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Christopher Johnson

Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

It is with deepest sadness that the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies has to record that Chris Johnson, Professor of French, died on Wednesday, May 17th 2017. Chris was extremely well-liked and deeply respected in the School, with many close colleagues and friends in French and beyond. He will be very much missed.

Teaching Summary

My specialist teaching is mainly focused on French thought and intellectual history.

In the first year I have lectured on the Enlightenment and the Encylopédie.

In the second year I teach a module on Nineteenth-Century French Fiction, which includes the novels of Balzac, Flaubert and Zola.

In the final year I have taught two modules:

Representations of the Exotic - this module looks at French representations of non-Western, 'exotic' cultures from the early modern period up to the twentieth century. Writers studied include Montaigne, Montesquieu, Diderot, Chateaubriand, Flaubert and Lévi-Strauss.

Intellectuals in Post-War France - this module looks at three important French thinkers of the post-war period, Jean-Paul Sartre, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jean-François Lyotard, representing three intellectual movements: existentialism, structuralism and post-modernism.

I am able to supervise postgraduate study and research in the following areas:

Contemporary French thought

Science and technology in post-war France

Translating French thought

The role of the interview in post-war French thought

Research Summary

My main areas of research interest are contemporary French thought and the philosophy of technology. I have published books on Derrida and Lévi-Strauss, and a number of shorter pieces on… read more

Recent Publications

  • JOHNSON C., 2014. Science in three dimensions: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams Modern Language Review. 109(4), 915-30
  • JOHNSON, C., 2014. 'French' Cybernetics French Studies. 69(1),
  • JOHNSON, C., 2013. All Played Out? Lévi-Strauss's Philosophy of History New Left Review. 79(Jan-Feb), 55-69
  • JOHNSON, C., 2013. The prehistory of technology: on the contribution of Leroi-Gourhan. In: HOWELLS, C. and MOORE, G., eds., Stiegler and technics Edinburgh University Press. 34-52

Current Research

My main areas of research interest are contemporary French thought and the philosophy of technology. I have published books on Derrida and Lévi-Strauss, and a number of shorter pieces on science/technology-related subjects: biotechnology, machine translation, cybernetics, the space age. I am currently preparing a book on the French ethnologist and prehistorian André Leroi-Gourhan, a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (Major Research Fellowship). I am a founding member of the Science Technology Culture Research Group and the Translating Thought Research Group.

See my discussion of BRICOLAGE at http://www.wordsoftheworld.co.uk/videos/bricolage.html

Past Research

My past research has focused on the following aspects of contemporary French thought:

Derrida and deconstruction;

Lévi-Strauss, structuralism and anthropology;

Jacob, Monod and the language of molecular biology;

French intellectuals and the role of the interview in post-war French thought.

Future Research

The history of cybernetics, in particular the reception of cybernetics in France.

