Jeanne-Marie Jackson

Jeanne-Marie Jackson

Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Gilman 30A
Personal Website

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


Professor Jackson’s teaching covers a wide range of texts and locales from across sub-Saharan Africa and the greater Anglophone world, as well as, on occasion, her first love of nineteenth-century Russia. She teaches topics that are closely related to her own work (such as post-2000 novels from Africa and the theory of the novel), as well as the broader fields of world and postcolonial literature in which this research is contextualized. A partial list of her current and recent courses can be found below:

The Novel & Globalization

The Contemporary Novel of Ideas

Writing Africa Now

Russian Classics & Their Afterlives

World Literature in Theory & Practice

Law & Justice in Postcolonial Writing

Gordimer & Coetzee: Politics and Form 

Mapping the Global Metropolis 

Fictions of Empire


"A Case for Site-Activated Modernism: Elmina Asafo Aesthetics." Modernism/modernity PrintPlus, 4.1 (2019). 

“Plurality in Question: Zimbabwe and the Agonistic African Novel.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 51.2 (2018): 339-361.

“Comparison Re-Justified.” Invited response to Joseph Slaughter’s 2017 American Comparative Literature Association Presidential Address.  Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literature Inquiry 5.3 (2018): 255-261.

“Reading for the Region in New African Novels: Flight, Form, and the Metonymic Ideal.” Research in African Literatures 49.1 (2018): 42-62.

Interview with Elnathan JohnResearch in African Literatures 48.2 (2017): 89-93. 

“Introduction: Religion, Secularity, and African Writing,” with Nathan Suhr-Sytsma. Research in African Literatures 48.2 (2017): vii-xvi.

Review essay on The Lives of the Novel (Princeton) and The Novel: An Alternative History (Bloomsbury), Comparative Literature Studies 53.4 (2016): 847-851.

“Retreating Reality: Chekhov’s South African Afterlives.” JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory 45.1 (2015): 46-78.

“You Are Where You Aren’t: Mark Behr and the Not-Quite-Global Novel.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 14.2 (2013): 175-190.

“Singular Exceptions: Animal Instrumentality in Tolstoy and Coetzee.” English Studies in Africa 55.2 (2012): 29-42.

“Going to the Dogs: Enduring Isolation in Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf.” Studies in the Novel43.3 (2011): 343-362.