Jessyka (J) Finley joined the American Studies department at Middleburry College in 2014 as a C3 Post-Doctoral Fellow. J earned her PhD in 2012 in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her B.A. in Black Studies and Legal Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA in 2004. In 2008 she earned an MA in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California Berkeley. Some of J's research interests include black women's performance history, performance theory, cultural performance, feminist thought, reparations, abjection, and utopias. Her dissertation, entitled "Firespitters: Performance, Power and Payoff in African American Women's Stand-up Comedy," uses ethnographic and archival research to explore black women's processes of self-making in performance, ultimately arguing that stand-up comedy is a unique space for sometimes unconventional political expression.