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News Release

Lecture to Focus on Circumcision and Religious Identity in Africa

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) – Dr. Michelle Johnson, an assistant professor of anthropology at Bucknell University, will speak at Moravian College on Thursday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, Collier Hall of Science, at Moravian College. Her presentation, entitled “Circumcision and Religious Identity among the Mandinga of Guinea-Bissau,” will focus on male and female circumcision as ritual. She will explain how the practice of female genital cutting reflects Mandinga identity in terms of ethnicity, religion, and life changes. The program, sponsored by the Arts and Lectures at Moravian, is open to the public and admission is free of charge.

Johnson received a B.A. in both Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Washington. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She can communicate in six languages including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Kriolu, Mandinga, and Bamana. Johnson has held a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education and two fellowships from the Social Science Research Council. She has also authored several articles.

Johnson’s fields of interest for teaching and researching include West Africa; Africans in Europe; symbolic and interpretive anthropology; ethnicity, religion and ritual; Islam; the life course; ethnographic field methods; anthropological theory; and transnational communities. Dr. Johnson has conducted research among the Mandinga people in Portugal and northern Guinea-Bissau (West African country). This research became the basis for her dissertation which explores how competing notions of personhood and Islam are currently engaging transnational debate among Mandinga in Portugal and Guinea-Bissau and how these debates are being played out through life course rituals.

For more information, please contact Karen Keim at 610-861-7815 or krkeim@moravian.edu.