Katrina Jagodinsky

Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of History Profile Image
Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of History History kjagodinsky@unl.edu 402-472-2414 606 Oldfather Hall



Katrina Jagodinsky is the Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of History. She is a legal historian examining marginalized peoples’ engagement with nineteenth-century legal regimes and competing jurisdictions throughout the North American West. Jagodinsky holds a Ph.D. in History (2011) and M.A. in American Indian Studies (2004) from the University of Arizona, and she earned her B.A. (2002) from Lawrence University. She spent a postdoctoral year at Southern Methodist University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies before joining the department and was the inaugural Jack & Nancy Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar in History at Simon Fraser University in 2019.

Jagodinsky’s first book Legal Codes & Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946 explains the strategies of six women seeking to protect their bodies, lands, and progeny from the whims of settler-colonists in the tumultuous process of westward expansion and conquest. It is the first book in the prestigious Lamar Series in Western History from Yale University Press to make women its primary focus and it received an Honorable Mention for the Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize from the Western Association of Women Historians. The study expands the chronology of Indigenous women’s critique of colonial and exploitative legal regimes, illustrating both the longevity of laws making Indian women economically and sexually vulnerable, and the persistence of Native women’s innovative arguments against such oppressive legal systems.

Jagodinsky has also published a number of articles and essays that examine the efforts of Indigenous and mixed-race women and children to leverage the American legal system in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. “A Testament to Power: Mary Woolsey and Dolores Rodriguez as Trial Witnesses in Arizona’s Early Statehood,” won the 2012-2013 Jerome I. Braun Prize for Best Article in Western Legal History, and "A Tale of Two Sisters: Family Histories from the Strait Salish Borderlands," won the 2017 Jensen-Miller Prize for Best Article in Western Women's & Gender History from the Western History Association.

In 2016, Jagodinsky organized a symposium and anthology project in collaboration with the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University and the UNL History Department that she co-edited with Pablo Mitchell of Oberlin College. Beyond the Borders of the Law: Critical Legal Histories of the North American West centers its discussion on two deceptively simple questions: how have legal borderlands defined the North American West, and how have Westerners defined and/or challenged legal borderlands? Jagodinsky and other contributors’ answers to these questions characterize the West as a place of many overlapping legal borderlands rather than a lawless place. The collection from Kansas University Press and illustrates the importance and influence of the law, in its myriad and complex forms, on American experience, history, and identity.

Jagodinsky is an active member of the profession, serving on committees for the American History Association, the American Society for Legal History, the Coalition for Western Women's History, and the Western History Association.

Her current focus is on her role as Graduate Chair for the History department and her research project Petitioning For Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West, which is a collaboration with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities that is funded by the National Science Foundation. She is accepting graduate students interested in critical legal histories of the long nineteenth century.


HIST 110: US History to 1877
HIST 115: Making and Breaking Law in American History
HIST/ETHN 340/840: American Legal History
HIST/ETHN 351 (341) /851: American West to 1900
HIST/ETHN/WGST 358: Native Women's History
HIST 359: The Mythic West
HIST 441/841: Women & Gender in US History
HIST 450: Capstone Seminar in US History: Legal History
HIST 900: Introduction to Historical Study
HIST 950: Graduate Seminar: Researching and Writing History 
HIST 953: Comparative Approaches in History: Comparative Legal History

  • NSF Law & Social Sciences Grant, 2020-2023
  • Jack & Nancy Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar in History, Simon Fraser University, January-August, 2019
  • Phillips Fund for Native American Research, American Philosophical Society, 2019
  • ENHANCE Grant, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Nebraska Lincoln, 2019
  • Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professorship, University of Nebraska Lincoln, 2018-2023
  • Armitage-Jameson Prize for Best Book in Western Women’s History from the Committee for Western Women’s History, 2017
  • Honorable Mention, Best Book by a Member of the Western Association of Women’s Historians, 2017
  • Jensen-Miller Award for Best Article in Gender History from the Western History Association, 2017

