Interview with John Johnson, May 6, 2021

Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project

Interview Summary

John Johnson served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a Teaching-English-as-a-Foreign-Language (TEFL) program in Somalia from 1966-69. As an international expert in Somali language and poetry and scholar in Folklore and Linguistics, he discusses learning the Somali language and teaching English using the interactive methods he learned at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. John later replaced the Teacher’s College in-country trainer when the trainer left and helped train new volunteers at Teacher’s College. He talks about his lifelong research starting in Peace Corps with Somali and foreign experts, including being a one of the founders the Somali Studies International Association and being named a patron of the Anglo-Somali Society in London. He compiled an extensive Somali archive at Indiana University where he taught, and returned to Somalia several times for sabbaticals and conferences. He discusses volunteer orientation at Taleh, the unwelcoming, ethnocentric culture in the North where he served his first year and the cosmopolitan culture of Mogadishu in the South where he served his the second and third years. He discusses courting his American girlfriend long distance and getting married and living in Mogadishu.

Interview Accession

2021oh0474_pcrv0257

Interviewee Name

John Johnson

Interviewer Name

Evelyn Ganzglass

Interview Date

2021-05-06

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Johnson, John Interview by Evelyn Ganzglass. 06 May. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Johnson, J. (2021, May 06). Interview by E. Ganzglass. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Johnson, John, interview by Evelyn Ganzglass. May 06, 2021, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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