Profile: James Jones

Assistant Professor

Faculty
Department of African American and African Studies

Research Interests: Race/Ethnicity, Black Politics, U.S. Politics, Black Professionals, Race in the Workplace, Organizations/Occupations, and Qualitative Methods


James Jones received his PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in 2016. His research focuses on interrogating the role race plays in organizing American democratic institutions and the mechanisms that (re)produce inequality within them. In particular, he focuses on the social experiences of African-American professionals in government as a way to see not only inequality, but also to explicate the relationship between race and power in state institutions.

He is currently completing his first book, The Last Plantation, which represents the first major study of racial inequality in the congressional workplace. The title draws on the fact that members of Congress and their staff have applied this telling nickname to the legislature to highlight how the institution is exempt from the very policies and principles it is tasked to create and implement, including federal workplace laws. In the context of his title, he extends its meaning to describe how race is a constitutive element of the Capitol’s workforce. To date, race has not an important consideration in research on how legislative employees get jobs or how the institution operates. However, through a mixed-methods study he establishes that race is in fact an organizing factor in the congressional workplace and the institution at large.  The Last Plantation demonstrates how the congressional workplace is a raced political organization by documenting how congressional labor is racially stratified, how physical space is segregated, and how identities and interactions are racialized. 

His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Dirksen Congressional Center, and Columbia University and covered extensively in The Atlantic, Washington Post, Associated Press, Daily Beast, and numerous other local and national newspapers.

  • Education

     

    2017                Ph.D., Sociology, Columbia University

    2013                M.Phil., Sociology, Columbia University

    2011                M.A., Sociology, Columbia University

    2009                B.A., cum laude in Political Science, George Washington University

  • Publications

    2015 Racial Diversity Amongst Top Senate Staff 

  • Awards

     

    2017  Robert K. Merton Award for Best Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Columbia University 

    Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement Fellowship, Duke University

    2016 Daniel Bell Award for Best Contribution to Sociological Research or Public Policy, Department of Sociology, Columbia University

    Sammy Younge Best Student Paper Award, National Conference of Black Political Scientists

    2013 Congressional Research Award, Dirksen Congressional Center

    2011-14 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

    2011 Best Graduate Student Paper Award, 2nd place, Association of Black Sociologists

    2010 Klingstein Fellowship, Columbia University

    2009-15 Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellowship, Department of Sociology, Columbia University

    2009 Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, George Washington University