Sonya M Johnson

Sonya Maria Johnson
Michigan State University


Sonya Maria Johnson holds a dual PhD in Anthropology and African American & African Studies from Michigan State University (MSU). Upon completion of the doctorate, she received the inaugural postdoctoral award of the African Atlantic Research Team of MSU, spending her residence teaching Integrative Social Sciences, and Gender and Anthropology courses. She also co-taught the Graduate Anthropological Qualitative Research Methods course. Johnson was accepted as an inaugural Fellow of the Big Ten Universities’ academic consortium, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, participating in its NSF-Alliances For Graduate Education and the Professoriate sponsored program. Sonya also serves as a Research Associate & Project Manager for a National Institutes of Health grant.

Sonya’s current writing agenda engages Cuban African descendants’ use of inherited colonial ritual knowledge within contemporary religious activities as she integrates the significance of these realities into theoretical discourse. Johnson has presented portions of this work at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Bi-Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), and the International Sociological Association’s Religious Roundtables.

Sonya began attending ASWAD in 2011 as a panelist, and later expanded her support of the organization as a mentor during the Association’s preliminary mentoring sessions. She envisions helping to expand ASWAD’s membership recruitment and participation by suggesting local/regional liaison groups that can communicate throughout the year and partner with regular conference activities. One such program expansion could be for ASWAD junior, mid-year and senior members to be organized into local and/or virtual groups, serving as mentoring collectives that communicate via webinars, SKYPE, and/or in-person living room conversations. These groups could address particular topics and help attract and retain new members throughout the diaspora, with an emphasis on incorporating members from eastern global areas.


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