This brief book is a groundbreaking tool for students and non-students alike to examine systems of privilege and difference in our society. Written in an accessible, conversational style, Johnson links theory with engaging examples in ways that enable readers to see the underlying nature and consequences of privilege and their connection to it. This extraordinarily successful book has been used across the country, both inside and outside the classroom, to shed light on issues of power and privilege.Allan Johnson has worked on issues of social inequality since receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1972. He has more than thirty years of teaching experience and is a frequent speaker on college and university campuses. Johnson has earned a reputation for writing that is exceptionally clear and explanations of complex ideas that are accessible to a broad audience.
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Allan G. Johnson is a novelist, nonfiction writer, sociologist, teacher, and public speaker who has spent much of his life trying to understand the human condition, especially as shaped by issues of gender, race, and social class. His nonfiction books have been translated into several languages, and his first novel, The First Thing and the Last, was recognized in 2010 by Publishers Weekly as a notable debut work of fiction and named a “Great Read” by O Magazine. His memoir, Not from Here, was published in 2015.
He was born in Washington, DC, in 1946 and at the age of six went with his family to live for two years in Oslo, Norway, where his father worked in the U.S. embassy. Returning from Norway, his family settled in Massachusetts where he did the rest of his growing up. He wrote his first (very) short story when he was ten years old. He wrote poetry and short fiction all through high school, winning awards for both in his senior year, and continued writing on into college.
He earned a PhD in Sociology at the University of Michigan in 1968 and taught for eight years at Wesleyan University. During this time—when the radical feminist women's movement was at its height—he became involved in the rape crisis movement and began his exploration of patriarchy and systems of privilege.
Striking out on his own after not receiving tenure, he spent a year writing short stories before the necessity to earn a living took him back to nonfiction writing and part-time college teaching.
By the late 1990s he was writing and speaking widely about issues of privilege and oppression, and he had finally returned to his roots as a fiction writer with the start of his first novel, The First Thing and the Last, a story of healing and redemption in the aftermath of domestic violence. His second novel, Nothing Left to Lose, the story of a family in crisis during the Vietnam War, was published in 2011.
He lives with his life partner, Nora L. Jamieson, in the hills of northwestern Connecticut.