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John L. Jackson, Jr.

John L. Jackson, Jr.

Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice 

Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Anthropology, and Africana Studies

Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor

John L. Jackson, Jr. is Dean of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice. Beginning on January 1, 2019, he will become the fifth Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication. He also is the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology. He is a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, holding faculty positions in Annenberg, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Social Policy & Practice. 

Jackson works at the intersection of cultural anthropology, race studies, and new media. His research involves ethnographic methods in media analysis, the impact of mass media on urban life, mediamaking as a form of community-building and proselytizing among religious organizations, globalization and the remaking of ethnic/racial diasporas, visual studies and theories of reality, and racialization and media technology.

Jackson has produced feature-length fiction films, documentaries, and film-shorts that have screened at film festivals internationally. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Harvard University's Milton Fund, and the Lilly Endowment (during a year at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina). He is the author of several books, most recently Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion (Atria [Simon and Schuster]), co-authored by Cora Daniels. His other books include Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (Harvard University Press, 2013), Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2001), Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (University of Chicago Press, 2005), and Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (Basic, 2008), released in paperback in 2010.

Before coming to Penn, he taught in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and spent three years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows in Cambridge, Massachusetts.