Kathleen C. Whiteley

Kathleen Whiteley Photo

Position Title
Assistant Professor


Kathleen Whiteley (Wiyot descent) is an assistant professor in the Department of Native American Studies (on leave 2020-2021). She is currently a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Berkeley. 

Dr. Whiteley’s dissertation, “The Indians of California versus The United States of America: California Dreaming in the Land of Lost Treaties, 1900-1975,” traces the history of two land claims cases brought by the Native peoples of California against the federal government. This project argues that these legal actions and the Indigenous political organizing behind them not only offered Indigenous peoples in California a path towards remuneration, but also new ways of conceiving local identities and imagining inter-tribal political coalitions. Her research on California Indian history has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Social Science Research Council’s Mellon Mays Initiatives, the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan and The Newberry Library. She plans to publish a revised version of the dissertation as a monograph, and then to develop a second project that examines the history of the eighteen “lost” unratified treaties made in California between 1851-52. Dr. Whiteley was born and raised in Eureka, California. She is a descendant of the Wiyot Tribe. 

Education and Degree(s)
  • Ph.D. University of Michigan, Department of American Culture
  • M.A. University of Michigan, Department of American Culture
  • B.A. University of California, Berkeley, Department of Native American Studies
Honors and Awards
  • UC Davis Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (CAMPSSAH), Fall 2020 Cohort
  • 2019-2020 Harvard University, Visiting Fellow, Department of History
  • 2019 The Newberry Library, Susan Kelly Power and Helen Hornbeck Tanner Fellowship
  • 2019 Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Research and Travel Grant
  • 2019 SSRC-Mellon Mays Dissertation Development Seminar
  • 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute: The Native American West—A Case Study of the Columbia Plateau
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Native American History
  • California History
  • Gender and Women's Studies
Membership and Service
  • Western History Association (WHA)
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)
  • American Studies Association (ASA)
  • California Indian Studies and Scholars Association (CISSA)
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