John Jackson

Richard Perry University Professor; Penn Provost


Previous Courses Taught:

ANTH542 Part I-Documentary, Ethnography, and Research: Communicating Scholarship Through Film/Video

ANTH842 The Filmic

SWRK603 American Racism


Ph.D., Anthropology, Columbia University, 2000

Research Interests

Ethnographic Film and Visual Studies; Critical Race Theory; Globalization, Transnationalism, and Diaspora; Religion, Media, and Modernity; Social Theory; Urban Studies; The Politics and Poetics of Ethnography; Performance Theory; Africana Studies; Cultural Studies and Popular Culture.

Selected Publications


 Televised Redemption:Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment, co-written with Carolyn Rouse and MarlaFrederick, New York University Press, 2017.

 Impolite Conversations:On Race, Class, Sex, Religion, and Politics, co-written with Cora Daniels, Atria Books [Simon and Schusterimprint], 2014.

 Thin Description:Ethnography and the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, HarvardUniversity Press, 2013.

 Racial Paranoia: TheUnintended Consequences of Political Correctness, Basic Civitas, 2008.

 Real Black: Adventuresin Racial Sincerity, University of Chicago Press, 2005.

 Harlemworld: Doing Raceand Class in Contemporary Black America, University of Chicago Press, 2001.


Some Articles:

“Ethnography Is, EthnographyAin’t,” Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology, Orin Starn, Ed., Duke University Press, April2015.

“Conspiracy is theSincerest Form of Flattery: Hip-Hop, Aesthetics, and SuspiciousSpiritualities,” in Religion in Hip Hop: Mappingthe New Terrain in the U.S., Monica R. Miller, Anthony B. Pinn, and

Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, Eds.,Bloomsbury Academic, April 2015.

“Half as Good,” in The Troublewith Post-Blackness, Houston A. Baker and K. Merinda Simmons, Eds., Columbia University Press,February 2015.

“Peter Piper PickedPeppers, but Humpty Dumpty Got Pushed: The Productively Paranoid Stylings of Hip-Hop’s Spirituality,” in TheHip Hop and Religion Reader, Monica R. Miller and Anthony B.

Pinn, Eds., Routledge / Taylor& Francis, November 2014.

“Theorizing Production,Producing Theory: Why Filmmaking Could Count as Scholarship,” Cultural Studies 28:4(July, 2014).

“No Friends,” (a chapterfrom Harlemworld) reprinted in The Urban Ethnography Reader, Mitchell Duneier, Philip Kasinitz, andAlexandra Murphy, Eds., Oxford University Press, February 2014.

“An AmericanistAnthropologist in Dimona: Notes from an Africanized Israel,” Ethnographic Encounters in Israel, FranMarkowitz, Ed., Indiana University Press, 2013.

“Ethnography Is,Ethnography Ain’t,” Cultural Anthropology 27(3): 480-497 (2012).


Partial List of MediaProductions:

Co-Executive Producer,Sweet Tea: An Ethnographic Film (Non-Fiction).


Co-Executive Producer, NotJust TV: HBO, the 1970s, and the Idea of Pay TV (Non-Fiction).


Producer, Director, Bald asI Am: Life, Love and Alopecia (Non-Fiction).


Executive Producer, FourDays in May: Extradition from a Jamaican Community (Non-Fiction).


Co-Producer, Co-Director,Editor, Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens (Non-Fiction) Distributed by Third WorldNewsreel.



Partial list of screenings:

• Paddington Arts Center, London,England, July 2013

• Robben Island Museum, CapeTown, South Africa, July 2013

• University of Puerto Rico,April 2012

• Rutgers University, March 2012

• York University, March 2012

• Caribbean Creativity Festival,Amsterdam, February 2012

• San Diego Black Film Festival,January 2012

• Scribe Video Center,Philadelphia, December 2011

• Reggae Culture Salute,Brooklyn, November 2011 (New York City Premiere)

• Hollywood Black Film Festival,October 2011

• CUNY Graduate Center, October2011

• Trinidad and TobagoInternational Film Festival, September/October 2011

• Duke University, September 2011

• Bob Marley Museum, Kingston,Jamaica (Premiere), June 2011

• Caribbean Studies AssociationMeetings, Curacao, June 2011 (Preview)

• Human Rights Film Festival,University of Virginia, April 2011 (Preview)

• Yale University, CaribbeanStudies: Prisms and Practices, April 2011 (Preview)

• University of the West Indies,Rastafari Studies Conference, August 2010 (Preview)


Other Service and Research:

Faculty co-founder andcoordinator (with Deborah Thomas and Stanton Wortham) of EE, ExperimentalEthnography (formerly PIVPE, the Penn Initiative on Visual andPerformative Ethnography), 2013-present.

Faculty co-founder andcoordinator of CAMRA, a multimodal site for scholarly research:,2011-present.

Editor-in-Chief of theAnthropology Module for Oxford Bibliographies Online:,2010-present.

Co-editor (with David Kim)of the book series RaceReligion for Stanford University Press,2011-present.


Department of AnthropologyAnnenberg School for CommunicationDepartment of Africana Studies/School of Social Policy & Practice



Faculty Status