Exposures: Extraction, Environmental Racism and Relationships to Contaminated Land on the Navajo Nation

Thursday, December 15, 2022

This session focuses on hydrologist Dr. Tommy Rock’s (Diné) research and work with artist Fazal Sheikh (born 1965). Dr. Rock is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University. He currently studies water, soil, and dust quality and the transmission of toxic substances, with a focus on methane emissions. Sheikh, who has spent his career photographing individuals and communities displaced by conflict and environmental change, worked closely with Dr. Rock to record the destruction caused by resource extraction in Southern Utah, particularly through methane contamination and investigating ways to visualize and quantify levels of carcinogens within a given plume of methane. The results of this ongoing research are currently on view in a new exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery, Fazal Sheikh: Exposures, which includes two projects: Exposure about the American Southwest, and Erasures about displacement of Bedouin people in the Negev in Southern Israel. The session will explore the expansive landscapes, the ongoing but often invisible effects of environmental racism, and necessary resilience of Indigenous peoples seen in the series Exposures, and through Dr. Rock and Sheikh’s collaboration.

Moderated by Isabella Shey Robbins PhD Candidate and Dine Scholar, History of Art, American Studies, Yale University


Tommy Rock Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton Department of Geosciences

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