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Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson
Associate Professor
National University
(858) 642-8408

Dr. Johnson is a cultural critic and historian with specialties in environmental studies, race relations, and cultural theory. Before joining the faculty at NU, Dr. Johnson was a faculty member at the New College of Florida and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a Ph.D. in US History from the University of California, Irvine and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana.

Dr. Johnson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in US History and has overseen a wide variety of student thesis projects spanning such topics as the environmental history of the Florida orange, the racial history of the federal government’s COINTEL program, the gender history of the music video industry, and the cultural history of the American lawn.

Dr. Johnson’s research combines his interests in culture, theory, and the environment. His forthcoming book is an interdisciplinary history of energy that joins the subfield of energy history to the study of American journalism, literature, film, and the visual arts.



Carbon Nation: Fossil Fuels in the Making of American Culture (Kansas City, KS: University Press of Kansas). November 2014.


“Embodiment, or the Loving Intimacies of Carbon.” In Fueling Cultures: Energy, History, Politics, eds. Imre Szeman, Patricia Yaeger, and Jennifer Wenzel (New York: Fordham University). Forthcoming 2015/16. Invited essay.

“A Peculiarly Valuable Oil: Energy and the Ecology of Production on an American Whale Ship.” Special Issue of Industrial Archaeology. Forthcoming 2015.

“’Typical of Her Race’: Cultural Pluralism and the Editorial Records of Survey Graphic.”American Studies 52.2 (2013). Winner of the MAASA 2013 Stone-Suderman Award for Best Article Published in American Studies.

“'An Upthrust into Barbarism': Coal, Trauma, and the Origins of the Modern Self, 1885-1951.” Journal of American Culture 33.4 (December 2010).

Reprint. “Globalizing the Harlem Renaissance: Irish, Mexican, and ‘Negro’ Renaissances in Survey Graphic.” In Other Renaissances: A New Approach to World Literature, eds. Brenda Schlidgen, Gang Zhou, and Sander Gilman (New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2007).

“Globalizing the Harlem Renaissance: Irish, Mexican, and ‘Negro’ Renaissances in Survey Graphic.” Journal of Global History 1.2 (July 2006).

“’A Whole Synthesis of His Time’: Political Ideology and Cultural Politics in the Writings of William Carlos Williams, 1929-1939.” American Quarterly 54.2 (June 2002).


“Pastoral and Monumental.” Kenneth C. Jackson, Pastoral and Monumental: Dams, Postcards, and the American Landscape (University of Pittsburgh Press 2013). Journal of Popular Culture. April 2014.

“Queer Environmentality.” Robert Azarrello, Queer Environmentality: Ecology, Evolution, and Sexuality in American Literature (Ashgate 2012). American Studies 52.3 (2013).

“How We Are Changed by War.” D. C. Gill, How We Are Changed By War: A Study of Letters and Diaries from Colonial Conflicts to Operation Iraqi Freedom (Routledge 2010). Journal of Popular Culture 45.6 (December 2012).

“The Urban Environment and Urban Environmental History.” Martin Melosi, Effluent America: Cities, Energy, Industry, and the Environment (Pittsburgh 2001). H-Environment. August 2007.