James S. Jackson
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
James S. Jackson is a genuine pioneer in the social sciences. His historical, cultural, and social-psychological studies have greatly increased our understanding of race relations around the world.
Jackson’s research includes studies of race relations and racism in an international, comparative perspective; studies of the influences of race and ethnicity on the mental health of black Americans; and studies of health and aging among African Americans. He has introduced methodological innovation in all three of these substantive areas.
Jackson has served as the principal investigator of several national surveys that constitute a treasure trove of information on the black American population in the United States. These surveys, which cover political attitudes and behaviors, physical and mental health, family dynamics, housing and residential mobility, and employment/unemployment and other relationships to the labor market, are used by social scientists throughout the nation.
Jackson has developed novel methods of sampling the African American population, collecting reliable data through personal and telephone interviews, conducting longitudinal studies, and simultaneously studying multiple generations of families. Jackson’s body of published work informs the public and policymakers about African American youth, adults, and elderly within a family perspective. His survey research now extends to Europe and the Caribbean.
A superb teacher and administrator, he has been a dedicated mentor of scores of graduate students who are now among the most influential scholars in the country. As a professor, researcher, writer, and elected member of numerous distinguished scientific organizations, Jackson is a humane colleague who has greatly enriched the social and intellectual life of the field.