Julia C. Frankenbach

PhD Student

North America

I am a second-year PhD student broadly interested in early North American history. I specialize in the early histories of California and the North American West and tend to gravitate to historical topics dealing with colonialism, space, labor, and the environment. In 2013, I earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College before studying history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I completed my M.A. in 2017. At Berkeley, I am laying plans for a dissertation about how Native peoples steered and profited from the colonial cattle economy, including the rise of the hide and tallow trade, in Spanish-occupied California.

I am involved in several initiatives to support K-12 teachers interested in incorporating recent historical scholarship in their California history and social science curricula. Most recently, I spearheaded H-Net's Teach California project, an initiative to make university-developed teaching resources available to educators at the K-12, community college, and four-year levels.

Research Interests

North American West

Colonial Mexico


Native American history

Environmental history


Economic history

Fellowships & Awards

2021 Tinker Field Research Grant, UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies

2021 Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies