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Interseminars | Amber Johnson: “Critical Futures: Re-Imagining Academia’s Relevance”

Event Type
Humanities Research Institute
Levis Faculty Center, Room 300
Feb 7, 2023   7:30 pm  
Amber Johnson (Communication, Saint Louis University)
Humanities Research Institute

Futurity, or the intentional imagining and materializing of liberated futures—where freedom from oppression, trauma, violence, and discrimination are realized—inspires this talk. Dr. Amber Johnson will discuss their methods for conjuring the world and communities in which we want to live and thrive. This talk will empower scholars from various disciplines to imagine alternatives to the political, social, academic, and oppressive present via an imaginative approach to scholarship and publishing. For instance, autoethnographic texts use personal lived experience as data to inform theory. What happens when we offer seasoned autoethnographers the space to imagine future stories as scientific data? What happens when we gift researchers the space to develop and implement new research methods that live and dwell in futurity? How can theory predict and sustain a future way of life that offers liberation and freedom as plausible outcomes? What happens when our academic works foster community healing and possibility models? This talk will press listeners to reflect: What world do we want to live in? What world are we fighting to build? And how will we build it in just ways?

This event is part of the Interseminars event series.

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please email Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

About the Speaker
As a scholar/artist/activist, Dr. Amber 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. Dr. Amber Johnson is an award-winning Professor of Communication and Social Justice at Saint Louis University. Notable awards include the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for research on black masculinity and the performative possibilities of social media, the Norm White Award for Engaged Scholarship and Service by the Saint Louis University Faculty Senate, Dr. Terry Leet Researcher Award from Generate Health for scholarship that centers social justice, 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. Dr. 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. Dr. Johnson is the author of two books, African American Communication: Examining the Complexities of Lived Experience and Gender Futurity, Intersectional Autoethnography: Embodied Theorizing from the Margins.

As co-founder of The Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, Dr. Johnson specializes in humanizing equity and exploring the relationship between healing justice and equity.

Dr. 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 three exhibits, Radical Forgiveness, Radical Imagination, and Transfuturism, 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. Dr. Johnson’s forthcoming book, A Great Inheritance, uses memoir to highlight healthy forms of love and support for trans and non-binary folks alongside young adult fiction to speculate on gender futurity as a site of liberation.

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