Wheaton logo 2020 color version also for mobile

Faculty Profiles

Sky Johnston

Sky Michael Johnston, Ph.D.

Guest Assistant Professor of History

On Faculty since 2021


Ph.D., History, University of California San Diego, 2019

M.A., Ecumenical Studies, University of Bonn, 2013

M.Div., Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012

M.A., History, University of California Irvine, 2008

B.A., Comparative Literature and European Studies, University of California Irvine, 2007

Peer-Reviewed Publications

“Printing the Weather: Knowledge, Nature, and Popular Culture in Two Sixteenth-Century German Weather Books,” Renaissance Quarterly 73 no. 2 (2020): 391-440.

“Pre-Suppression Jesuits in German-Speaking Lands,” in Jesuit Historiography Online, ed. Robert A. Maryks (Leiden: Brill, 2016). Open Access

“‘What is California? Nothing but Innumerable Stones’: German Jesuits, Salvation, and Landscape Building in the California Missions,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 2 no. 1 (2015): 36-55. Open Access


“Weathering Early Modern Germany: Vernacular Meteorology, Pastoral Theology, and Communal Life in the Long Sixteenth Century”
Winner, 2020 UC San Diego Chancellor’s Dissertation Medal

Manuscripts in Preparation

"Accounting for a Fruitful Little Ice Age: Overlapping Scales of Climate and Culture in Württemberg, 1560-1590,” revise and resubmit from Environmental History.

The Peasant Naturalist: Popular Meteorology in Sixteenth-Century Germany, monograph proposal to be submitted to Studies in German History series from Oxford University Press.

“Early Lutheran Teachings Against Material Indulgence: The Sins of Fressen and Saufen in the Context of Resource Management,” contribution to project, “For Us and Our Posterity: Managing Resources in Early Modern Europe,” led by Mary Lindemann.

Reviews and Reports

“Calendar Making in Confessional Germany,” review of Robin B. Barnes, Die deutschen Kalenderschreiber im Zeitalter der Konfessionsbildung 1531-1630: Register und Analyse (Jena, 2018). For Journal for the History of Astronomy 50 no. 1 (2019) 100-101.

Review of Hans-Joachim Köhler, Hildegard Hebenstreit-Wilfert, Christoph Weismann, eds., Sixteenth Century Pamphlets Online / Flugschriften Online (BrillOnline Primary Sources). For Journal of Jesuit Studies 4 no. 1 (2017) 113-115.

Review of Jeffrey Chips Smith, ed., Visual Acuity and the Arts of Communication in Early Modern Germany (Burlington, VT, 2014). For Journal of Jesuit Studies 3 no. 2 (2016) 319-321.

“Conference Report: Germans in the Pacific World from the late 17th to 20th Century.” With Teresa Walch. Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 57 (Fall 2015) 123-128.

Papers Presented

“Scales of Cultural Responses to Disaster in Early Seventeenth-Century German Lands,” accepted for German Studies Association Annual Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2021

“Renaissance Aristotelianisms and Natural Knowledge in German-Speaking Europe,” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, 2021

“Theology and Nature Together: Towards a New Model of the Shared Development of Science and Religion,” IEG-Forschungskolloquium, Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, Germany, 2021

“‘Of True Knowledge of the Weather’: Observing Nature and Producing Knowledge in Early Modern German Lands,” Cambridge-Tübingen Workshop, 2020

“Tracing the Networks of Annual Practica Authors through German Universities, 1480-1620,” German Historical Society Annual Conference, 2020

“Ambivalence towards Nature in Early Lutheran Ideas about Weather,” Science Studies Graduate Mini-Symposium with Lorraine Daston, University of California San Diego, 2019

“Pastoral Scholastic Responses to the Devastation of the 1613 Thüringer Sintflut,” Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2018

“Considering Popular Peasant Naturalism in Sixteenth-Century Germany,” West Coast Germanists’ Workshop Hosted by GHI WEST, University of California Davis, 2018

“A Brief Cultural History of the Wetterbüchlein in the Long Sixteenth Century,” Herzog August Bibliothek Stipendiatenkolloquium, Wolfenbüttel, Germany, 2017

“Experiencing Weather in Early Modern Germany,” Kolloquium Neuere Geschichte (Lehrstuhl Prof. Renate Dürr), University of Tübingen, Germany, 2017

“A Century of Weather in Thuringia, 1512-1613,” Stipendiatenkolloquium des Herzog-Ernst-Stipendienprogramms, Gotha, Germany, 2016

“The Rain Falls on Everyone: Weather across Society in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century German Lands,” Thirteenth Workshop on Early Modern German History, German Historical Institute, London, United Kingdom, 2016

“‘When the Storm Dies Down’: Luther’s Reflections on Weather,” Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Vancouver, Canada, 2015

“Failed Missions of Inclusion: The Dry Climate of California Thwarts German Jesuit Missionaries,” XXXIII International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2015

“‘What is California? Nothing but Innumerable Stones’: German Jesuit Missionaries Make Sense of a Foreign Landscape,” Worlds Elsewhere: Globalization in Early Cultures, University of California Irvine, 2014

Invited Participant

German Historical Institute, Washington D. C. - Archival Summer Seminar in Germany, Speyer and Berlin, Germany, 2016

Policy Making at EU Level: 6th IEP/UCP Seminar in association with Europaeum, Brussels, Belgium, 2013

From Plato to NATO: Communication, Media and Rhetoric, St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 2012

  • 2020-2021 Research Fellowship, Leibniz Institute for European History, Mainz
  • 2019-2020 Teach@Tübingen Fellowship, Faculty of Humanities, University of Tübingen
  • 2018 Scholarship Extension - Doctoral Scholarship funded by the Rolf und Ursula Schneider-Stiftung, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany
  • 2018 Travel Grant, American Friends of the Herzog August Bibliothek
  • 2017-2018 Dissertation Fellowship, Department of History, UC San Diego
  • 2016-2017 Fulbright Fellowship, History, Germany
  • 2017 Doctoral Scholarship funded by the Rolf und Ursula Schneider-Stiftung, Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Germany
  • 2016 Herzog-Ernst-Scholarship sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, University and Research Library Erfurt-Gotha, Germany
  • 2016 Travel Funding, German Historical Institute Washington
  • 2016 Dean’s Travel Award, UC San Diego
  • 2015-2016 Department of History Travel Grant, UC San Diego
  • 2015 Graduate Student Association Travel Grant, UC San Diego
  • 2015 Department of History Travel Grant, UC San Diego
  • 2014-2015 Summer Research Support for Professor Ulrike Strasser, UC San Diego
  • 2013-2014 Regents Fellowship, Department of History, UC San Diego
  • 2013 Studienstipendium aus Mitteln zur Qualitätsverbesserung, University of Bonn
  • 2012-2013 Work-Study Award of Financial Aid, University of Bonn


  • German Studies Association
  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Society for Reformation Research
  • German
  • Latin
  • Classical Greek
  • Spanish

Personal Website
Twitter: @SkyMJohnston