NORMAN – Scott Johnson, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma associate professor of classics and letters, is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a national award honoring scholars, artists and scientists who are selected on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.
“Dr. Johnson fully deserves this meaningful recognition,” said OU President David L. Boren. “This recognition highlights the contributions made by exceptional faculty members to the University of Oklahoma.”
Guggenheim Fellows represent a wide variety of backgrounds, fields of study and accomplishments. Johnson, who is a historian of late antique literature and culture, was selected in the field of intellectual and cultural history based on his cultural biography of the language of Syriac, the first book of its kind in English.
“It’s exceptionally satisfying to name 175 new Guggenheim Fellows,” writes Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation. “These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best. Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”
Johnson’s first book, The Life and Miracles of Thekla: A Literary Study, explores hagiographical literature in Greek from the fifth century AD, placing it in the confluence of cultures between the classical and early Christian worlds. His second book, Literary Territories: Cartographical Thinking in Late Antiquity, is a study of how the late antique imagination fashioned new concepts of the physical and celestial realms and, in turn, shaped the literature of the period. He edited a major volume, The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, which has become a standard reference work that also pushes the field forward in new directions. In addition to these publications, he has produced translations from Greek and Syriac and has written numerous articles on late antique literary culture.
Johnson co-founded and co-edits a digital humanities project called “Syri.ac.” The online resource, hosted and supported by OU, aims to be a comprehensive annotated bibliography of Syriac literature, history and culture, focused on open-access resources on the web.
He teaches a range of classes on Greek and classical culture, including a survey course on his field of specialty called "From Rome to Baghdad: The World of Late Antiquity."
Johnson studied classics at Vanderbilt University and received his doctorate of philosophy in classics from Oxford University. He was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and has held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.