Speaker Series

Join BIFFI for an afternoon for a conversation with Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson via Zoom, on Tuesday, June 6th from 430-630pm

Click here to register via Zoom 

You can also join BIFFI at Visible Records

(1730 Broadway St., Charlottesville, VA 22902)

New Dominion Books will be on-site at Visible Records to sell books. Pick up your copy and join us for a lively discussion with the authors. .


Fall of 2023


Dr. Jessica Hernandez

Dr. Jessica Hernandez (Binnizá & Maya Ch’orti’) is a transnational Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate based in the Pacific Northwest. She has an interdisciplinary academic background ranging from marine sciences to environmental physics. She advocates for climate, energy, and environmental justice through her scientific and community work and strongly believes that Indigenous sciences can heal our Indigenous lands.

She is the author of ​Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science and is currently  in the process of writing her second book, Growing Papaya Trees: Nurturing Indigenous Roots of Climate Displacement & Justice.  Hernandez has been named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful & influential women of Central America.

Dr. Esme Murdock

Dr. Esme G. Murdock is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and Associate Director of the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs at San Diego State University. Her research interests include environmental justice, Indigenous and Afro-descended environmental ethics, settler colonial theory, and decolonization as land/resource rematriation. Murdock comes to this work as a descendant of enslaved Africans and European settlers in North America. Her current work explores the devastating impacts of colonization and slavery on both Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples and environments on Turtle Island. She anchors her understanding of settler colonialism, in particular, in the experiences and theorization of Native and Black communities especially toward securing decolonial futures. She often writes back to mainstream environmental discourse that attempts to “read out” colonization as the context of environmental degradation and destruction, particularly in the settler colonies of the United States and Canada.  Her work centers conceptions of land and relating to land found within both Indigenous and African American/Afro-descended environmental philosophies. Murdock has work published in Environmental ValuesGlobal EthicsHypatiaAgricultural and Environmental EthicsEthics, Policy & Environment, World Philosophies, and Critical Philosophy of Race.

Murdock’s first book manuscript is a project of public ecological (re)memory anchored in the understanding that land has memory. Her methods include both Indigenous memory/re-memory work and Black feminist witnessing. She is, thus, writing a land history of the South Carolina Sea Coast that engages in the diverse and often erased ecological histories, ecological heritages, ethnobotanical knowledges, and complex relations of Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples within the colonial complex of multiple European powers.

Meredith Alberta Palmer (Tuscarora, Six Nations) is an Indigenous Geographer who explores how US imperial notions and practices consent and refusal in research data collected about Indigenous peoples engages in a territorial politic and practice. She is currently a Presidential Postdoc at Cornell University, in the Department of Science & Technology Studies and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. Her current book project, Imperial Evidence, shows how Indigeneity disrupts core notions of reason, order, and humanism which articulate science, technology, and the US colonial state, and grounds her work in Haudenosaunee homelands. Palmer’s research has been funded by the Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Fellowship at Yale University, Ford Foundation Fellowships, UC Chancellor’s Fellowship, and the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. received her Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley in 2020, and M.P.H. from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health in 2015.

Dr. Meredith Alberta Palmer

Past Events

Fellows in Residence, Fall 2022


Sharon P. Holland (UNC Chapel Hill) and Jodi Byrd (Chickasaw) (Cornell) in conversation for a BIFFI Working Group

October 10-14

Dr. Sharon P. Holland

Dr. Holland is a graduate of Princeton University (1986) and holds a PhD in English and African American Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1992).

She is the author of RAISING THE DEAD: READINGS OF DEATH AND (BLACK) SUBJECTIVITY (Duke UP, 2000), which won the Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association (ASA) in 2002. She is also co-author of a collection of trans-Atlantic Afro-Native criticism with Professor Tiya Miles (American Culture, UM, Ann Arbor) entitled Crossing Waters/ Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (Duke University Press, 2006). Professor Holland is also responsible for bringing a feminist classic, THE QUEEN IS IN THE GARBAGE by Lila Karp to the attention of The Feminist Press (Summer 2007) for publication (2007). She is the author of The Erotic Life of Racism (Duke University Press, 2012), a theoretical project that explores the intersection of Critical Race, Feminist, and Queer Theory. She is also at work on the final draft of another book project entitled simply, “little black girl.”

You can see her work on food, writing and all things equestrian on her blog,

Dr. Byrd holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. (2002) in English literature from the University of Iowa. Byrd is an associate professor of English at Cornell University.

Byrd is the author of The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism which won the 2011 Best First Book of the Year award from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association,[14] and the 2012 Wordcraft Circle Award for Academic Work of the Year.[15]

Earlier, Byrd won the 2008 Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies of the Native American Literature Symposium for their paper “Living my native life deadly: Red Lake, Ward Churchill, and the discourses of competing genocides” (American Indian Quarterly, 2007).

October 10-14

Dr. Jodi Byrd (Chickasaw)

Speakers Series

A Minor Chorus: A Novel

Billy-Ray Belcourt

April 11, 2023 at 4pm UpduqvqzItGN3vPIpC4hjPFddqGy5xx5UP