Landscapes of Power

Landscapes of Power : Politics of Energy in the Navajo Nation

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In Landscapes of Power Dana E. Powell examines the rise and fall of the controversial Desert Rock Power Plant initiative in New Mexico to trace the political conflicts surrounding native sovereignty and contemporary energy development on Navajo (Dine) Nation land. Powell's historical and ethnographic account shows how the coal-fired power plant project's defeat provided the basis for redefining the legacies of colonialism, mineral extraction, and environmentalism. Examining the labor of activists, artists, politicians, elders, technicians, and others, Powell emphasizes the generative potential of Navajo resistance to articulate a vision of autonomy in the face of twenty-first-century colonial conditions. Ultimately, Powell situates local Navajo struggles over energy technology and infrastructure within broader sociocultural life, debates over global climate change, and tribal, federal, and global politics of extraction.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20.32mm | 544g
  • North Carolina, United States
  • English
  • 21 illustrations (inclu. 1 in color)
  • 082236994X
  • 9780822369943
  • 69,108

Table of contents

Preface. Arrivals xi
Acknowledgments xvii
List of Abbreviations xxi
Introduction. Changing Climates of Colonialism 1
Interlude 1. Every Navajo Has an Anthro 19
1. Extractive Legacies: Histories of Dine Power 26
2. The Rise of Energy Activism 64
Interlude 2. Solar Power in Klagetoh 108
3. Sovereignty's Interdependencies 113
4. Contesting Expertise: Public Hearings on Desert Rock 149
5. Artifacts of Energy Futures 187
Interlude 3. Off-Grid in the Chuskas 230
Conclusion. Conversions 236
Epilogue. Vitalities 253
Notes 257
References 283
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Review quote

"A welcome addition to ethnographies of governance and power in Native communities. . . . A timely contribution to literature on energy projects that threaten Indigenous lands. It gives voice to Navajo people who were ignored or marginalized during institutional deliberations of the power plant." -- Andrew Curley * Environment and Society * "No other work has gone so far to provide a ground-level understanding of how individual tribal members experienced development and how those experiences shaped the debates about and ultimate policy toward further projects." -- James Robert Allison III * American Historical Review * "Landscapes of Power seeks to explain what energy justice and climate justice look like for marginalized communities embedded in ecologies rich in energy minerals. The book complicates common understandings of sovereignty as absolute independence; instead, it considers the variant forms of struggles and redefinitions of sovereignty among the Dine in their ongoing contestations over land, minerals, and energy...." -- Jorge Ramirez * Radical History Review * "Dana Powell is a gifted writer and exquisite storyteller, and the book is engaging, readable, and carries the reader through from beginning to end." -- Kristina Jacobsen * The Canadian Journal of Native Studies * "Dana Powell's Landscapes of Power offers a fresh, astute, and important look at contemporary life within the context of energy politics on an American Indian Reservation in what is arguably the first modern and consciously post-colonial ethnography of the Dine. This book should draw interest from a broad range of readers." -- Gilbert A. Quintero * Medical Anthropology Quarterly * "Powell's book is impressive and creative. Essential reading for scholars of the Navajo nation and Indian country more broadly. Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals." -- R. E. O'Connor * Choice *
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About Dana E. Powell

Dana E. Powell is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University.
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