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Kari B. Jensen, PhD
Professor
Department of Global Studies and Geography
Hofstra University


I am a cultural geographer in the Department of Global Studies and Geography at Hofstra University. I received my Ph.D. in Geography from the Pennsylvania State University in 2007. I have an M.Phil. degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Geography from the University of Oslo (Norway). Before starting my doctoral studies at Penn State I worked for the immigration authorities in Norway and for a non-governmental organization helping orphan children in Bangladesh get an education. I have conducted research in Bangladesh intermittently the last twenty-five years, mainly focusing on the lived experiences of children and youth from low-income households. Most of my research has focused on child domestic workers from poor, rural families who work for wealthier families in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In particular I have explored the cultural context of the children's relationship with employers and the prospects for increasing their quality of life through access to public and semi-public spaces where they can get an education, develop their social network and seek help in case of neglect and abuse. I have also done research with youth of the South Asian diaspora in Norway and the USA, focusing on their perceived advantages and disadvantages of being raised in a multi-cultural setting, and their negotiation of identity and cultural codes. My most recent publication focused on colorism among Bangladeshi people here in the US and in Bangladesh. I use different qualitative methodologies in my research, such as in-depth interviews, participant observation, and critical ethnography. Links to selected publications can be found under the Research tab and the CV tab.

Courses that I teach: Human Geography, Cultural Geography, World Regional Geography, India and Its Neighbors (formerly "Geography of South Asia"), Geographic Methodology, Child Labor in the World Today, Cultural Globalization, and Globalization and Human Trafficking. Since 2011 I have advised seventeen honors theses students, mostly in Geography or Global Studies, but also in Public Policy and Public Service. Most of them have presented their research at the Colonial Academic Alliance conference (rotating between several universities) and/or at the Undergraduate Research Day at Hofstra University. 

In 2012 I founded Mu Kappa, the Hofstra University chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international geographical honor society. To date 146 students and ten faculty have been inducted into Mu Kappa. The last six consecutive years Mu Kappa won the honors chapter award from Gamma Theta Upsilon, for our efforts in spreading awareness of geography. In addition to Mu Kappa I am also faculty advisor for the student clubs Get Global and the South Asian Student Association. With Get Global and Mu Kappa I have helped plan and execute several Diversity Dinners each year since 2012, focusing on one country or one world region each time, through cuisine, presentations, and different art forms. I have also organized "Geography Awareness Week" in our department for several years, and I am an active member of Hofstra's Center for Civic Engagement and Hofstra's Cultural Center.