Professor Jackson received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2012, and joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2014. Her work addresses questions of comparative method, literature and philosophy, and interpretive scale, mainly in the framework of African literature and intellectual history.
Her first book, South African Literature's Russian Soul: Narrative Forms of Global Isolation (Bloomsbury 2015), is centrally concerned with how Russia's nineteenth-century Golden Age of literature and ideas provides a model for the study of South African realist forms and epistemologies, both during and after apartheid. It also advances a broader argument for disconnection as a source of far-flung transnational affinities, challenging the salience of "the global" as a literary heuristic. Jackson's second book, The African Novel of Ideas (in production with Princeton UP), reads African novels through the lens of African philosophy to craft a story of how the form has negotiated between liberal selfhood and liberal critique. It ranges from the early-twentieth-century Fante Coast to contemporary South Africa and Zimbabwe, foregrounding work by figures including J.E. Casely Hayford, Stanlake Samkange, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, and Imraan Coovadia. She is now at work on a shorter third book, Anglophone African Literature: Twenty-First Century Perspectives for a new series at Routledge, which will be the first classroom guide to African writing from the turn of the current century to the social media-infused present.
In addition to her expertise in Anglophone African writing, Jackson works across Russian, Afrikaans, Shona, and Anglo-Fante traditions, and has new projects on the horizon that draw on each. She is editor of the "Field Reports" blog for Modernism/modernity, and has published work in venues such as NOVEL; Research in African Literatures; Modernism/modernity; The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry; Comparative Literature Studies; Studies in the Novel; JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory; n+1; Public Books; 3:AM Magazine; Popula; and The Conversation - Africa.