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Jennifer Keahey

Assistant Professor
Faculty, WEST Campus, Mailcode 3051
Faculty Affiliate
Faculty, WEST Campus, Mailcode 3051
Senior Sustainability Scholar
Faculty, WEST Campus, Mailcode 3051
Biography

I am interested in the political economy of international development and the cultures and ethics of social change. With a background in sustainable agriculture and fair trade, I investigate questions pertaining to: (1) rural livelihoods and identities; (2) production standards and certifications; and (3) sustainability governance and participation. By examining power structures and relations at multiple levels of analysis, my work connects local experiences to regional and global forces, enabling me to unpack the relationship between structure and agency. I also employ methods that open spaces of radical openness where agrarian communities can share their expertise, voice their concerns, and collaborate with professionals to improve sustainability in practice.

In 2010, I worked with small-scale rooibos tea farmers in South Africa's Western Cape Province to co-develop a participatory research, training, and networking initiative. At that time, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork with a team of community-based farmer leaders, generating in-depth understanding of the issues facing producers in rural coloured (mixed race) areas, including challenges with Fairtrade and organic market access. Our engagement resulted in a ‘participatory commodity networking’ approach to Fairtrade producer support.

​I also have spent significant time in Latvia where I developed a nationally accredited teacher training program as a Peace Corps Volunteer then returned under a Fulbright grant to examine the impacts of European integration on Latvia's organic farming movement. More broadly, I have consulted on Fairtrade charcoal standards in Namibia, evaluated rural income generation activities in Northern Ghana, and helped launch UNESCO's global EDUCAIDS initiative to coordinate educational responses to HIV and AIDS.

My recent work focuses on the ethics of development, with three article-length manuscripts in progress. The first of these connects the wide-ranging discourse on development ethics to propose a common set of principles for planning, conducting, and evaluating development research while the second comprises an empirical analysis of the ethical challenges facing action researchers who work in development. The third manuscript elucidates the contributions of subaltern feminist theories to development ethics.

In the near future, I will embark upon a comparative historical study on the topic of transformative society. Engaging the cases of post-Soviet Latvia and post-Apartheid South Africa, this book-length project will query the role of cultural worldviews in generating democratic social change, with particular focus on the indigenous value systems informing anti-authoritarian resistance movements, national transitions to democracy, and post-authoritarian sustainable development agendas. "Post-authoritarian Perspectives on Democracy and Sustainable Development" will advance understanding of the sociopolitical dimension of sustainability, contributing to the literature on political rights, environmental ethics, and social change.

