Jenna Hanchey

Scholar | Writer | Artist
imagining and enacting better futures

all photography copyright Jenna Hanchey; all rights reserved

Now available for preorder from Duke University Press! Use the code E23HNCHY for a 30% discount.

The Center Cannot Hold: Decolonial Possibility in the Collapse of a Tanzanian NGO

“A true work of unlearning for relearning! Erudite, lucid, profound, and successfully shakes the foundations of Western messianism.” — Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Professor and Chair of Epistemologies of the Global South, University of Bayreuth

“Jenna N. Hanchey is a brilliant storyteller, who leaves no theoretical or political stone unturned as she continually interrogates the relationships between selves and others in a complex contact zone. Her narratives of life at the Tanzanian NGO are well crafted and her research site becomes a powerful location for her to examine her own positionality in relation to land, white masculinity, and the colonial context in which the myth of the white savior permeates every interaction.” — Aimee Carrillo Rowe, author of Power Lines: On the Subject of Feminist Alliances

Read the Introduction here.

About Me

“badass fairy”

I’m continually searching for radical futures, reflecting over the racial and colonial legacies of our pasts, and laboring to enact justice in the present. My academic work critically examines aid, development, and volunteer work in Africa. My creative work aims to open imaginative possibilities. I hail from Southwest Michigan and now live in Phoenix, where I work as Assistant Professor of Rhetoric & Critical/Cultural Studies in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Senior Global Futures Scholar in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, and Affiliate Faculty of the School for the Future of Innovation and Society at Arizona State University. I’m also the current President of the Organization for Feminist Research on Gender and Communication.

A graduate student once called me a “badass fairy.” I attempt to live up to the title.


Aid Media

I’ve written articles about aid campaign media, particularly viral videos, and how even the organizations that attempt to portray African agency often do so in ways that are Westerncentric and reinforce coloniality.

NGOs in Tanzania

My first book, The Center Cannot Hold: Decolonial Possibility in the Collapse of a Tanzanian NGO, is forthcoming August 2, 2023 from Duke University Press. It examines how decolonial possibility emerges from the collapse of normative aid operations and subjectivities. Read the Introduction here. Pre-order with the code E23HNCHY until for a 30% discount!


I am currently writing a second book on how Africanfuturism in fiction and film imagines African futures that challenge, reinvent, and eschew Western logics of development. I have been awarded a 2022 NEH Summer Stipend and 2023 ASU IHR Seed Grant for this work. For a sneak peek, see my essay on Tade Thompson’s work in Strange Horizons magazine.


I’m a member of Codex, Associate Member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), and Poetry Editor at Orion’s Belt

Sing the Phoenix to Flame

What if you and your love have different approaches to resisting global imperialism?

Little Blue Marble, February 2023

Our World Between Their Lines

When the strangers arrived on our shores, we knew their magic was powerful. But we didn’t realize it could be so unintentionally wielded.

Orion’s Belt & Utopia Science Fiction, March 2023

And more…



I teach graduate and undergraduate courses focused on rhetoric and critical/cultural studies as it analyzes racism, colonialism, sexuality, gender, and culture in communication, as well as how to write speculative fiction for social justice.

Media Appearances

I have appeared in podcasts and video panels about African Communication Studies, dystopia and alternative futurisms, race and campus climate, and the futures of feminism.


Audiobook Narration

I am an audiobook narrator and voice actor, whose recent narrations include Emily S. Hurricane’s The Beginning of the End, and The Hound of the Baskervilles for the However Improbable podcast. Listen to my samples or hire me to narrate at ACX.com.

Acting and Directing

I am a singer, actor, and director. Links to my virtual performances can be found here.

For Further Information

See my academic profiles at ASU, Academia or ResearchGate.

All of the photography on this website is my own, copyright Jenna Hanchey, all rights reserved. Here I’ve collected the featured images.

Contact Me

Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85281