Hi There

Flake. Renaissance person. Waffler. Polymath. Dilettante. Multipotentialite. There are a lot of words for people who have a hard time settling into a single life calling.

My name is J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham and I have been called all of these things–though, I prefer to be called “J.”

The notion that every person has one true calling (and that if one isn’t 100% content in what one is doing, then this activity must not be one’s true calling) has been a source of genuine anguish for much of my life. It was not until I gave myself permission to unapologetically do all the things I feel passion for, that began to be truly happy and productive.

Today, I am contentedly a scholar, a teacher, an activist, an author, a maker, a blogger and probably a few more things that I haven’t discovered yet.

Thanks for stopping by.

News and Updates >>

I Think

Research Interests

My research examines popular manifestations of power and inequality within contemporary cultural economies and mediated environments. I work in two areas of interdisciplinary scholarship: critical food studies and cultural studies of media.

Critical Food Studies


I am interested in bringing culturally attentive theories of valuation to the exploration of what might be called an ‘everyday politics of food and drink. More >>

Media and Culture


I am fascinated by the residue of American culture that is manifest in mediated environments and objects–the traces left in the wakes of our daily lives that, when taken collectively, produce intricate and compelling maps of the conditions of our living. More >>

Scholarly Publications



Beckham, J. N. (Forthcoming). The Value of a Pint: American Beer, Cultural Change, and the Stubborn Materiality of Contemporary Capitalism. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.


Book Chapters

Beckham, J. N. (2017). Entrepreneurial Leisure and the Microbrew Revolution: The Neoliberal Roots of the Craft Beer Movement. In N. Chapman & J. S. Lellock (Eds.), Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer. Morgantown, WV: University of West Virginia Press.

Beckham, J. N. (2014). Drinking Local: Sustainable brewing, alternative food networks, and the politics of valuation. In T. Conroy (Ed.), Food and Everyday Life (pp. 105-127). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.


Journal Articles

Beckham, J. N. (2012). Food and Drink: Engaging the Logics of New Mediation. Explorations in Media Ecology, 10(1-2), 25-38.

Conference Activity and Speaking Engagements

Address at the 2017 Baccalaureate Service at Randolph College.

I currently have no planned conference presentations or speaking engagements.  If you are interested having me speak at your event, to your class, or with your organization, please get in touch!
**There is a simple contact form in the footer of this page.

Past Conference Activity and Speaking Engagements >>


In the News – My research has been noticed by media sources both in an out of the academy.

Media Inquiries – More often than not, I am happy to chat with journalists about my areas of research expertise.

Faculty Consulting

I am occasionally available (particularly during the summer months) for consulting projects.  If you would like to talk about collaborating on projects that overlap with my areas of research expertise or require high-impact training, eLearning development, or curriculum designs, let’s talk! More >>

I Teach

Each day I have the opportunity to interact with students, whether in the classroom, in our shared community, or electronically, I work to accomplish three goals—to emphasize the importance of learning, to concretize the connections between academic knowledge and students’ lived experiences, and to foster critical awareness of social injustice.


Current Courses

I currently teach in the department of Communication Studies at Randolph College.  I am in the process of prepping three exciting classes for the fall 2017 semester.

COMM 204: Communication Technology & Culture
COMM 432: Global Media and Communication
COMM 494: Senior Seminar

Courses Taught

I have had the privilege of teaching college courses in a range of educational environments: from large state institutions to small private liberal arts institutions, and in community colleges and trade schools.  I have taught basic undergraduate courses in communication studies, advanced courses in media and cultural studies, various topical electives, and research-based seminars.

Full Course List

Pedagogical Approach

Learning, or more specifically, learning how to learn, has been of vital importance in my experiences as a black woman negotiating limited and limiting expectations for what I might be capable of achieving. I teach, then, always with the hope of igniting a love of learning and I take seriously a commitment to make each of my students a more successful learner—firmly believing that the confidence that one can learn well, translates to greater adaptability and ambition in all aspects of life.  More >>

Faculty Consulting

I am occasionally available (particularly during the summer months) for consulting projects.  If you would like to talk about collaborating on projects that overlap with my areas of research expertise or require high-impact training, eLearning development, or curriculum designs, let’s talk! More >>

I Care

Institutional Service


Co-Curricular Advising

Lambda Pi Eta

Randolph College Zymurgy Team



Community Service

Nonprofit Service

Lynchburg Daily Bread

Public Research

Feasibility Analyses

I Write

Creative Writing

I started my academic career at Virginia Tech in the English Department as a writer



Creative Publications


Currently, I am creating a work of serialized fiction called WITHOUT LIGHT.   WITHOUT LIGHT is a work of serialized speculative fiction about a United States 250 years in the future.  The story is a dark and fantastic response to the question, “what would our country look like if current trends in our food system, media infrastructure, and social hierarchies were allowed to evolve to their (il)logial ends?” More >>


I Blog

“Letters from a Contemporary Stoic”: My 2017 Baccalaureate Service Address

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, I had the tremendous honor of addressing members of the graduating class of 2017, their friends and families, as well as faculty and staff in Houston Chapel on the campus of Randolph College.  My address, Letters from a Contemporary Stoic, urged graduates to embrace the challenge of changing a world they did not make–a …