Leila is 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 and Black-Native people, 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 Lead Chair for the Life x Code: Digital Historians Against Enclosure NHPRC project hosted by Johns Hopkins University and was formerly a Research Assistant for the American Historical Association (AHA). 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 member of the intertribal Bulbancha Collective.
Leila is the author of chapters in What is History, Now? and Louisiana Creole Peoplehood: Afro-Indigeneity and Community and has forthcoming articles in the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Scholarly Editing, and the William & Mary Quarterly.