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Professor David Johnson

David Johnson photo

Profile summary

  • Professor of Literature
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • English & Creative Writing
  • david.johnson

Professional biography

I joined The Open University in 1999. In the 1980s, I completed a law degree and MA in English at the University of Cape Town, and then in 1992 a PhD at Sussex University. Before joining The Open University, I taught for five years in South Africa at the University of Kwazulu-Natal (Durban).

Research interests

My research interests include Post-colonial Literature and Theory, Shakespeare Studies, Southern African Studies, Law and Literature, and Eighteenth-Century Travel Writing. I have written two monographs, Shakespeare and South Africa (Oxford University Press, 1996) and Imagining the Cape Colony. History, Literature and the South African Nation (Edinburgh University Press/ UCT Press, 2012); was the principal author with Steve Pete and Max du Plessis of Jurisprudence: A South African Perspective (Butterworths, 2001); and was the co-editor with Prem Poddar of A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures in English (Edinburgh/ Columbia University Press, 2005) and with Caroline Davis of The Book in Africa: Critical Debates (Palgrave, 2015). I was series editor with Ania Loomba of the Edinburgh University Press series Postcolonial Literary Studies, and am series editor of the ongoing Edinburgh University Press series Key Texts in Anti-colonial Thought. I was also a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘The Indian Ocean: Narratives of Literature and Law’.

Teaching interests

My teaching interests lie principally in Postcolonial Literature, and especially Southern African literature and history. However, during the last decade, I have written Open University teaching material on a variety of writers, and across a range of periods and genres (Shakespeare, Swift, Goethe, Byron, Cugoano, Bushman Folklore, Grassic Gibbon, post-apartheid poetry, Calvino and Salih). Some of this teaching material has been co-published: with Richard Danson Brown Shakespeare 1609: ‘Cymbeline’ and the ‘Sonnets’ (Macmillan, 2000); edited with Richard Danson Brown A Shakespeare Reader: Sources and Criticism (Macmillan, 2000); edited The Popular and the Canonical. Debating Twentieth-Century Literature 1940-2000 (Routledge, 2005); edited with Suman Gupta A Twentieth-Century Literature Reader: Texts and Debates (Routledge, 2005); and edited with Anita Pacheco The Renaissance and Long Eighteenth Century (Bloomsbury, 2012).

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Postcolonial Literatures Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Romantic Period Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts

