Dr. James R. Jones is an assistant professor at Rutgers University-Newark and Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University in 2017. His research investigates the constitutive role of racism in American democratic institutions and the social mechanisms that reproduce inequality within them. He focuses on the experiences of African-American professionals in government as a method to analyze inequality and explicate the relationship between race and power 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. 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 the National Science Foundation, the Dirksen Congressional Center, Duke University, and Columbia University.