Michael P. Jeffries is an author and sociologist who works at the intersection of race, culture, and politics. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and is a tenured professor of American Studies at Wellesley College.
Dr. Jeffries is the author of three books. Behind the Laughs: Community and Inequality in Comedy (Stanford University Press, 2017) explores the world of professional comedy, where social and professional demands force artists to build strong communities in an industry divided along lines of race, class, and gender. Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America (Stanford University Press, 2013) uses Obama's presidency to demonstrate how race relies on other social forces, like gender and class, for its meaning and impact. Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-Hop (University of Chicago Press, 2011) puts the spotlight on hip-hop fans and describes how everyday listeners define hip-hop and use it in their lives.
Dr. Jeffries has published dozens of essays and works of criticism in The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, and has been interviewed by The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, and other outlets. He is a regular contributor on television and radio at Boston's public broadcasting station, WGBH, and he tweets @M_P_Jeffries.