Kendra Kintzi

Ph.D. Candidate, Development Sociology

Research focus

  • Energy
  • Climate change
  • Digital mobilization
  • Smart infrastructure
  • Middle East


Kendra Kintzi is a human geographer whose research engages the material politics of renewable and smart energy development. Rooted in the Middle East, her work draws together theory and methods from political ecology, critical political economy, and digital geography to question the relationship between energy and political power. She employs ethnographic, archival, and digital geographic methods, and she centers intersectional feminist approaches in asking how urban communities in Jordan experience and shape processes of environmental and infrastructural change. Prior to coming to Cornell, Kendra managed impact evaluations for a multimillion-dollar portfolio of infrastructure development projects across the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Originally from California, Kendra earned dual B.A. degrees in Development Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with highest honors in the major.


  • Master of Science in Development Sociology, Cornell University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley (Highest Honors in Development Studies)


  • Oulo, B., Sidle, A.A., Kintzi, K., Mwangi, M., Akello, I. (2021). “Understanding the Barriers to Girls’ School Return: Girls’ Voices from the Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic in East Africa.” AMPLIFY Girls Research Brief. Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Kintzi, K. (2020). Review of the book THE LICIT LIFE OF CAPITALISM: U.S. Oil in Equatorial Guinea, by Hannah Appel. Geographical Review. DOI: 10.1080/00167428.2020.1851081.
  • Kintzi, K. (2019). Natural Gas for Development? Understanding the opportunities and challenges for gas in a context of climate change. Oxfam Research Backgrounder Series, 1-89.

Thesis & committee

Kendra’s dissertation project is entitled “Glittering Metropolis: Cultivating Renewability in the Land of the Sun.” It explores how renewable energy transition shapes the terrain of political action, focusing on Jordan’s ambitious renewable and smart energy development program. Drawing on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork based in Amman, her dissertation contributes to critical scholarship on the uneven development of global digital infrastructures and the evolving urban impacts of decarbonization. Kendra is advised by Lori Leonard (chair), Wendy Wolford, Jenny Goldstein, and Mostafa Minawi.

Current grants 

  • 2021: Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellow, US Department of Education (declined)
  • 2021: Pruitt Dissertation Research Fellowship, Society of Woman Geographers
  • 2021: Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Council of American Overseas Research Centers
  • 2021: Andrew W. Mellon Student Research Grant, Cornell Graduate School
  • 2021: Qualitative and Interpretive Research Institute Small Grant, Cornell Center for Social Science
  • 2019: Fulbright US Student Research Award and Critical Language Enhancement Award, US Department of State
  • 2019: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention

Awards & honors

  • 2019: Taietz Award for best graduate student conference paper, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Connect with Kendra