Center for Fair & Alternative Trade

Colorado State University



Douglas L. Murray: Professor of Sociology, CSU. Dr. Murray’s research and applied work has focused on agricultural modernization in the developing world and the social and ecological changes that accompany it, most notably in chemical intensive farming systems. He is co-editor of the book, Fair Trade: The Challenges of Transforming Globalization. He also works regularly as an advisor to NGOs and international development agencies on issues of agriculture, fair and alternative trade, and social change.

Laura T. Raynolds: Professor of Sociology, CSU. Dr. Raynolds has done extensive research on production, social movements, network organization, and market issues related to fair and alternative trade in the agriculture and food sectors. Her research is informed by expertise in globalization, stratification, gender, and political economy and by extensive fieldwork in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is the co-editor of Fair Trade: The Challenges of Transforming Globalization and author of numerous articles and book chapters.


Ana Arias: Private Consultant. Ana is an eco and socially-minded gourmet specialty foods expert, journalist and principal of Arias Global Consulting. A Costa Rican native, she works on multi-cultural relations, international business development, sales and negotiations in academic and professional publishing, corporate, agency, non-profit and municipality environments. Ana has a fire-in-the belly about promoting practical and inspiring contributions to the planet and its kin related to local and global social equity, organic agriculture and progressive entrepreneurship.

Jennifer Bair: Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Bair’s research merges political economy, comparative sociology, and development interests, focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean.  Her work with CFAT explores commonalities between Fair Trade and Anti-Sweatshop initiatives and the effects of production globalization on workers, particularly women. Dr. Bair has written many articles and chapters and recently edited Frontiers of Commodity Chains Research.

Elizabeth Bennett: Assistant Professor of International Affairs, Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon). Dr. Bennett holds a PhD in political science from Brown University. She is published in the American Journal of Sociology and Globalizations and is the co-author of The Civic Imaginationan ethnography of activism and inequality in America. Dr. Bennett is co-editor of The Handbook of Research on Fair Trade and is working on a manuscript on the politics of governance in Fairtrade labeling. Please visit:

Michael Carolan: Professor and Chair of Sociology, CSU. Dr. Carolan’s research focuses on food production and consumption. He is actively engaged in debates surrounding such phenomena as food insecurity, social and environmental sustainability, and the constitution of “value”. His most recent books include The Real Cost of Cheap Food, Reclaiming Food Security, and Cheaponomics: The High Cost of Low Prices. To learn more about Dr. Carolan, please visit:

Maureen DeCoursey: Private Consultant. Ms. DeCoursey (MF, Yale University) is an expert in forest and natural-resource based sustainable development. She brings to CFAT senior-level programming and project management expertise from over 20 countries. Areas of expertise include environment-friendly rural development, small-medium enterprises, the natural products sector, non-timber forest products, fair and alternative trade, community-based conservation, protected areas, sustainable agriculture, and ecotourism.

Sonali Diddi: Assistant Professor in Dept. of Design and Merchandising, CSU. Dr. Diddi’s research focuses on corporate responsibility, sustainability, and consumer behavior in the apparel industry.  Her work explores the influence of socially responsible business practices and communications regarding sustainability in informing consumer decisions and individual consumer responsibility towards sustainable development and ethical consumption practices.


Molly Eckman: Emeritus Professor of Merchandising, CSU. Dr. Eckman’s research interests include the effect of culture on consumer behavior, internationalization of retailing, and social responsibility in the global apparel and footwear supply chain. She is co-author of Social Responsibility in the Global Apparel Industry. Most recently, along with colleagues, she has published journal articles in International Marketing Review, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, and the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal.

Douglas B. Holt: President, Cultural Strategy Group. Former marketing professor, Harvard and Oxford, currently working to bring brand strategy to environment and social justice oriented social movement organizations. Dr. Holt’s academic research focuses on the  sociology of consumption; his management research develops a socio-cultural approach to branding (How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding) and innovation (Cultural Strategy: How Innovative Ideologies Build Extraordinary Brands).

Becca Jablonski Becca B.R. Jablonski: Special Assistant Professor of Food Systems and Regional Economics, CSU. Dr. Jablonski’s research focuses on processes of rural and regional development, identifying strategies to support entrepreneurship, improve agribusiness performance and enhance regional food systems. She is particularly interested in assessing the long-term economic and social impacts of food system initiatives to participating farmers, supply chain participants, and rural/regional economies.


Jennifer Keahey: Assistant Professor, School of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University. Dr. Keahey studies the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of alternative production and trade networks engaging participatory methods to help realize sustainable development in a global era. Most recently, she conducted fieldwork in South Africa’s rooibos tea sector, working with scholars, practitioners, and small-scale farmers to co-develop an integrated ‘participatory commodity networking’ approach to fair trade research and producer support.

