Jennifer N. Brass is an associate professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Her research focuses on service provision, governance, and state-society relationships in sub-Saharan Africa. Brass asks questions about how, when, and which people get access to services; whether and how the type of service provider (state, nonprofit, market) matters for service quality and state-society interactions; and how variation in access to services affects development outcomes.
Her award-winning 2016 Cambridge University Press book, Allies or Adversaries? NGOs and States in Africa and a series of related articles address these questions by focusing on service-providing NGOs. Brass shows how NGOs have become intertwined in governance in Kenya, not only in terms of both policymaking and implementation but also in terms of extending the geographic reach of the state. She argues that nonstate service provision relates to citizens' views of the state and their democratic participation. Another line of her publications focuses on one type of service: electricity. Brass is currently studying the very rapid expansion of electricity access in Kenya, examining questions related to energy security, energy justice, accountability, and citizenship practices.
Brass holds an MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.