James Johnson

Associate Professor of History, College of Arts & Sciences

James Johnson is a cultural historian who writes and teaches about modern and early modern Europe. His interests include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France, the history of Venice, and music history. His book Listening in Paris: A Cultural History appeared in 1995. The first book of a two-volume work on masking, disguise, and identity in European history, Venice Incognito: Masking in the Serene Republic, appeared with the University of California Press in 2011. He is now at work on its successor, Disguised Intentions: Masks in the City of Light.

Professor Johnson has taught an array of courses in his two decades at Boston University, including the Humanities and Social Science sequences in BU’s Core Curriculum, Nineteenth- and Twentieth-European Intellectual History, and Nineteenth-Century France. His seminars have included Music and Ideas, the Culture of World War I, and Postwar European Culture. He has designed and taught summer courses in Venice and Paris.

Professor Johnson was the 1996 recipient of Boston University’s Metcalf Prize for Excellence in Teaching. For six years he was Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Core Curriculum. Between 1999 and 2002 he was BU’s Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities, a chair endowed by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Professor Johnson is an active pianist who gives regular lecture/performances on music in its social and cultural context. Recent topics have included “Beethoven and the Art of Infinite Yearning,” “Bach and the Divine Idea,” and “French Impressions. A Musical Journey.”