Kari B. Henquinet

Kari B. Henquinet


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  • Teaching Professor, Social Sciences Undergraduate Studies Director
  • Peace Corps Prep Program Director
  • Sustainability Science and Society Program Advisor
  • Pronouns: she, her, hers
  • PhD, Anthropology, Michigan State University, 2007
  • MA, Anthropology, Michigan State University, 2003
  • BA, Interdisciplinary Studies, Wheaton College, 1996

Areas of Specialization

Gender, Women’s Rights, and Household Livelihoods in Niger
I apply my ethnographic experience and training as a West Africa area studies specialist in the study of gender relations and women’s rights by examining prominent transnational aid institutions in Niger. This research highlights: 1) changes in gender roles and access to resources connected to material and religious change in the Maradi Region, 2) ways in which women’s rights, gender, and class are understood and applied in development programs and among aid recipients, and 3) discourses of women’s rights and Islamic family law in the Maradi Region and in Niger. I extend this work with my students by teaching undergraduate courses in international development, African Studies, and anthropology, and by working closely with graduate students conducting research using ethnography and examining topics such as social vulnerability and gender issues.

Historical Roots of North American Evangelical Aid and Development
Using archival data and oral histories, I use the case of World Vision in the 1950s and 1960s to look at roots of private voluntary evangelical relief and development work in an age of the “development consensus” and large-scale state-directed development. This project consists of three papers: 1) the convergence and divergence of early World Vision with U.S. work abroad in the Cold War, highlighting the common notion of remaking vulnerable Third World Subjects and nations, yet distinct evangelical approaches to social change; 2) evangelical interpretations of and responses to global suffering with emphasis on temporal and ethical frames and tensions; and 3) the use of child sponsorship as a successful fundraising tool in World Vision, which triggered emotional and moral responses in North American evangelical donors. I integrate this expertise in my teaching and advising of Peace Corps and study abroad students as we examine the historical context of U.S. engagements abroad and development institutions.

Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change, and Social Vulnerability
As an anthropologist, I have contributed to several collaborative, interdisciplinary projects on disaster risk reduction, climate change, and social vulnerability. In El Salvador working with a geologist, we have examined social and geophysical vulnerability in a disaster relocation program. I am currently working with a team of scientists to plan an IRES NSF field school in El Salvador for summer 2021 on climate change and agriculture. I have also co-advised three geology master’s students who integrated ethnography to research disaster risk in El Salvador and Jamaica, and water security in Senegal.

Intercultural, Service, and Experiential Learning
My own transformational experiences through guided cross-cultural and service-oriented immersion as a student have sparked a passion to continue to develop these kinds of programs for my students. As Director of Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) for nine years and Peace Corps Prep for six years, I coordinate campus-wide efforts to prepare our students for international service and for careers as global leaders in their fields. I also advise students who are pursuing community engagement in their honors program and direct the Community Ambassadors program to build linkages between Michigan Tech and the local community through volunteer work. I teach courses preparing students for cross-cultural immersion and project work. I am currently analyzing data to better understand our students’ experiences and development, using qualitative interviews and student work.

Areas of Expertise

  • International/transnational development
  • Faith-based development
  • Gender
  • Human rights
  • Global service learning
  • African studies (Niger)
  • Disaster risk reduction and vulnerability