Vernon Johnson


M.A., Ph.D., Political Science, Washington State University
B.A., Political Science, Akron University

(360) 650-4874

AH 438

W 1:30-3:30 and by appointment

Current Courses

Spring 2019

PLSC 347: Race, Politics and Public Policy

Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson has been a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at Western Washington University since 1986. His research interests include:  the politics of development, African politics, and race and public policy.  In addition to teaching courses on the politics of Africa, race and public policy, Dr. Johnson leads a summer service-learning class in South Africa that involves Western students in Political Science and Human Services and Rehabilitation in the work of local NGOs.  He currently serves as the Program Director for the Munro Institute for Civic Education and is editor in chief of the "African Journal of Governance and Development."

In addition to his academic pursuits, Professor Johnson was on the advisory committee to Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Presidential Campaign in 1988 and served on the Steering Committee of the Washington State Rainbow Coalition from 1988-92.  In Bellingham, he helped found the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force and chaired its board from 1997-2000.  He also serves on the board of the Slum Doctor Program and was the recipient of the 1997 Diversity Achievement Award at Western Washington University.  In September 2015 Professor Johnson received the WWU Philip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award for his outstanding community service and, most recently, his numerous public presentations on race and law enforcement in the Post-Ferguson era.

Selected Publications


  • The Structural Origins of Revolution in Africa. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003


  • “Coloured South Africans: a Middleman Minority of Another Kind,” Social Identities, May, 2016, Available online at
  • with Eliot Dickinson, “International Norms and the end of Apartheid in South Africa,” Safundi (journal of comparative United States and South Africa studies), vol.16, no.4, October, 2015, 355-77.
  • "The Question of Revolution in the Twenty-first Century: The Case of Zimbabwe," The Black Scholar, vol. 37, no. 1, 2007
  • "Globalization and the Study of Development," in Wilbur Rich, ed. African American Perspectives on Political Science. Philadelphia: Temple University  Press, 2007
  • with Elizabeth Frombgen, "Populist Nationalism in the United States," Social Identities, September, 2009
  • "Immigration and Domestic Politics in South Africa: Contradictions of the Rainbow Nation," Ethnic Studies Review, vol. 33, no. 1, 2010

Areas of Specialty

Research Interests

  • African Politics
  • Comparative Settler and Post-Settler Colonialism
  • Race and Public Policy

PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (415.38 KB)