Katherine Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also a Faculty Affiliate of Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies.
She earned her PhD in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin in 2018, with a Doctoral Portfolio in African and African Diaspora Studies. At UT-Austin, she was a Graduate Fellow of the Urban Ethnography Lab, and an Affiliate of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. She is a former Fulbright Fellow and P.E.O. Scholar. Before joining UW, she was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research (CIPR) at Tulane University.
Jensen researches race and racism, political sociology, and forced migration in the Americas, with a focus on Brazil. Her work has been published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Qualitative Sociology, Social Currents, City & Community, Research in Urban Sociology, Contexts, and by the University of Texas Press. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Austin American-Statesman, and Clarín. Her research has been generously funded by the Fulbright Commission, P.E.O. International, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others.
Her research, based on an ethnography conducted inside the asylum apparatus in Brazil, investigates how the state decides who qualifies for refugee status and with what consequences. Particularly, it details how race operates through asylum, tracing the production of racial meanings and inequalities as state and civil society actors work to determine who is worthy of safe haven.
Jensen earned a BA in Latin American and Latino/a Studies from Vassar College. Before pursuing her PhD, she lived and conducted research in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the support of a Maguire Fellowship.