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.


Below are my published and forthcoming works:

Jackson, Jenn M. (2018) “Black Americans and the ‘crime narrative’: comments on the use of news frames and their impacts on public opinion formation,” Politics, Groups, and Identities, DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2018.1553198

Jackson, Jenn M. “Breaking Out of the Ivory Tower: (Re)Thinking Inclusion of Women and Scholars of Color in the Academy,” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/1554477X.2019.1565459

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

Working Papers:

In addition to the above research, I have several working manuscripts.

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)

Jackson, Jenn M. “Seeing Risk: Measuring Disparities in Young People’s Beliefs about Economic, Proximity-based, and Stereotype Threat” (in progress, accepted for submitted panel at 2019 meeting of MPSA)

Jackson, Jenn M. “Black Publics and Counterpublics: (Re) Situating the Queer and Feminist Work at the Margins of the Black Public Sphere” (in progress, accepted for submitted panel at 2018 NWSA)


I have several co-authored projects currently underway (all works are of equal authorship):

Davies, Jordie and Jenn M. Jackson [equal contribution]. “How Social Media Use Impacts Political Efficacy and Knowledge Among Diverse Young Americans” (accepted at 2019 MPSA)

Davies, Jordie, Jenn M. Jackson, and David J. Knight [equal contribution]. “Young Adults’ Perceptions of the American Racial Order and the Politics of Racial Redress” (accepted at 2017 MPSA and APSA)

Mann-Carey, Alysia and Jenn M. Jackson [equal contribution]. “Queering Black freedom: Black mothering under state repression in the African Diaspora” (accepted at 2017 NWSA)