Michael D. Jackson

Michael D. Jackson

Distinguished Visiting Professor of World Religions
Michael D. Jackson

BA, Victoria University of Washington
MA, Auckland University
PhD, Cambridge University

Michael D. Jackson came to Harvard in 2005, with ethnographic experience in Sierra Leone and Aboriginal Australia. His work has been strongly influenced by critical theory, American pragmatism, and existential-phenomenological thought. Through a direct engagement with the everyday situations and struggles that characterize human life in any society, irrespective of its specific historical and cultural conditions, the ethnographic method of participant-observation promises not only an extended and deeper understanding of ourselves in relation to others and otherness; it may provide new insights into the limits and possibilities of both comparative analysis and viable coexistence in a multiplex world.

He is the author of numerous books of anthropology, including the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing and At Home in the World, and has also published three novels, a memoir, and six books of poetry. His most recent books are The Palm at the End of the Mind: Relatedness, Religiosity, and the Real (2010), and Life Within Limits: Wellbeing in a World of Want (forthcoming in 2011), where he uses his ongoing fieldwork in Sierra Leone to explore experiences of social injustice and existential dissatisfaction. Two other books—on firstness as a fundamental trope in the social imaginaries and political discourse of indigenous peoples in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand, and on our dual sense of ourselves as social and singular beings—are presently in press.

Professor Jackson is currently teaching.

Contact Information

Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge MA 02138

office hours: see Harvard Divinity School
p: 617-495-3942

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Areas of Study