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Columbia College Chicago
E. Patrick Johnson
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E. Patrick Johnson

Summer 2008 Fellow
Chicago, IL

photo by: Jon Miller Photography


E. Patrick Johnson is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University.  A scholar, artist, and activist, Johnson has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the area of race, gender, sexuality and performance.  Johnson is a prolific performer and scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, performance studies, and sexuality studies.  In all of his scholarly and creative work Johnson foregrounds the voices of the disenfranchised as well as his own commitment to social justice and civic engagement. He has written two award-winning books, Appropriating Blackness:  Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (University of North Carolina UP, 2008), and co-edited (with Mae G. Henderson) Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology (Duke UP, 2005).

He is currently co-editing two anthologies with Ramon Rivera-Servera—one on black and Latina/o queer performance work, Blaktino Queer Performance, and the other on black solo women performers, solo/black/woman and the companion text to Sweet Tea, entitled, Honeypot: Black Lesbians of the South—An Oral History. His essays have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Callaloo, Theater Journal, and the Journal of Homosexuality, among others. Johnson’s performance work dovetails with his written work.

His staged reading, “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales” is based on his book, Sweet Tea, and has toured to over 100 college campuses from 2006 to the present.  In 2009, he translated the staged reading into a full-length stage play, Sweet Tea—The Play, which was co-produced by About Face Theater and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College, Chicago. He won a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Solo Performance for the show.  The show recently had a 4-week run at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. He was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2010.


During E. Patrick Johnson’s Fellowship period, he worked to create the full-length performance piece Sweet:  Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales developed from the scholarly ground-breaking research of his book, Sweet Tea:  Black Gay Men of the South-An Oral History. In 2008, the Institute’s Executive Director and Johnson created and hosted a series of intensive one-on-one all day workshops with invited distinguished artists, performers, and scholars to investigate the concepts, forms and content of the future full production. The World Premiere of Sweet Tea, directed by Daniel Alexander Jones, was produced in May 2010 by Jane M. Saks, the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media, and About Face Theatre. 

For more information visit: www.epatrickjohnson.com