Excavating Archivally-Disfigured Lives: Afro-Indigenous “Incompetent” Women, Legal Surveillance, Dependence, and Alternative Geographies in Jim Crow Oklahoma


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




This dissertation project unearths the lives of Afro-Native women who were legally “incompetent”—branded disabled—and navigated court systems in Jim Crow Oklahoma. Through innovative archival research methods that draw from critical disability, Black feminist, and Indigenous theory, the research brings archivally-disfigured women from the margins of the documents meant to surveil them to the center of the dissertation. Embracing critical digital spatial modeling and original art design as formal methods, the project traces a picture of the embodied and sensorial experiences of disabled Afro-Indigenous women. As it unwinds intersectional forms of judicial violence and maps resistant geographies, the project elucidates the connections between Indigenous, Black, and disabled histories and futures.