Lindgren Johnson

Assistant Professor, General Faculty, Writing and Rhetoric Program

214 Bryan Hall

Office Hours: MW 1-3 and by appointment

Critical Animal Studies, Critical Race Studies, Posthumanist Studies, African American Literature, Food Studies, Film Studies, Ecocriticism, Writing Program


B.A. Bryn Mawr 1994
Ph.D. University of Mississippi 2010

Description of Work

The discourse of “the human” has long been weaponized against vulnerable animal as well as human populations, and my teaching and research work to reveal and resist this violence—and to acknowledge, work within, and create models of interspecies justice. I am particularly concerned with the ways that systems of racism and speciesism are mutually supporting, an apprehension that is essential to the creation of a just world.
My forthcoming book, Race Matters, Animal Matters: Fugitive Humanism in African America, 1840-1930 (Routledge, 2018), challenges one of the grand narratives of African American studies: that African Americans rejected racist associations of blackness and animality through a disassociation from animality. Analyzing texts written by Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Ida B. Wells, and James Weldon Johnson (among others) alongside slaughterhouse lithographs, hunting photography, and “husbandry” manuals, I argue instead for a critical African American tradition that at pivotal moments reconsiders and recuperates discourses of animality used against both African Americans and animals. I articulate a theory of “fugitive humanism” in which these texts flee both white and human exceptionalism, even as they move within and seek out a (revised) humanist space. In doing so, these authors redefine what it means to be human, undermining the binaries that helped to produce racial and animal injustices and providing prophetic frameworks for liberation, both human and animal.
My current work is interested in several subjects: the sacred and processes of mourning in relation to animal death in children’s literature, film, and animal activism; foodways studies’ discourse of “sustainability” in lieu of interspecies justice; and the pedagogy of critical animal studies. I am the faculty advisor for Animal Justice Advocates.