American Indian Studies

Nicole Blalock Joining AIS as Assistant Professor

June 30, 2020

Dr. Nicole Blalock Portrait
Dr. Nicole Blalock



Dr. Nicole Blalock will join the American Indian Studies Program as an assistant professor in the Fall semester.  

She received her Ph.D. in School Organization and Education Policy from the University of California, Davis (2013). Her dissertation was titled “Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Understanding school practices and the academic achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native students through a multidisciplinary lens.” 

“Dr. Blalock brings a range of experiences and research interests to the American Indian Studies Program,” according to Dr. Scott Andrews, the program’s director. He noted that she has a master’s degree in Native American Studies from UC Davis and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. “Her research and publications include education, mental health, government policy, art, and popular culture from an American Indian Studies perspective. She has written successful grant proposals to fund research, and she even has experience in film and video game production.” 

Dr. Blalock said, “We are living through so many social challenges right now. Communities are learning how to stay physically distant while finding ways to continue to cultivate care for our relations, the voices of our Black kin are being heard and amplified against structural racism and violence, and we are all learning from each other how to navigate this under the pressures of families disrupted by death, illness, and economic distress.

“I am humbled to be appointed to the humanities faculty at this time when our responsibility to students to learn from each other how to understand historical and current contexts to imagine, create, and live in a better world for all is greatly underscored,” she said.

After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Blalock was a post-doctoral fellow in the Mary Lou Futon Teachers College at Arizona State University. After that, she worked in the non-profit sector administering grants funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities for public humanities programs and as a grant writer at a medical school. She later worked in Irvine for Blizzard Entertainment in the video gaming industry. Most recently, Dr. Blalock was a faculty affiliate with the Center for Indian Education at ASU.

Dr. Blalock has experience working in Native communities, having tutored at Chemawa Indian School while an undergraduate in Salem, Oregon, and within the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, where she organized and supported digital storytelling and reading programs for K-12 youth.   

She has authored and co-authored articles in various journals, including American Indian Culture and Research Journal  and The International Journal of Diverse Identities.  

Her most recent research project concerns a federal “mental hygiene clinic” in the 1930s that mis-identified Native children across the United States as problematic and damaged; the “solutions” to which contributed to the intergenerational trauma of communities through the loss of educational and body sovereignty. Dr. Blalock also explores issues of identity, decolonization, and the politics of contemporary society through both scholarly and artistic practices informed by her mixed heritage as a descendant of the Crow, Cherokee, and Chickasaw nations and Danish and English immigrants.  

In the Fall semester, Dr. Blalock will teach sections of AIS 101 Introduction to American Indian Studies and AIS 304 American Indian Law and Policy.  

“Unfortunately, Dr. Blalock’s first semester at CSUN will be experienced remotely. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no AIS classes meeting on campus. Fortunately, Dr. Blalock has the technology skills to create interesting and effective online classes,” Dr. Andrews said. “I look forward to the Spring when faculty, staff, and students are all back on campus and they can meet Dr. Blalock in person.”