Department of Geography and the Environment

Naya Jones

Research FellowPhD, Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin

Community-Based Researcher & Healing Arts Practitioner
Naya Jones



Critical health studies; critical food studies; black food geographies; black geographies; traditional healing; racial trauma; environmental knowledge; community-based scholarship; critical pedagogy; arts-based methods; Black, Xicana, and indigenous feminisms; Black Diaspora (North and Latin America)


Dr. Naya works at the nexus of critical geography and healing arts. Her research and practice focus on emotional and embodied geographies of race/racism, place, food, environmental knowledge, and healing, with emphasis on Black geographies (North and Latin America). She especially considers how grassroots, community-based knowledge builds community power and resilience in the context of spatial trauma such as gentrification, displacement, and climate injustice. 

A meditation and movement guide since 2008, Naya infuses research with healing arts, including guided meditation and movement, ceremony, breath work, and other practices that support embodied or somatic inquiry. She brings training in trauma-informed yoga therapy and Reiki/energy work to research. As a practitioner-scholar, she also puts research into practice as Owner of Rootwork, a healing arts consultancy that works with POCI (people of color and indigenous)-led and justice-centered organizations as they sustain themselves and build community.

Naya is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Primary Care Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a nationally-selected Culture of Health Leader, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Naya is deeply inspired by her "roots" as a Blaxicana (African-American and Xicana). Time with nature and ancestors make all of the work possible. For more, visit her virtual home/casita at

Grounding Framework(s)

Black geographies. Healing arts. Somatics. Blaxicana healing ways. Critical participatory action research (CPAR). Community-based participatory research (CBPR).


Arts-based, GIF-making, somatic inquiry, textual analysis, oral history, qualitative, community-based. 

Some Inspirations

Works by Katherine McKittrick, Toni Morrison, Clyde Woods, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Gloria Anzaldúa, Jacqui M. Alexander. Omi Osun Jones, and AnaLouise Keating, among others.  

Getting Rooted

Reading, writing, hiking, meditation, potlucks, traveling

Selected Recent Writings + Works

Jones, N. Forthcoming October 2019. "Receta for Radical Wholeness." In Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices, Medina, L. and Gonzales, M.G. (Eds.)   

Thomas, KD. and N. Jones. 2019. "Critical Reflexivity: Teaching About Race and Racism in the Advertising Classroom." Advertising & Society Quarterly 20(2). doi:10.1353/asr.2019.0013.

Jones, N. 2019. "(Re)Visiting the Corner Store: Black Youth, Gentrification, and Food Sovereignty." In Race in the Marketplace: Crossing Critical BoundariesJohnson, G.D., Thomas, K.D., Harrison, A., Grier, S.A. (Eds.)

Jones, N. 2018. “It tastes like heaven”: Critical and embodied food pedagogy with Black youth in the Anthropocene. Policy Futures in Education

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

External Links

  • Department of Geography and the Environment

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street, A3100
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712