OXFORD, Miss. – An interest in the globalization of the developing world has earned a University of Mississippi professor a statewide honor.
Jeff Jackson, associate professor of sociology, has been named the 2012 Humanities Teacher of the Year, and will give a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 8) in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory. The event is free and open to the public.
His lecture, “Mississippi and the Global South: The Contemporary Paradox of Poverty Amid Plenty,” is an exploration of how inequality in Mississippi compares to other parts of the world and how the theoretical concept of the global South can help people overcome scholarly divides in the effort to understand the world-wide disparities that connect all of us.
The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and the Mississippi Humanities Council.
“The Humanities Teacher of the Year award recognizes Dr. Jackson’s outstanding work and his significant contributions to teaching,” said Glenn Hopkins, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
Each year, 30 awards are given, along with a check for $500, to a scholar in the humanities at every institution of higher learning in the state.
“The MHC believes that this is an important way to support humanities teachers, encouraging excellence in teaching while at the same time recognizing their research and other interests and bringing these myriad, often fascinating topics to public audiences; in other words, we want to promote interaction among professional humanists and a wide audience of Mississippians who can enjoy the fruits of their scholarship,” said Barbara Carpenter, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council in Jackson.
Jackson grew up in Wisconsin but considers Mississippi his home. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas.
While living in Cuernavaca, Mexico for a year, he worked as an intern for the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College and developed a greater interest in teaching and in conducting research on the relationship between the United States and the developing world. He was a Mellon Fellow in Latin American Sociology and spent a year conducting fieldwork on the international development profession in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Jackson moved to Oxford in 1999 and teaches courses at UM on race and ethnicity, globalization and international development.
In 2007, he published “The Globalizers: Development Workers in Action” (Johns Hopkins Studies in Globalization), which examines how development assistance promotes globalization in the developing world.
His research projects include a study of new donors of development aid such as China and Brazil, a study of the history of mascots at UM and a project on the concept of “the global South” as it relates to Mississippi, which is the topic for his lecture on Thursday and is based on collaborative work with the UM Interdisciplinary Faculty Working Group on the Global South. The group was formed in 2005 and is made up of faculty in English, Southern studies, history and sociology.
“The university has been very supportive of our Global South Working Group,” Jackson said. “I’m really looking forward to sharing some of our work with the larger university community.”
Jackson said he was very surprised and honored to have been chosen for the award.
“I was completely shocked; it’s really such a tremendous honor,” he said. “The Mississippi Humanities Council does such important work to promote the humanities and the humanistic social sciences throughout the state and to be recognized for this award is very humbling. I just want to thank all of my UM students and colleagues with whom I’ve collaborated over the years. I owe them a lot for providing such a supportive environment in which to teach and conduct research.”