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Sara E. Johnson

Ph.D. (Stanford University)

Associate Professor of Literature of the Americas

Primary Office: LIT 431
Primary Phone: Contact Department
Quarterly Office Hours

Email: sejohn@ucsd.edu

Affiliated Faculty in The Center for Iberian & Latin American Studies
Affiliated Faculty for Department of Ethnic Studies
Affiliated Faculty in Critical Gender Studies

Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award Winner, 2012
UCSD Hellman Fellow

Research and teaching areas include literature and theory of the Hispanophone, Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean and its diasporas; inter-American literature; the Age of Revolution in the extended Americas; African-American literature; music and dance of the African Diaspora; hemispheric american cultural studies.

Sara Johnson received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University and her B.A. in Comparative Literature and African American Studies from Yale University.  She is currently working on a book documenting the work of Moreau de Saint-Méry, a late eighteenth-century Caribbean intellectual.  She has performed extensive research abroad, living in Senegal, Cuba, Haiti and Martinique. Recent fellowships include those from the Ford Foundation, the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Program, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Hellman Fund.

Her book The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas  (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012) is an inter-disciplinary study that explores how people of African descent responded to the collapse and reconsolidation of colonial life in the aftermath of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1845). Using visual culture, popular music and dance, periodical literature, historical memoirs, and state papers, the book traces expressions of transcolonial black politics, both aesthetic and experiential, in places including Hispaniola, Louisiana, Jamaica, and Cuba. It was published by the University of California Press as part of the Modern Language initiative, a partnership between the Modern Language Association, the Mellon Foundation, and several university presses. 

Johnson is the co-editor of Kaiso! Writings By and About Katherine Dunham  (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, Studies in Dance History Series, 2006) and Una ventana a Cuba y los Estudios cubanos (San Juan: Ediciones Callejon, Spring 2010). Kaiso!  was named one of the top ten arts books of 2006. 

Selected Publications:


The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Awarded Honorable Mention for the 2013 William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize from the Modern Language Association
Una ventana a Cuba y los Estudios cubanos. Co-edited with Amalia Cabezas, Ivette Hernández-Torres and Rodrigo Lazo. San Juan: Ediciones Callejon, Spring 2010.
Kaiso! Writings By and About Katherine Dunham. Co-edited with VeVe Clark. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006.


“Your Mother Gave Birth to a Pig”: Power, Abuse and Planter Linguistics in Baudry des Lozière’s Vocabulaire Congo."  Journal of Early American Studies (Winter 2018): 7-40.

“Moreau de Saint-Méry: Itinerant Bibliophile.” Library and Information History Volume 31. 3 (2015): 171-197.

“Never Put your Feet where your Eyes Cain't See: A Meditation on Deepness” in south: a scholarly journal.” Vol 47. 1 (Fall 2015): 52-62. 

Page to Praxis: Bringing Diaspora Literacy to Life." Theatre Survey Volume 50.1 (May 2009): 19-22.

"You Should Give them Blacks to Eat" Cuban Bloodhounds and the Waging of an Inter-American War of Torture and Terror. American Quarterly  Vol. 61.1 (March 2009): 65-92. Winner of the Constance M. Rourke Prize given by the American Studies Association annually to the best article published in American Quarterly.

"Cinquillo Consciousness: The Formation of a Pan-Caribbean Musical Aesthetic."Music, Writing and Caribbean Unity. Ed. Tim Reiss. Trenton:  Africa World Press (2005): 35-58.

"The Integration of Hispaniola: A Reappraisal of Haitian-Dominican Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries."Journal of Haitian Studies Vol. 8 No. 2 (Fall 2002): 4-29.

Selected Courses:

Comparative Caribbean Discourse
Transcolonial American  Studies
La narrativa cubana
Comparative American Slavery in the Age of Revolution
Inter-American Prose
La isla que se repite
Revolutionary Art: Cuban Popular Culture Since 1959
The World of Jane Austen
Salsa Music: Style and Substance