Graduate Student Directory

Natali Levin Schwartz
  • Title
    • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 123
  • Office Hours by apportionment
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services

Summary of Expertise

As a political theorist, I work in the area of women and politics and specifically at the intersection of critical political theory, feminist theory, and law and society. I am interested in different forms of political action and their relationship to various modes of oppression in contemporary liberal democracies. I study questions of sexual violence, resistance, and the relationship between law and activism. I am especially interested in the political roles that the practice of testimony could play in struggling against injustices and advancing egalitarian democracy. In my dissertation, I examine women's testimonies to sexual violence within the official legal sphere and civil society and theorize their capacity to bring legal, social, and political change. 

Research Interests

Political and Critical Theory; Feminist Political Thought; Law and Society; Critical Legal Studies; Radical Democracy; Social Media; Social Movements; Violence; Power; Resistance; Activism; Testimony; Sexual Violence; #MeToo. 

Biography, Education and Training

M.A, Political Science, Tel Aviv University

B.A, Political Science and Communication studies, Tel Aviv University

Honors, Awards and Grants

Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, 2022-2023

Legal Studies Graduate Fellows Program, UC Santa Cruz, 2021-2022

UCSC Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Dissertation Proposal Development (DPD) Fellowship, 2019-2020

UC Santa Cruz Politics Department Travel Grant, Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 

Regents’ Fellowship, UCSC, Fall 2017

Meister Award to support outstanding graduate students working in political theory, UC Santa Cruz Politics Department, 2017

Selected Publications

Under Review

“Repressed Voices: Women’s Testimonies to Sexual Violence as a Case of Legal, Epistemic, and Democratic Injustice” (under review, Politics & Gender)


Work In Progress 

“Blocking Rape scripts, Wording Alternatives: Creating Epistemic and Discursive Counter Publics Through Testimonies in the Anti-Rape Movement in the U.S.” (draft)


“Body Politics: Moving emotions and Constructing Affective Solidarity in the Struggle Against Sexual Violence” (draft)


Selected Presentations

 “Body Politics: The Political Use of Women’s Testimonies in the Anti-Rape Movement”

• Western Political Association annual meeting, Portland, March 2022

• Law and Society Association annual meeting, Lisbon, July 2022 (online)

• American Political Science Association annual meeting, Montréal, September 2022 


“The Limits of the Legal Testimony for Responding to Sexual Violence”

● Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting, Chicago, April 2021 (Online) 

● Law and Society Association annual meeting, Chicago, May 2021 (online)

● VDP Summer School on “Resistance,” Vienna University, Philosophy Department, September 2021 (online)

● New Directions in Law and Society, virtual graduate student and junior scholar workshop, UMass, Center for Justice, Law, and Societies, October 2021 (online)


“Theorizing Political Testimony in the 21st Century,” Association for Political Theory annual meeting, Massachusetts, November 2020 (online)


“Reconceptualizing the practice of testimony in the #MeToo era: thinking about the role of legal and extra-legal testimony in dealing with issues of [sexual] violence”

● UC Santa Cruz, Legal Studies Graduate Workshop, May 2020 (Online)

● Western Political Science Association annual meeting, Los Angeles, May 2020 (online)

● Law and Society Association annual meeting, Denver, May 2020 (online)


Teaching Interests

Political Theory; Critical Theory; Feminist Political Theory; Legal studies 


Teaching experience (TA)   

POLI 65: Introduction to International Relations

LGST 10: Introduction to Legal Process

POLI 105D: Contemporary Political Thought

POLI 105C: Modern Political Thought

POLI 105B: Early Modern Political Thought

POLI 60: Comparative Politics

POLI/LGST 111B: Civil Liberties

POLI/LGST 111A: Constitutional Law 

POLI 70: Global Politics