Valerie Johnson

Researcher, Professor of Sociology

Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson is the Dean of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities and Professor of Sociology at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Previously, she was the Mott Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies and Director of Africana Women’s Studies at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco; M.A. in Sociology from Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University); and B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Johnson has also completed doula training focused especially on women of color.

Her research conducted in Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, the Seychelles Islands and the US, center on gender, bioethics, disability, the health of women and girls, and environmental justice.  In addition, she has published and given lectures in these research areas. In North Carolina, Dr. Johnson conducts research on both African American foodways, and African Americans attitudes toward and experiences with “nature spaces” with special emphasis on Black women’s garden clubs. Her speaking engagements include this work as well as public commentary on the issue of confederate monuments on public lands.  

Other scholarly projects include work with Dr. Karima Jeffrey (Hampton University), on a joint collection of essays on the speculative and science fiction work of Black women and girls and with Dr. Crystal Moten (Macalester College), on compiling and editing an interactive, intersectional database on women, gender, and slavery.

Dr. Johnson chairs the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, serves on the North Carolina Historical Commission, National Register Advisory Committee and is member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV) Board of Directors, Scarritt Bennett Center Board of Directors (Nashville, Tennessee), the Ms. Committee of Scholars and an advisor on the Humanities Action Lab’s initiative on climate change, immigration/migration and environmental justice.  Dr. Johnson is also active on the board of directors for both NARAL Pro-Choice NC and Preservation North Carolina and serves as an advisory member for Scarritt Bennett Center’s Racial Justice Initiative.

Dr. Johnson lives in Oxford NC with her family.

TOPICS: Race, Health, Women & Girls of Color