Distinguished Lecturers
Rashauna Johnson

Rashauna Johnson

Rashauna Johnson is a historian of the 19th-century African diaspora, with an emphasis on slavery and emancipation in the US South and Atlantic World. She is associate professor of U. S. history and the College at The University of Chicago. Johnson is the author of Slavery’s Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions (2016), which was awarded the 2016 Williams Prize for the best book in Louisiana history and the 2018 H. L. Mitchell Award by the Southern Historical Association for the best book on the southern working class. Slavery's Metropolis was also named a finalist for the 2016 Berkshire Conference of Women's Historians Book Prize, honorable mention for the Urban History Association's Kenneth Jackson Award, and a finalist for the 2017 Frederick Douglass Book Prize. Johnson is currently at work on her second book project, a history of family and region, slavery and emancipation in rural Louisiana. That project has been supported by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, the Mellon Scholars Post-Doctoral Fellowship in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Johnson serves extensively within and beyond the profession. She is the current Vice President of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD). In addition, Johnson regularly delivers lectures to public and private high schoolers, and she has taught GED and literature courses for incarcerated adults. A proud New Orleanian, she attended public schools and is a graduate of Howard University and New York University.

OAH Lectures by Rashauna Johnson

This talk uses the social and cultural history of the New Orleans jail in the early nineteenth century to explore a change over time story of that site, specifically its gradual shift from a diverse if dilapidated site that housed peoples of all backgrounds into a modern, segregated facility that reinforced emergent societal hierarchies of race, status, and gender.

This talk draws on family history, including my own, to explore the global and entwined histories of settler colonialism, slavery, race, capitalism, and nation in rural Louisiana over the long nineteenth century.

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