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Northwestern School of Communication

E. Patrick Johnson

Dean of the School of Communication; Annenberg University Professor
70 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
E. Patrick Johnson

E. Patrick Johnson is the Dean of the School of Communication and the Annenberg University Professor. A scholar/artist, Johnson performs nationally and internationally and has published widely in the areas 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 Gender and Sexuality studies.

He has written two award-winning books, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), which won the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (University of North Carolina UP, 2008), which was recognized as a Stonewall Book Award Honor Book by the LGBT Round Table of the American Library Association. He co-edited (with Mae G. Henderson) Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology (Duke UP, 2005). He is also the editor of Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis by Dwight Conquergood (Michigan UP, 2013) and co-editor (with Ramón Rivera-Servera) of solo/black/woman: scripts, interviews, and essays (Northwestern UP, 2013). Johnson edited No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (Duke UP, 2016) and he also co-edited Blacktino Queer Performance (with Ramón Rivera-Servera (Duke UP, 2016).

He is currently working on a creative nonfiction text titled Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women as well as Black. Queer. Southern. Women. — An Oral History. His essays have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Callaloo, Theater Journal, Biography 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. The show premiered in April 2010 and a month run to rave reviews. He won a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Solo Performance for the show. In fall 2011, the show had a four-week run at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia and a two-week run at the Durham Arts Council in Feb 2014. In 2010, he was awarded the Leslie Irene Coger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Performance by the National Communication Association, the Randy Majors Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to LGBT Scholarship in Communication, and inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. In 2014 he received the Rene Castillo Otto Award for Political Theater.


  • PhD, Speech Communication, Louisiana State University
  • MA, Speech Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • BA, Speech Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill


  • 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.

Recent Awards and Honors

  • Clarence Ver Steeg Award. Northwestern University Graduate School, 2007
  • Martin Duberman Fellowship, 2005. Awarded by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CUNY)
  • Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship in African American Theatre Studies, 2004. Awarded by the American Society for Theatre Research.


  • 307: Studies in Gender and Performance
  • 316: Folklore and Oral Traditions
  • 509: Performance and Pedagogy
  • 510: Postmodern Performance
  • 518: Problems in Research