Professor Jackson received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2012, and joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2014. She works on 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 (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 basis on which to build far-flung transnational affinities. Her second book, The African Novel of Ideas (under contract with Princeton University Press), tells a story of how the novel has negotiated between liberal selfhood and awareness of liberalism's failings across key African intellectual contexts. It ranges from the early-twentieth-century Fante Coast to contemporary South Africa and Zimbabwe, and deals with work by figures including J.E. Casely Hayford, Stanlake Samkange, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, and Imraan Coovadia. She is just beginning work on a third book, provisionally titled J.E. Casely Hayford: An Experimental Biography.
In addition to her expertise in Anglophone African writing, Jackson works in Russian, Afrikaans, Shona, and Anglo-Fante traditions. She is editor of the "Field Reports" blog on Modernism/modernity PrintPlus, and has work published in venues including NOVEL; Research in African Literatures; 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.