About Javon L Johnson



Assistant Professor


Communication StudiesCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts

Office Hours: 

Tuesday: 11:00 am-12:00 pm, 7:00 pm-8:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am-12:00 pm

Office Hours (Additional Info): 

By appointment.


At SF State Since:



Professor Javon L. Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Performance and Communication Studies at San Francisco State University where he teaches courses in performance, gender, methods, race, and creative writing. After earning his Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, Professor Johnson served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, as well as the Program Manager of History at California African American Museum. Professor Johnson is currently completing two manuscripts; Killing Poetry: Performing Blackness, Poetry Slams and the Making of Spoken Word Communities (Rutgers University Press), an ethnographic project that examines the performances of race, gender, sexuality, and class in slam and spoken word poetry communities, and Chiraq: War Cries, Love and Other Stories from the Murder Capital (Northwestern University Press), a coedited volume that uses poems, essays, and interviews to explore Chicago. Additionally, Professor Johnson writes for The Huffington Post, The Root, and Our Weekly, and serves on the editorial board for Text & Performance Quarterly

Additionally, Proessor Johnson is a highly awarded spoken word poet. Merging race and gender theory with comedy and lyricism, Professor Johnson began writing seriously in 2001. Shortly thereafter he won poetry slam nationals in 2003 (team Los Angeles), in 2004 (team Hollywood), and placed 3rd in 2005, making him one of a handful of poets to make finals three years in a row. Returning to slam after a brief hiatus, Professor Johnson placed 5th in 2011, 4th in 2012, and 2nd in 2013 (team Hollywood). Professor Johnson appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café, TVOnes Verses & Flow, The Arsenio Hall Show, The Steve Harvey Show, and co-wrote a documentary titled Crossover, which aired on Showtime, in collaboration with the NBA and Nike. Professor Johnson recently finished a national tour with Fiveology, a collective of spoken word poets, and currently serves on the Board of Say Word, an organization that mentors teenagers and promotes creative self-expression through spoken word poetry in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times said, “From subject matter, to wordplay to delivery, he is working it out! It's hard not to have good times while watching him have a good time on stage.”