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 2024

Black Humor and Irony: Modern Literary Experiments — ENGL 260
Modernist Chicago: Urban Literature and Sociology — ENGL 330

Spring 2025

African American Poetry Survey — ENGL 212
Just Sayin': The African American Essay — ENGL 333