Alumni (National Fellow)

Alethia Jones

National Fellow
Kingston, Jamaica
B.A. Columbia University (1991)
Ph.D. Yale University (2004)
Professional Sector:
Dream Mentor:
Mark Stern
University of Pennsylvania
Fields of Interest:
American Political Development
Immigration Policy
Urban History


Alethia Jones is the newly appointed director of the Open Society Fellowship at the Open Society Foundation. Prior to this appointment, Jones was director of Education and Leadership Development Department at 1199 SEIU, United Health Care Workers East where she oversaw the development and administration of programs designed to enable staff and members to fulfill their leadership potential (1000 staff; 400,000 members in 5 states and D.C.) Jones is co-editor with Virginia Eubanks and Barbara Smith of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith (SUNY Press, 2014).

Thesis Description:

Bootstraps and Beltways: The State’s Role in Immigrant Self-Help
Jones’ dissertation examined the politics surrounding informal immigrant financial practices to understand the relationship between state power and self-help in immigrant incorporation. The three cases Jones studied come from the two periods of highest immigration and permit us to see continuities from the past as well as account for different racial and political contexts. She additionally added an institutional dimension to the story of how politics affects the incorporation of immigrants. Unlike other studies that reinforce the classic “up by their bootstraps” immigrant, self-help story, this project specified the structure of the relationship between informal and formal institutions and the state.

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