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Channing Gerard Joseph

  1. Associate Professor, Race and Identity

Channing Gerard Joseph joined the Newmark J-School in January 2022 as its first-ever associate professor focused on race and identity. Joseph has spent more than two decades writing and editing about issues of race, queer identity, inequality, and social justice for organizations such as The Nation, the Associated Press, The New York Times, and SF Weekly, where he became the editor-in-chief in 2016.

Previously, he was a lecturer at USC’s Annenberg School, where he taught courses in deadline news, narrative writing, digital storytelling, journalistic ethics, and techniques for engaging diverse communities. He also has prior teaching experience at SUNY – Plattsburgh and his alma mater Oberlin College. 

Joseph has earned global recognition for his meticulous historical research and writing about William Dorsey Swann, a formerly enslaved Black man who became the earliest-known American queer activist and the first-known self-described drag queen. Based on his unpublished manuscript, he has already been awarded the Berlin Prize, fellowships from CUNY’s Leon Levy Center for Biography, and support from the Ford, Logan, and Whiting foundations.

You can hear him describe the in-depth reporting he has done on this project here. His book, “House of Swann: Where Slaves Became Queens — and Changed the World,” has been acquired by Crown and is slated to be published next year.

 In his application for the position, Joseph described how his work has been informed by his personal experiences as a queer Black Southerner. He wrote: “As a reminder of my privileges — and my responsibility as a journalist to tell the stories of marginalized people — I keep a copy of an 1843 auction at which my fifth-great-grandfather, once deemed of a human being by the U.S. Constitution, purchased the freedom of his three enslaved sons.”

Joseph obtained his B.A. in Philosophy and Theater from Oberlin and his M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.