Vernon Johnson

Professor (1986-2021)


Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at Western Washington University from 1986-2021. 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 served as the Program Director for the Munro Institute for Civic Education from 2015-2021.  He was founding editor in chief of the African Journal of Governance and Development from 2011-2018.

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. In the Post-Ferguson era he has been doing racial equity education and consulting.

Selected Publications


  • The Structural Origins of Revolution in Africa. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003
  • Johnson, Vernon D. and William Lyne, editors, Walkin’ the Talk: An Interdisciplinary Anthology of African American Studies. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Publishers, August, 2002


  • Johnson, Vernon D., and Benslimane, Kelsie, “Practical Representation and the Multiracial Social Movement,” Journal of Educational Controversy, vol. 12, no. 1, Article 5, 2017. Available at: 
  • Johnson, Vernon. D., “Coloured South Africans and African Americans: Cultural Similarities versus Political Differences in Post-Settler Colonial Societies,” in Alexius Amtaika, ed., Cultural Dynamics in Africa: Traditions, Rituals, Indigenous Knowledge and Modernity in Perspective. Austin, Texas: Pan-African University Press, July 2017, 363-82.
  • Johnson, Vernon D., “Coloured South Africans: a Middleman Minority of Another Kind,” Social Identities, May, 2016, Available online at
  • Johnson, Vernon D. and Lorgen-Knapp, Kirsten, “NGO-Government Interactions in South Africa: The Possibility of Cross-Sector Cooperation,” Shadrack Nasong’o, editor, Contentious Politics in Africa: Identity, Conflict, and Social Change, University Press of Carolina, May, 2016.
  • Johnson, Vernon D., and Dickinson, Eliot, “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.
  • Johnson, Vernon D., “Immigration and Domestic Politics in South Africa: Contradictions of the Rainbow Nation,” Ethnic Studies Review, vol. 33, no. 1, 2010.
  • Johnson , Vernon D. and Frombgen, Elizabeth, “Populist Nationalism in the United States,” Social Identities, September, 2009.
  • Johnson, Vernon D., “The Question of Revolution in the 21st Century: The Case Of Zimbabwe.” The Black Scholar, Spring 2007, 2-11.


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