Work in Progress

Check out some of my recent research and presentations below to get a sense of where my work is headed.


Upcoming Talks & Presentations

I will be giving a talk titled “Black Feminist Epistemologies & Reparative Justice” at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute on Weds., November 13 from 4-5 PM in the Heritage Room of the Babbidge Library on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.

See the talk description below:

“Hayley’s work examines how cultural reactions to national traumas evaluate embodied experience. In her talk, she will focus on the long refusal to recognize anti-Black oppression and violence as national tragedies. Black Feminist epistemologists such as Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, and Safiya Umoja Noble argue that reparative and restorative justice must value the Black body. This talk brings together legislation, literature, and digital archives to show how Black activists and scholars have used different methods to authorize Black knowledge. These artifacts suggest that reckoning with Black trauma means embracing communal knowledge and privileging the emotional and embodied effects of daily atrocities.”

To request accommodations for the event, contact the UConn Humanities Institute at uchi@uconn.edu or (860) 486-9057.


Writing National Tragedies: Race & Disability in Contemporary U.S. Literature & Culture

I am finishing my dissertation Writing National Tragedies as a UConn Humanities Institute Dissertation Fellow. You can read a brief description of the dissertation as a whole below.

Click here to read more about Writing National Tragedies

Writing National Tragedies examines the concept of the national tragedy in U.S. multi-ethnic literature, legal documents, and other cultural artifacts from World War II to present. 

In each chapter, I curate an archive of these documents for a particular collective trauma to consider how race & disability factor into who gets mourned (or ignored) and what’s memorialized (or erased). 

By analyzing how the state & public describe those affected by trauma, I demonstrate that deeming an event a national tragedy functions as a tool to legitimize certain kinds of violence, particularly against Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color and those whose bodyminds are considered “not normal.” 

We see this, for instance, in the excuse that mental illness causes school shootings. 

Calls for increased medical surveillance hide the fact that the majority of school (and mass) shooters are “non-disabled” white men with a history of interpersonal violence, while disabled people and people of color are much more likely to be victims AND more likely to be harmed for acting “crazy.”

These moments of national tragedy make legible the mechanisms of white supremacy and other acts of state violence — and perhaps also provide the means for effective collective activism against the state. 
Ultimately, what this suggests to me is that national tragedies are, certainly, traumatic experiences — but they are often not the full story.

Creative Commons License: These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.