Jessica Marie Johnson

Jessica Marie Johnson (she/her/ella)

Associate Professor

Contact Information

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 former fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies at Harvard University. 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). The book is a winner of the 2021 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association, the 2021 Wesley-Logan Prize form the American Historical Association, the 2021 Rosalyn Terborg-Penn Prize for Outstanding Original Scholarship on Gender and Sexuality in the African Diaspora from the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, the 2021 Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award for Best Book in Southern History from the Southern Historical Association, the 2020 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize for Louisiana History, the 2020 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize, the 2020 Rebel Women Lit Caribbean Readers' Award for Best Non-Fiction Book, an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Pauli Murray Book Award from the African American Intellectual History Society, and a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize from the Gilder-Lehrman Institute.

Most recently, Johnson signed a two book deal with the Liveright, an imprint of W. W. Norton, to publish a non-fiction monograph examining Black women's engagement with history of slavery and how that engagement appears and reappears in digital and social media; and a history of Black researchers and the first generation of Black people freed from slavery in the United States. Johnson is represented by McKinnon Literary.

Johnson is an internationally recognized digital humanist. Johnson is the Director of LifexCode: Digital Humanities Against Enclosure and Senior Research Associate with the Center for the Digital Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. Johnson is PI of Black Beyond Data, a Black studies computational and social sciences lab, with co-PIs Kim Gallon and Alexandre White. Alongside Dr. Yomaira C. Figueroa, Johnson also co-directs the Diaspora Solidarities Lab, a Mellon-funded multi-university initiative applying Black feminist methodologies to collaborative scholarship. Johnson's essay, "Markup Bodies: Black [Life] Studies and Slavery [Death] Studies at the Digital Crossroads" is widely recognized as a ground-breaking intervention in the fields of Black studies, digital humanities and data science. Johnson is co-editor with Lauren Tilton and David Mimno of Debates in the Digital Humanities: Computational Humanities. She was guest editor of Slavery in the Machine, a special issue of archipelagos journal (2019) and co-editor with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University) of Black Code: A Special Issue of the Black Scholar (2017).

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, Forum Journal, Bitch Magazine, Black Perspectives (AAIHS), Somatosphere and Post-Colonial Digital Humanities (DHPoco) and her book chapters have appeared in multiple edited collections.

(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.