Jeanne-Marie Jackson received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2012, and joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2014. Her work attends to questions of comparative method, literature and philosophy, and interpretive scale, mainly in the framework of African literature and intellectual history. In 2021, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.
Jackson's most recent book is The African Novel of Ideas: Philosophy and Individualism in the Age of Global Writing (Princeton 2021), which 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. Extending from the Fante Coast in the early twentieth century to contemporary South Africa and Zimbabwe, it charts the increasingly fraught place of deep reflection in an evolving range of narrative structures. In 2023 it was awarded Honorable Mention for the Book of the Year – Scholarship Prize from the African Literature Association.
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 in both English and Afrikaans, during and after apartheid. It also argues for perceived disconnection as a source of far-flung transnational affinities, challenging the salience of “the global” as both method and hermeneutic category.
Jackson is currently completing a third book, “Black Constitution: The Character of the Law in J.E. Casely Hayford’s West Africa,” that positions the Gold Coast statesman and writer as a key figure to modernist anticolonial thought, as well as African and British imperial legal and literary history. Her co-edited critical edition of Casely Hayford’s novel, Ethiopia Unbound, is forthcoming with Michigan State University Press. With Cajetan Iheka, Jackson is also editing a volume called Intellectual Traditions of African Literature 1960-2015 for Cambridge University Press.
Her scholarly work is published or forthcoming in a wide range of academic journals and edited collections, as well as public-facing venues including the New York Times; the New Left Review (Sidecar), Public Books, 3:AM Magazine, n+1, Africa Is a Country, The Conversation, Popula, and The Hopkins Review. Jackson is Senior Editor of ELH.
“The Facts at the Heart of the Matter: Character and Objectivity in the Making of the Fante Intelligentsia.” Chapter in African Literatures as World Literature, eds. Alexander Fyfe and Madhu Krishnan. London: Bloomsbury, 2022. Pages 233-53.
Response to Yogita Goyal’s Runaway Genres: The Global Afterlives of Slavery, for the journal Humanity.
“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.
Princeton Press , 2021
Bloomsbury Academic , 2015