Melanie K. Yazzie

Assistant Proffesor


Research Interest

Melanie K. Yazzie is Assistant Professor of Native American Studies and American Studies at UNM. She was recently the Katrin H. Lamon Residential Scholar at the School for Advanced Research. She has also held a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, and Ford Foundation Diversity Predoctoral Fellowship. Before coming to UNM, she was Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California Riverside where she taught courses in Indigenous feminist and queer studies and women of color feminisms.

Dr. Yazzie specializes in American Indian history; Diné/Navajo Studies; (neo)liberalism; settler colonialism and decolonization; biopolitics; hydrohumanities (water); Indigenous feminisms; Native American studies; social movements; urban Native experience; political ecology; resource extraction; queer Indigenous studies; Marxism; and theories of policing and the state.

She has published articles and book reviews in American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Environment & Society, Wicazo Sa Review (WSR), Studies in American Indian Literature, American Indian Quarterly, Social Text, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society (DIES), and American Quarterly. With Nick Estes, she guest edited a special issue of WSR in 2016 on the legacy of Dakota scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, one of the founders of Native American studies. She also co-edited a special issue of DIES in 2018 with Cutcha Risling-Baldy on Indigenous peoples and the politics of water. She is co-authoring a forthcoming book on bordertown violence with Nick Estes, David Correia, and Jennifer Nez Denetdale.

She is a past board member of Navajo Studies Conference, Inc. and currently serves as the editor for the interdisciplinary international journal DIES. She is on the board of UNM’s Institute for American Indian Research. She also engages in extensive public intellectual and activist work that focuses on Native women’s rights, LGBTQ2 rights, environmental justice, policing and incarceration, housing justice, urban Native issues, left politics, and international solidarity.