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Andrew Curley seminar: Carbon sovereignty: coal, development, and energy transition in the Navajo Nation

October 31 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT

FASB 295 and online.

To attend via Zoom, register at

Abstract: This presentation will cover key arguments from Curley’s forthcoming book, “Carbon Sovereignty,” that focuses on coal and development on the Navajo Nation. The book chronicles the meaning of work and sovereignty for the tribe in the 21st century. Many accounts of extraction in Indian Country neglect the ideological meaning of these industries for impacted communities. Through coal, the Diné people and the Navajo Nation produced a unique understanding of sovereignty, one built on the exploitation of fossil fuels for jobs, revenues, and greater degrees of self-determination.

The presentation will focus on Curley’s ethnography that documents a 2013 process of lease renewal between the Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian tribe in the United States, and the owners of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), the most important coal-fired power plant in Arizona. The renewal of the coal lease produced intense contestation between coal workers, tribal officials, and Navajo environmental activists – all looking to define the future of the Navajo people. It exposed existing attitudes toward development, sovereignty, sustainability, and survivability.

Bio: Andrew Curley (Diné) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment at the University of Arizona. His past research concerns coal extraction and energy development in the Navajo Nation. His current research focuses on tribal water rights and energy transition for tribes.



October 31
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT
Event Category:


295 FASB (Sutton Geology Bldg.)
115 S 1460 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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