skeefe03@hamline.edu
Susie Keefe

Contact Info

Susi Keefe
skeefe03@hamline.edu
+1 (651) 523-2109
Giddens/Alumni Learning Center > 201E

Susi Keefe

Assistant Professor - Biology

Contact Info

Susi Keefe
skeefe03@hamline.edu
+1 (651) 523-2109
Giddens/Alumni Learning Center > 201E

Biography

Susi Keefe, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences and Biology. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brown University in 2010. In addition to graduate education, she was a trainee of the Population Studies and Training Center (PSTC) at Brown. This training culminated in dissertation research in Tanzania funded by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award. Professor Keefe received her BA with honors from Mount Holyoke College in a self-designed major; "Culture, Health, & Science,” which combines her interests in anthropology and medicine. She spent her junior year abroad with the School for International Training in coastal Kenya and Zanzibar where she learned to speak kiSwahili and developed her passion for East Africa. 

Professor Keefe's research centers on the intersection of gender, religion and health in East Africa. Based on over two years of ethnographic fieldwork in northern and coastal Tanzania, she has published articles and chapters on reproductive health and decision making, Islam and bioethics, marriage and kinship, and intimate relationships among Pare and Swahili women and men. Most recently she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Olaf College in Sociology and Anthropology teaching Medical Anthropology, Environmental Anthropology, Life and Death in Africa, and Gender and Culture for the past five and a half years.

 

Teaching Style

Professor Keefe’s aims and objectives as a professor center upon not only introducing students to the complexity of cultures around the world, but also requiring students to critically listen to and engage in conversations around them in order to better understand these complex social worlds. Her teaching philosophy is based on the principle that student participation is essential for developing critical thinking. She also believes that effective teaching of Anthropology and the basics of ethnographic research are an intertwined endeavor.

As a cultural anthropologist, one of her primary goals in teaching is to imbue students with an appreciation of voice; that is, what animates anything from jokes, rumors, and gossip, to exchanges between parents and children, doctor-patient dialogues, illness narratives, confessions and testimonies, political speeches, and classroom lectures and debates. In order to reinforce this appreciation of voice among her students, she orients her teaching philosophy and practices around the following points:

  1. Students have their own voices that reflect particular cultural locations. She works to develop students’ ability to think critically about their own social positions and express themselves in diverse modes, such as response papers, debates, think/pair/share exercises, class blogs, and presentations. Even within large lecture halls, students should be offered the chance to raise questions and respond.
  2. Students must be able to listen to, understand, and critically evaluate the voices of others. Student participation is essential for developing critical thinking. As such, her pedagogical strategy includes intensive discussion, student presentations, think/pair/share activities, and student led learning and activities.
  3. Because some individuals’ voices are louder than others, students must be also able to examine the power relations that shape whose voices are heard and whose are silent. In designing course content, she instills this principle through reading selections, newspapers, and popular culture texts that examine both the voices of the powerful and of the poor.

Research

Professor Keefe’s research focuses on the relationships between global health and population processes, social change, and power.  Specifically, her work contributes to medical anthropology, population studies and science, and technology studies (STS) through ethnographic investigations of global health and reproduction in East Africa. Her objective is to enhance understanding of how global health and population processes interact with state policies, regional norms, and local practices to impact reproductive health and reproductive rights.

Professor Keefe examines how men and women in East Africa, and African immigrants in the United States, conceive of, and utilize, the global circulation of reproductive technologies. Her work approaches reproduction as a process that is simultaneously biological and social, involving male and female bodies, intimate relationships, family formation, scientific discourses and practices, and powerful social institutions such as medicine, law, and the marketplace. This research demonstrates that reproduction itself can be considered a site of social change where women, men, scientists, doctors, and state representatives interact and negotiate the power over individual, familial, and national bodies. The study of reproduction is vital to developing theories of the gendered effects of global, environmental, and scientific change.

Publications

The following is a link to Dr. Keefe's research page: http://susikeefe.tumblr.com/