• Associate Professor, Education, Culture & Society
  • Associate Professor of African American Studies, School for Cultural and Social Transformation


Karen A. Johnson is an Associate Professor of Education and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah. She is the Interim Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Education, Culture & Society; and Corrdinator of African American Studies, a division in the Ethnic Studies Program. She is the co-editor, along with Abul Pitre and Kenneth L. Johnson, of African American Women Educators: A Critical Examination of their Pedagogies, Educational Ideas, and Activism, from the Nineteenth to the Mid-twentieth Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) and the author of Uplifting the Women and the Race: The Educational Philosophies and Social Activism of Anna Julia Cooper and Nannie Helen Burroughs (Garland Publishing, 2000). Her research interests are 19th century African American women educators, African American Intellectual history, historical and contemporary black educational issues, refugee education, urban education, gender education, black feminist theory, historical analysis and archival research. She is currently conducting archival research on  Black women's experiences during the U.S. Civil War. She is also working on a book project that examines the educational perspectives of Septima Poinsette Clark. She is a "Teaching Fellow" in the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence Program at the University of Utah. In 2008, she received the College of Education Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching and Contribution to Teaching. She received her Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1997. Prior to teaching in the academy, Dr. Johnson worked as a teacher for several years in the urban public schools in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.