Dr. Emily Johnson is an Associate Professor of History and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Women, Gender, and African American Studies. Her research and teaching focus on themes of gender, sexuality, religion, and politics in the twentieth-century United States. She came to Ball State in 2017, after completing her Ph.D. at Yale and teaching at the University of Tennessee for three years.
Dr. Johnson regularly teaches HIST 202 (U.S. History Since 1877), HIST 215 (U.S. Women’s History), HIST 429 (Topics in the History of Sexuality, as U.S. Histories of Sexuality), WGS 201 (Introduction to Women’s and Gender History), and WGS 410 (Feminist Theory). She also teaches HIST 303 (Oral History Workshop), an immersive-learning class that trains students how to conduct interviews as a way of learning about the past. Students get practice in every part of the process, from identifying potential interviewees to conducting, transcribing, and analyzing the interview. They conduct real interviews that contribute to the ongoing Muncie LGBTQ+ History Project.
Dr. Johnson founded the Muncie LGBTQ+ History Project in 2018 to uncover and preserve the remarkably vibrant LGBTQ+ history of Muncie and surrounding Delaware County. Muncie is home to the oldest continuously operating gay bar in Indiana, The Mark III Taproom (established in 1968) and many other LGBTQ+ communities and businesses. The Muncie LGBTQ+ History Project is always looking to interview anyone in the area with a connection to LGBTQ+ communities or identity. We preserve these interviews in cooperation with Ball State’s Special Collections and Archives so that this history will not be forgotten.
Dr. Johnson is also an active researcher and writer. Her first book, This Is Our Message (Oxford, 2019) explores the emergence of the modern Christian conservative movement in the 1970s and 1980s with a focus on the women who have helped to build, shape, and lead this movement on the national level. She has published on this research in various academic journals and books, as well as popular venues like The Conversation and The Washington Post.
Right now, Dr. Johnson is working on her second book, which will look at the long history of Satanic Panics in the United States. You may have heard of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s – when politicians, law enforcement, and pop culture became obsessed with the idea of Satanism. Accusations of Satanic activity were everywhere. This new book will dig into what happened in the 1980s and put it into the broader context of the “long twentieth century,” from the introduction of Ouija boards in the late nineteenth century to modern conspiracy theories.