410 Conklin Hall
175 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
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.
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
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