Jessica Marie Johnson (she/her/ella)

Jessica Marie Johnson

Associate Professor
Gilman 372

Research Interests: Women, gender, and sexuality in the African diaspora; histories of slavery and the slave trade; and digital history and new media

Education: PhD, University of Maryland, College Park

Jessica Marie Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the Johns Hopkins University and a Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She is also the Director of LifexCode: Digital Humanities Against Enclosure. Johnson is a historian of Atlantic slavery and the Atlantic African diaspora. She is the author of Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, August 2020).

Johnson’s Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World is the:

  • winner of the 2020 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize for Louisiana History
  • winner of the 2020 Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers' Award
  • finalist for the 2021 Frederick Douglass Book Prize from the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for the Study of American History
  • honorable mention for the 2021 Barbara Christian Literary Prize from the Caribbean Studies Association
  • honorable mention for the 2021 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Book Prize from the French Colonial History Society/Société d'histoire coloniale française
  • honorable mention for the 2021 Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians
  • honorable mention for the 2021 Pauli Murray Book Prize from the African American Intellectual History Society
  • named a "Best Black History Book" of 2020 by Black Perspectives, the publication of the African American Intellectual History Society . She is co-editor with Lauren Tilton and David Mimno of Debates in the Digital Humanities: Computational Humanities (under peer review). She is guest editor of Slavery in the Machine, a special issue of archipelagos journal (formerly sx:archipelagos) (2019) and co-editor with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University) of Black Code: A Special Issue of the Black Scholar (2017).
  • winner of the 2021 Wesley-Logan Best Book in African Diaspora History Prize from the Association of American Historians
  • winner of the 2021 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association

Her work has appeared in Slavery & Abolition, The Black Scholar, Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism, American Quarterly, Social Text, The Journal of African American History, the William & Mary Quarterly, Debates in the Digital Humanities (2nd edition), Forum Journal, Bitch Magazine, Black Perspectives (AAIHS), Somatosphere and Post-Colonial Digital Humanities (DHPoco) and her book chapters have appeared in multiple edited collections.

She is the Founding Curator of #ADPhDProjects which brings social justice and histories of slavery together. She is also Co-Kin Curator at Taller Electric Marronage.  She is also a Digital Alchemist at the Center for Solutions to Online Violence and a co-organizer of the Queering Slavery Working Group with Dr. Vanessa Holden (University of Kentucky). Her past collaborations include organizing with the LatiNegrxs Project.

As a historian and Black Studies scholar, Johnson researches black diasporic freedom struggles from slavery to emancipation. As a digital humanist, Johnson explores ways digital and social media disseminate and create historical narratives, in particular, comparative histories of slavery and people of African descent.

She is the recipient of research fellowships and awards from the Mellon-African American Digital Humanities Initiative (AADHum) at the University of Maryland, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute, the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Richards Civil War Era Center and Africana Research Center at the Pennsylvania State University, and Bowdoin College (through the Consortium for Faculty Diversity).

Johnson tweets as @jmjafrx.

(c.v. available by request)

My published work can be found in Slavery & Abolition, Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism, Debates in the Digital Humanities, The Black Scholar, #DHPoCo: Postcolonial Digital Humanities, Digital Humanities Now, the Focus: The Princeton Department of African and African-American Studies Re:Sponse Series on Medium, and the African American Intellectual History Society blog.

I also blog on slavery, feminism, and radical media at my personal blog/workspace Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog.

My digital work has received critical review in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (2014) and Uri McMillan's Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance.