Category Archives: About me

Nikki Jones

I am a professor of African American Studies at UC-Berkeley. I teach, research, and write about the experiences of Black women, men, and youth with the criminal legal system, policing, and with various forms of violence. I also talk a lot about how racism shapes our everyday lives.

I have written two books: Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence (2009) and The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption (2018).  The Chosen Ones is an ethnographic account of how Black men with criminal histories work together to change their lives. The book explains how neighborhood politics, everyday interactions with the police, and conservative Black gender ideologies shape the men’s ability to make good—and how the double-edged sword of community shapes the work of redemption.

I now spend a lot of time analyzing interviews with police officers and video recordings of encounters between the police and the public. This work is based in my research lab in the Department of African American Studies at UC-Berkeley. Previously, I worked with collaborators to examine why some encounters go so badly so quickly. With the help of a research award from the William T. Grant Foundation, my team and I (along with my collaborator, Professor Geoffrey Raymond) are currently exploring how racism makes its way into everyday police encounters and how residents of high-surveillance neighborhoods articulate calls for freedom and justice. I also write on the consequences of routine encounters with the police for Black youth who live in high-surveillance settings (i.e., “hot spot” zones) in The Chosen Ones.

I am affiliated with the the D-LabUC Berkeley Law School’s Center for the Study of Law and Society and Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) Program; the Center for Race and Gender; the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.

Follow me on Twitter @socprofjones.

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Photo credit: © 2018 Ed Ritger. All Rights Reserved.