Jacqueline N. Brown

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Graduate Center, City University of New York

Jacqueline N. Brown’s research interests center on intersections of place, race and nation.  Her work treats place and other geographical phenomena as lenses through which to understand contemporary formations of race and nation. She also contributes to diaspora theory, feminist geography, and the anthropology of Black Europe.

Her scholarship to date has been based on ethnographic research in Liverpool, England. Her book, Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail: Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool (Princeton, 2005) showed the inextricable relationship between racial identity, politics and subjectivity in Liverpool on the one hand, and the politics of place in Britain writ large on the other hand. It also argues for treating the local and the global not merely as spatial categories but as profoundly racialized ones, while also offering a feminist critique of the Black Atlantic paradigm.  Her work has appeared in Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, and Social Text.

Brown’s current project examines the relationship between political culture and everyday life in New York City and ideas about Americanness, American culture, and American identity. This project asks how and in what contexts New York City and the United States are rendered isomorphic and with what political intentions and effects. When do New Yorkers stand to gain from constituting their city as an American city like any other--or even as more American than any other? The inverse of that question is just as important: how and in what contexts are the city and the country constituted as opposites? Is such a disarticulation a matter of sheer identity--one without material benefits or political goals per se? What is the point of constituting oneself --via the cosmopolitan image of the city itself-- as different from a set of imagined others? What does that construction of identity do for the people who engage in it? The project is also an ethnographic treatment of the global insofar as it studies the manufacture of ideas about New York’s ostensibly irreducible internationalism.