Jovonne J. Bickerstaff is a Postdoctoral Associate for the African American History, Culture and Digital Humanities (AADHum) initiative. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University in 2015, focusing on gender, race, emotions and qualitative methodology. Her dissertation, entitled, “Together, Close, Resilient: Essays on Emotion Work Among Black Couples,” examined African American couples in enduring relationships (10-40 years), probing the emotion strategies partners co-construct to foster emotional intimacy, navigate differences and cultivate a shared identity – offering a rare window into black couples’ intimate lives. By revealing how people make sense of their worlds and cultivate best-practices to guide their daily lives, Jovonne’s work is driven by a commitment to look beyond the preoccupation with crisis and failure in social science, shedding light on what works and how in order to reveal rarely explored facets of black experience.
Prior to joining the AADHum initiative, Jovonne taught in Howard University’s first-year writing program and Georgetown University’s Program on Women’s and Gender Studies. She also served as the Scholar-in-Residence for the Driskell Center for the study of Visual Arts and Culture of African American and the African Diaspora, where she helped develop a digital Oral History Archive of African American artists. A former Fulbright, NSF and Ford Fellow, Jovonne also holds an MPhil in Social Psychology at the University of Cambridge & BS degrees in Urban Studies & Writing & Humanistic Studies from MIT.