Publications

Clements Kadalie, the ICU, and the Language of Freedom (2015-12)
Johnson, David
English in Africa, 42(3) (pp. 43-69)
Fanon’s travels in postcolonial theory and post-apartheid politics (2013-04)
Johnson, David
College Literature, 40(2) (pp. 52-80)
Representations of Cape Slavery in South African Literature (2012)
Johnson, David
History Compass, 10(8) (pp. 549-561)
Introduction (2011-05)
Johnson, David
English in Africa, 38(1) (pp. 9-15)
Representing Cape slavery: Literature, law, and history (2010-12)
Johnson, David
Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 46(5) (pp. 504-516)
Historical and literary re-iterations of Dutch settler Republicanism (2010)
Johnson, David
South African Historical Journal, 62(3) (pp. 463-486)
British models of colonial governance: Adam Smith and John Bruce on the Cape Colony (2010)
Johnson, David
The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, 51(1-2) (pp. 103-127)
Remembering the Khoikhoi victory over Dom Francisco Almeida at the Cape in 1510 (2009-03)
Johnson, David
Postcolonial Studies, 12(1) (pp. 107-130)
Representing the Cape 'Hottentots', from the French Enlightenment to post-apartheid South Africa (2007-07)
Johnson, David
Eighteenth-Century Studies, 40(4) (pp. 525-552)
Literatures of nation and migration: Charles Mungoshi, Nadine Gordimer, and the postcolonial (2001)
Johnson, David
Alternation, 8(2) (pp. 36-54)
Editorial: Travellers' tales: alternative traditions (2001)
Johnson, David
Wasafiri(34) (pp. 1-2)
De Mist, Race and Nation (1998)
Johnson, David
Alternation, 5(1) (pp. 85-97)
Importing metropolitan Post-colonials (1994)
Johnson, David
Current Writing, 6(1) (pp. 73-85)
Literature for the rainbow nation: The case of sol Plaatje's Mhudi (1994)
Johnson, David
Journal of Literary Studies, 10(3-4) (pp. 345-358)
Starting Positions: the Social Function of Literature in the Cape (1993-12)
Johnson, David
Journal of Southern African Studies, 19(4) (pp. 615-633)
Aspects of a Liberal Education: Late Nineteenth-Century Attitudes to Race, from Cambridge to the Cape Colony (1993)
Johnson, David
History Workshop Journal, 36(1) (pp. 162-182)
Imagining the Cape Colony. History, Literature and the South African Nation (2011-12)
Johnson, David
ISBN : 9780748643080 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh
Jurisprudence: a South African perspective (2001)
Johnson, David; Pete, Steve and Du Plessis, Max
ISBN : 409034126 | Publisher : Butterworths | Published : Durban, South Africa
Shakespeare and South Africa (1996)
Johnson, David
ISBN : 978-0198183150 | Publisher : Clarendon Press | Published : Oxford
Coriolanus in South Africa (2015-08-31)
Johnson, David
In: Smith, Bruce R. ed. The World's Shakespeare, 1660-Present. The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare (pp. 1235-1241)
ISBN : 9780521113946 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge, UK
Print culture and imagining the Union of South Africa (2015-03)
Johnson, David
In: Davis, Caroline and Johnson, David eds. The Book in Africa: Critical Debates. New Direction in Book History (pp. 105-127)
ISBN : 9781137401618 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Literary and Cultural Criticism in South Africa (2012)
Johnson, David
In: Attwell, David and Attridge, Derek eds. The Cambridge History of South African Literature (pp. 818-837)
ISBN : 9780521199285 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press | Published : Cambridge
Migrancy and Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance (2007)
Johnson, David
In: Gupta, Suman and Omoniyi, Tope eds. The cultures of economic migration: international perspectives. Studies in migration and diaspora (pp. 127-140)
ISBN : 978 0 7546 7070 4 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot
African land for the American empire: the proto-imperialism of Benjamin Stout (2005-04)
Johnson, David
In: Hooper, Glenn ed. Landscape and empire, 1770-2000 (pp. 45-64)
ISBN : 754606872 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
Theorizing the Loss of Land: Griqua Land Claims in Southern Africa, 1874-1998 (2003-12)
Johnson, David
In: Eng, David L. and Kazanjian, David eds. Loss: the politics of mourning (pp. 278-299)
ISBN : 520232356 | Publisher : University of California Press | Published : Berkeley, US
Land, identity and social conflict: the World Bank and South Africa's post-apartheid land reform (2003)
Johnson, David
In: Gupta, Suman; Basu, Tapan and Chattarji, Subarno eds. India in the age of globalization : contemporary discourses and texts (pp. 275-298)
ISBN : 8187614129 | Publisher : Nehru Memorial Museum and Library | Published : New Delhi, India
Talking about Revolution: Lady Anne Barnard in France, Ireland and the Cape Colony (2002-10-04)
Johnson, David
In: Hooper, Glenn and Graham, Colin eds. Irish and Postcolonial Writing: History, Theory, Practice (pp. 157-177)
ISBN : 0 3339 2966 7 | Publisher : Macmillan/Palgrave | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Violence and philosophy: Nathaniel Merriman, A. W. Schlegel and Jack Cade (2000-03-23)
Johnson, David
In: Joughin, John J. ed. Philosophical Shakespeares (pp. 68-85)
ISBN : 9780415173889 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
'The first rainbow nation? The Griqua in Post-apartheid South Africa' (2000-03-20)
Johnson, David
In: Poddar, Prem ed. Translating Nations. Dolphin (30) (pp. 115-128)
ISBN : 87-7288-381-2 | Publisher : Aarhus University Press | Published : Aarhus
From the colonial to the post-colonial: Shakespeare and education in Africa (1998-09-03)
Johnson, David
In: Loomba, Ania and Orkin, Martin eds. Post-colonial Shakespeares (pp. 218-234)
ISBN : 9780415173865 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
South African Criticism (1994)
Johnson, David
In: Benson, Eugene and Conolly, L. W. eds. The Routledge Encyclopaedia of Post-colonial Literatures in English (pp. 306-309)
Publisher : Routledge
The Book in Africa: Critical Debates (2015)
Davis, Caroline and Johnson, David eds.
New Directions in Book History
ISBN : 9781137401618 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures in English (2005)
Poddar, Prem and Johnson, David eds.
ISBN : 748618554 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh, UK