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Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Mississippi


Biography | Research | Publications | CV

Willa M. Johnson

Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D, Vanderbilt University
Religion (Judaism), the Holocaust, Politics, Race, Gender
Lamar Hall 540  |  662-915-1495

Office Hours
By appointment

Soc 310 Sociology of Disability
Soc 327 Genocide & Women (cross-listed as GSt 327)
Soc 330 Racism & Religion (cross-listed as Rel 330)
Soc 429 Judaism & Religious Ethnic Studies
Soc 445 Social Context of Holocaust Art (cross-listed as AH 458)
Soc 451 Topics in Sociology



I am a Hebrew Bible scholar who has expanded my scholarly work to include other aspects of Jewish history, most notably the Holocaust and the contemporary politics of race and ethnicity. My first book is titled, The Holy Seed Has Been Defiled: The Interethnic Marriage Dilemma in Ezra 9-10 (Sheffield: Sheffield-Phoenix Press, 2012). I introduced the book of Esther in The People’s Choice Revised Standard Version of the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 20) and I contributed chapters to The Africana Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010). I have also contributed two essays to a forthcoming volume about the French concentration camps by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) titled the Encyclopedia of Ghettos and Camps (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). I have received numerous grants and awards including the 2013 Cummings Foundation Fellowship at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for the Advanced Study of the Holocaust, USHMM, Washington, D.C.; and a 2010 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the International Institute for the Advanced Study of the Holocaust at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. The Association for Jewish Studies-Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project awarded the University of Mississippi’s Critical Race Studies two public programming grants for which I was the principle writer and project director.


My current research projects are on the Holocaust in France and the racial climate at the University of Mississippi and on other campuses in the U.S., a longitudinal study being conducted with two colleagues, Drs. Kirk Johnson and James Thomas.

Selected Publications

Books & Monographs

Routledge Press

The Holy Seed Has Been Defiled: The Interethnic Marriage Dilemma in the Book of Ezra 9-10

Sheffield Phoenix Press

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

“Mapping Microaggressions on a Southern University Campus:  Where are the Safe Spaces for Vulnerable Students?” (Coauthored with: Kirk A. Johnson, James M. Thomas, and John J. Green)  (Online Social Problems)

“Karl Schwesig’s Schlegelkeller: Anatomy of a Rejected Warning of Prewar Violence at LIFE Magazine,” International Journal ofPolitics, Culture and Society 30 (2017):1-22. (Co-authored with Kirk A. Johnson)

2016. “From My Place: Teaching the Holocaust in the Deep South Fifty-Three Years After Desegregation.” Teaching Theology and Religion 19 (1): 57-75. doi:10.1111/teth.12320

2016. Barbara H. Combs, Kirsten Dellinger, Jeffrey T. Jackson, Kirk A. Johnson, Willa M. Johnson, Jodi Skipper, John Sonnett, James M. Thomas, and Critical Race Studies Group. “The Symbolic Lynching of James Meredith: A Visual Analysis and Collective Counter Narrative to Racial Domination.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 2 (3): 338-353. doi:10.1177/2332649215626937

2016. Willa M. Johnson & Kirk A. Johnson. “Karl Schwesig’s Schlegelkeller: Anatomy of a Rejection of Prewar Violence at LIFE magazine.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. doi:10.1007/s10767-016-9220-z