Jenna Christian

Jenna Christian

Office Address: 
328 Walker Building
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Department of Geography
  • Feminist Geopolitics
  • race
  • citizenship
  • arts-based methods

I am a dual-degree doctoral candidate in the Departments of Geography and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My resarch broadly engages feminist theory, education, and critical human geography in the study of the U.S. military, race, citizenship, education, social movements, and everyday geopolitical processes. My primary research projects also include:

Doctoral research (2012-present): My dissertation research consisted of a 2.5-year ethnographic study of race, citizenship, and military enlistment among Latinx and Black youth in Houston, Texas. While youth are often regarded as apolitical subjects, my research examines the geopolitical lives of young people. Using interviews, long-term observation, and arts-based methods grounded in feminist methodologies, I examined military educational programming (specifically the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps), military recruiting targeting youth, and youth enlistment decisions in relation to the opportunities and obstacles in their lives. With military enlistment embedded within systems of violence in the city, school, and nation, and I also work closely with activist groups responding the such violence, including Black Lives Matter and immigrant and undocumented youth groups. Broadly, my findings reveal how raced, classed, and gendered notions of citizenship and belonging shape both state violence in the city and the creation of a national military. A key aspect of this work is the use of visual art and comics, which are included in my dissertation and used for dissemination of my research to the public.

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.

Personal Website: My art, comics, and public writing about Houston, feminism, and activism are available at: