Jennifer Lee Johnson

Jennifer Lee Johnson

Assistant Professor // Anthropology

Affiliated Faculty // SIS // Global Studies

Office and Contact

Room: STON 219

Office hours: Thurs. 12:00-2:00 or by appointment



ANTH 100H: Introduction to Anthropology - Honors

ANTH 205: Human Cultural Diversity

ANTH 205H: Human Cultural Diversity - Honors

ANTH 307: The Development of Contemporary Anthropological Theory

ANTH 327: Environment and Culture

ANTH 392H: Sustainability, Development, and Sovereignty in Africa - Honors

Jennifer Lee Johnson received her Ph.D from the University of Michigan in 2014, completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Program for Agrarian Studies at Yale University in the Spring of 2015, and joined the Purdue University faculty in the Fall of 2015.


multispecies ethnography | anthrohistory | science and technology studies | feminist political ecology | African studies | environmental justice | marine and freshwater fisheries | eastern Africa | U.S. Great Lakes

Johnson's research is historically rooted, ethnographically engaged, and focused on gender, vernacular practices, and the ontological politics of sustainability. By foregrounding women’s work with diverse species and forms of fish – both indigenous and introduced – alongside the development of global markets for African fish products, her current research retheorizes the intersection of economic development, social history, and environmental governance in and around Africa’s largest body of freshwater where she has conducted long-term ethnographic research since 2007.



Schoenbrun, David Lee and Jennifer Lee Johnson. 2018. Towards Multispecies Histories: Introduction: Ethnic formation with Other-Than-Human Beings. History in Africa, 45: 307–45.

Johnson, Jennifer Lee. 2018. Fish, Family, and the Gendered Politics of Descent Along Uganda’s Southern Littorals. History in Africa, 45: 445-471.

Johnson, Jennifer Lee, Laura Zanotti, Zhao Ma, David J. Yu, David R. Johnson, Alison Kirkham, and Courtney Carothers. 2018. Interplays of Sustainability, Resilience, Adaptation and Transformation. In Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research, edited by Walter Leal Filho, Robert W. Marans, and John Callewaert, 3–25. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Johnson, Jennifer Lee. 2017. Fish. Somatosphere. (accessed December 8, 2017).

Johnson, Jennifer Lee. 2017. "Eating and Existence Along Uganda's Southern Littorals." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 37. no. 1. (Awarded the Anthropology and Environment Junior Scholar Award in 2017)

Johnson, Jennifer Lee and Bakaaki Robert. 2016. “Working with Fish in the Shadows of Sustainability.” In Subsistence Under Capitalism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, eds. James Murton, Dean Bavington and Carly Dokis. Rural, Wildland and Resource Studies Series. Mc-Gill-Queen’s Press. Montreal, Quebec.

Moll, Russell A., Cynthia Sellinger, Edward Rutherford, Jennifer Lee Johnson, and Matthew Ryan Fainter, and John E. Gannon. 2012. “The Great Lakes Ecosystems.” In: Great Lakes Fishery Policy and Management. 2nd ed. Ed. William A. Taylor, Abigail J. Lynch, Nancy J. Leonard. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing.

Johnson, Jennifer Lee. 2012. “Managerial Technologies, [Il]legal Livelihoods and the Forgotten Fish Consumers of Africa’s Largest Freshwater Fishery.” In: Landscapes and Environments in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa. Eds. Toyin Falola and Emily Brownell. Routledge African Studies Series. Routledge Press, New York. pp. 248-270.

Johnson, Jennifer Lee. 2010. “From Mfangano to Madrid: The Global Commodity Chain for Kenyan Nile Perch.” Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management 13, no. 1: 20-27.

Johnson, Jennifer Lee. 2009. “Climate Change and Fishery Sustainability in Lake Victoria.” African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries. 12:31-36.


Extramural Grant Support

Johnson’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropology, the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, and the Rachel Carson Center.


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