Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Graduate Students


Jen Smith

Alaska Native Studies, Northern and Arctic Studies, Human Geography, Native American Literature


Bio & Research Interests

Jen is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Ethnic Studies. In her dissertation work, she investigates the co-constitution of Nature and Native, and how these categories and their genealogies inform land claims settlements, particularly in Northern spaces. Jen’s work considers how indigenous communities of Alaska practice multiple self-determinations when intersected by a triad of settler technologies: a national desire for fossil fuels, an environmental desire to experience the “last frontier,” as well as a burgeoning global understanding of Arctic land and indigenous Arctic peoples as litmus test for climate change. Jen completed her undergraduate degree in English with an emphasis in Literature and the Environment at the University of Alaska Southeast, and received her master's degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. She is a recipient of the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Fellowship, an awardee of the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, and is a current Graduate Fellow with the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues and Institute for the Study of Societal Issues.


Thomas Biolsi, Jake Kosek (Geography), Beth Piatote
Shari Huhndorf