Keiko Tanaka

ktanaka's picture
  • Professor of Sociology
  • Japan Studies
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
  • Sociology
704 Garrigus Building
(859) 257-7574, (859) 351-9252
Research Interests:

Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1997


Dr. Tanaka’s research examines various aspects of sustainable agriculture and food systems. Her current projects on beginning farmers in the Southeastern US and in Japan concern the intersection of farmers’ knowledge, practices and perspectives on agricultural sustainability. She is a member of the multistate research program on an "agriculture of the middle." Under this program, she is conducting a grant-funded project to examine creativities and challenges for operating social justice-oriented food hubs (supply chains) in the Southeastern US. Her instruction focuses on the sociological examination of global food systems and agricultural sustainability, particularly the role of science and technology in reconfiguring relationships and practices of food production, circulation, and consumption. She publishes both in English and Japanese.  Her publications in English can be found in Agriculture and Human Values; the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development; the Journal of Rural Social Sciences (or formally Southern Rural Sociology); and Rural Sociology. She has been very active in the Rural Sociological Society (RSS). In 2018-2019, she served as president of RSS.

Selected Publications: 

Tanaka, K. forthcoming. “Justice & Tyranny: Bringing ‘Rural’ Back Into the Sociology of Food and Agriculture.” The 2019 Presidential Address at the Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society. Rural Sociology, forthcoming.


McGreevy, S., M. Kobayashi, and K. Tanaka. 2018. “Agrarian Pathways for the Next Generation of Japanese Farmers.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies.


Burmeister, L. and K. Tanaka. 2017. “Fair Labor Practices in Values-Based Agrifood Supply Chains?” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 7(3): 17-22.


Tanaka, K. 2017. Mexican Farm Workers in Large-Scale Agriculture in the United States. (アメリカの大規模農業を支えるメキシコ人労働者) Agriculture and Economy, 83 (6): 63-72. (『農業と経済』6月号). Invited manuscript published in the special issue on Foreign Workers in Agriculture and Rural Society.” [Japanese]


Brislen, L.†, K. Tanaka, and K. Jacobsen. 2016. “Preferred Knowledge Sources for Beginning Farmers: The Case of Kentucky.” Journal of Extension. 15(4)


Hullinger, A.† and K. Tanaka. 2015. “Agriculture of the Middle Participation in State Branding Campaigns: The Case of Kentucky.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 6(1): 1-14.

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