WHO WISC Fellow-in-Residence Cheryl Johnson

WHAT “‘Trouble in Mind, I’m Blue’: Racism and Sexism in Gayl Jones’s Life and Art.” Fellow-in-Residence Cheryl Johnson will talk about her project writing a biography of the African-American writer Gayl Jones.

WHEN Sunday May 26, 2019 at 5:30pm

WHERE Teatro Paraguas 3205 Calle Marie Santa Fe, NM 87507

The Women’s International Study Center thanks Teatro Paraguas for their partnership in producing this event. 


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Presentation info

The Women’s International Study Center presents Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson is writing a biography of Gayl Jones, an African American novelist, poet, playwright, short story writer, former professor, and literary critic. This biography is the subject of Johnson’s fellowship in residence at the Women’s International Study Center.
Gayl Jones is best known for her novels, and she was nominated for a National Book Award for Fiction for her book, The Healing. Yet few outside of literary and academic circles know about the circumstances that led to her abrupt departure from her professorship at The University of Michigan, her flight, with her husband, to Europe, and the suicide of her husband and Jones’s attempted suicide. Once viewed as one of the most promising African American woman writers, Gayl Jones now lives in solitude in Lexington, Kentucky, her hometown.
The title of Cheryl Johnson’s talk is “ ‘Trouble in Mind, I’m Blue’: Racism and Sexism in Gayl Jones’s Life and Art.”  Johnson will discuss the historical, social, cultural, and political contexts informing Jones’s life, in particular four significant movements: The Civil Rights Movement; The Black Power Movement; the Black Arts Movement; and the Black Feminist Movement.  She argues that all of these movements, which occurred during Gayl Jones’s lifetime, influenced her life and her writings and shaped her understanding of the pernicious nature of racism and sexism in African American history, culture, and lives. These perspectives are poignantly and brilliantly revealed in Jones’s artistic and critical writings.
The second part of Johnson’s talk will focus on Corregidora, Jones’s first novel. Johnson will discuss the author’s representations of slavery, orality, black vernacular culture, especially blues and jazz, and their influences on black women’s voices, silences, and historical memory.



Cheryl Johnson teaches African American literature, criticism, and theory at Miami University of Ohio. Her specializations include African American women writers, criticism, and theory; African and Caribbean women writers; 20thcentury African American literature; sociolinguistics, especially African American Vernacular English; and critical race theory. Her undergraduate and graduate courses emphasize the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality within historical, social, and cultural contexts and the critical, aesthetic, and theoretical influences and representations in African American literary texts. Cheryl was Director of Women’s Studies (now Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) at Miami from 2003-2007. She is an associate professor of English and an affiliate with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Black World Studies Programs. Prior to her appointment at Miami, Cheryl taught at Northern Illinois University, The University of Illinois, Chicago, The University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. As a Fulbright teacher and researcher at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa (2002), she taught African American literature and black feminist literature and theory. Her research interests were South African women writers and criticism. Cheryl received her BA in English from Spelman College and her MA in English  Ph.D. in English and Education from the University of Michigan.



WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE WISC brings incredible scholars, artists and others to Santa Fe as fellows-in-residence. We hope you will attend their presentations, meet our fellows and support this important work by becoming a member.





Jordan Young
Executive Director
Women’s International StudyCenter