College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies

Photo: Michael JohnsonMichael Johnson Jr.

Ph.D., American Studies profile

Michael Johnson Jr., Ph.D., is a full-time instructor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies (CCGRS) at Washington State University, where he currently teaches both introductory and upper-division, interdisciplinary undergraduate courses in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies. He earned his B.A. at the University of New Orleans (2005), an M.L.A. in social and political thought at the University of South Florida (2008), an M.S. in library and information science from Florida State University (2015), and his Ph.D. in American studies at Washington State University (2013). His book, Tickle My Fancy, Fat Man: Emerging Images of Race and Queer Desire on HBO, is currently under contract with Lexington Press, in its Critical Studies in Television Series in press fall 2015. His work can be found in the Journal of Men's Studies, Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, The Velvet Light Trap, Journal of Popular Television, and Educational Studies, and he has published chapters in edited collections by ABC-Clio, Praeger, Lexington Books, Palgrave Macmillan, Information Age Press, University of New Mexico, and Cambridge Scholars Press, to name a few.

Michael is a USAF veteran who previous served in the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, and he's a Life Member of the National Eagle Scout Association. In his "free time" he's an avid fresh-water aquarium hobbyist, enjoys listening to the blues, and has unhealthy relationships with Facebook and Gentleman Jack Daniels.


Michael's primary research interests include Foucauldian deployments of power and resistance among sexualities, constructions of masculinity, the intersections of queer and ethnoracial (re)presentations in media and their political economic production. Within the interdisciplinary field of American studies his work often covers a wide variety of research areas, which have included analyses of male physiology and masculinity, politicized cultural representations of gender, institutional sexual assault, and racial commodification in adult pornography. Within the area of media studies his most recent work has investigated emerging streaming and distribution technologies of on-demand video; queer monstrosity; and LGBTQ perceptions of perversity in popular American telenarratives. An evolving area of scholarly interest is the role of educational institutional definitions, construction and interpellation of student learning amidst competing sociocultural heuristics of safety, marginality and identity politics.  His research typically employs qualitative methodologies like textual analysis, in vivo coding, participant observation, critical (auto)ethnography, audience assessment, structured and semi-structured interviews, and the like.

Future publications include:

  • "'Post Racial' Sexuality and Queer Monstrosity on True Blood," Journal of American Culture, Vol.39, Issue 1, 2016 (Under Review)
  • "Ryan Murphy's Perverse Productions: Nip/Tuck, Glee, and American Horror Story," Journal of Popular Film & Television, (Under Review)
    Coauthored with Andrew Stevens

Research Interests

American Popular Culture; Political Economics; Law, Civility, and Criminal (In)justice; Penology & Racial Inequality; Suburbanization and Social Stratification; Latino/a & Puerto Rican Studies; Comparative Ethnic Studies; Sexual Geographies, LGBTQ Inequalities: Hegemonic/Counter-Hegemonic Masculinities; Queer Theory; Telenarratives and Mass Media; Post-Network Streaming/Distribution Technologies; Digital Media Storage and Archiving


Michael is a strong advocate of the Socratic Model and believes in its ability to help students begin to distinguish what they know or understand from what they do not know or understand while helping them develop intellectual humility in the process. He believes in encouraging students to clarify their thinking and express their thoughts with precision and eloquence, while simultaneously challenging students' assumptions; learning to consistently utilize evidence as a basis for argumentation while remaining sensitive to potential implications and consequences of specific ideological positions. Additionally, he believes that learning can take place in locations outside of the classroom and is a strong advocate of technological pedagogy, e-books, YouTube™, Skype™, iClicker2™, and online exams, to name a few.

Select Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "Institutionalized Indifference: Rape with a View," Journal of Prisoners on Prison, Vol., 23 (2014)
  • Johnson Jr., Michael and Drushel, Bruce. "Politicized (Re)Productions of Gender," Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Vol. 13. No. 2 (2013)
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "American Circus Re-Invented: Queering Cirque du Soleil," Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Vol. 11, No. 4 (2011)
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "'Just Getting Off': The Inseparability of Ejaculation and Hegemonic Masculinity," Journal of Men's Studies, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2010)
Book Chapters
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "Racial Homophily and Homogeneity as Post-Racial Commodification on Broke Straight Boys.TV," in Queer TV in the 21st Century by Kylo-Patrick Hart (2015).
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "The 'It Gets Better Project' – A Study In (and of) Whiteness," in LGBT Youth and Media Cultures by Chris Pullen, Palgrave Macmillan (2014).
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "White Authorship and the Counterfeit Politics of Verisimilitude on The Wire," in African Americans on Television: Race-ing for Ratings by David Leonard and Lisa Guererro, ABC-Clio (2013).
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "Here's a Little Lagniappe for You..." In Queer South Rising: Voices of a Contested Place by Ugena Whitlock, Charlotte, Information Age Press (2013).
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "Race, Aging, and Gay In/Visibility on US Television," in Television and the Self: Knowledge, Identity, and Media Representation by Debbie Macey and Kathleen M. Ryan, Lexington Books (2012).
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "Negotiating Love and Work: A Critical Ethnography of a Gay Porn Star," in Queer Love in Film and Television by Pamela Demory, Palgrave Macmillan (2012).
  • Johnson Jr., Michael. "After Noah's Arc: Where Do We Go from Here?" in Queers in American Popular Culture, Vol. I – Film, TV, Radio, and the Internet, by Jim Elledge, Praeger (2010).

Contact Dr. Johnson
Wilson-Short 107A

Summer 2015 Office Hours

By appointment only

Course Materials

Past Courses


Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies, PO Box 644010, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4010
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