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E. Patrick Johnson

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E. Patrick Johnson (Ph.D.) is an African American performance artist, ethnographer, and scholar.


His work has made important contributions in the fields of performance studies, critical race theory, and queer theory (especially queer of color critique). Johnson is currently Chair of the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University where he is also a member of the core faculty in the Department of African American Studies. Before going to Northwestern, Johnson was an Assistant Professor of English at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. As a performance artist, Johnson has toured his one-man show, "Strange Fruit", around the country since 1999.


His first book, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity was an important study of how "blackness" was "performed" and contested in different social contexts, particularly in relationship to gender and sexuality. The book won several awards, including the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His co-edited book Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology was an important collection of essays by prominent scholars in African American and Queer Studies, based on a conference Johnson co-organized at the University of Chapel Hill in 1998. He is currently working on an oral history of black gay men in the southern United States entitled Sweet Tea: An Oral History of Black Gay Men in the South, which is to be published by the University of North Carolina Press.

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