James Jones, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of African American and African Studies, Rutgers University
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Term 2019-2020

James Jones is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University-Newark. He received his PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in 2017. His research investigates representation and inequality in American democratic institutions. In particular, he studies the experiences of Black government workers as a way to understand the complicated relationship between race, power, and inequality in state institutions.  

He is currently completing his first book, The Last Plantation, which represents the first major study of racial inequality in the congressional workplace. The title draws on the fact that members of Congress and their staff have applied this telling nickname to the legislature in order to highlight how the institution is exempt from the very policies and principles it is tasked to create and implement (including federal workplace laws). In the Last Plantation, Dr. Jones draws upon the plantation metaphor to analyze the racial constituents of Congress and examine how race and racism are produced and maintained within the congressional workplace and the Capitol at large. This manuscript is adapted from his doctoral dissertation which won the Robert K. Merton award for Best Dissertation from the Department of Sociology at Columbia University.

In 2015, he wrote a policy report that documented the underrepresentation of racial minorities in top staff positions in the Senate for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The report garnered widespread news coverage including exclusives with The Atlantic and The Washington Post. In 2017, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer adopted policy recommendations from the report to increase racial diversity amongst democratic staff and improve transparency in staff decisions. Dr. Jones research has been supported by generous grants from the National Science Foundation and the Dirksen Congressional Center, and nationally competitive fellowships from Columbia University, Duke University, and Princeton University.