Dr. Jovonna Jones is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature and Culture at Boston College specializing in photography and visual culture, spatial aesthetics, and Black feminist criticism. Through her teaching and scholarship, she invites us to consider how images and spaces frame Black living in and over time.

Her current project examines African American women’s rooming houses in the early to mid-20th century. She hones in on the spatial vision of Black women–organizers, homemakers, writers, and artists–who sought to ensure that Black women settling in racially hostile cities had quality places to live. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and the Provost’s Fellows Program at Dartmouth College.

Jovonna’s writing has appeared in Aperture, Souls, Callaloo, Southern Cultures, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She holds her PhD and MA from Harvard University and BA from Emory University.

Selected Publications

“Walking with Ella Watson: Photography, Interiority, and the Spiritual Church Movement in the Work of Gordon Parks” in Southern Cultures

“Troubling Dignity, Seeking Truth: Black Feminist Vision and the Thought-World of Black Photography in the Nineteenth Century in Souls: A critical journal of Black politics culture and society

“look, look. Look: The Work of Black Aesthetics in Toni Morrison’s Jazz in Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters

“Daufuskie Island” in “Notes for Future Study: Photobooks by Black Artists”, guest edited by Deborah Willis for Aperture PhotoBook Review

“A Visual Record of Black Lives, Four Decades After Emancipation” on Aperture.com

“Now Found: On Faith and Wonderment in Deana Lawson’s Messier 81, Return of the Dove” in Fragments of a Crucifixion, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago


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