Curriculum Vitae Email:Jennifer.Keahey@asu.edu PhD, Sociology, Colorado State University MA, International Development and Social Change, Clark University BA, Anthropology, University of Utah BA, French, University of Utah
I am a sociologist with more than a dozen scholarly publications on social justice and sustainable development. Having worked as a development scholar in several world regions, I possess a background in fair and alternative trade studies, and I am broadly interested in issues pertaining to food, energy, and water.
As an emancipatory scientist, I engage feminist, antiracist, and decolonial approaches that challenge conventional theory and practice. I am highly skilled in the use of qualitative, mixed, and participatory action research (PAR) methods, using these to stimulate multi-paradigmatic knowledge building activities and interdisciplinary engagements that generate transformative knowledge.
My work advances development theory and practice in two key ways. First, it decolonizes theory to improve understanding of development and its alternatives. By interrogating the power dynamics informing sustainability in action, I unpack structural and relational barriers to identify pathways for socially and environmentally responsible development. Second, my work informs research methods through the publication of critical reflections and systematic reviews of practice. By clarifying standards and methods that support connection across difference, I strengthen ethics for interdisciplinary and intercultural engagement.
Current Research Decolonizing Developmentis a comparative historical study of post-authoritarian alternatives to production and trade. Situated in the far reaches of the Global North and South, post-Soviet Latvia and post-apartheid South Africa are a world apart. Yet these nations endured a similar history of colonial and authoritarian rule and concurrently transitioned to democracy at the end of the twentieth century. Not only were their struggles for liberation rooted in an Indigenous love of the land, but producers in both nations have used political reforms to revitalize ancestral foodways.
Drawing from fieldwork with small-scale producers, this book contributes to food and development studies in two ways. Empirically, I join an analysis of political economy and ecocultural heritage to unpack the dynamics shaping alternative trade in two post-authoritarian societies. Theoretically, I connect world systems thinking with comparative Indigenous knowledge to articulate a decolonial theory of development that centers sustainable production and trade.
Addressing the paradoxical impulses of modernity/tradition, structure/agency, and heritage/transition, I clarify what it means to live in connection with land and culture while remaining open to difference and resilient in the face of crisis. This book offers timely insight for a planet that is again confronting the winds of change, as societies around the world contend with agro-food systems made vulnerable by authoritarianism, laissez-faire capitalism, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Energy Democraciesis an edited volume divided into three parts, namely: imaginaries, transitions, and risks. As co-editor, I have joined a diverse body of scholars to theorize and empirically examine the emergence of energy democracies around the world.
Development Ethics is an ongoing project focused on decolonizing the ethics of development and strengthening methods for engagement. Currently, I have produced three solo-authored articles:
Published in Systemic Practice and Action Research, Sustainable Development and Participatory Action Research systematically interrogates the last decade of empirical scholarship to unpack research challenges and identify innovative practices that support interdisciplinary and intercultural collaboration.
Published in Sociology of Development, Ethics for Development Research connects a wide ranging discourse to develop a common set of principles for planning, conducting, and evaluating research across disciplines.
Under review, "Transnational Feminisms in Development" traces the lineages of three subaltern feminist traditions to deliver insight into the intersectional colonialities of oppression. Via a critically reflexive analysis of my engagement with the subaltern feminist knowledge imparted to me, I identify six pathways to transformation and encourage readers to reflect upon the feminist values undergirding their practice.
Livelihoods and well-being in the South African Cederberg
Knowledge and capacity in South African Rooibos tea
Fair Trade and social justice
Fair Trade charcoal standards
Organic agriculture and market development in Latvia
Rural income generation in Northern Ghana
Languages English, native; French, fluent; Latvian, very good; Afrikaans, good speaking ability; Spanish, elementary