Introduction: Joshua Johnson

Hey everyone! My name is Joshua Johnson and I am a first year graduate student in the Public History MA program at American University. I was born and raised in the Bronx in New York City. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Africana Studies and Classics in May 2021. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I always found a way to focus my final assignments/ projects toward a general audience (this probably annoyed a lot of my professors). Early on during undergrad, I knew that I wanted to focus on history but specifically engaged with the public. I originally thought that the only way I could do this was as a curator. I tried to develop the skills that I thought every curator should have and that is when I stumbled upon the public history program here at American University. I hope to continue to build the skills I have developed while learning more about engaging history with public audiences.

Through my journey of developing curatorial skills, I found the digital humanities field. I had the chance to learn and practice computational methods to collect and analyze data. I was introduced to things such as character network maps, APIs, and topic modeling. I got to put these skills into use during a summer internship and you can see some of that work here! Essentially, I collected and analyzed data from Reddit. Our research was dedicated to understanding online reading communities, and how specific authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Philip Roth are discussed on the platform. I hope to continue learning about these skills in this course while exploring aspects I am less familiar with.

Overall, I am specifically interested in Afrofuturism, fashion curation, and digital humanities but my interests are truly wide ranging. My interests have led me to working on a number of cool projects like an archaeological dig in Pompeii, curating fashion exhibitions, and creating an online exhibition on the video game Assassins Creed Odyssey with Omeka. I am a science fiction nerd, athlete, gamer, and a fan of the NBA. I am excited to get to know and work with everyone in this course!

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