Black & Indigenous Feminist Futures Institute (BIFFI)

Who We Are



Tiffany King

(Associate Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality)

King’s work is animated by abolitionist and decolonial traditions within Black Studies and Native/Indigenous Studies. She is the author of The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies (Duke University Press, 2020) which won the Lora Romero First Book Prize. She also co-edited Otherwise Worlds: Against Settler Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism (Duke University Press, 2021). In her forthcoming work, Red and Black Alchemies of Flesh: Conjuring A Decolonial and Abolitionist Now, King turns to the connective threads that bring Black queer feminist and Indigenous/Native queer feminist traditions into intimate and erotic relations. The book project conceptualizes a Black and Indigenous ‘analytics of the flesh’ to think and feel with Black and Indigenous feminist and queer poetics, critique, dreams, ecologies, and praxis as sites of rupture that expose existing decolonial and abolitionist presents and futures. 

Sonia Alconini

(Professor, Anthropology Department and Interdisciplinary Archaeology Program) is an anthropological archaeologist who specializes in the rise of sociopolitical complexity in ancient pre-Columbian societies. Originally from Bolivia, she has conducted research in the Andes for several decades. Alconini is particularly interested in exploring the frontiers of the Inka empire, and the ways in which these contested spaces affected the dynamics of ancient borderland populations. Multidisciplinary in nature, her research draws from archaeology and ethnohistory to assess the materiality of colonial encounters and the mechanics of ancient imperialism. She also uses different scales of analysis -ranging from the region, community, and household levels-, to tease out the complexity of imperial and indigenous encounters.  


Alconini has conducted research on the Southeastern Inka frontier, where the Inka confronted the belligerent Guaraní-Chiriguano tribes from the tropical lowlands. The results of this investigation were published in several articles, including the book Southeastern Inka Frontiers: Boundaries and Interaction (University of Florida Press, 2016). She is currently conducting in the region to the east of the Titicaca basin the Kallawaya region, and the Inka frontier installation of Samaipata. Alconini has coedited the Oxford Handbook of the Incas (University of Oxford Press, 2018) with Alan R. Covey and Distant Provinces in the Inka Empire: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Inka Imperialism (University of Iowa Press, 2010), co-edited with Michael Malpass. 

Kasey Jernigan

(Assistant Professor, American Studies and Anthropology Departments and Director of the NAIS Minor Program) focuses on health, bodies, and relationality through foodways among Oklahoma tribes. Using collaborative and participatory research methods, her research examines the socio-cultural, political-economic, and historical influences of health, while centering tribal citizens’ personal stories and meaning-making in these processes.


In her current manuscript project, Embodied Heritage: Commod Bods and Indian Identities, Jernigan examines the ways shifting patterns of participation in food and nutrition assistance programs have shaped Indigenous foodways; how these foodways are linked to Indigenous bodies and health; and how foodways and bodies are intertwined with structural violence, relationality, and heritage. Jernigan’s research has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the USDA’s Economic Research Service through Purdue University’s RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies, and the Northwest Native American Research Center for Health funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She received her PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a Graduate Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies. She also holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and completed the NIH Native Researchers’ Certificate Program at Oregon Health & Sciences University. She is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Intersectional Studies Collective:

Lanice Avery (WGS and Psychology) Black women, sexuality, sexual pleasure, hegemonic femininity

Allison Bigelow (Spanish and Portuguese) science, technology, Spanish colonialism, Latin America, Indigenous knowledges, Afro-diasporan knowledges

Matthew Chin (WGS) racial and sexual formation, Anglophone Caribbean

Federico Chuatlchuatl (Art History/Studio Art) film, Latinx immigrant, social movements, cultural sustainability

Ashon Crawley (AAS/Religious Studies) Black Studies, Performance theory, Sound Studies, philosophy, theology, Black Feminist, Black Queer Theory

Corrine Field (WGS) age/ageism, gender, race, women’s rights

Jim Igoe (Anthropology) biodiversity conservation, development, nature, social movements, East Africa, North America

Kwame Otu (AAS) African anthropology, transnational LGBT studies, anti-colonial studies, anti-blackness, afro-diaspora, afrofuturism

Geeta Patel (Middle Eastern, South Asian Languages and Cultures/WGS) nation, gender, sexuality, science, media, aesthetics, capital

Allison Pugh (WGS and Sociology), work, dignity, political economy

Cole Rizki (Spanish) violence, Latin America, Caribbean, Transgender activism and cultural production, American empire

Jalane Schmidt (Religious Studies) Afro-diasporan spirituality and religion, ritual, festivals

Helena Zeweri (Global Studies) settler colonialism, Australia, immigrant detention

External ISC members

Shanya Cordis (Black/Lokono/Warau) (Spelman College) Indigeneity, Caribbean studies, transnational indigenous and black feminisms, critical feminist geographies

Yomaira Figueroa-Vasquez (Michigan State University) Afro-Latinx literature, decolonial studies, Black diaspora, Afro-feminisms

Sharon Holland (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) African American literature, black feminism, queer theory, critical animal studies

Kai Pyle (Metis/Sault Ste. Marie Nishnaabe) (University of Minnesota) Indigenous studies, Indigenous literature, queer and trans history, Anishinaabe studies

Karyn Recollet (Cree) (University of Toronto) Indigenous performance studies, decolonial aesthetics, urban Indigenous land relations, Indigenous futurity

Megan Scribe (Norway House Cree Nation) (Ryerson University) Indigenous feminisms, Indigenous girlhood studies, critical race theory

Leanne Betasomasake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg) scholar, writer and artist

Amber Stark/Melanin Mvskoke (Muscogee Creek/Shawnee/Yuchi/Quapaw/Cherokee) activist, cultural critic

Melanie Yazzie (Dine) (University of New Mexico) Dine/Navajo Studies, social movements, queer and feminist studies