The Privileged Poor

5:30-7 pm

85 Waterman Street, Room 130

Anthony Jack, Assistant Professor of Education, Harvard University

By focusing on the experiences of poor students in elite colleges, Anthony Jack is vividly changing the way we address the issue of diversity and inclusion in education. Such important considerations are timely as colleges and universities continue to take affirmative steps to socioeconomically diversify their campuses. Through his research, Jack examines how class and culture shape how undergraduates navigate college by exploring the “experiential core of college life”—those too often overlooked moments between getting in and graduating. Here, he sheds new light on how inequality is reproduced by contrasting the experiences of the Privileged Poor—lower-income students who graduate from boarding, day, and preparatory high schools—and the Doubly Disadvantaged—lower-income undergraduates who graduate from public, typically distressed high schools. Jack interrogates the social and personal costs of exclusion that have implications for undergraduates’ objective opportunities and their social well-being.

Jack is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and holds the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. His research documents the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates. His scholarship appears in the Du Bois Review, Sociological Forum, and Sociology of Education and has earned awards from the American Sociological Association, Eastern Sociological Society, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Jack has held fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation and was a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow. The National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan named him a 2016 Emerging Diversity Scholar. The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The National Review, The Washington Post, The Hechinger ReportAmerican RadioWorks, and NPR have featured his research and writing as well as biographical profiles of his experiences as a first-generation college student. His first book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students, was released in February 2019 with Harvard University Press.