Michele A. Johnson

Director of the Harriet Tubman Institute at York UniversityProfessor at York University
Director of the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University Professor, York University
Associate Professor, Department of History, York University
Associate Professor, Department of History, York University

Director of the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University, her research and publications focus on Jamaican cultural history, including African-based religious and secular ideologies and belief systems, music, dance, language and cuisine. She brings to the Expressive Cultures Project an interest in literary and performative cultural products. She examines/racialization through an analysis of class, gender, domestic slavery and domestic service. She teaches and supervises research projects focused on “Blacks in the Americas.” She previously taught at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Neither Led nor Driven:

Contesting British Cultural Imperialism in Jamaica 1865-1920[with Brian L. Moore] (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2004)

Through an examination of African based and influenced cultural creations, productions and performances of the Jamaican people, including their religious and spiritual belief systems, this book is directly connected to our proposed research. It examines the expressive cultures of the African diaspora in Caribbean scholarship on the cultural practices of the enslaved African population and the more modern manifestations of Afro-cultures in the region.

“They do as they please”:

The Jamaican Struggle for Cultural Freedom after Morant Bay[with Brian L. Moore], (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2011) 

Jamaican culture was subjected to a “civilizing” project for decades after the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865, as Johnson and Moore demonstrate in this book. An examination of the material culture, language, oral tradition, and creative and performing arts reveals that Jamaican social reformers failed to redirect cultural expression but instead inadvertently encouraged a resistant and resilient national culture.

“Celebrating Christmas in Jamaica 1865-1920:

from Creole Carnival to ‘Civilized’ Convention”
2002

The research project on the cultural history of Jamaica between 1865 and 1920 produced a number of articles and book chapters co-authored with Brian L. Moore, including “Celebrating Christmas in Jamaica 1865-1920: from Creole Carnival to ‘Civilized’ Convention,” in Jamaica in Slavery and Freedom: History, Heritage and Culture, eds. Kathleen Monteith and Glen Richards (2002).

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