Javon Johnson

Director, African American & African Diaspora Studies
Assistant Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies
Expertise: African American Literature, Black Pop Culture, Poetry, Black Queer Theory, Black Feminist Theory


Javon Johnson’s research focuses on performance, blackness, African American literature, black pop culture, black feminist theory, black queer theory, masculinity studies, black sexualities, and ethnography.

Johnson -- a renowned spoken word poet -- is a three-time national poetry slam champion and a four-time national finalist. He has appeared on HBO’s "Def Poetry Jam," BET’s "Lyric Café," TV One's "Verses & Flow," "The Steve Harvey Show," "The Arsenio Hall Show," "United Shades of America with Kamau Bell" on CNN. He also co-wrote a documentary titled "Crossover," which aired on Showtime in collaboration with the NBA and Nike.

Johnson has also been published in numerous academic publications and national outlets such as Text & Performance Quarterly, Liminalities, QED: A Journal of Queer Worldmaking, The Root, and Huffington Post.



  • Ph.D., Performance Studies, Northwestern University
  • M.A., Communication Studies, California State University
  • B.A., Communication Studies, California State University

Javon Johnson In The News

May 7, 2021
Clark County schools educate more than 300,000 students whose backgrounds are from almost every ethnicity, race and culture. But the school district still has no anti-racism policy.
February 5, 2021
Javon Johnson, director of African American and African Diaspora Studies at UNLV, has joined the Nevada Arts Council Board. The nine-member board, appointed by the governor, advises the Nevada Arts Council, which works to strengthen Nevada through arts and creativity.
Reno Gazette-Journal
January 20, 2021
Less than an hour before sundown, the men wrapped UNLV’s bronze Hey Reb! statue in a yellow sling and rigged it to a forklift.
Broadway World
December 17, 2020
Pasadena Playhouse has announced the launch today of In Development: Iceboy! on PlayhouseLive. This work gives an insiders' look at an unproduced theatrical work as it is introduced to the world for the first time. Join Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Adam DeVine and Laura Bell Bundy as they perform 4 new songs and give a rare early look at Iceboy!, a new musical by Mark Hollmann, Erin Quinn Purcell and Jay Reiss. This preview of Iceboy! is directed by Kevin Chamberlin with musical accompaniment by Jesse Vargas.

Articles Featuring Javon Johnson

Campus News | February 3, 2021
A collection of news stories from the new year highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.
Claytee White sits in a chair and gestures toward a woman sitting to her right
Arts and Culture | December 30, 2020
A sampling of university experts who sounded off on the year’s monumental movements surrounding race, ethnicity, and gender.
A portrait of UNLV's new president Keith Whitfield on campus.
Campus News | August 10, 2020
As summer heats up, so do the accomplishments on UNLV’s campus.
Protest signs read "Defund Police" and "Abolish Police"
Research | June 10, 2020
As more municipalities weigh the future of their police departments, UNLV professors explain what these movements mean and how they would work.