Jessa Loomis

  • PhD Candidate, Instructor
  • Gender & Women's Studies
  • Geography
  • Social Theory
Other Affiliations:
  • Relational Poverty Network (RPN)
Research Interests:

M.A., University of Kentucky, Geography, 2013

M.A., Clark University, Teaching, 2007

B.A., Clark University, Geography, 2006


My work is motivated by a desire to understand the constitutive processes that circulate, valorize and normalize economic change through a focus on everyday spaces, practices and actors. For example, my MA research examined efforts to revise Chicago’s mobile food vending regulations and argued that the food truck became a way to enact neoliberal policy visions and normalize neoliberal governance strategies. I have also written with colleagues on the neoliberal university.

My dissertation research focuses on financial literacy and capability initiatives designed to democratize financial knowledge and promote financial inclusion for low and moderate-income populations. This work aims to understand how financial knowledge is taught and how financial values and practices are shaped for populations previously excluded from mainstream financial participation. Drawing on over 14 months of qualitative research in Boston, Massachusetts, I provide a detailed empirical account of how low and moderate-income individuals learn to navigate the contemporary financial economy. This work also examines socially constructed notions of risk and responsibility, and asks how normative framings of proper financial participation shape financial subjectivity. My research draws on and contributes to scholarship in feminist political economy, social studies of finance, and critical economic geography. 


I am a dedicated researcher and teacher. Before coming to Kentucky, I taught English and history to middle and high school students in Worcester, MA and Oakland, CA, and then worked on a California Department of Education project with faculty from across the California college and university system. I have also designed curriculum and facilitated workshops for various youth programs. My experiences as a writing consultant at the Clark Writing Center and as a volunteer writing tutor at 826 Valencia in San Francisco have shaped my writing practice, and inform the writing exercises that I use in teaching undergraduate courses.

I taught Human Geography at the University of Kentucky (2014-2015), and have been an adjunct instructor teaching World Regional Geography at Bunker Hill Community College while working on my dissertation in Boston, MA (2016-2018). 

Together with colleagues similarly interested in critical, liberatory and transformative approaches to education, I co-founded the UK Critical Pedagogy Working Group. From 2013-2015, I was also an organizer of the Dimensions of Political Ecology (DOPE) Conference. I am also a member of the Relational Poverty Network (RPN)

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