and Jennifer Reid, University of New Mexico Press, 107-118, 2020. https:unmpress.com/books/root-about-my-person/9780826361622
“‘The Quintessence of Sanctifying Grace’–Amanda Smith’s Religious Experience, Freedom, and a Temperate Cosmopolitanism” (Journal of Africana Religions, Penn State UP, vol. 1, no. 3, 2013: 348-375).
“Civil Society,” Vocabulary for the Study of Religion, Kocku von Stuckrad and Robert Segal, eds (Brill), 2015.
“Phillis Wheatley,” The Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment, Ed. Mark Spencer (New York: Bloomsbury), 2015.
“A Transnational Temperance Discourse? William Wells Brown, Creole Civilization, and Temperate Manners” (The Journal of Transnational American Studies, JTAS, Vol.3; 1, 2011, 25pps.) online. American Cultures and Global Contexts Center, UC Santa Barbara.
“Civil Religion, Civil Society and the Performative Life and Work of W. E.B. Du Bois.” (The Journal of Religion. The University of Chicago, 2008, 88: 307-330).
“Slave to the Bottle and the Plough: The Inner and Outer Worlds of Freedom in George Moses Horton’s Poetry,” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 22/1 (Fall 2007): 45-64.
“Civil Religion in the United States” (Encyclopedia Of Religion, Second Edition [Ed., Lindsay Jones; Mircea Eliade 1st Ed.] New York: Macmillan, 2005. 1812-1817, 5400 words).
“The Shifting Nature of Reform Envisioned on the Mississippi Steamer: Exchanges, Masks and Charities in Herman Melville’s The Confidence Man,” in New Territories, New Perspectives: The Religious Impact of the Louisiana Purchase, ed. Richard J. Callahan. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008, 109-129. (Reprint, slight variations in Explorations: The Twentieth-Century, The Levi Humanities Series, The University of Louisiana, Vol. XI, 2009: 107-132).
“Challenging Liberal Justice: The Talented Tenth Revisited.” Recognizing Du Bois in the 21st Century. Eds. Chester J. Fontenot and Mary Keller (Mercer UP, March, 2007), 112-141.