People / Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Fantasia Painter

Indigenous/Immigrant intersection, Race and the Law, Criminality, US-Mexico Border, Race & Space

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Bio & Research Interests

Fantasia Painter is a  PhD candidate in Ethnic Studies and an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Her dissertation, Bordering the Nation: Land, Life, and Law in the US-Mexico Borderlands and on O’odham Jeved (Land), investigates the borderlands in relation to Indigenous land and landscapes historically and in the present.

It asks and works to answer a series of questions: How are the borderlands produced, reproduced, and negotiated? How are they and the people who live in, pass through, will or have passed through them variously mediated by the state? How is land and landscape contested here, and what do these contestations reveal about the connections between the state, local Indigenous peoples, and border-crossers?

In 2015 she was awarded the UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Fellowship for Graduate Research. In 2017 she was awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellows Program Fellowship. Her ethnographic and archival fieldwork has also been supported by multiple centers, institutes, and initiatives on the UC Berkeley campus including Native American Studies, the Center for Race and Gender, the Joseph A. Myers Center for Research on Native American issues, and the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. She was also recently selected as a Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies (BELS) Graduate Fellow for 2020-2021.

You can read her most recent publication “‘Made for Your Benefit’: Prohibition, Protection,a dn Refusal on Tohono O’odham, 1912-1933” here


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Thomas Biolsi (Chair)

Shari Huhndorf

Rosemary Joyce (Anthropology)

Beth Piatote