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Announcing First PIK Appointment: John Jackson

John Jackson

President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ronald Daniels have announced that Dr. John L. Jackson, Jr. from Duke University will be the University’s first Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor.  Dr. Jackson, who will hold the title of Richard Perry University Associate Professor of Communications and Anthropology, will have a joint appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences. PIK is a University-wide initiative to recruit exceptional faculty members to Penn whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines.

“We are delighted to announce John Jackson as the University’s first PIK professor,” said President Gutmann. “He has very quickly established himself as a leading scholar of cultural anthropology and a documentary filmmaker. John’s work brings new perspectives to bear on our understanding of race, class, and visual communication. We see Dr. Jackson’s arrival at Penn as a perfect marriage between an original scholar in race studies, urban anthropology, and popular culture, and a University at the forefront of integrating knowledge across multiple disciplines.”

Dr. Jackson is currently a Fellow with the National Humanities Center. At Duke University, he is an Associate Professor in the department of cultural anthropology, with a secondary appointment in African and African American Studies since 2002. From 1999 to 2002 he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University.

“Professor Jackson truly embodies the spirit of the PIK program, having taken a multidisciplinary approach to his study of the experience of Black America,” said Provost Ronald Daniels. “His joint appointment promotes important intellectual ties between the Annenberg School and the School of Arts and Sciences.”  In SAS, Dr. Jackson will also be affiliated with the Center for Africana Studies.

Dr. Jackson is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Award (2005-2006); the Lilly Endowment Fellowship, National Humanities Center (2005-2006); the William F. Milton Fund, Harvard Medical School (2000-2002); and the National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship (1995-1997).  As a filmmaker, he has also produced a nationally-distributed documentary, several internationally-screened film-shorts, and an award-winning 16mm feature film.

“It is quite a privilege to be offered such an expansive academic appointment,” said Dr.  Jackson. “The university’s serious commitments to interdisciplinarity, as instantiated in President Gutmann’s PIK initiative, certainly serve to reinforce my own attempts to work in ways that transcend some of the conventional limits of academic disciplines, departments, and schools. Penn is the perfect institution for intellectual pursuits that methodologically and thematically traverse the boundaries of traditional fields. I look forward to my intellectual exchanges with colleagues in the Annenberg School for Communication, the Department of Anthropology, and all across the University.”

Dr. Jackson’s publications include Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (University of Chicago Press, 2005) and Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Dr. Jackson received his Ph.D. (with distinction) in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2000. He graduated from Howard University summa cum laude with a B.A. in Communications in 1993.

The PIK program was launched by President Gutmann in 2005. The first four chairs established under that program are funded by a gift from Penn Trustee Richard Perry, W ’77, founder of the investment management firm, Perry Capital. Each of the endowed chairs created under the program will support a joint appointment between two or more schools. Integrating knowledge is one element of the Penn Compact, President Gutmann’s three-point plan to take Penn from excellence to eminence and to equip the University with the resources it needs to tackle some of the most complex and urgent questions facing the world today.

The PIK recruitment process involves a nomination committee, comprised of the Provost and the deans of Penn’s 12 schools. It supplements ongoing searches conducted by departments and schools.



  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 32, May 2, 2006


May 2, 2006
Volume 52 Number 32


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