W. Chris Johnson

Assistant Professor

Cross Appointments: History

Email: wchris.johnson@utoronto.ca

Phone: 416-978-8284

Areas of Interest

  • African Diaspora Studies
  • Gender and black radical traditions
  • Black and Third World feminisms
  • Transnational history
  • Cultural Studies
  • Decolonial pedagogies

He supervises MA and PhD students in Black Studies broadly, and welcomes applications from students interested in transnationalism, Black feminist historiographies, and black life, thought, and activism in Britain, the Caribbean, and North America. 


W. Chris Johnson is an assistant professor in the Women & Gender Studies Institute and the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Johnson grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama. His research projects and courses examine transnational histories of gender and black liberation. His current book project, Black Power for the Third Word, traces the interwoven itineraries of black revolutionaries who struggled for solidarity at the conjuncture of diasporas. Using postwar Black Britain as a point of departure, this study situates mobility, kinship networks, desire, and decolonial education projects as adhesives that knit together disparate but interconnected revolutionary movements across Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and the United Kingdom. During the academic year 2019-2020, he will research the decolonial pedagogies of Britain’s Black Liberation Front as an NAEd/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. 


PhD, African American Studies and history, Yale University, 2014. 

MFA, Creative Writing, Indiana University, 2009. 

A.B., English and history, Vassar College, 2005. 

Selected Works

W. Chris Johnson, “‘The Spirit of Bandung’ in 1970s Britain: The Black Liberation Front’s Revolutionary Transnationalism,” in Black British History: New Perspectives, ed. Hakim Adi (London: Zed Books, 2019), 124-143. 

W. Chris Johnson, “Travel Sickness: Pan-Africanism, Medicine and Misogynoir in Caribbean Harlem,” Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, Issue 12 (December 2018): 31-66. 

W. Chris Johnson, “Guerrilla Ganja Gun Girls: Policing Black Revolutionaries from Notting Hill to Laventille,” Gender & History 26, no. 3 (2014): 661-687. 

W. Chris Johnson, “Sex and the Subversive Alien: The Moral Life of C.L.R. James,” International Journal of Francophone Studies 14, nos.1&2 (2011): 185-203. 

Honours and Awards


Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

Research Fellowship, Marcus Garvey Foundation

Riley Scholar-in-Residence Dissertation Fellowship, Colorado College


Bernadotte Schmidt Grant, American Historical Association


Connaught New Researcher Award, University of Toronto


NAEd/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship


Undergraduate Courses:

WGS481: Gender, Sexuality, and Black Liberation from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter 

WGS381: Black Britain: Race, Gender, and Entangled Diasporas 

HIS221/HIS222: African-American History 

Graduate Courses:

WGS1017: Black Feminist Movements: Transnational Histories