Karen Johnson, Ph.D.


History Department

Assistant Professor of History
On Faculty since 2013

Office: BL 211
Phone: (630)752-5242
Fax: (630)752-5294


Ph.D., History, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2013
Concentrations: Teaching History and Work, Race, and Gender in the Urban World

M.A., Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2006

B.A., History, Carleton College, 2003

Courses Taught

  • American History from 1865
  • U.S. History since 1945
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • American Cities and Suburbs
  • Race and Ethnicity in U.S. History
  • Methods of Social Studies Instruction

Peer Reviewed Publications

Johnson, Karen J. A Call to Action: Catholics and Civil Rights in Chicago, under contract with Oxford University Press.

Johnson, Karen J. "The Other Long Civil Rights Movement," Winter 2015. American Catholic Studies.

Johnson, Karen J. “Healing the Mystical Body: Catholic Attempts to Overcome the Racial Divide in the Depression and World War II,” in Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith, ed. J. Russell Hawkins and Philip Luke Sintiere (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Johnson, Karen J. “Beyond Parish Boundaries: Black Catholics and the Quest for Racial Justice,” Summer 2015, Religion & American Culture.

Other Publications

Regular writer for Religion in American History Blog >>

Jonnson, Karen J. “Review of Philip Luke Sinitiere, Salvation with a Smile: Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church & American Christianity,” Sociology of Religion Journal, Winter, 2017 (forthcoming).

Johnson, Karen J. “Review of Lincoln Rice, Healing the Racial Divide: A Catholic Racial justice Framework Inspired by Dr. Arthur Falls,” American Catholic Studies, Winter 2015.

Johnson, Karen J. “African Americans” and “Religion” in American Centuries: The Ideas, Issues, and Trends that Made U.S. History: Volume 5, The Twentieth Century, ed. Robert D. Johnston, (New York: Facts on File, 2011).

Johnson, Karen J. “African Americans,” in Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History, Volume 4, 1878-1920, ed. Robert D. Johnston (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2010).

Johnson, Karen J. “Women and AIDS,” in American Women’s History: An Encyclopedia edited by Hasia Diner (New York: Facts on File, 2012).


Conferences and Invited Talks

“Religion in the Chicago Freedom Movement,” American Historical Association, January 2017.

“Remembering Emmett Till: On the Importance of Teaching White Supremacy,” Conference on Faith and History, October 2016 (panel organizer: The Significance of America's Racial Past in the Present).

Roundtable Comment on Edward Blum, Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898, Conference on Faith and History, October 2016 (panel organizer).

“The Chicago Freedom Movement: Race and Religion in an American City,” Urban History Association, October 2016.

“Lay Women and Priests in the Second City: Going Beyond Lafarge for Catholic Interracial Activism's Origins,” American Catholic Historical Association, March 2015.

“Religion and Suburban Integration,” Urban History Association, October 2014.

“Integrating the Suburbs: Black Catholic Pioneers and the Debate Over Religion in the Public Square,” American Historical Association, January 2014 (panel organizer: The Long Civil Rights Movement, Catholics, and the American Century).

“Catholic and Protestant Approaches to Reconciliation: Creating Spaces of Reconciliation in a Structurally Segregated Society,” John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation: National Symposium, May, 2013.

“Catholics, Race, and Civil Rights,” Valparaiso University, February 2013.

“Catholics, Race, and Civil Rights,” UIC Brown Bag Seminar, February, 2013.

“Race, Religion and Civil Rights: Catholic Youth and the Push for Interracial Justice in 1930s Chicago,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 2012.

“Catholic Pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement: Lay Women, Race, and Interracial Justice,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, April 2012.

“Catholic Women and the Civil Rights Movement,” Loyola University’s Women in Leadership Archives Lecture Series, January 2012.

“The Black Freedom Struggle and the Law,” Windy City History Graduate Conference, Conference, Panel Commentator, Chicago, IL, November 2011.

“Arthur Falls, the Mystical Body of Christ, and the Origins of Chicago’s Long Civil Rights Movement,” American Society of Church History Annual Spring Conference, April, 2011. (Winner of ASCH Graduate Student Award)

“Catholics and Interracialism in Chicago’s Long Civil Rights Movement,” Conference on Faith and History Biennial Fall Conference, October, 2010.

“The Long Civil Rights Movement in Chicago: Ann Harrigan and Catholic Interracialism, 1933-1948,” Newberry Library Seminar on Women and Gender, February, 2010.

“‘Keep Your Date with Christ in the Negro’: Ann Harrigan and Catholic Interracialism, 1933-1948,” 52nd Annual Missouri Valley Historical Society, March, 2009.

“People Looked at You Funny: Two Chicago Black Churches’ Involvement with HIV/AIDS,” History Graduate Society, University of Illinois at Chicago, April, 2008.

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