I am a doctoral candidate in UC Berkeley's Jurisprudence and Social Policy program. A socio-legal scholar studying the intersection of public institutions and private storytelling, I am currently writing about how asylum seekers credibly narrate their experiences when applying for protection in the United States. I teach undergraduate courses in legal studies and law and culture, and graduate courses in global migration. 

View my CV here. 


My research engages law, culture, and institutions to ask questions about the social and legal power of language, and in particular the relationship between legal language and violence, resistance, and social change. My dissertation examines how asylum seekers construct and institutions contest credibility in legal narratives. For a more detail and a list of publications please see my CV 



A passionate mentor and educator, my teaching is deeply intertwined with my research and scholarly work. To view syllabi and readings for two recent courses, please visit the websites for Law, Language & Culture, and Migration Studies. For a full teaching history please see my CV.

"Universities should develop programs around professors like Abigail Stepnitz. Stepnitz's clear mastery of the field and ability to share that knowledge in an environment that is challenging and supportive is inspiring" 

- Migration Studies Graduate Student, Fall 2018

Public Engagement


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