John Lindenbaum: Special Adjunct Instructor, CSU. Dr. Lindenbaum (A.B. Princeton University, Ph.D. UC-Berkeley) teaches Cultural Geography and the Geography of Commodities at Colorado State. Dr. Lindenbaum’s academic research explores the production of new meanings and subjectivities through decommodification in U.S. food banks. Dr. Lindenbaum has published articles in Cultural Geographies and Geoforum.


Mary Littrell: Professor Emeritus and former Department Head of Design and Merchandising, CSU. Dr. Littrell is an expert on corporate social responsibility and alternative trade organizations. Her research focuses on artisan enterprise sustainability and fair trade. She is co-author of the path breaking book Social Responsibility in the Global Market: Fair Trade of Cultural Products and of Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development. Her fair trade research focuses on India and Guatemala.

Michael Long: Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University, UK. Dr. Long studies ethical consumption in the agro-food sector using largely quantitative techniques. His dissertation, completed at CSU, examines motivations for engaging in ethical consumption. Dr. Long’s research focuses on consumption patterns, consumer movements, as well as broader issues of quantitative methodology and political economy.

Christine M. Porter: Assistant Professor of Public Health, Division of Kinesiology & Health, University of Wyoming; Project Director and Principal Investigator, Food Dignity. While earning a Ph.D. in Community Nutrition from Cornell University, Christine was active as a researcher and citizen in the local obesity prevention and food justice initiatives. Christine is interested in ethics, radical democracy, social justice, and elimination of health disparities. She pursues these interests through her current action research with community organizing to build equitable, healthy, democratic, and sustainable food systems.

Joshua Sbicca: Assistant Professor of Sociology, CSU. Dr. Sbicca’s research focuses on contentious food politics, food justice, social movements, and social inequality. He is particularly interested in the social dynamics of labor and land use politics, and the complexities of developing initiatives and coalitions that advance social justice and environmental sustainability. His work also explores how food becomes a tool for social change. For more please visit:


Dimitris Stevis: Professor of Political Science, CSU. Dr. Stevis is an expert on transnational regulatory agreements. His research and teaching focus on international environmental politics and policies, environmental and labor regulation, and environmental justice. Building on an ILO funded project on International Framework Agreements between multinational corporations and unions, Dr. Stevis is working with CFAT to research synergies and tensions between Fair Trade and labor rights strategies.

Dawn Thilmany: Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, CSU. Dr. Thilmany is an expert on US organic and “buy local” food sectors. Her research explores alternative food markets defined by consumer concern for organic, local, and eco-friendly product attributes and the willingness to pay for such assurances in natural meats, fresh produce, local wine,  and agritourism. In a CSU / Farm Foundation project, she provides a regional and economic development view on how alternative food systems impact communities.

Tuba Ustuner: Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Business, CSU. Dr. Ustuner’s research extends the sociology of consumption to the distinctive context of the developing world. Her research emphasizes consumer acculturation and status consumption, and has appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research, Harvard Business Review, and Advances in Consumer Research. Before entering academics, she worked as a financial analyst and manage a small business-to-business trading company in Turkey.

Research Assistants:

Nicholas Greenfield

Nicholas Greenfield: Nick is a Sociology PhD student at Colorado State University. He is a UK and South African national with a MA in Critical Global Politics from the University of Exeter. His MA thesis analyzed the extent the fair trade movement can defetishize the commodity, drawing on the case of gold. Nick’s current research interests include how reciprocity and empowerment are formed in global trade through the everyday practices of consumers and producers.


Claudia Rosty: Claudia has a BA in Economics and Public Relations from University of Northern Iowa and a MA in Student Affairs of Higher Education from CSU.  She is a PhD student in Sociology at CSU studying agro-food systems and social inequality. Claudia Rosty has won a prestigious Inter-American Foundation Fellowship to fund her dissertation research on “Fairtrade Certified Coffee Estates: Can Fairtrade Promote Workers’ Empowerment and Gender Equity in Brazilian coffee Plantations?”

Nefratiri Weeks: Nefratiri has a BA in Sociology from UC Denver with a Minor in Economics and is pursuing a PhD in Sociology with a concentration in Political Economy from CSU. She is dedicated to understanding how fair trade and just exchange can solve social problems of poverty, extreme inequality, starvation, environmental degradation, labor exploitation, and thereby bridge the economic gap between the global North and the global South.


In addition to our staff and associates, CFAT also works with several graduate student researchers. Click to learn more about our CFAT graduate students and their research topics.

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