Johnson Program

The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University is delighted to host the Wallace Johnson Program for First Book Authors, a program designed to provide support and mentorship to scholars working towards the publication of their first book on the law and legal culture of the early middle ages. In conversation with peers and with the advice of senior scholars, participants develop and revise book proposals and sample chapters, and they meet with guest editors to learn about approaching and working with publishers. The application cycle opens on January 15 and applications are due on April 1. The deadline has been extended to April 15.


The program

The program includes:

  • a series of online workshops on the writing and publication process during which participants meet with senior scholars and have the opportunity to discuss their projects with commissioning editors
  • pairing with a senior scholar as mentors who, over the course of a year, help participants pursue book contracts and shape their projects for publication
  • periodic web "meet ups," both one-on-one with mentors and as a group, that will enable participants to workshop chapters and proposals


Participants receive a stipend of $750 to support research-related expenses.


Participants must be:

  • early career scholars who will have their Ph.D. in hand by the start of the program
  • untenured or in a non-tenurable position (including adjuncts and full-time term faculty)
  • working on first book projects related to the law and legal culture of the middle ages prior to the year 1200.

For the purposes of this program, "law" is broadly defined and need not be limited to legislation, legal documentation or specific forms of legal process. Applications are welcome from all disciplines and, though the project must concern law, participants need not self-identify as legal scholars.


A complete application comprises:

  • cover letter (single spaced, not exceeding two pages) describing the applicant’s professional trajectory to date and reasons for interest in the Johnson Program
  • curriculum vitae (including contact information)
  • project description (single spaced; not exceeding 750 words)
  • letter of recommendation (either included with other application materials or sent directly to the Medieval Institute as an email attachment to

The application cycle opens on January 15 and applications are due on April 1.

The deadline has been extended to April 15.

Questions should be directed to Andrew Rabin ( or Robert Berkhofer (

2024 selection committee

  • Robert Berkhofer (Western Michigan University)
  • Kristen Carella (Assumption College)
  • Abigail Firey (University of Kentucky)
  • Stefan Jurasinski (The College at Brockport, SUNY)
  • Andrew Rabin (University of Louisville)
  • Jana Schulman (Western Michigan University)