Jenna Christian


I am a dual-degree doctoral candidate in the Departments of Geography and Women's Studies. My resarch broadly engages feminist theory, education, and critical human geography in the study of the U.S. military, citizenship, education, social movements, and everyday geopolitical processes. My current dissertation research examines the relationships and expereinces of high schools students (and the adults in their lives) with the military, focusing both on their own experiences taking part in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and on their interactions with military recruiters. The research strives to learn about young people's civic/political identities and to understand how they evaluate the possibility of military enlistment alongside other raced, classed, and gendered opportunities and obstables in their lives. This research is currently underway in Houston, Texas.

Additional past and on-going research projects also include:

  • Master's research (2010-2012): My thesis, titled Postwar transformations: Women and the work of peace in postwar Liberia, examined the diverse and changing meanings and practices of peace in Liberia. The research was done with members of the Liberian women's peace movement, which played an influential role both in ending the conflict and in political life and recovery following the 2003 Peace Accord. The project investigated how women did peace work in the "postwar" and what opportuntiies and constraints they encountered due to the massive influx international peacemaking, peacekeeping, and development programming.

  • Pennsylvania Education Equity Project (PEEP): Collaborative research with Education PhD students at Penn State, which focused on immigration policing, citizenship, and belonging in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. A journal submission for publication of this research is in-progress.


Research Interests

  • feminist geopolitics
  • feminist theory
  • critical geographies of education and critical youth studies
  • race and citizenship
  • creative geographies and arts-based methods
  • social movements
  • incarceration and policing
  • geographies of war and peace


  • M.S. Geography and Women's Studies, Penn State, 2012
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2010

Courses Taught

  • GEOG 20: Introduction to Human Geography
  • GEOG 30: Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability
  • WMNST 100: Introduction to Women's Studies
  • GEOG 1303: World Regional Geography (Houston Community College)
  • GEOG 128: Geography of International Relations


Christian, J., L. Dowler, and D. Cuomo. (2016). Fear, Feminist Geopolitics and the Hot and Banal. Political Geography. 54: 64-72

Dowler, L., J. Christian, and A. Ranjbar. (2014). A Feminist Visualization of the Intimate Spaces of Security. Area. 46(4): 347-349.

Christian, J., Vogeler, I., Moua, P.S. (2008-2009). The Cultural Landscape of the Hmong in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Geographer. 23.



  • Miller PhD Paper Award, Penn State Geography, "Creative geopolitics: art and solidarity as feminist geopolitical praxis", 2017
  • Sara Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Penn State Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, 2016
  • National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, 2015 
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2011-present
  •  Penn State Africana Research Center Travel Grant, 2012 and 2014
  •  FLAS, Foreign Language Area Studies Summer Language Fellowship, 2010
  •  University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire Student Research Grant, 2008


  • Association of American Geographers
  • AAG Specialty Groups: Geographic Perspectives on Women, Political Geography, Cultural Geography
  • American Educational Research Assocation
  • Penn State Supporting Women in Geography