Amber Johnson, Ph.D., is an award-winning associate professor of communication and social justice at Saint Louis University. Among other things, Johnson is a co-founder of the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, an initiative being planned through SLU's Big Ideas competition.
As a scholar, artist and activist, Johnson’s research and activism focus on narratives of identity, protest, and social justice in digital media, popular media, and everyday lived experiences. As a polymath, their mixed-media artistry involves working with metals, recycled and reclaimed goods, photography, poetry, percussion, and paint to interrogate systems of oppression.
Johnson's notable awards include the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for research on black masculinity and the performative possibilities of social media, the Lilla A. Heston award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies for work on embodied pedagogies and social justice, the Faculty Excellence Award for Diversity and Social Justice, a presidential citation for social justice work within and beyond the communication discipline, and several article of the year and top paper awards.
Johnson has published articles in several journals including Qualitative Inquiry, Critical Studies in Media and Communication, Text & Performance Quarterly, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, Communication Teacher, and Communication Quarterly.
Johnson is also the creator of The Justice Fleet ™, a mobile social justice museum that fosters healing through art, dialogue and play. The museum currently houses two exhibits, Radical Forgiveness and Radical Imagination. The third exhibit, Transfuturism, is an art activism exhibit that projects Black trans and gender nonconforming people as super heroes in an effort to render visible the embodied heroic work of dismantling the gender binary.
Johnson’s forthcoming book, A Great Inheritance, uses memoir to highlight healthy forms of love and support for trans and nonbinary folks alongside young adult fiction to speculate on gender futurity as a site of liberation.
Johnson earned their Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in communication and creative writing in 2006, and their Master of Arts from Saint Louis University in 2002.