Kelli Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelli Johnson

Affiliate, Justice and Community Studies

Associate Professor, English

225 Rentchler Hall

Dr. Johnson’s research interests focus on human trafficking and contemporary slavery, in particular narratives of community, advocacy, and human rights. Past research includes Julia Alvarez: Writing a New Place on the Map (New Mexico, 2005), Performing Worlds into Being: Native American Women's Theater (co-editor, Miami University Press, 2009), two essays on contemporary slave narratives, and half a dozen articles on U.S. ethnic women’s literature. She is also co-author of the 2010 Ohio Civic Health Index: Mobilizing Ohio’s Civic Potential.


  • Ph.D., English, Northern Illinois University and Graduate Certificate, Women’s Studies
  • M.A., French, Northern Illinois University
  • B.A., French, University of Iowa


  • Introduction to Nonprofits
  • Practica in Civic and Regional Development
  • Capstone in Civic and Regional Development
  • Human Trafficking and Contemporary Slavery

Professional affiliations

  • Board Member, Lane Public Library, 2010 – present; Secretary, 2013; Vice President, 2014
  • Board Member, Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton, 2010 – 2013
  • Member, (Ohio) State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, 2008 – 2010; 2010 - 2012 (nominated and appointed)
  • Co-Chair, Self-Sufficiency Action Council, Butler County United Way, 2009 – 2011
  • Community Impact Council, Butler County United Way, 2009 – 2011
  • Butler County Family and Civic Engagement Committee, 2010 – 2011
  • Hamilton Vision Commission, 2010 - 2011



Julia Alvarez: Writing a New Place on the Map. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005. (author)

Performing Worlds into Being: Native American Women's Theater. Oxford, Ohio: Miami University Press, 2009. (co-editor with Ann Elizabeth Armstrong and William A. Wortman)

Refereed Articles and Book Chapters

“‘If I got a chance to talk to the world’: Children’s Narratives of Slavery and the Problem and Promise of Voice.” (chapter accepted for the edited collection “When Is a Child a Slave? Child Slavery before and after Emancipation,” under contract with Cambridge University Press)

“The New Slave Narrative: Advocacy and Human Rights in Stories of Contemporary Slavery.” Journal of Human Rights 12.3 (June 2013): 242 – 258.

“Writing Home: Mapping Puerto Rican Collective Memory in The House on the Lagoon.” Writing Of(f) the Hyphen: Critical Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora. Ed. José Torres-Padilla and Carmen H. Rivera. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008. 239-55.

"Writing Deeper Maps: Mapmaking, Local Indigenous Knowledges, and Literary Nationalism in Native Women's Writing." Studies in American Indian Literatures 19.4 (Winter 2007): 103 - 20.

"’The Terrible Moral Disinheritance of Exile’: Asymptosy and Dis-integration in Julia Alvarez’s In the Name of Salomé." Journal of Caribbean Literatures 4.1 (Fall 2005):149-61.

“Acts of War, Acts of Memory: ‘Dead-Body Politics’ in U. S. Latina Fiction of the Salvadoran Civil War.” Latino Studies 3.1 (Fall 2005): 200-225.

“Violence in the Borderlands: Crossing to the Home Space in the Novels of Ana Castillo.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 25.1 (Spring 2004): 39-58.

“Trujillo from Both Sides of the Massacre: Collective Memory and Narrative Space in Julia Alvarez and Edwidge Danticat.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 36.2 (June 2003): 75-91.

“Lost in el olvido: Translation and Collective Memory in Achy Obejas’s Days of Awe.” The Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingüe 27.1 (January 2003): 34-44.

Review Essays

“Reframing Contemporary Slavery Studies: The Legacy of Slavery and Antislavery in the Contemporary Struggle for Human Rights” In Human Rights Review (forthcoming, 2014).

Book Reviews

Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations. By Mishuana Goeman. (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) in Great Plains Quarterly (Spring 2014).

Triangulations: Narrative Strategies for Navigating Latino Identity. By David J. Vázquez. (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). In Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (Fall 2013).

Listening to the Land: Native American Literary Responses to the Landscape. By Lee Schweninger. (University of Georgia Press, 2008) in Great Plains Quarterly (2009).

Other Publications

Ohio Civic Health Report: Mobilizing Ohio’s Civic Potential. Miami University Hamilton and the National Conference and Citizenship, 2010. (co-author with Annie Miller)