Adrienne Rose Johnson
Areas of Interest:
Using history, art history, and literary criticism, I study the public laments for an imagined history in America. Broadly, I am fascinated by all the little things in popular culture that make our lives so meaningful – like extreme couponing, factory tours, gingerbread houses, competitive eating, diet books, and dude ranches.
My dissertation studies nostalgia in popular dieting literature, considering how these bestsellers use the metaphor of health and the inviolable body to articulate deep-seated longings for beauty, immediacy, and purity. All of my analyses aspire towards the promise of popular culture studies: that responsible research and sensitive inquiry reveal, in the vulgar arts of everyday life, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. And, in some small way, these are the stories that gesture towards just what, for these men and women, it may have meant to be alive.
Other interests include American landscape art, the history of American vacationing, romance, honeymooning, the caveman, frugality, and factory tourism.
“Nation’s ‘Wellness’ Promotion Is Misguided.” San Francisco Chronicle. 7 August 2013. A7.
"Romancing the Dude Ranch, 1926–1947." Western Historical Quarterly 43.4 (Winter 2012): 437-461.
“The Magic Metabolisms of Competitive Eating.” Taking Food Public: Redefining Foodways in a Changing World. Eds. Carole Counihan and Psyche Williams-Forson. New York: Routledge, 2011.