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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Richard Johnson, BA (Cambridge), MPhil (Oxford), DPhil (Oxford)


Lecturer in US Politics & Policy

Room Number: Arts One, 2.01
Office Hours: Mondays, 3-4pm (F2F) & Tuesdays, 2-3pm (Online)


Richard Johnson joined Queen Mary as Lecturer in US Politics & Policy in 2020. Previously, he was a lecturer at Lancaster University. He has held visiting research and teaching positions at Yale University, Cambridge University, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. He studied at Cambridge and Oxford.

With a focus on race and American democratic development, he has written about African American candidates in predominantly white contexts, the ‘two Reconstructions’, liberal Republicans and civil rights, school segregation, the racial politics of Barack Obama’s Chicago, the fundraising strategies of working-class candidates, racially polarised partisanship, and the racial policies of the Obama and Trump administrations. Current projects include an analysis of US foreign policy through the lens of its domestic institutions, the ‘favourite son’ effect of presidents in their home state, and American populist traditions.

Richard Johnson is also interested in British politics, particularly the history of the Labour Party. He has written a number of pieces on Labour Party history, the left and the EU, UK trade policy, and psephology.

Twitter: @richardmarcj

Office hour joining link 

Undergraduate Teaching

POL254 - US Politics


Postgraduate Teaching

POLM040 – Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy


Research Interests:

Richard Johnson’s research focuses on race and democracy in the United States. Through the lens of American racial politics, research interests include political communications and campaign strategies, elections and electoral systems, representation and public policy, urban politics, and party regimes and polarisation.

Examples of research funding:

  • Policy Entrepreneur Grant for research on the history of Euroscepticism in the Labour Party (Dec 2020)
  • Quality-Related Research Strategic Priorities Fund Grant (Research England) for a project on UK constitutional reform (Dec 2020)
  • Political Studies Association (PSA) APSA Panel Award (Sept 2020)
  • British Association for American Studies (BAAS) Teaching American Studies Grant (Jun 2019)
  • Research Travel Grant from the University of Kansas (Bob Dole Institute) for research about the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 1982 (2016)



US Foreign Policy: Domestic Roots and International Impact (Bristol University Press, publication date: May 2021)

The End of the Second Reconstruction: Obama, Trump, and the Crisis of Civil Rights (Polity, 2020)


‘School Choice as Community Disempowerment: Racial Rhetoric about Voucher Policy in Urban America’, Urban Affairs Review (forthcoming)

with DESMOND KING, ‘Race Was a Motivating Factor: Re-segregated schools in the American states’, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy 35:1 (2019), 75-95.

‘Proudly for Brooke: Race-Conscious Campaigning in 1960s Massachusetts’, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics 3:2 (Sept 2018), 261-292.

‘Hamilton’s Deracialization: Barack Obama’s Racial Politics in Context’, Du Bois Review 14:2 (Fall 2017), 621-638

with RON JOHNSTON and IAIN McLEAN, ‘Overrepresenting UKIP, Underrepresenting the Greens and Lib Dems: The 2014 European Elections in Great Britain’, Representation (2014) 50:4, 429-437.


‘The Favourite Son’s Favourites: Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Home State Effect in Midterm Elections’ in R Mason & M McLay (eds) Midterms and Mandates (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)

with MARK GARNETT, ‘Corbyn’s Foreign Policy’ in A Crimes (ed) Corbynism in Perspective: The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn (Newcastle: Agenda, forthcoming)

‘How Low-Resource Candidates Raise Money’ in B Grofman, E Suchay, & A Treschel (eds) Oxford Handbook of Electoral Persuasion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)

‘Racial Policy Under Trump’ in M Oliva & M Shanahan (eds) The Trump Presidency: From Campaign Trail to World Stage (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

‘Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration’ in G Peele, C Bailey, J Herbert, B Cain, & B G Peters (eds) Developments in American Politics 8, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

'Racially Polarised Partisanship and the Obama Presidency’ in E Ashbee & J Dumbrell (eds) The Obama Presidency and the Politics of Change, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).


Darren Bowes (Lancaster), Eisenhower, Education, and Civil Rights 

US politics -- especially the politics of race, African American politics, civil rights and the state, class and labour politics, parties, elections, campaign politics, representation, American Political Development

Public Engagement

Media (selection)

Selected Articles for Newspapers and Magazines

Selected Academic Blogs

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