Skip to content Skip to navigation

Hakeem Jefferson

Hakeem Jefferson

Political Science
Stanford University
Fellow, 2021-22

As a CASBS fellow, Hakeem Jefferson will be working on a book manuscript focused on Black Americans’ attitudes toward punishment, with a special focus on attitudes toward punishment that implicates and targets members of the racial group. This book project builds on Jefferson’s award-winning dissertation project and seeks to nuance understandings of identity and the role it plays in structuring individuals’ political attitudes and behaviors. In particular, this work endeavors to understand how experiences of stigma shape the considerations individuals bring to bear in their evaluations of policies that police or punish stereotype-confirming behavior from other group members. In line with Jefferson’s general approach to understanding social problems, this work combines insights from political science, sociology, history, and social psychology to tell a story of Black Americans’ commitment to the politics of respectability, and the consequences that attach to this worldview. As a researcher interested in justice for marginalized groups, Jefferson is especially interested in how the social and psychological processes he examines help to sustain racialized systems of social control that bear disproportionately on the lives of Black Americans.

Jefferson is an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University where he is a faculty affiliate with the Stanford Center for American Democracy and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. His research focuses broadly on questions of race and identity in American politics. In addition to his work on punishment and the politics of respectability, Jefferson’s recent work focuses on Americans’ reactions to police shootings of Black Americans, the validity of survey measures of ideology across racial groups, feelings of racial voicelessness among White Americans, and the social construction of Blackness among the American public. You can learn more about these and other research projects by visiting his personal website (www.hakeemjefferson.com). Beyond his faculty commitments, Jefferson is an academic contributor at FiveThirtyEight and a frequent source for journalists at various national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR. He earned his PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor of Arts in political science and African American studies from the University of South Carolina.