Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon

My Biography

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon has been selected to receive the 2023 Setha M. Low Engaged Anthropology Award. This award honors individual anthropologists (or multi-disciplinary groups or organizations with at least one anthropologist) or projects which have demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and community engagement by applying anthropology to effectively address a pressing issue facing people and the planet.

Dr. Johnson-Simon is a museum anthropologist and the founder and CEO of the African Diaspora Museology Institute INC. (ADMI) in Savannah, Georgia. The ADMI is a research lab dedicated to scholarly investigation of Black cultural institutions.

Dr. Johnson-Simon has worked for over 20 years on museum and cultural heritage projects in the US, Canada, Africa, and Central America. She received her B.A., Anthropology/ Sociology from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, an M.A., Anthropology/ Museum Studies from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Dr. Johnson-Simon is currently a Scholar in Residence at Savannah State University in the Asa H. Gordon Library, Archives and Art Gallery where she is developing the Black Museology and Anthropology Archives. In this position, she is rescuing invaluable documents so that they would not be destroyed. At the same time, she is educating a new generation of black students in museum and archival studies.

Dr. Johnson-Simon is the author of several books, and co-editor of the Second Generation of African American Pioneers in Anthropology, (2018) published by University of Illinois Press. She is currently working on the Kiah Museum Story which documents the life and work of portrait artist and museum founder Virginia Jackson Kiah.