American Studies

Beth H. Piatote Associate Professor - Comparative Literature & Native American Studies

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 twentieth-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.