Jean Beason has carried out research in Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean, publishing on cultural history, land, law, development, kinship, gender, narratives, religion, migration and ethnicity. Beason completed work on a comparative creolization in changing contexts of globalization among the descendants of plantation slaves, planters and rebel slaves in the Jamaican Cockpit Country for a book Transformations of Freedom in the Land of the Maroons (Ian Randle Publishers).
She has served on the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and as chair of the Society for Caribbean Studies in the UK, of which she is a founder member and (since 2010) an elected Honorary Life Member. She was also a founding co-editor of the journal Progress in Development Studies (London: Arnold) and continue as a Life Member of the PIDs Advisory Board.
Beason has been an advisor to the Scottish Executive on census issues of ethnicity (2007) and a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum for the Exhibition &ldsquo;Breaking the Chains&rdsquo; (2007-2009) commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade. She is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, School of Advanced Study and of the Institute of the Americas, University College London.