People / Faculty


Beth Piatote

Associate Professor

Native American Studies

American literature and cultural studies, history, law and culture, Native American literature, Native American/Aboriginal literature and federal Indian law in the United States and Canada, Ni:mi:pu: (Nez Perce) language and literature

PhD, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University
MA, International Studies, University of Oregon BA, History and German, Bethel College

Ucb 095_rff


582 Barrows Hall


t: 510-643-0796

Research Areas

Native American/Indigenous literature, history, law and culture; Global Indigenous Literature; Native American visual art; American literature and cultural studies; Nez Perce language and literature; indigenous language revitalization; creative writing

Bio & Research Interests

Beth Piatote is a scholar of Native American/Indigenous literature and law; a creative writer of fiction, poetry, plays, and essays; and an Indigenous language revitalization activist/healer, specializing in Nez Perce language and literature. She is the author of two books: Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature (Yale 2013), which won an MLA award; and The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint 2019), which was longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and shortlisted for the California Independent Booksellers Association “Golden Poppy” Award. Her current projects include a series of scholarly essays on Indigenous law through sensory representations of sound, vision, synaesthesia, and haunting in the long 20th century literary works; essays on Indigenous language revitalization; a novel, a poetry collection, and further development of her play, Antíkoni, which was selected for the 2020 Festival of New Plays at the Autry. She has held several artist residencies and frequently teaches writing at Fishtrap: Writing and the West and other workshops. In 2021, she will serve as a judge for the PEN America/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize.


Beth is part of the core faculty group that created the Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization (established in 2018) and currently serves as Chair of the DE. She earned her PhD in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University and joined the Berkeley faculty in 2007. In 2020, she joined the Comparative Literature department; she holds a dual appointment in Comparative Literature and Native American Studies. She is affiliated faculty in the Department of Linguistics; Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies; and American Studies. Beth is Nez Perce, enrolled with Colville Confederated Tribes. In addition to her research and teaching, she is involved in ongoing efforts to repatriate ancestors from museums as part of a larger movement of reparation and redress. She currently serves on the international Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Selected Courses

Graduate Seminars

COMLIT 202C: Transpacific Indigenous Literatures (Spring 2021)

LING 251: LING/NAS Indigenous Language Revitalization (Fall 2020)

ETHSTU 250: Writing Across Genre

ETHSTU 250: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Literature

ETHSTU 250: Lifeworlds of Indigenous Thought

ETHSTU 250: Native American Texts and Archives


Undergraduate Courses

NAS 90/LING 90: Indigenous Language Revitalization in Community Contexts (Fall 2020)

NAS 152 C: Native American Literature

NAS 90: Indigenous in the City

NAS 20B: Native American Studies II: Cultural Practice, Art, and Identity

AMERSTD 102/NAS 190: The Reservation as Place

Selected Publications

Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature

Yale University Press, 2013

Honorable Mention, Modern Language Association Biennial Prize for Studies in Native

 American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (2014)


The Beadworkers: Stories

                Counterpoint Press, 2019

                Longlisted for the Aspen Literary Prize

                Longlisted for the PEN/Bingham Prize in Fiction

                Shortlisted for the California Booksellers Alliance “Golden Poppy” Prize for Fiction


Animate Forms: Indigenous Law and Literature, scholarly manuscript in progress


Nez Perce Word for Shark, manuscript in progress


Guest Editor (with Chadwick Allen), The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies, special double

issue of SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures 37:3 and American Indian Quarterly

25:2 (Summer 2013)


“No Spoiler Alert”

Forum on Tommy Orange’s There There

                In PMLA Vol. 135, No. 3 (May 2020)


“Native Women’s Writing and the Law”

In The Cambridge History of Native American Literature, Ed. Melanie Benson Taylor,

Cambridge University Press, 2020


“Genealogies of Violence and Animations of Indigenous Law in Louise Erdrich’s La Rose

                In Violence and Indigenous Communities: Confronting the Past, Engaging the Present,

                Eds. Susan Sleeper-Smith, Jeffrey Ostler, and Joshua Reid

Northwestern University Press, 2020


 “Indian Country: Between Native Claims and Modernist Desires”

                In American Literature in Transition, 1910-1920, Ed. Mark W. Van Weinen,

Cambridge University Press, 2017


“The Indian/Agent Aporia”

In The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies, SAIL 37:3/AIQ 25:2 (Summer 2013): 45-62


“Domestic Trials: Indian Rights and National Belonging in Works by E. Pauline Johnson and John M.


                In American Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Spring 2011): 95-116


“Our (Someone Else’s) Father: Articulation, Dysarticulation, and Indigenous Literary Traditions”

In Kenyon Review, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Winter 2010): 199-21


 “Level 8 Risk”

                Commissioned short story for the Throughline Series (Life After COVID-19), The San

Francisco Chronicle, 16 August 2020, G10


“Oscitation” (original title “Rumblings”)

                Commissioned story for Summer Stories Fiction Series, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane),

23 May 2020

                Broadcast on The Bookshelf, KPBX 91.1, 7 September 2020

                Anthologized in Summer Stories 2020 (Spokane: Gray Dog Press)


Antíkoni (play)

                Winner, 2020 Playwrights Retreat and Festival of New Plays, Native Voices at the Autry,

                                Los Angeles, June 2020

Reading, Native Theater Thursdays, American Indian Community House, New York,

August 2020

Awards & Honors

University of California Regents Junior Faculty Fellowship, 2012

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009-2010

Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award, 2009

Whiting Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities, 2006-07

Graduate Research Opportunity Grant, Stanford University, 2003

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 2001-03