John L. Jackson, Jr., is Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice and Richard Perry University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his BA in Communication (Radio/TV/Film) from Howard University, completed his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University, and served as a junior fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows before becoming Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University.
He is the author of several books, including Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America, Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity, Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness, Thin Description: Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion (co-written with Cora Daniels), and Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment (co-written with Carolyn Rouse and Marla Frederick). His is also editor of Social Policy and Social Justice. His most recently completed film, co-directed with Deborah A. Thomas, is Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens (Third World Newsreel, 2012), and he is currently completing Making Sweet Tea: The Lives and Loves of Southern Black Gay Men, co-directed and co-produced with Nora Gross. John studies race, class and difference in contemporary urban America, and his work also critically explores how film and other non-traditional or multi-modal formats can be most effectively utilized in scholarly research projects, and he is one of the founding members of CAMRA, the University of Pennsylvania-based initiative organized around creating visual and performative research projects and producing rigorous criteria for assessing them. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Deborah Thomas, and their two children.