Naimah Z Petigny

Naimah Petigny is a Black Feminist scholar, educator, and dancer. As the granddaughter of Haitian and Jamaican immigrants, Naimah grew up in Western Massachusetts as a racial justice organizer and student of Afro-Caribbean dance. Naimah received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's Studies and Sociology from Vassar College in 2014. Currently, she’s a Ph.D. candidate in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota. Naimah’s work exists at the intersections of Black Feminist Theory, Black Studies, and Performance Studies and probes the relationships between subjectivity, representation, and cultural production across disciplinary divides and methodological approaches. Her dissertation, The Hold is also an Embrace: Readings in Contemporary Black Feminist Performance, centers contemporary Black performance to rethink the relationship between performativity and Black liberation. This research reads across staged choreography, dance improvisation, public processionals, site-specific ritual, and direct-action mobilization protests to map how performance extends Black feminist genealogies of radicalism. Her research has been generously supported by the College of Liberal Arts; Steven J. Schochet Endowment for Queer, Trans and Sexuality Studies; the Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies Center; The Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. As a research and innovation professional, Naimah has experience with interdisciplinary research, training, community engagement, and disparity reduction across government, non-profit, and higher education. She’s a proven leader with strong analytical and change management skills who brings a racial equity lens, and analysis of structural racism, to applied research, development, and systems change initiatives. During 2020-2021, Naimah is a University of Minnesota Leadership in Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Fellow and P.E.O International scholar.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Bachelors of Arts : Women's Studies , Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, 2014.
  • Bachelors of Arts : Sociology , Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, 2014.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Black Feminist Theory
  • Performance Studies
  • Queer of Color Critique
  • (Auto) Ethnography
Courses Taught
  • GWSS1003: Women Write the World (Teaching Assistant)
  • Feminist Film Studies
  • Radical Practice: Black Performance and the Everyday
  • Engaging Justice
Research & Professional Activities


  • Project Manager : Art of Healing: Embodied Storysharing as Resistance and Praxis
  • Research Assistant: Department of Communications, University of Minnesota, 2014
  • Youth Participatory Action (YPAR) Researcher: Youth Participatory Action project at Parkway Montessori School in St.Paul, MN, 2016
  • Researcher: School for International Training, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2012
  • Researcher, Oral History Interviewer : Vassar College Queer Oral History Project, 2012 - 2014
  • Archival Intern: Real Cost of Prisons Project, 2013
  • Research Assistant: Department of Education, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, 2011
  • Rapturous Groundings: Bouchra Ouizguen's Corbeaux and the Performance of Release: Petigny, Naimah, Author. Link
  • Decolonizing Methods Through Embodied Praxis: Petigny, Naimah, Routledge International Handbooks, Routledge International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies, , 2019.
  • Dancing Black Militancies: A Meditation on Performance, Dissent and Black Ecological Praxis in Ananya Dance Theater: Petigny, Naimah, University of Washington Press, Meditation on Dream: Intersecting Artistic Excellence and Social Justice, 2019.
  • Black Feminist Film Review : Petigny, Naimah, Films for the Feminist Classroom , 9 , 2020. Link
  • Performing Embodied Translations Decolonizing Methodologies of Knowing and Being: Petigny, Naimah, Commoning Ethnography , 2 , 2019. Link
  • Steven J. Schochet Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship in in Queer, Trans, and Sexuality Studies, 9/1/17 - 5/20/18
  • Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies Graduate Research Partnership Program Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 6/1/17 - 9/1/17
  • University of Minnesota Graduate School, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Sept 2019 - May 2020
  • Hennepin County Government Graduate Fellowship , May 2019 - May 2020
  • Leadership in Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Fellowship, University of Minnesota Graduate School, August 2020 - August 2021
  • P.E.O International Scholar Award , August 2020 - August 2021