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Nina Farnia


  • A.B. Political Science, University of Chicago
  • M.A. Urban Planning, UCLA School of Public Affairs
  • J.D. UCLA School of Law, Specialization in Critical Race Studies


Nina Farnia is a PhD student in the Department of History at UC Davis, studying U.S. law and empire in the Middle East. Prior to attending Davis, she worked in the fields of law and policy, and participated on the legal teams for major racial profiling and employment discrimination class actions including Dukes v. Wal-Mart, the largest civil rights class action in U.S. history, and Fazaga v. FBI, which challenged the FBI's secret surveillance practices of Muslims in Southern California.  While in law school, she specialized in Critical Race Studies, and clerked for the law offices of Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and Nasrin Sotoodeh in Tehran, Iran.

Nina's dissertation examines the constitutive relationship among U.S. empire, immigration law, and national security policy in the twentieth century. She focuses specifically on the “LA8” case (the targeting of Palestinian activists), the Guantanamo Bay cases, COINTELPRO, and the targeting of Marxists and Anarchists in the early 1900s. Analyzing the cases through a world historical lens, she evaluates the historical shifts in U.S. imperial policy as they impact the making of domestic law. 

Nina has been published in the Journal of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East,UCLA Women's Law JournalMiddle East ReportThe Daily JournalBadjens Iranian Feminist Magazine, andTehran Avenue. She continues to present in academic, legal and community-based settings on government surveillance, U.S. foreign policy and empire, the racialization of Iranians and Arabs, and social movement building and community activism.  She currently serves as President of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Research Focus

Specialization: Law and Empire

Minor Field: U.S. History