Anthony Abraham Jack: 'I, too, Am Hungry": Structural Exclusion at an Elite University


Monday, March 19, 2018, 12:15pm to 1:30pm


Land Hall (B-400)

Anthony Abraham Jack, Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows; Assistant Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Shutzer Assistant Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Anthony Abraham JackThrough major financial aid initiatives, colleges have increased access for undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. While previous investigations of undergraduate life emphasize how differences in cultural capital shape students’ integration into college, I examine structural exclusion—how specific operational features of the college marginalize lower-income undergraduates—to highlight the university’s direct role in shaping social interactions and undergraduates’ sense of belonging.

I draw on interviews with 103 undergraduates, two years of ethnographic observations, and data from administrative and online sources to show how lower-income undergraduates identify these policies as intentional and abrupt tears in the fabric of campus life that mark them as different for being poor. I interrogate the social and personal costs of exclusion and discuss implications for undergraduates’ opportunities and social well-being.

About the speaker

Anthony Abraham Jack is a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

His research documents the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates: the Doubly Disadvantaged­—those who enter college from local, typically distressed public high schools—and Privileged Poor­—those who do so from boarding, day, and preparatory high schools. His scholarship appears in the Du Bois Review, Sociological Forum, and Sociology of Education and has earned awards from the American Sociological Association, Eastern Sociological Society, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

Tony held fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation and was a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow. The National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan named him a 2016 Emerging Diversity Scholar. The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The National Review, The Washington Post, American RadioWorks, WBUR, and NPR have featured his research as well as biographical profiles of his experiences as a first-generation college student.

His book, The Privileged Poor, is forthcoming with Harvard University Press.

Read more about Anthony Abraham Jack's work




See also: Spring 2018