College of Arts & Sciences Instructional Improvement Grant: Innovative Instruction in Legal History, University of Nebraska Lincoln, 2016-2018

  • William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Fellowship, American Society for Legal History, 2016-2017
  • Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award, University of Nebraska Lincoln, 2015-2017
  • University of Nebraska Lincoln Research Council Grant in Aid, Publication Subvention, 2014
  • Phillips Fund for Native American Research, American Philosophical Society, 2014
  • Research Development Fellowship Program, Office of Research and Development, University of Nebraska Lincoln, 2014-2015
  • Jerome I. Braun Prize for Best Article in Western Legal History, 2012-2013
  • Western Canadian Studies Research & Travel Grant; U.S. Consulate General, Calgary, Canada, 2012
  • Research Fellow, Southern Methodist University, Clements Center for Southwest Studies, 2011-2012
  • Writing Fellow, William P. Clements Center Annual Symposium; Southern Methodist University, University of New Mexico, Autry National Center, 2009-2010
  • Writing Fellow, New Histories of Indigeneity and Imperialism Workshop; University of Manitoba, 2008
  • “The Poetics & Politics of Indigenous Women’s Legal Histories,” University of Washington Bookstore, 2017.
  • “Indigenous Women’s Legal Histories at the Intersections of Critical Legal Studies, Ethnojurisprudence, & Legal Pluralism,” Colloquium Series on Law & Society, Berkeley College of Law, November 2016.
  • “Legal Codes & Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946,” Nebraska Bar Association Continuing Education Series, Indigo Bridge Bookstore, October 2016
  • “Roundtable on Legal Borderlands in Pacific Northwest Indigenous Histories,” Organizer & Discussant, Western History Association Conference, October 2015.
  • “Roundtable on Legal Histories & Public Audiences: Linking Legal History, Public Policy, and Public History,” Organizer & Discussant, American Society for Legal History Conference, October 2014.
  • “The Legal Pluralisms of Indigenous Women & Their Daughters, 1854-1934,” and Panel Organizer, “Indigenous Legal Histories,” American Society for Legal History Conference, October 2014.
  • “Bring Me the Body: Habeas Corpus Petitions as Contestations of Colonial Power in the North American West, 1864-1898,” and Panel Organizer, “Gendered Encounters in Imperial Legal Regimes,” Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, May 2014.
  • “Louisa Enick and the Allotment Controversy in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest,” Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, 2013
  • “Personal and Political Sovereignty in the Spaces Between: Yavapai and Sauk-Suiattle Women’s Land Claims at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” Western History Association Conference, October 2013.
  • “ ‘The First Time Was Against My Will and Consent’: Indigenous and American Perceptions of Legal Consent in Washington, 1853-1900,” and Panel Organizer, “Coercion, Consent, and Citizenship in the North American West: American Legal Regimes and Marginalized Women’s Sexual Vulnerability in the Nineteenth & Twentieth Centuries,” Western Association of Women’s History Conference, 2013.
  • “Mapping Race and Sexuality in the Puget Sound,” Directions West: Third Biennial Western Canadian Studies Conference, June 2012.
  • “The Family Jewell: A Metis History of San Juan Island and Puget Sound,” San Juan Historical Museum, 2012
  • “Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Narrative and Method in Anti-Colonial Indigenous Histories,” and Roundtable Organizer, “Critical Archiving: Locating Women’s Voices in Official Repositories,” Western Association of Women Historians Conference, 2012.
  • “American Indian Women Claiming Space and Power in Arizona, 1853-1935,” Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, 2011

Ph.D. in History, University of Arizona
M.A. in American Indian Studies, University of Arizona
B.A. in History and English, Lawrence University


Comparative Legal History;
North American West;
Race, Ethnicity, and Gender;
Nineteenth Century