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American Ethnic Studies

Dr. April Petillo

Dr. April Petillo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Ethnic Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Kansas State University.  Her work is inspired by community social justice and she is passionate about creating student-centered learning environments focused on real-life applicability.  Dr. Petillo specializes in Native American/Indigenous studies, comparative/critical ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, law and policy (sociolegal studies), Critical Trafficking Studies, Black Studies and Slavery Studies as well as people of color and queer theories and the processes of criminalization. She interrogates slavery and settler logics, their sociocultural impacts, and the ways they influence the representation/misrepresentation of people in the law.  You can often find her in search of the perfect cup of decaf coffee or walking her sometimes skittish dog, Sofia. 

Recent Courses Taught by Dr. Petillo

Click on the videos below for information on these courses.  For a larger screen, watch on YouTube (click on the logo).  The YouTube content-box gives even more information on the course, so feel free to "see more info."


Dr. Petillo's Scholarship

More information on some of Dr. Petillo's work is here.  Dr. Petillo earned her Ph.D. as well as three professional certificates from the University of Arizona and her M.A. from American University. Dr. Petillo is proud to publish in academic and non-academic sources. 

Select Publications

"A Hopeful Decolonial Rhizome: An Invitation." Frontiers, 41, no. 2. (2020), 128-142. Co-authored with Maia Butler, Krista Benson, and Shyla Hamilton.

"A Sketch of Arrivantcy: Towards Decolonized Solidarity across Indigenous and Black Divides." Frontiers, 41, no. 2 (September 2020), 192-215.

"Thinking, Talking, Writing Collectively:An Approach to Decolonial Feminist Praxis and Pedagogy" Frontiers Augmented, video 19:22. January 2021. https://frontiers.utah.edu/thinking-talking-writing-collectively-an-approach-to-decolonial-feminist-praxis-and-pedagogy/.  The video is embedded below. Dr. Petillo's comments on her contributions begin at 3:05.

Thinking, Talking, Writing Collectively: An Approach to Decolonial Feminist Praxis and Pedagogy from proj-ect PRO:JECT on Vimeo.

"Unsettling Ourselves: Notes on Self-Reflective Listening Beyond Discomfort." Feminist Anthropology, 1, no.1. (May 2020). 

Marking Embodied Borders: Compulsory Settler Sexuality, Indigeneity, and US LawWomen's Studies in Communication (Conversation and Commentary: Trafficking Theory, Migrating Method, and Cross-Disciplinary Pedagogy-Sex Trafficking and Queer Migration Scholars in Conversation). Vol. 41, Issue 4. 

"Sex Trafficking of Native Peoples: History, Race, and Law." in Jennifer R. Wies and Hillary J. Haldane, eds. Applying Anthropology to Gender-Based Violence.  Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. (2015)

 “A Roadmap Is An Opportunity: Getting Out of the Maze of Injustice.” in John G. Hansen and Alex Wilson, eds. Exploring Social Justice: Indigenous Perspectives. British Columbia, Canada: JCharlton Publishing Ltd. (2014)

 “Unfolding the Dialogue: Where Transnational and Native American Studies Meet.” Arizona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2, no. 1 (Spring 2013).

 “Native Economic Development Theory and Practice.” Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education (Web Edition) 23, no. 4. (May 15th, 2012).

Invited Talks

Naming (In)Justice: Rights and Resistance Across Queer Migrations and Trafficking, Ohio State University, October 18th, 2018

Racial Violence Hub Workshop, University of California, LA, September 20th-21st, 2018

Native Nation (re)Building: From Economics to Community Building (video link) talk at the People. Policy. Place. Seminar Series, The Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, August 17, 2017

Dr. Petillo's Teaching

Courses at KSU

  • AMETH 160 Introduction to American Ethnic Studies (undergraduate)
  • AMETH 352 Native American Perspectives: Contemporary Social Movements*
  • AMETH 352 Native American Perspectives: Indigenous Hip Hop--Mad Native Beats*
  • AMETH 450 Comparative Ethnic Studies: Conversations Across Ethnicities
  • AMETH 450 Comparative Ethnic Studies: The Political Body*
  • AMETH 560 Special Topics: Federal Indian Law*
  • AMETH 660 Introduction to American Ethnic Studies (graduate)

Other Courses & Educational Workshops Outside of KSU

  • African Americans in Higher Education & Student Activism
  • Indigenous Feminisms 101 for the Non-Indigenous
  • Indigenous Methods & Methodologies (advanced undergraduate & graduate)
  • Introduction to American Indian Studies (undergraduate)
  • Interpersonal, Gendered Violence & Feminist Jurisprudence (advanced undergraduate & graduate)
  • Legacies: Settler Colonialism & Chattel Slavery
  • Many Nations of Native America (general education course)
  • Native & Indigenous Nation Building Theory and Practicum (undergraduate & graduate versions)
  • Native & Indigenous Social Movements
  • Service Learning in Indian Country
  • Sex Trafficking & Sex Work in Indian Country


*This course counts towards the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies minor as well as the American Ethnic Studies major and minor.

April at ASA 2018

Contact Info

Email:   drpetilloclass@ksu.edu

(the email above is the best way for students enrolled my courses to reach me)

   apetillo@ksu.edu (general email)

Phone: (785) 532-2112

Office: Leasure Hall, Room 104

Office Hours:

Quick questions--10 minutes before and after scheduled class zoom sessions.

Mon. 1-2pm & Tue. 8-9am. 

All office hours are online or by phone until further notice.

Appointments aren't required but highly recommended, epecially for advising.

Dr. Petillo's scheduler (draprilpetillo.youcanbook.me) explains it all.