Black & Indigenous Feminist Futures Institute (BIFFI)

Programing and events

Fellows in Residence, Fall 2023

October 10th throughout 14th, 2023

Sharon P. 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,

Jodi Byrd (Chickasaw)


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).

December 5th through 9th, 2023

Esme Murdock


Is an assistant professor of philosophy at San Diego State University. Her research explores the intersections of social/political relations and environmental health, integrity, and agency. Specifically, her work troubles the purported stability of dominant, largely euro-descendent, and settler-colonial philosophies through centering conceptions of land and relating to land found within African American, Afro-Diasporic, and Indigenous eco-philosophies. Murdock is looking forward to the opportunity to work on her first project and primary focus, a forthcoming book tentatively titled, Blood, Bone, & Land: Black Environmental Identities, Heritages, and Histories in Coastal South Carolina.

Meredith Alberta Palmer


Is a Tuscarora, Haudenosaunee (Grand River, Six Nations) and a Cornell Presidential Postdoc in the Science and Technology Studies department and American Indian and Indigenous Studies program at Cornell University. As a critical Indigenous geographer, Palmer researches technologies of occupation, and amplify and build ways in which they are refused, in lands currently territorialized as North America. Palmer received a PhD in Geography at UC Berkeley in 2020, and a MPH from UC Berkeley's School of Public Health in 2015. Palmer’s research has been funded by the Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Fellowship at Yale UniversityFord Foundation Fellowships, UC Chancellor's Fellowship, and the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. 

Black and Indigenous Studies Certificate Program

BIFFI’s “Black and Indigenous Studies certificate program” will provide a regional, national, and international model for pedagogical best practices and innovation in this emerging sub-field. The Black and Indigenous Certificate, funded by Mellon, will also complement, and expand the existing Indigenous Studies Interdisciplinary Doctoral (ISID) cluster and the Carter G. Woodson Center’s graduate certificate in African Studies. These programs working in collaboration will provide a truly interdisciplinary program across the curriculum (undergraduate, MA, Ph.D.) and various departments at UVA. Some immediate deliverables will include:

  • Production of syllabi, curriculum, and pedagogical materials (podcasts, webinars, recordings).

  • Two new courses (“Introduction to Black and Indigenous Studies, Black and Indigenous Feminisms) to be taught in years one and two.

  • Creation of a scholarly network of scholars who co-author scholarship, develop models for pedagogical innovation, and advocate for institutional support of the sub field at their respective universities.

  • The first Black and Indigenous Studies certificate program on the east coast.

The cohort of faculty who participate in the project will also be more prepared to advocate for critical hires in Black and Indigenous studies at the University of Virginia.

Summer Institute (TBD)

“Rematriation, Reparations, and Land Back”