Jen Sandler

Director, UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT) and Lecturer

My research focuses on the knowledge practices of social change movements and coalitions. I have conducted ethnographic research in several U.S. cities as well as in Mexico with diverse activists, including community organizers, popular educators, policy activists, urban education activists, science advocates, and grant makers. I develop an understanding of activist coalitions by following the stories they tell about themselves and about their struggles, unfolding the layers of narrative and event that form the basis for collective epistemic identity and vision.  My own activism revolves around working with marginalized communities to build critical consciousness and political power to shape the institutions and policies that affect them. However, I find that great intellectual grist comes from engaging in ethnographic relationship with activists in different social positions and of wildly diverse political and ideological stripes. Other research interests include social theory, critical pedagogy, neoliberalism, immigration, sense of place/community, social movements, social policy, and meetings as research sites. 
UACT web site: