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Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she is the director of the Native American and Indigenous Languages (NAIL) Lab and an affiliate faculty of American Indian Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies. She earned her PhD in Linguistics at University of Colorado, Boulder in 2013. She was the 2010-2011 Henry Roe Cloud Fellow in American Indian Studies at Yale University, and a 2013-2014 Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellow in Linguistics at the University of Kentucky. Her research focuses on contemporary Indigenous language(s) and identity, with dual focuses on Indigenous language revitalization and Indigenous gender and sexuality. Her current research projects are a multi-sited ethnographic investigation of the ways that—in the modern, urban American Indian diasporic contexts—indigenous language(s) are used and revitalized in locations other than Native American reservations and trust lands and a decade-long project exploring the semiotic negotiation of the multiply marginalizations of Queer/Two-Spirit Native American people. In addition publications from her research on Chickasaw language revitalization (Language and Communication, 2016 and The Changing World Religion Map, 2015), she has published in a number of topics and fields, including gendered representations in Breton language revitalization media (Gender & Language, 2012); the intersections of language, race, and indigeneity (Parsing the Body, accepted); the discourses about language endangerment in media (Language Documentation & Description, 2017); the role of postcolonial theory and Indigenous methodologies in researching language, gender, and sexuality (Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality, forthcoming); and language, indigeneity, and gender/sexuality in Two Spirit identity (Queer Excursions, 2014). Her 2014 co-edited volume from Oxford University Press, Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality, was awarded the Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association.

Candidate Statement:

I have participated in NAISA for 6 years first as a graduate student and now as an assistant professor and I have worked and taught in American Indian Studies at my home institution of UIUC; as a faculty liaison and workshop instructor in the Newberry Consortium of American Indian Studies; and as an instructor at the 2014 and 2016 Collaborative Language (CoLang) Institutes, which train linguists and community language activists in community-based language documentation and revitalization. I am dedicated to Native American and Indigenous Studies as an interdisciplinary and trans-national endeavor that draws from and speaks back to multiple academic fields and community contexts. If elected, I look forward to actively contributing to the mission of NAISA as we navigate a climate in which Indigenous studies programs are simultaneously gaining traction and facing increased vulnerability in academic institutions.