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, sustainable development, and transformative knowledge. 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.
My research engages 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.
My work advances development inquiry in two key ways. First, it decolonizes theory to improve understanding of production and trade over the longue durée. By situating my analysis of development and alternatives within the context of the modern-colonial world system, I unpack the intersecting barriers hindering transitions to sustainability, democracy, and global justice. By centering indigenous and feminist moral philosophies, I identify cognitive and relational pathways for transformative engagement. Second, my work informs the development of decolonizing and participatory research methods. By publishing critical reflections and systematic reviews of practice, I clarify standards and methods that support connection across difference, strengthening ethics for interdisciplinary and intercultural engagement.
Current Research Decolonizing Development(2023) is 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 Democracies(2022) is 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 several solo-authored articles:
Ethics for Development Research (2020) connects a wide ranging discourse to develop a common set of principles for planning, conducting, and evaluating research across disciplines.
"Transnational Feminisms in Development" (under review) 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.
"Dialogues on Racial Identity (under review) is a phenomenological analysis of my dicussions with racially marginalized community leaders in South Africa. Differentiating between leaders who claimed coloured identity and those who rejected the concept of race, I integrate theories of racial consciousness to show how naming and rejecting race are complementary tools in emancipatory praxis.
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