Office: 58 Holden Hall
Ph.D., Temple University
Matthew Johnson specializes in post-1945 U.S. history, with an emphasis on social movements, mass incarceration, and higher education. His first book, Undermining Racial Justice: How One University Embraced Inclusion and Inequality, explores how University of Michigan officials co-opted movements for racial justice from the 1960s to the 21st century. During the 2020-2021 academic year, he will be on leave as an ACLS Scholar & Society Fellow, where he will work on his second book, Incarceration U. The book examines the origins and impact of the two largest university police forces in the United States.
Dr. Johnson advises graduate students in 20th century political, cultural, and social history. He received a Ph.D. from Temple University.
Undermining Racial Justice
What Johnson contends in Undermining Racial Justice is not that good intentions resulted in unforeseen negative consequences, but that the people who created and maintained racial inequities at premier institutions of higher education across the United States firmly believed they had good intentions in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. The case of the University of Michigan fits into a broader pattern at elite colleges and universities and is a cautionary tale for all in higher education. As Johnson illustrates, inclusion has always been a secondary priority, and, as a result, the policies of the late 1970s and 1980s ushered in a new and enduring era of racial retrenchment on campuses nationwide.
Learn more at Cornell University Press