Kasey Jernigan

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and American Studies

PhD. University of Massachusetts, Amherst 


Medical anthropology, Native North America, Indigenous Studies, foodways, engaged anthropology, participatory research methods, digital storytelling

As a critical medical anthropologist, my research focuses on obesity (and related chronic conditions) at the intersections of issues related to structural violence, historical trauma, heritage narratives, and meaning-making among Indigenous communities in Oklahoma. Using collaborative and participatory methods, my research examines the socio-cultural, economic, political, and historical influences of health, while centering tribal citizens’ personal stories and meaning-making in these processes. In my current book project, Embodied Heritage: Commod Bods and Indian Identities, I examine the ways shifting patterns of participation in food and nutrition assistance programs (commodity foods in particular) have shaped Indigenous foodways; how these foodways are linked to Indigenous bodies and health; and how foodways and bodies are intertwined with structural violence, identity, and heritage.

I received my PhD in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a Graduate Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies. I also hold an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. I come to UVA from Wesleyan University where I was the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Native American Studies.

I am a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and grew up in Tulsa, OK. 

Selected Publications

Gubrium, AC, Fiddian-Green A., Jernigan, K.,Krause, EL. (2016). Bodies as evidence: Mapping new terrain for teen pregnancy and parenting. Journal of Global Public Health,11(5-6): 618-635.

Leatherman T, Jernigan K.(2014). Introduction: Critical biocultural approaches to health disparities. Annals of Anthropological Practice, 38(2): 171-186.

Leatherman T, Jernigan K.(2014). The reproduction of poverty and poor health in spaces of vulnerability: A critical biocultural approach. Annals of Anthropological Practice, 38(2): 284-299.

Gubrium, AC, Krause, EL, Jernigan, K.(2014). Strategic authenticity and voice: New ways of seeing and being seen as a young mother through digital storytelling. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 1-11.

Wexler L, Jernigan K,Mazziotti J, Baldwin E, Griffin M. (2014). Lived Challenges and Getting Through Them: Alaska Native Youth Narratives As a Way to Understand Resilience. Health Promotion Practice, 15(1): 10-7.