Marlboro College

Academics Brian Johnson - Writing and American Studies

Brian JohnsonBrian has been teaching for about a decade in a variety of institutions and settings, including traditional classrooms and online.  He has taught introductory writing courses, advanced courses for English majors, and courses in communication and Judaic studies.  His research has focused on mass culture with an approach where literature is read against popular, political and historical sources.  As an American Studies scholar, Brian is comfortable with interdisciplinary strategies for the study of American culture.

Teaching Philosophy

Brian says that "I have seen students do amazing things when they are, first, invited to think and, second, told that their observations matter."  He believes that this is best conducted in a classroom environment where student-teacher dialogue is emphasized.  Brian believes that the primary purpose of a classroom is to offer a testing ground for students' analytical skills where they can feel free to attempt the interpretation of a text without getting it right or earning a grade.  His purpose in this classroom is to facilitate discussion and urge the students into new directions by introducing alternative readings, techniques and critical standpoints.  He believes "it is important that students learn to internalize the methods of analysis that we practice," though he also thinks that different texts train different areas of analysis.

Scholarly Activities

Brian's primary scholarlship in American Studies combines an interest in 20th Century American history, literature, and popular culture.  His primary focus is on the ways that America represents its moral values through its popular depictions of evil, particularly its depiction of Nazism.

B.A., California State University, Chico, 2000; M.A., California State University, Chico, 2003; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2010; Marlboro College 2010 -

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