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Michael P. Jeffries

Professor of American Studies, Wellesley College

Michael P. Jeffries is Dean of Academic Affairs, Class of 1949 Professor in Ethics, and Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and works at the intersection of race, culture, and politics.

Dr. Jeffries is the author of four books. Black and Queer on Campus (NYU Press, 2023) provides an inside look at Black LGBTQ college students and their experiences. Behind the Laughs: Community and Inequality in Comedy (Stanford University Press, 2017) explores the world of professional comedy, where social and professional demands force artists to build strong communities in an industry divided along lines of race, class, and gender. Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America (Stanford University Press, 2013) uses Obama's presidency to demonstrate how race relies on other social forces, like gender and class, for its meaning and impact. Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-Hop (University of Chicago Press, 2011) puts the spotlight on hip-hop fans and describes how everyday listeners define hip-hop and use it in their lives.

Dr. Jeffries has published dozens of essays and works of criticism in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, and has been interviewed by The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, and other outlets. He is a regular contributor on television and radio at Boston's public broadcasting station, WGBH, and he tweets @M_P_Jeffries.


  • –present
    Dean of Academic Affairs and Profesor of American Studies, Wellesley College


  • 2008 
    Harvard University, Africana American Studies