Michael D. Jackson

Michael D. Jackson

Senior Research Fellow in World Religions
Michael D. Jackson


  • BA, Victoria University of Wellington
  • MA, Auckland University
  • PhD, Cambridge University



Michael D. Jackson is an anthropologist and author with extensive fieldwork experience in Sierra Leone and Aboriginal Australia. His academic work has been strongly influenced by critical theory, American pragmatism, and existential-phenomenological thought.

Through a direct engagement with the everyday situations and struggles that characterize human life in any society, irrespective of its specific historical and cultural conditions, the ethnographic method of participant-observation promises not only an ethical and empathic understanding of ourselves in relation to others and otherness; it may provide new insights into the limits and possibilities of both comparative analysis and viable coexistence in a multiplex world.

He is the author of numerous books of anthropology, including the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing and At Home in the World, and has also published seven works of fiction, a memoir, and nine volumes of poetry. His most recent books are Coincidences: Synchronicity, Verisimilitude, and Storytelling (2021), The Genealogical Imagination: Two Studies of Life Over Time (2021), Critique of Identity Thinking (2019),The Work of Art: Rethinking the Elementary Forms of Religious Life (2016), and The Wherewithal of Life: Ethics, Migration and the Question of Well-Being (2013).

Professor Jackson retired from active teaching duties at HDS in 2022 and is now a senior research fellow in world religions.

Selected publications


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