New Faculty 2020


Headshot of Sarah Jessica Johnson

Sarah Jessica Johnson

Assistant Professor
Department of English Language and Literature and the College

Sarah Jessica Johnson’s work is concerned with 17th- through 19th-century archives of slavery and marronage in North America and the Caribbean. She is interested in how resistance practices and flight from enslavement by Black and Native individuals shaped textual and visual production in the colonial period. Her current book project considers the lives of individuals who chose marronage, the importance of kin and chosen family in those decisions, and some of the unexpected places that maroons are located when they first appear in the archive. She is also working on a project concerning “Tituba, the Indian,” who was one of the first people accused in the Salem witch trials of 1692–93. In this work, she examines Tituba’s testimony and subsequent representations of her life as refracted through the past and present carceral state in North America. She is also translating 18th- and 19th-century Francophone Louisiana texts into English.

Her work has been published in Portable Gray, Transition, and Call and Response. She has contributed to Caribbean Literature in Transition, 1800–1920, volume 1 (Cambridge University Press, in press) and The Life and Legend of Bras-Coupé (Louisiana State University Press, 2019).

Johnson received her PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and most recently was a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago.

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