Leila is currently working on two interrelated projects on the enslavement of Native and Black-Native people under French, Spanish, and American rule in the Louisiana Territory and on the “Plantation-to-Petrochemical Complex” along the Lower Mississippi River and Louisiana Gulf Coast.
Her dissertation project seeks to confront the archival silences surrounding the widespread enslavement of Native Americans, especially women and girls, from European intrusion through the mid-19th century. Her secondary project utilizes this research alongside interdisciplinary methodologies to study land use over time in the Lower Mississippi Valley, examining former plantations and present-day petrochemical production in Cancer Alley.
Situated at the intersection of the historical processes of settler colonialism, slavery, and global capitalist modernity, Leila’s work views genocide, enslavement, and environmental racism as interdependent forms of state violence that continue to impact human rights in the United States today.
Leila is a digital archivist with the Life x Code: Digital Historians Against Enclosure project hosted by The Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the producers for the Climates of Inequality: Standing Up On River Road exhibit hosted by the Humanities Action Lab at Rutgers University. And she is a contributing writer for Bulbancha is Still a Place and a member of the inter-tribal Bulbancha Collective.
Leila’s co-written article “How Making Space for Indigenous Peoples Changes History” will be featured in the forthcoming book, What is History, Now? She is also a contributing writer for the book, Louisiana Creole Peoplehood: Post-Contact Afro-Indigeneity and Community, contracted for publication with the University of Washington Press. Her first academic journal article is currently under peer review.