Susan Johnston

Department Head; Associate Professor
PhD (McGill University); MA (University of Hull); BA (McGill University)

Office: AH 312
Phone: 306-585-4672

Current classes

Research interests

  • 19th century British Literature and Culture
  • Literary Historiography
  • Criminality and Print Culture
  • Nationhood and Nationalism
  • Masculinities
  • Theological Criticism
  • Film and Television adaptation
  • Popular Culture, particularly Fantasy Literature, Harry Potter studies, and George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones).



Susan Johnston teaches and supervises undergraduate and graduate work in Victorian literature and culture, literary historiography, and fantasy literature. Recent 19th century classes have included Reading the Victorian Home; Victorian Masculinities; Victorian Crimes; Nationhood and Nationalism in the Long 19th Century; in fantasy and popular culture, she has offered such topics as Fantasy After Tolkien and single author classes in both J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin as well as graduate classes in Screening the Novel. She also teaches first-year English and has conducted research on student learning supports for the first-year classroom.

Her current research, with collaborator Kathryn Nogue, involves the circulation of ideas of crime and criminality vertically through registers of Victorian print culture, including newspapers and broadside ballads.

Representative Publications:


Jes Battis and Susan Johnston, eds. Mastering the Game of Thrones: Essays on A Song of Ice and Fire (essay collection). Jefferson: McFarland, 2015.

Women and Domestic Experience in Victorian Political Fiction. (book) Westport, CT.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001.

Chapters and Articles

“Abjection, Masculinity, and Sacrifice: The Reek of Death in Game of Thrones.” (article) Men and Masculinities. September 20, 2021.

“Needful Things: Dickens, Social Justice, and the Meaning of Human Work.” (chapter) Theological Dickens, ed. Brenda Ayres and Sarah Maier. New York: Routledge, 2021.

“Concupiscence, Coercion, and the Communion of Persons: Reading the Rape of Cersei.” (chapter) Theology and Game of Thrones, ed. Matthew Brake. Pop Culture and Theology Ser. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books and Fortress Academic, 2021.

“Factory Time: Mechanization and Monotony in the Victorian Imagination.” The Rail, the Body and the Pen: Essays on Travel, Medicine and Technology in 19th Century British Literature, ed. Brian Cowlishaw. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2021. 92-108.

“When Are We Ever at Home? Exile and Nostalgia in the Work of Guy Gavriel Kay.” (chapter) Canadian Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror: Bridging the Solitudes, ed. Amy Ransom and Dominick Grace. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

“Family Man: Walter White and the Failure of Fatherhood.” (chapter) Masculinity in Breaking Bad: Critical Perspectives, ed. Bridget Roussell Cowlishaw. Jefferson: McFarland, 2015. 13-32.

Cheng, Stephen, and Susan Johnston. “Participation in peer-led academic support services: One adaptation of a natural sciences peer learning model to enrichment in the humanities.” (article). Journal of Peer Learning 7 (2014): 23-35. Web.

“The Queen City Muggles: Town and Gown Go to Hogwarts.” (chapter) Teaching with Harry Potter: Essays on Classroom Wizardry from Elementary School to College, ed. Valerie Estelle Frankel. Jefferson and London: McFarland, 2013.

“Re-mastering the Art of French Cooking: Adaptation, Anamnesis and Authenticity in Julie & Julia.” (article) The Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance 5.3 (2012): 263-82.

“Grief poignant as joy: Dyscatastrophe and Eucatastrophe in A Song of Ice and Fire.” (article) Mythlore 31.1/2 (2012): 133-54.

“Harry Potter, Eucatastrophe, and Christian Hope.” (article) Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 14.1 (2011): 66-90.

“Historical Picturesque: Adapting Great Expectations and Sense and Sensibility.” (article reprint) Dickens Adapted, ed. John Glavin. A Library of Essays on Charles Dickens. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012. Orig. pub. Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 37.1 (2004): 167-83.

“After the Deluge: Rethinking Ethical Interpretation.” (article reprint) Day Late, Dollar Short: The Next Generation and the New Academy, ed. Peter C. Herman. Albany: SUNY Press, 2000. 199-210. Orig. pub. Symplokē 3.1 (1995): 87-100.

Master’s Theses Supervised

Polsom, Jon. “Picturing Wonderland: Filming Fantasy in Adaptations of Carroll’s Alice Stories.” Defended April, 2021.

Alberry, Angela. (co-supervised with Dr. R. Piercey, Philosophy). “Virtue at Hogwarts: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Through the Lens of J.K. Rowling’s Sorting System.” Defended November, 2018.

Stoudt, Lara. “From House to Home: The Structure of a Soul Journey in Christina Rossetti’s Devotional Writing.” Defended November 2016.

Balas, Don. “Verses at the Burning of the World: Modernism as a Fulfilment of Decadent Ideals.” Defended July 2015.

Lucyk, Apolline. “A Personal Odyssey: Contrapuntal Heroism in the Works of Diana Wynne Jones.” Defended December 2014.

Dawson, Michele. “Boyhood and War in Peter Pan and The Boy Scout Manual.” Defended August 2010.

McKenzie, Sean. “Seekers of Self: Masculinity and Heroic Image in Modern Fantasy.” Defended 2009.

Wilson, Scott. “(Cult)ural Capital: Post-Consumerism and Post-Abjection in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.” Defended 2008.

Paris, Jamie. “Kipling and Custodial Masculinity: Discussing Friendship, Love and Fraternity Between Men in Kipling’s Writings for and about Children.” Defended 2008.

Ulrich, Andrea. “Fantasy and Realism: Tolkien, the Eucatastrophe, and Fantastic Realism.” Defended 2006.

Kirkham, Darcy. “Memory, Reality, and the New Realism.” Defended 2004.

Honours Essays Supervised

DeDecker, Kyle. ““Conversion of the unbeliever”: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Spiritualism and the Gothic.” Defended April, 2020.

Patterson, Kathryn. “Frankenstein, Monstrous Knowledge, Monstrous Discovery, and the Horrific Consequences.” Defended April, 2020.

Oxman, Devin. “Sculpting the Past: Fractal Narrative in Peter Watts’ Rifters Trilogy.” Defended April, 2017.

Wincherauk, Matt. “The Fantastical Urban Gothic: Challenging Heroism in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.” Defended April, 2017.

Grover, Hannah. “Hermione Granger and the House Elves: Ethnoracial Ambiguity in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.” Defended December 2016.

Paranjape, Avnee. “Harry’s Ghosts: Harry Potter and the Legacy of Trauma.” Defended April 2015.

Perchuk, Lauren. “Youth Culture and the Imagination of Age: Representations of the Elderly on The Simpsons.” Defended April 2010.

Meehan, Alicia. “Harry Potter and the Re-imagining of the Heroic Archetype.” Defended December 2009.

Dawson, Michele. “The Kipling School Story: From Nice Boys to ‘Hideous Little Men.’” Defended April 2008.