Dissertation: “Race, Risks, and Responses: Mapping Black Americans’ Reactions to Group Threat” (in progress – Job Market Paper)

In this project, I examine the role of group threat in influencing young Black Americans’ political action. Specifically, I am concerned with how socialization shapes daily perceptions of and responses to group threat and how those perceptions affect the political behavior of young Black Americans. My work draws on critical race theory, political psychology, and political behavior literature to foreground the ways that the threats associated with group membership uniquely shape the social and political lives and choices of young Black Americans.

Methodologically, I utilize quantitative analyses of survey data and experiments as well as qualitative analysis  of 50 in-depth interviews with young Black Americans ages 18 to 35 in the Chicago area to investigate both intergroup and intragroup differences in responses to threat. My hypotheses especially focus on variations in threat responses from women and LGBTQI respondents. As such, I find that Black women are most likely to express concerns about state-based and intragroup threat. Conversely, Black men vary drastically in their responses to group threat depending on their sexual orientation, gender expression, and vulnerability to stereotypes.

As I develop this project into both book- and article length publications, I look forward to expanding geographical focus to regions outside of Chicago to draw contextual comparisons across Black populations in the United States. Further, I seek to more deeply investigate young Black Americans’ strategic decision-making when engaging in resistance against both state and non-state actors.


In addition to my dissertation research, I have several working manuscripts. One has been accepted for publication, another is under review, and several others are in progress.

Jackson, Jenn M. “Private Selves as Public Property: Black Women’s Self-Making in the Contemporary Moment” (Forthcoming: Public Culture, spring 2019)

Jackson, Jenn M. “Black Americans and the ‘Crime Narrative’: Comments on the use of news frames and their impacts on public opinion formation” (Revise and Resubmit)

Jackson, Jenn M. “Gendering Threat: Young People’s Perceptions of the Seriousness of Police Killings of Black Americans” (in progress, accepted for created panel at 2018 Meeting of APSA, accepted for submitted panel at both 2018 meeting of MPSA, and 2018 meeting of NCOBPS)