Naimah Z Petigny

Naimah Pétigny is a Black Feminist scholar, dancer, and educator. As the granddaughter of Haitian and Jamaican immigrants, Naimah grew up in Western Massachusetts as a youth organizer, racial justice facilitator, and dancer in professional ensembles. Naimah graduated with a B.A in Sociology and Women's Studies from Vassar College in 2014. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her work is multi-modal and exists at the intersections of Black Feminist Theory, Gender Studies, and Performance Studies. Her scholarship centers expansive notions of Blackness and her dissertation "The Hold is also an Embrace: Readings in Contemporary Black Feminist Performance" analyzes contemporary dance theater performance and improvisational movement of Black women, and Black gender queer artists, to rethink the linkages between coloniality, performance, erotics, and Black liberation. Naimah’s work has been published in Commoning Ethnography, The Walker Art Center Magazine, Agitate! Unsettling Knowledges Journal, and the Routledge International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies. 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 an educator, Naimah is dedicated to building spaces of connection within her classrooms to support students’ wholistic growth as analytical thinkers and creative writers. During 2020-2021, Naimah is a University of Minnesota Leadership in Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Fellow and P.E.O International scholar. In fall 2021, Dr. Naimah Petigny will join the faculty of the Department of Literary Arts and Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) as an Assistant Professor. Her hire is a part of cluster hire in Race, Art, and Decolonization.

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