Naimah Zulmadelle Pétigny is a Black feminist scholar, dancer and educator. As an assistant professor in the Arts and Studies department, she holds a Schiller Family Assistant Professorship in Race in Art and Design.
Pétigny’s research and teaching is shaped by her experiences as a youth organizer, racial justice facilitator and dancer in professional ensembles. She holds a BA in Women’s Studies and Sociology from Vassar College and earned her PhD in Feminist Studies in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Pétigny’s research and writing is multimodal and exists at the intersections of Black feminist theory, gender studies and performance studies. She writes from, and towards, expansive and experimental sites of Blackness. Her dissertation, The Hold is Also an Embrace: Readings in Contemporary Black Feminist Performance, analyzes contemporary dance theater performance by Black women and Black gender queer artists to rethink the linkages between coloniality, performance, erotics and Black liberation. Pétigny’s broader research continues to wade in Black experimentalisms in art, pedagogy and social practice that embody radical modes of being, long denied to Black peoples.
Pétigny’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 Steven J. Schochet Endowment for Queer, Trans and Sexuality Studies; the Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies Center; and The Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Pétigny’s collaborations with Black dance companies, art centers and networks of social-justice educators demonstrate a commitment to building dynamic spaces of connection and creative research. Within her classrooms, Pétigny supports students’ holistic growth as analytical thinkers, creative writers and changemakers.