Sarah Johnson

Senior Lecturer


I am a senior lecturer in the Law, Letters, and Society program at the University of Chicago. I offer courses on law and political economy, and I also regularly teach in the Classics of Social and Political Thought sequence in the Social Sciences Core.

My research interests lie in the history of social and political thought, particularly since the eighteenth century. I am currently working on two projects that explore the relationship between social and political thought and the historical imagination. One is a book manuscript (The Ages We Live By) that examines how practices of historical periodization shape efforts to analyze and reimagine social and political life. The other is a new project on the coevolution of Karl Marx’s ideas about history, critique, and political economy. An article that stems from this research, “The Early Life of Marx’s ‘Mode of Production’,” was recently published in Modern Intellectual History. A related essay, “Farewell to The German Ideology,” is forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Ideas.

Prior to joining the Law, Letters, and Society program, I was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago and a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. I studied political theory at Bryn Mawr College and the University of Chicago, where I earned my Ph.D. in 2015.