Carolyn Johnston

Professor of American Studies and History
Elie Wiesel Professor of Humane Letters

Seibert Humanities Building 214


  • Ph.D. in History, University of California at Berkeley
  • M.A. in History, University of California at Berkeley
  • B.A. in History, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama


Carolyn Johnston’s first publication was a story in the San Francisco Examiner when she was ten years old. She wrote about returning to the United States in a ship from Taiwan, and the exhilaration she felt when she saw the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge from the ship. Since that moment she has written five books. She did not know that one day she would return to that luminous city of San Francisco. She was born in Cartersville, Georgia, and grew up in the South. Since her father was in the military she lived in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, California, and Taiwan. She attended college at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and became deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement. After graduation she went to graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, where she received her Ph.D. in History. She taught at Colorado College for two years, and then moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where she teaches at Eckerd College. She is a Professor of History and American Studies, and the Elie Wiesel Professor of Humane Letters. She was a Pulitzer-prize nominee, and a recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Danforth Fellowship.

Fellowships and awards

  • John M. Bevan Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership, 2016
  • Lloyd W. Chapin Award for Excellence in Scholarship and the Arts, 2014
  • Appointment as the Elie Wiesel Professor of Humane Letters, 2008
  • NEH Summer Fellowship, 1993
  • Robert A. Staub Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1991
  • DuBois Fellow, Harvard University, 1983-1984, 1989-1990
  • Danforth Associate, 1983 to the present
  • Radcliffe College Consultant, NEH Grant in Women’s Studies, Advisory Board, 1980-1982
  • Danforth Fellowship, 1970-1974
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, 1970-1971

Courses taught

  • American Civilization
  • Becoming Visible: Sex and Gender in America
  • Cars and American Culture
  • History of Ideas I and II (Ford Apprentice Scholars)
  • Rebels with a Cause: Radicals, Reactionaries, and Reformers
  • Native American History
  • Native American Thought with James Goetsch

Selected publications

  • Voices of Cherokee Women. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, Publisher, 2013.
  • My Father’s War: Fighting with the Buffalo Soldiers in Italy. University of Alabama Press, 2012.
  • Cherokee Women in Crisis: Trail of Tears, Civil War, and Allotment, 1838-1907. Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 2003.
  • Sexual Power: Feminism and the Family in America. Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 1992. (Pulitzer Prize nominee, 1992).
  • Jack London: An American Radical? Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984.