Education
  • Ph.D. Sociology, Colorado State University
  • M.A. International Development and Social Change, Clark University
  • B.A. Anthropology and French, University of Utah
Research Interests
  • Development, political economy, and social change
  • Fair trade and sustainable agriculture
  • Social inequality and social justice
  • Knowledge, ethics, and feminist praxis
Publications
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 426Social Inequality
JHR 598Special Topics
JHR 599Thesis
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 331Environmental Sociology
SOC 339Grassroots Social Movements
SBS 339Grassroots Social Movements
POS 339Grassroots Social Movements
ASB 339Grassroots Social Movements
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 264Gender and Society
SOC 426Social Inequality
JHR 598Special Topics
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
JHR 599Thesis
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 264Gender and Society
SOC 426Social Inequality
JHR 598Special Topics
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 331Environmental Sociology
SOC 339Grassroots Social Movements
SBS 339Grassroots Social Movements
POS 339Grassroots Social Movements
ASB 339Grassroots Social Movements
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 264Gender and Society
SOC 426Social Inequality
SBS 493Honors Thesis
JHR 598Special Topics
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 264Gender and Society
SOC 331Environmental Sociology
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 331Environmental Sociology
SOC 426Social Inequality
JHR 598Special Topics
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
SOC 331Environmental Sociology
SOC 426Social Inequality
Presentations
  • Session Co-Organizer. Frontiers of Feminist Development. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Aug 2018).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Cultivating Heritage: Sustainable Development in the South African Cederberg. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Aug 2018).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Knowledge in Action: Negotiating Theories of Power in the Field. Action Research Network of the Americas Annual Meeting, University of California San Diego (June 2018).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Negotiating Power: Intersectional Praxis in Action Research. Annual Sociology of Development Conference, Wayne State University (Oct 2017).
  • Jennifer Keahey. The Ethics of Development Research: A Critical Review. Annual Sociology of Development Conference, Wayne State University (Oct 2017).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Gendered Livelihoods and Community Politics in Post-apartheid South Africa. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Aug 2017).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Staan Saam: Intersectional and Participatory Development in South Africa. Annual Sociology of Development Conference, Cornell University (Oct 2016).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Capabilities for Sustainability: Livelihoods and Culture in the South African Cederberg. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Aug 2016).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Participatory Commodity Networking: An Integrated Framework for Fairtrade Research and Support. ASU Democracy Conference (Dec 2015).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Whose Knowledge Counts? Skills Development in Fairtrade Producer Networks. American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (Aug 2015).
  • Jennifer Keahey. The Sustainability of  Power or the Power of Sustainability? Emerging Farmer Participation in South Africa's Rooibos Tea Industry. Annual Sociology of Development Conference, Brown University (Mar 2015).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Fair Trade and Racial Equity in Africa. International Studies Association Annual Convention (Feb 2015).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Sustainability, Power, and Participation in South Africa's Rooibos Tea Industry. SBS Symposium at ASU West (Oct 2014).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Fair Trade and Racial Equity in Africa. Western Social Science Association Annual Conference (Apr 2014).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Paternalism or Empowerment? Racial (In)Equity in African Fair Trade. New College Faculty Colloquium at ASU West (Mar 2014).
  • Jennifer Keahey. From Dependency to Interconnectedness: Introducing the Participatory Commodity Network Research Approach. American Sociological Association Development Sociology Conference (Oct 2013).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Emerging Markets, Sustainable Methods: Political Economy Empowerment in South Africa's Rooibos Tea Sector. Sociology in Progress Lecture Series (Feb 2013).
  • Jennifer Keahey. South Africa's Rooibos Tea Industry: Social Sustainability Dimensions and Prospects. American Sociological Association Development Sociology Conference (Nov 2012).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Commodity Networking for Sustainable Development: Fair Trade and South Africa's Emerging Rooibos Tea Sector. American Sociological Association Annual General Meeting (Aug 2012).
  • Jennifer Keahey. New Methods for Sustainable Development: Participatory Commodity Networking within South Africa's Emerging Rooibos Tea Sector. Center for Fair & Alternative Trade Seminar (May 2012).
  • Jennifer Keahey and Sandra Kruger. Improving Market Access for Emerging South African Rooibos Farmers. UC Davis HortCRSP Workshop (Apr 2011).
  • Jennifer Keahey. Sustainable Market Access Development in South Africa's Emerging Rooibos Tea Sector. Africa Rising: New Enterprise Solutions to Old Development Problems Research Colloquium (Mar 2011).
Professional Associations

Associate: Center for Fair & Alternative Trade (CFAT)

Member: American Sociological Association (ASA)

Member: Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA).

 

Service
  • Chair Elect, Sociology of Development, American Sociological Association (2018 - Present)
  • Ad Hoc Journal, Book, and Grant Reviewer (2011 - Present)
  • Co-founder & Co-Chair, Feminist Development Subsection of ASA Sociology of Development (2016; 2017 - 2018)
  • Webmaster, ASA Sociology of Development (2016 - 2018)
  • Council Member, ASA Political Economy of the World System (2015 - 2018)
  • Facebook Master, ASA Sociology of Development (2011-2016)
  • Member, ASU Interdisciplinary Global Learning and Engagement Advisory Board (2014 - Present)
  • Member, ASU West Campus Sustainability Committee (2014 - Present)
  • Refugee Farm Volunteer, International Rescue Committee (IRC) New Roots Farm Project (2014)
Industry Positions

EDUCAIDS Intern: Education Sector, UNESCO (2006)

Refugee Volunteer Coordinator: Catholic Community Services (2002-2003)

Volunteer Teacher Trainer: United States Peace Corps (1999-2002)