Beth Piatote

Associate Professor
Nez Perce, German

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


Beth Piatote is an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California Berkeley. She is the author of two books: the scholarly monograph Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and the Law in Native American Literature (Yale 2013), which received honorable mention from the Modern Language Association for the 2014 Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages; and the mixed-genre collection, The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint 2019), which was long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and the PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, and short-listed for the California Independent Booksellers Association “Golden Poppy” Prize for Fiction. The Beadworkers has been featured on NPR and selected as the “one read” for multiple university and community programs. Her full-length play, Antikoni, has been supported by workshops and public readings with Native Voices at the Autry, New York Classical Theatre, and the Indigenous Writers Collaborative at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and her short play, Tricksters, Unite! was featured in the 2022 Native Voices Short Play Festival. She currently holds a playwriting fellowship with AlterTheatre. Her creative and scholarly work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Epiphany, Poetry, World Literature Today, PMLA, American Quarterly, American Literary History, and other major journals and anthologies. She has served as a judge for literary awards for PEN America and the Poetry Foundation. She is currently working on a scholarly monograph on the representation of Native American legal systems through sensory representations (sound, visuality, synesthesia, and haunting) in texts across the long twentieth century; a collection of poems, and a collection of essays.

Beth’s research interests include Native American and Indigenous literature and history, arts, and law; Nez Perce language and literature, and Indigenous language revitalization more broadly; and creative writing. She co-created and now chairs the Designated Emphasis in Indigenous Language Revitalization at Berkeley. Currently she serves as the Director of the Arts Research Center, where she has established the Indigenous Poetics Lab to support artistic expression as a means of language revitalization. She holds a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. She is Nez Perce and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.