Alessa Johns

A picture of Professor Johns, looking over her shoulder and smiling at the viewer

Position Title
Professor of English, Affiliated Faculty of Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature


Education and Degree(s)

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
M.A., McGill University
B.A., Stanford University


Alessa Johns's work focuses on the long eighteenth century; her interests include British literature and culture, European women writers, Utopian literature and theory, Travel, the study of Disasters, Jane Austen, and Anglo-German cultural exchange. She is an affiliated faculty member in German and Comparative Literature.

She served as Reviews Editor for Eighteenth-Century Studies from 2004-2011.




  • Bluestocking Feminism and British-German Cultural Transfer, 1750-1837 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014)
  • Women's Utopias of the Eighteenth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003)
  • Editor and Introduction, Dreadful Visitations: Confronting Natural Catastrophe in the Age of Enlightenment (New York and London: Routledge, 1999) 
  • Editor and Introduction, Reflections on Sentiment: Essays in Honor of George Starr(University of Delaware Press, 2016)

Selected Articles:

  • "The Book as Cosmopolitan Object: Women's Publishing, Collecting, and Anglo-German Exchange," in Women and Material Culture, ed. Jennie Batchelor and Cora Kaplan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
  • "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Enlightenment Utopianism for 21st-Century Feminists?" in Gender and Utopia in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Nicole Pohl and Brenda Tooley (Ashgate, 2007)
  • "Feminism and Utopianism," in the Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature, ed. Gregory Claeys (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • "Anna Jameson in Germany: 'A.W.' and Women's Translation," in Translation and Literature 19 (2010)
  • "Jane Austen the Stoic: Channeling Elizabeth Carter and the Bluestocking Ethos," in Women's Writing 21.4 (Oct 2014)
  • "German Women's Writing in British Magazines, 1760-1820," in Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690-1820s: The Long Eighteenth Century, ed. Jennie Batchelor and Manushag N. Powell (Edinburgh University Press, 2018)
  • "Bluestocking Studies 2011-2017: The Transnational Turn," Literature Compass 14.11 (Nov 2017)

Awards and Honors

  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1981
  • Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, 1983-1987
  • Soroptimist Founder Region Dissertation Fellowship, 1991-1992
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of California, Berkeley, 1993
  • Catherine Macaulay Prize, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, for the best graduate student essay on a women's studies subject, 1993
  • Fulbright Foundation Research Fellowship; affiliation with the Graduiertenkolleg "Geschlechterdifferenz und Literatur," University of Munich, Germany, 1997
  • Faculty Development Award, University of California, Davis, 1999
  • Research Fellowship, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuettel, Germany, 2003
  • UC President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2008-2009
  • Lichtenberg-Kolleg Residential Research Fellowship, Georg-August-Universitaet, Goettingen, Germany, 2011-2012
  • Associated Students of the University of California, Davis, Excellence in Teaching Award (winner for the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies), 2012
  • Phi Beta Kappa of Northern California, Excellence in Teaching Award, 2016
  • Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, University of California, Davis, 2016
  • Short-Term Residential Research Fellowship, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuettel, Germany, 2019