Jennifer Jones has joined the History Department as its first LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellow. She comes from American Studies at the University of Alabama and received her doctorate from Princeton University in 2014.

How has it been coming to Michigan?

It has been wonderful. There is an intellectual energy to the department and university that I find unique and particularly invigorating. Moreover, I have been cheered by the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—something that feels especially pressing given local, national, and international events. I am excited to join a community dedicated to interrogating and teaching courses about historical developments related to race, gender, and sexuality within and outside the United States.

What are you working on?

My current book-in-progress, Queering An American Dilemma: Sexuality, Gender and African American Political Organizing, 1945-1993, examines how discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans—and contestations of such marginalization—substantively shaped black political strategies and black-white race relations during this period. These political encounters reveal an increasing dissonance within black politics since black activists’ and politicians’ efforts to portray black intimate and familial life as heteronormative sometimes conflicted with desirable political coalitions with LGBTQ communities.  

What (non-academic) book are you reading these days?

I recently completed Nayyirah Waheed’s collection of poetry titled salt. It is a stunning work that addresses a wide range of subjects including love of self, intimacy, the creative process, racism, and violence. It is a beautifully composed and compelling work.