Brian Johnsrud

All The Europe Center People Pre- and Postdoc Fellows
Brian Professional Pic

Brian Johnsrud

  • PhD candidate in the Program in Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford
  • Former Anna Lindh Fellow, The Europe Center
  • Group Coordinator, The Contemporary Research Group

450 Serra Mall Bldg. 460, Room 219
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2022


Brian Johnsrud is finishing his PhD in Stanford’s interdisciplinary Program in Modern Thought and Literature, under the supervision of Amir Eshel (Comparative Literature), Fred Turner (Communication), Sam Wineburg (Education and History), Lina Khatib (Middle Eastern Studies), and Sandra S-J Lee (Medical Anthropology). 

Brian’s research considers how the Crusades and other violent histories have served as popular metaphors for relations between the U.S. and Middle East since the First Gulf War. In particular, he explores how those analogies are employed and mediated to affect realms like U.S. national intelligence reports, conspiracy theory novels like Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, genetic ancestry studies conducted by IBM and National Geographic's Genographic Project in Lebanon, and Iraqi primary school textbook revision by the U.S. after 2003. 

Brian's research interests in digital humanities have led to a platform he is currently developing through a collaboration between Stanford University and MIT: The mixed-media, online platform creates an collaborative research ecosystem for academics, students, and the general public to engage with and respond to texts, media, and other resources related to 9/11.