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Department of Anthropology


Kimberly E. Simmons

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-9898
Office: Gambrell 427
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
African American Studies Program
Kimberly Simmons


Kimberly Eison Simmons is currently an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies and Interim Director of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. She received her B.A. in Spanish from Grinnell College and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University where she was also a Researcher-in-Residence with the African Diaspora Research Program. Much of her research focuses on women’s organizations, Afro-Dominicanness, African American culture and experience, and the cultural construction of identity in the African Diaspora focusing on African Americans and Afro-Latinos/as. She is the author of Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2009) and co-editor of Afrodescendants, Identity, and the Struggle for Development in the Americas (Michigan State University Press, 2012). She is currently working on a book focusing on Afro- Dominicanness, identity, and the politics of natural hair. She is also past President of the Association of Black Anthropologists.


ANTH 102:   Understanding Other Cultures

ANTH 231/AFAM 303:   African American Cultures

ANTH 234:   Caribbean Cultures

ANTH/AFAM 517:   An Anthropological View of Blacks in Film

ANTH/AFAM 580:   Culture and Identity in the African Diaspora

ANTH 730: Theory Through Ethnography

Research Interests

Cultural anthropology, race & ethnicity, gender, color and colorism, identity formation, women's formations, natural hair movement, African American and Afro-Latin American culture and experience, African diaspora


Topics of Interest: racialization and socialization processes; identity formation; cultural construction of race and gender; women’s organizations; international migration; African American culture, color, and colorism; Black ethnic groups in the United States; African American – Latino relations; and African Diaspora communities. Geographic Areas of Interest: Dominican Republic, United States, Brazil, the African Diaspora, and Latin America and the Hispanic Caribbean.

Representative Publications 

2018 Race and Racialized Experiences in Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” Anthropology Now, September 2018, Volume 10(2):

2013 “W.E.B. Du Bois” in Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Encyclopedia entry).

2012 Afro-Descendants, Identity, and the Struggle for Development in the Americas. Co-Edited volume with Bernd Reiter. Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora Book Series. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

2012 “Navigating the Racial Terrain: Blackness and Mixedness in the United States and the Dominican Republic” in Bernd Reiter and Kimberly Eison Simmons (editors) Afro-Descendants, Identity, and the Struggle for Development in the Americas. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press (reprint - printed with permission with some minor edits).

2012 “Constructing and Promoting African Diaspora Identity in the Dominican Republic: The Emergence of Casa de la Identidad de las Mujeres Afro,” in African and Black Diaspora (Special Issue on Rewriting the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America), 5(1): 123-133.

2012 “Foreword” in The African Presence in Santo Domingo by Carlos Andújar (Michigan State University Press).

2011 "The Politics of Race and Representation: Melville J. Herskovits and the Issue of Blackness," (film review of Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness) in Current Anthropology, 52(3): 483-485 (June 2011).

2010 “Foreword” in Decolonizing Anthropology: Moving Further Toward an Anthropology for Liberation,” Faye V. Harrison (editor). Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association.

2009 Reconstructing Racial Identity and the African Past in the Dominican Republic. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Paperback, January 2011.

Recent Accomplishments 

Advocate for African American Students Award, Center for the Education and Equity for African American Students, January 2019.

Pipeline for Academic Leadership (PAL) Fellow, 2014-15.

Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2010.

President, Association of Black Anthropologists, 2008-2010.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.