Jessie Daniels, PhD (she/her), is a (Full) Professor of Sociology at Hunter College. She is also affiliate faculty in Africana Studies, Critical Social Psychology and Sociology at The Graduate Center-CUNY. Daniels also holds several other affiliations (unpaid), at Harvard Berkman Klein Center, Oxford Internet Institute, and Data & Society.
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 thirty years, Daniels 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, Tweet Storm:The Rise of the Far Right, the Mainstreaming of White Supremacy, and How Tech and Media Helped. She is partnering with a documentary filmmaker to co-produce a film along with the book.
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 around the world.
In another area of research, Daniels focuses on how digital media technologies are changing higher education. The way scholars produce knowledge and share knowledge has been radically transformed in the last twenty-five years, and this has serious implications for scholars, for students, and for institutions of higher education. Daniels has co-authored a two books on this topic, Being a Scholar in the Digital Era (with Polly Thisthelthwaite), and Going Public: A Guide for Social Scientists (with Arlene Stein), along with a number of articles. Since 2016, Daniels sees the changing landscape of scholarly communication converging with her other interest in the far right, as these forces launch coordinated attacks on faculty, students and staff at colleges and universities as a way of undermining the goals of higher education. Faculty and academic leaders are generally unprepared for these attacks. In 2019, Daniels launched a consultancy, Public Scholars, LLC designed to help those who aspire to be public scholars achieve their goals and work with university administrators who want to assess and respond to attacks from the far right against their institutions.
In 2018-2019, she was a Faculty Fellow at Data & Society where, along with collaborators Mutale Nkonde and Darakhshan Mir, she developing a new approach to addressing a set of persistent problems in tech, called Advancing Racial Literacy in Tech. This innovative approach is currently in development, and when more fully realized, has real potential for transforming the tech industry. And, in 2019-2020 she was a Faculty Affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center where she continued her work on racial literacy in the tech sector.
In October, 2021 Daniels published her latest book, Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We Can Help Dismantle It (Seal Press). The book tries to understand what’s behind the “Karen” phenomenon, and so much more about white women’s role in the current political landscape. The book is a crossover between self-help, memoir and a feminist/critical race theory book. By blending a compelling voice with a powerful argument, it manages to be both edgy and transformative. See some of the amazing endorsements here and join the community forming around the work that the book calls for.
Daniels is also work on a memoir, Out to the Blue Water: A Memoir of Love, Racism & Madness. She is represented by Katie Kotchman, of Don Congdon Associates.