This week on Imagine Otherwise, I had the privilege of interviewing podcaster, Teen Vogue columnist, and political scientist Jenn. M. Jackson about what its like cohosting a podcast about Black millennial life with her partner, how Black feminists are challenging popular savior narratives, why scholars need to unlearn some of the academy’s lessons to write truly great public scholarship, and how doing the justice work of love in public is how Jenn imagines otherwise.
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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Jenn’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).
Guest: Jenn M. Jackson
Jenn M. Jackson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where she has also received a graduate certificate in gender and sexuality studies. Jenn’s research is in Black politics with a focus on group threat, gender and sexuality, public opinion, political psychology, and behavior. She will be joining the Syracuse University Department of Political Science as an assistant professor in August 2019.
Jenn is a columnist at Teen Vogue who focuses on Black, queer, radical feminist praxis and a commitment to connecting today’s social phenomena to the long arc of racial and gender history in the United States. She is also a burgeoning artist who enjoys painting and freehand drafting images of diasporic Black women in moments of thought, motion, and emotion.
Through her research and teaching in the academy, her advocacy as an instructor of Chicago-area high school and college-aged students, and her journalistic work through the written word, Jenn seeks to disrupt the status quo that demands silence from those who are most marginalized in society. She is a firm believer that it is the job of Black women academics to make space and hold that space for the fullness of Black experiences especially in the ivory tower, social justice, and publishing realms.
“Write what you want to write and don’t listen to anybody. You write what you want to write. Obviously you have to listen to editors! But I’ve had lots of people telling me, ‘Oh, you can’t write that. If you’re going to be a good academic, you can’t say these things. If you’re going to be successful, you can’t be a full person.’ And I just disagree. I think that it’s up to us within the academy to set the standards and the baseline for what it means to be a good academic and an accountable academic. And for me that means being a full accessible human being.”
– Jenn M. Jackson on episode 87 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast