University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Kaylee T. Johnson

Professional Title: 

Doctoral Candidate, Teaching Associate, Research Assistant


Machmer W-33E


Office Hours: 

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10-11am and by appointment


B.A., Stonehill College


I'm Kaylee Johnson, a doctoral candidate, teaching assistant, and research assistant in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Welcome!

My dissertation project explores the ostensibly popular, inclusive, and race-neutral middle class identity, focusing on the extent to which it is racialized. I contend that the middle class identity is exclusive on the basis of race. Media depictions of the middle class as white help to shape this racialization which manifests in stark racial differences in middle class identification.

Furtnermore, politicians reinforce the identity's racialization in their campaign advertisements, thereby sending racially-coded messages to citizens without appearing to discuss race at all. Messages like these therefore allow the middle class identity to serve as a racial prime, facilitating an implicit association of the middle class identity with whiteness among citizens. As such, what appears to be an inclusive, catch-all identity is one that is racially restrictive, and may render the middle class trope problematic.

I have been published in Political Behavior, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Presidential Studies Quarterly as well as served as a fellow on UMass Poll. My other research interests include public policy, political communication, political behavior, and political psychology. Additionally,  I serve as a board member and as the graduate student administrator of UMass Women Into Leadership (UWiL), a professional development workshop, networking opportunity, and departmental course. More information about the program may be found at the UWiL website.

Please feel free to look at my work on my website:




Curriculum Vitae: 

Download pdf (53.83 KB)


  • Political Science