Gillian Johns

  • Associate Professor of English

Areas of Study


  • BS, Slippery Rock University, 1984
  • MA, Temple University, 1992
  • PhD, Temple University, 1999


I regularly teach courses in American and African American literature and literary culture, in such areas as African American detective fiction, modern African American literary humor and irony, black women writers and autobiographical subjectivity, modernism in Chicago cultures of letters, and orality and literacy in works by major black writers.

I have a special interest in modernist black authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison, and have conducted research on these authors. Some of my more general interests are in rhetoric and reader response theory; humor, comedy, and irony; critical race theory; narrative and genre theory; and transformations in high and low cultural studies.

Fall 2023

The Blues Detective: Riffing on a Literary Formula — FYSP 185
Black English and Voice: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics — AAST 263
Black English and Voice: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics — ENGL 263
Seminar: Literary Cognitive Linguistics — ENGL 438

Spring 2024

August Wilson: The Century Cycle — ENGL 258
Gaines, Morrison, Wideman: Textualizing Orality and Literacy — ENGL 363