  • JOHNSON C., 2014. Science in three dimensions: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams Modern Language Review. 109(4), 915-30
  • JOHNSON, C., 2014. 'French' Cybernetics French Studies. 69(1),
  • JOHNSON, C., 2013. All Played Out? Lévi-Strauss's Philosophy of History New Left Review. 79(Jan-Feb), 55-69
  • JOHNSON, C., 2013. The prehistory of technology: on the contribution of Leroi-Gourhan. In: HOWELLS, C. and MOORE, G., eds., Stiegler and technics Edinburgh University Press. 34-52
  • JOHNSON C., 2012. Bricoleur and bricolage: from metaphor to universal concept Paragraph. 35(3), 355-372
  • JOHNSON, C., 2011. ‘Epoch, event, context’, ‘The cybernetic imaginary’, ‘Grammatology as a “positive” science’, ‘Writing in evolution, evolution as “writing”’. In: GASTON, S and MACLACHLAN, I., eds., Reading of Grammatology Continuum. 3-5, 11-14, 79-81, 91-3
  • JOHNSON, C., 2011. Leroi-Gourhan and the limits of the human French Studies. 65(4), 471-87
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2009. Before Babel: Lévi-Strauss and language. In: WISEMAN, B., ed., Cambridge Companion to Lévi-Strauss Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 237-54
  • JOHNSON, C., 2008. Analogue Apollo: cybernetics and the space age Paragraph: the journal of the Modern Critical Theory Group. 31(3), 304-326
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2008. Derrida and technology. In: GLENDINNNING, S. and EAGLESTONE, R., eds., Derrida’s Legacies London: Routledge. 54-65
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2007. The intellectual as celebrity: Claude Lévi-Strauss. In: GAFFNEY, J. and HOLMES, D., eds., Stardom in Postwar France Berghahn. 152-74
  • JOHNSON. C.M., 2006. I-you-we, Robot. In: BRADLEY, A. and ARMAND, L., eds., Technicity Prague: Litteraria Pragensia. 101-28
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2005. Derrida: the Machine and the Animal Paragraph. 28(3), 102-20
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2005. Avant Babel: Claude Lévi-Strauss, la langue, les langues. In: LAÜGT, E. and RIDON, J-X, eds., Nouvelles lectures de l'exotisme (Actes du premier colloque Nottingham-Pau) Nottingham: University of Nottingham. 29-39
  • JOHNSON C.M., 2005. Claude Lévi-Strauss. In: MARSHALL BILL, ed., France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, History ABC-Clio.
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2004. Rien ne va plus: Lévi-Strauss et l'histoire virtuelle. In: WISEMAN, B., ed., Les Temps Modernes, Special issue: Claude Lévi-Strauss, 628 Paris: Gallimard. 58-74
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2004. Claude Lévi-Strauss: les années de formation. In: IZARD, M., ed., Special number of Cahiers de l'Herne: Claude Lévi-Strauss 82. Paris: Editions de l'Herne. 136-141
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2004. Machine translation(s) Paragraph. 27(1), 64-78
  • JOHNSON C.M., 2004. Structuralism. In: KUPER ADAM and KUPER JESSICA, eds., Routledge Social Science Encyclopaedia Routledge.
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2003. Claude Levi-Strauss: the Formative Years Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2003. Introduction; and Lévi-Strauss in his interviews. In: JOHNSON, C.M., ed., Thinking in dialogue: the role of the interview in post-war French thought Nottingham: University of Nottingham. 1-4; 33-47
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2003. Biotechnologies. In: WOLFREYS, J., ed., Glossolalia: key words in critical theory Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 23-33
  • JOHNSON, C.M., ed., 2003. Thinking in dialogue: the role of the interview in post-war French thought Nottingham: University of Nottingham.
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 2002. Claude Lévi-Strauss. In: SIMONS, J., ed., From Kant to Lévi-Strauss: the background to contemporary critical theory Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 228-243
  • JOHNSON C.M., 2001. Derrida and science. In: MEYER MICHEL, ed., Questioning Derrida. With his Replies on Philosophy Ashgate. 84-95
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1999. La vie, le vivant: biologie et autobiographie. In: MALLET, M-L., ed., L'animal autobiographique: autour de Jacques Derrida Paris: Galilée. 353-368
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1999. Ambient technologies, uncanny signs Oxford Literary Review. 21, 117-134
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1999. Structuralism, biology and the linguistic model. In: WOLFREYS, J., BRANNIGAN, J. and ROBBINS, R., eds., The French connections of Jacques Derrida Albany NY: State University of New York Press. 135-148
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1998. 'Derrida', 'Structuralism', 'Lévi-Strauss', 'Anthropology and ethnology'. In: HUGHES, A. and READER, K., eds., Routledge encyclopaedia of contemporary French culture London: Routledge.
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1998. Derrida and science Revue Internationale de Philosophie. 205, 477-494
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1997. Sociology and anthropology
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1997. Derrida: the scene of writing London: Phoenix Press.
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1997. Anthropology and the sciences humaines: the voice of Levi-Strauss History of the Human Sciences. 10(3), 122-133
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1997. Introduction; and Anthropology and sociology: from Mauss to Lévi-Strauss Modern and Contemporary France. 5(4), 405-408; 421-432
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1997. Anthropology and sociology: from Mauss to Levi-Strauss Modern and Contemporary France. 5(4), 421-432
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1997. Levi-Strauss: the writing lesson revisited Modern Language Review. 92(3), 599-612
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1996. Mauss's gift: the persistence of a paradigm Modern and Contemporary France. 4(3), 307-318
  • JOHNSON, C.M., 1996. La leçon de philosophie: de Derrida à Lévi-Strauss. In: LISSE, M., ed., Passions de la littérature: avec Jacques Derrida Paris: Galilée. 125-139

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