1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Kasey Jernigan

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and American Studies

Brooks Hall, 310B

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. 


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

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.

Department Faculty

Sonia Alconini
David A. Harrison III Professor of American Archaeology
Ira Bashkow
Goldsmith Family NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2018-2021: Associate Professor
Frederick H. Damon
Eve Danziger
Professor and Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics
Lise Dobrin
Associate Professor
Gertrude Fraser
Associate Professor
Richard Handler
Professor & Director of Global Development Studies Program
James Igoe
Professor & Chair
Kasey Jernigan
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and American Studies
Adria LaViolette
Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Daniel Lefkowitz
Associate Professor
George Mentore
Associate Professor
Rachel Most
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs & Professor
Fraser D. Neiman
China Scherz
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Mark Sicoli
Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Admissions
Margaret Smith
Director & Curator, The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection
Sylvia Tidey
Assistant Professor
Patricia Wattenmaker
Associate Professor
Kath Weston
Jarrett Zigon
William & Linda Porterfield Chair in Biomedical Ethics and Professor of Anthropology