Johnson Receives Honorable Mention for Poem

LaShaune Johnson, PhD, assistant professor in the Graduate School Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, received an honorable mention in the 2017 Ethnographic Poetry Competition of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology for her poem, “Devil on My Shoulder - An Ode to Adriamycin.”

This competition encourages scholars to use alternative literary genres to explore anthropological and social science concerns. Submissions are evaluated regarding their technical virtuosity combined with creative imagination, vivid imagery, and an ability to convey penetrating insights into the human experience. The poems indicate the writer’s experience and perspective as both social scientist and creative writer, one who is ethically responsible in term of representing the other, one who is able to locate his or her reader in the context of an ethnographic study.

Dr. Johnson’s poem will be read at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C., held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. The poem refers to adriamycin, a very commonly used, red-colored, powerful cancer drug, known for its toxicity, which is how it earned the nickname, “the Red Devil.” The poem describes the experience of a woman dealing with the drug’s lingering effects as she prepares to participate in a community breast cancer education event.