Jessica Perea

Institutional Affiliation 
Assistant Professor of Native American Studies, UC Davis
Professional Bio 

Jessica Bissett Perea is a San Francisco-based musician, educator, and scholar. She studied double bass and vocal performance, music education, and history at Central Washington University before pursuing an MA in Music at the University of Nevada, Reno. She completed her Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles and was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Music at UC Berkeley. She currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Jessica’s interdisciplinary research has been supported by the Hellman Fellows Program, the UC Institute for Research in the Arts, the UC Center for New Racial Studies, the UC Davis Humanities Institute, the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and more. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Critical Ethnic Studies and Arctic Anthropology.

Jessica was born in Anchorage, Alaska and is an enrolled member of the Knik Tribe. Her innovative research, teaching, and dedication to community outreach were recognized with a 2010 Alaska Native Visionary Award, presented by the Alaska Native Heritage Month committee and board of directors, and a 2015 UC Davis Native American Community Honoring, presented by the Native American Culture Days and Powwow Committees.

Area of Expertise 

My areas of expertise include: music, sound and media studies; 20th and 21st century American music history; Indigenous aesthetics and philosophies; Alaska Native and Circumpolar Inuit cultures, histories, and politics; popular, folk, jazz and improvisational performance cultures; critical race and gender studies; research methodologies and critical pedagogy. As a first-generation college graduate, tribal member, and woman, I am marked as ‘different’ compared to the majority of ladder-rank faculty who have limited first-hand experiences with class-, race-, and gender-based discrimination. I am deeply committed to breaking down racial stereotypes and barriers around each of these categories, and I have learned to use my new position as a faculty member to promote cross-racial understanding via theoretical and concrete engagements with intersectionality. My two current research projects examine: Alaskan Inuit lived experiences as articulated through modern musical practices and in relation to the ongoing colonial dimensions of racialization in American musical life; and community-based participatory research methodologies that aim to revitalize and redevelop cultural competencies in Indigenous knowledges, especially in relation to music and dance curriculum, student recruitment and retention efforts, and campus cultural programming.

Workshop Locations