Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson

Associate Dean of Faculty, Social Sciences
Professor of Anthropology, Affiliated Faculty in Critical Black Studies
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About Michelle Johnson

Educational Background

  • B.A., University of Washington
  • M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Areas

  • The anthropology of religion
  • Islam
  • Life course rituals
  • Lusophone Africa (Guinea-Bissau)
  • Africans in Europe (Guineans in Portugal)
  • Transnationalism


  • ANTH 109: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH/SOCI 201: Field Research in Local Communities
  • ANTH 229: Pilgrimage, Prayer, and Purity: The Anthropology of Religion
  • ANTH 283: Theory in Anthropology
  • ANTH 305: Womb to Tomb: Culture and the Life Course
  • ANTH 329: Religions in Africa: Spirits, Saints, and Sufis
  • ANTH 330: Advanced Seminar in Anthropology
  • UNIV 200: Africa and the Media

Selected Publications


Remaking Islam in African Portugal book cover.

Remaking Islam in African Portugal: Lisbon - Mecca - Bissau (2020). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Reciprocity Rules book cover

Reciprocity Rules: Friendship and Compensation in Fieldwork Encounters (2021) (Co-edited with Edmund Searles). Latham, MD: Lexington.


"Grotto Water and Potato Chips: Turnerian Ethnographic Performance as Pedagogical Resistance." In Experiential and Performative Anthropology in the Classroom: Engaging the Legacy of Edith and Victor Turner, ed. Pamela R. Frese and Susan Brownell (2020), 117-134. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

"'Never Forget Where You're From': Raising Guinean Muslim Babies in Portugal." In A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Eight Societies, ed. Alma Gottlieb and Judy DeLoache (2017), 33-70. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

“Nothing Is Sweet in My Mouth’: Food, Identity, and Religion in African Lisbon.” Food and Foodways (Special Issue: Eating in Semi-Public Spaces) 24:(3-4) (2016), 234-256.

"Culture's Calling: Mobile Phones, Gender, and the Making of an African Migrant Village in Lisbon." Anthropology Quarterly86(1) (2013): 163-90.

“Death and the Left Hand: Islam, Gender, and ‘Proper’ Mandinga Funerary Custom in Guinea-Bissau and Portugal” African Studies Review (Special Issue: Guinea-Bissau Today) 52:2 (2009), 93-117.

“Making Mandinga or Making Muslims? Debating Female Circumcision, Ethnicity, and Islam in Guinea-Bissau and Portugal.” In Transcultural Bodies: Female Genital Cutting in Global Context, ed. Ylva Hernlund and Bettina Shell-Duncan (2007), 202-223. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

“The Proof Is on My Palm: Debating Islam and Ritual in a New African Diaspora.” The Journal of Religion in Africa 36:1 (2006), 50-77.

“The View from the Wuro: A Guide to Childrearing for Fulani Parents.” In A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Seven Societies, ed. Judy S. DeLoache and Alma Gottlieb (2000), 171-198. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

“Becoming a Muslim; Becoming a Person: Female ‘Circumcision,’ Religious Identity, and Personhood in Guinea-Bissau.” In Female “Circumcision” in Africa: Culture, Controversy, and Change, ed. Bettina Shell-Duncan and Ylva Hernlund (2000), 215-233. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.


"Guinea-Bissau." In Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, 2nd Edition, ed. Thomas Riggs (2014), Vol. 3: Countries: Greece to Philippines, pp. 40-49. Detroit: Gale.

“Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology.” In Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, ed. Jon R. McGee and Richard L. Warms (2013), Vol. 2, 841-845. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

“Islam.” In The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion, ed. Richard A. Shweder (2009), 517-519. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Further Information

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