Jessie Daniels, PhD (she/her), is Full Professor in Sociology, Hunter College, CUNY. She is also a Faculty Associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center and a (Full) Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, and affiliate faculty in Africana Studies, Critical Social Psychology and Sociology at The Graduate Center-CUNY.
At Hunter, Daniels is the Director of the Master's program in Applied Digital Sociology. The program prepares students to work in a data-driven, digital society through a mix of courses in statistics, research methods and critical theory in digital sociology.
Daniels is an internationally recognized expert on Internet manifestations of racism, and in that capacity presented her work to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in April, 2019. For more than twenty-five years, she has studied race and racism in various forms of media. Her first book, White Lies (Routledge, 1997), explored far right extremist groups' printed newsletters, then she followed that with a second book, Cyber Racism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), which examined some of the same groups and how they had, or hadn't, moved onto the popular Internet. In that research, she included interviews with young people (ages 15-19) about how they navigate what she calls "cloaked sites," an early form of online propaganda. She is currently at work on another book in this series, Combating the Far Right: In the Streets, Online and Around the World. In 2014, Contexts, the magazine of the American Sociological Association, called her a "pioneer in digital sociology." In 2016, she co-edited (with Karen Gregory and Tressie McMillan Cottom), Digital Sociologies, which has been adopted by courses at several universities internationally.Daniels' latest book, Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We Can Help Dismantle It (Seal Press, 2021), won a coveted starred review from Kirkus, and was included on their 2021 list of Best Nonfiction Titles.
How are digital media technologies changing society?
In sociology, we study the patterns of human social behavior. Today, what it means to be human, to engage in patterns of social behavior, are shaped by by a variety of digital media technologies. While traditionally trained sociologists claim to focus on the "real" world (rather than the virtual), we know that the digital is imbricated into daily, material existence in ways large and small. Daniels' interest in the rise of the popular internet began early, in the 1990s, after early book on the printed publications of far right groups led to her interest in how these groups were, or were not, making the transition to digital publications. In a book that followed, she found sinister new forms of white supremacist rhetoric disguised in clever ways online. Daniels' work on technology and race led her to another interest: how digital technologies are changing the work we do as scholars and the institutions we labor within, the role of scholarly societies and pay-walled journals in reinforcing Global North circuits of knowledge, while systematically disadvantaging those in the Global South. In looking at the way the "Karen" memes have illuminated white women's position as instruments of white supremacy, Daniels' most recent work has been called an "exemplar" of intersectional scholarship.