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E. Patrick Johnson

Dean, School of Communication; Annenberg University Professor

Ph.D., Louisiana State University
M.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
B.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Research Interests:

Black Gender and Sexuality Studies
Performance studies
Oral Histories


E. Patrick Johnson is Dean of the School of Communication and Annenberg University Professor at Northwestern University. He is a 2020 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Johnson is a prolific performer/scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, Performance Studies, Gender and Sexuality studies.

He is the author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (2003); Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (2008); Black. Queer. Southern. Women.—An Oral History (2018); and Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (2019), in addition to several edited and co-edited collections, essays, and plays. Johnson’s written and performance work dovetail intimately. His staged reading, “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales,” has toured to over 100 college campuses since 2006. The full-length stage play, Sweet Tea—The Play, premiered in Chicago, toured across 8 other cities, and to the National Black Theater Festival.

Johnson is also among the subjects and co-executive producer of the film, Making Sweet Tea, which has received several awards, including Best LGBTQ Film at the San Diego Film Festival, Best Documentary Audience at the Out on Film Festival, and the Silver Image Award from the Association of American Retired Persons (AARP) for Positive Representation of LGBTQ People over Fifty at the Chicago Reeling LGBTQ Film Festival.


Ph.D., Speech Communication, Louisiana State University
M.A., Speech Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
B.A., Speech Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Recent Awards and Honors:

Oscar Brockett Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education 2015 

Rene Castillo Otto Award for Political Theater 2014

Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Solo Performance--2010

Leslie Irene Coger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Performance--2010

Randy Majors Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to LGBT Scholarship in Communication--2010

Inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame—2010

Recent Publications:

“Baldwin’s Theater.” Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin. Ed. Michelle Elam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 85 – 99.

“Southern (Dis)Comfort: Homosexuality in the Black South.” Creating and Consuming the U.S. South.  Eds. William A. Fink, David Brown, Brian Ward, and Martyn Bone. University Press of Florida, 2015. 97 – 116.

Johnson, E. Patrick and Ramon Rivera-Servera- co-editors (2014), solo/black/woman: scripts, essays, and interviews. Northwestern University Press.

“To Be Young, Gifted, and Queer: Race and Sex in the New Black Studies.” The Black Scholar 44.2 (Summer 2014): 50 – 58.

Johnson, E. Patrick, editor (2013, Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis by Dwight Conquergood. University of Michigan Press.

Johnson, E. Patrick (2008). Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South--An Oral History. University of North Carolina Press.

Johnson, E. Patrick and Mae Henderson, co-editors (2005). Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology. Duke University Press.

Johnson, E. Patrick (October, 2003). Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity. Duke University Press.