Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Faculty and Staff Directory

Benjamin H. Johnson

Title/s:  Professor

Specialty Area: Environmental History

Office #:  Crown Center 544

Phone: 773.508.3082

Email: bjohnson25@luc.edu

CV Link: Ben Johnson CV


Benjamin H. Johnson (Ph.D., Yale, 2000; M.A., Yale, 1996, B.A., Carleton College, 1994) is a Professor in History and the School of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago.  Dr. Johnson's primary areas of research and teaching include environmental history, North American borders, and Latino history.  He has taught courses on North American and world environmental history, natural disasters, immigration and ethnicity in the United States, and border and transnational history more generally.

His first book, Revolution in Texas:  How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans into Americans (Yale University Press, 2003) offered a new interpretation of the origins of the Mexican-American civil rights movement.  He continued his interest in Mexican American history in Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place (Yale University Press, 2008), a collaboration with photographer Jeffrey Gusky, and in journal articles about the ties between Mexican-American politics and postrevolutionary Mexico.  Johnson’s other primary interest is in the social and political history of American environmentalism, the subject of his most recent book Escaping the Dark, Gray City: Fear and Hope in Progressive-Era Conservation (Yale University Press, 2017). He has also become active in public history, co-founding the organization Refusing to Forget, which is dedicated to bringing public attention to the enduring legacies of 1910s racial violence through such measures as the erection of historical markers and museum exhibits.

Johnson’s essays have been published in such venues as The Journal of American HistoryEnvironmental HistoryReviews in American History, and History Compass.  His edited volumes include Steal this University:  The Labor Movement and the Corporatization of Higher Education (Routledge, 2003), and The Making of the American West (ABC-CLIO, 2007).  He co-edited Bridging National Borders in North America (Duke University Press, 2010)with Andrew Graybill, and Major Problems in the History of North American Borderlands(Cengage Learning, 2011) with Pekka Hämäläinen.  He is a former editor of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and also serves as co-editor of the Weber Series in New Borderlands History at the University of North Carolina Press.

Dr. Johnson also serves as placement officer for the Department's graduate students.  He is happy to assist in the job search process in any way that he can.  He regularly reviews CVs and application letters, and works with applicants to prepare for preliminary interviews and on-campus visits.  Graduate students interested in meeting with him are encouraged to schedule an appointment via e-mail.

Research Interests

Environmental history, North American borders, and Latino history

Courses Taught

HIST 104:  Global History since 1500

HIST 212: United States Since 1865

HIST 279:  Climate and History

HIST 297:  U.S. Environmental History