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John Howard

Professor John Howard

Emeritus Professor of Arts and Humanities

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John Howard was born, raised, and educated in the American South, culminating in a PhD from Emory University in 1997. After teaching in the history departments at Duke University and the University of York, he joined the English department at King’s in 2001.

John has received awards and grants from the AHRC, Bergman, Daiwa, Delfina, Fulbright, Rockefeller, and King’s College London Students Union. His books include an American Sociological Association “Featured Book” and a Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Visual culture studies: Documentary photography and film 
  • Environmental humanities: Contamination, slow violence, reparations
  • Histories of gender and sexuality: Queer cultures
  • Critical race studies: Imperialism, migration, incarceration
  • Sectionalism and regionalism: American South, Global South

John is interested in the historical production of human differences, their attendant inequalities, and their generative mechanisms of affiliation, identity, coalition, and struggle.

Informed by queer, feminist, materialist, critical race, and spatial theory, his research is engaged with the categories we now know as sexuality, gender, class, race, and region.

John has supervised 13 doctoral projects to completion, several of which now appear as university press monographs. Though he no longer accepts applications for primary supervision, he mentors PhD candidates through professional organisations such as the LGBTQ+ History Association.


Since 1990, John has designed and convened undergraduate and postgraduate modules in cultural studies, English, history, nuclear studies, photography, and queer studies. He has taught courses at a community college and at major universities in the US, UK, and Japan.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Collaborative partners have included the American Museum in Britain, BBC Radio, and British Museum. Mainstream media articles and reviews have appeared in The Independent, Time , Vice among others.

With colleagues in the states, John was co-author of the Amicus Brief of Professors of History, US Supreme Court, Lawrence v. Texas, 2003. With Robert Mills and Mark Turner, he was co-founder of the Queer@King’s research centre, 2003.

John has participated in a number of activist groups though the years, including ACT UP, CND, and Queer Nation. As executive producer or academic consultant, he has helped produce two feature-length documentary films.

Selected Publications

  • Truths Up His Sleeve: The Times of Michael Cacoyannis, Valencia 2022
  • White Sepulchres: Palomares Disaster Semicentennial Publication, Valencia 2016
  • Concentration Camps on the Home Front: Japanese Americans in the House of Jim Crow, Chicago 2008
  • Men Like That: A Southern Queer History, Chicago 1999
  • Carryin’ On in the Lesbian and Gay South, ed, NYU 1997