The Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join them for a discussion with Andrew Needham and Karl Jacoby on Needham’s new book Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest.
In 1940, Phoenix was a small, agricultural city of sixty-five thousand, and the Navajo Reservation was an open landscape of scattered sheepherders. Forty years later, Phoenix had blossomed into a metropolis of 1.5 million people and the territory of the Navajo Nation was home to two of the largest strip mines in the world. Five coal-burning power plants surrounded the reservation, generating electricity for export to Phoenix, Los Angeles, and other cities. Exploring the postwar developments of these two very different landscapes, Power Lines tells the story of the far-reaching environmental and social inequalities of metropolitan growth, and the roots of the contemporary coal-fueled climate change crisis.
Needham explains how inexpensive electricity became a requirement for modern life in Phoenix—driving assembly lines and cooling the oppressive heat. Navajo officials initially hoped energy development would improve their lands too, but as ash piles marked their landscape, air pollution filled the skies, and almost half of Navajo households remained without electricity, many Navajos came to view power lines as a sign of their subordination in the Southwest. Drawing together urban, environmental, and American Indian history, Needham demonstrates how power lines created unequal connections between distant landscapes and how environmental changes associated with suburbanization reached far beyond the metropolitan frontier. Needham also offers a new account of postwar inequality, arguing that residents of the metropolitan periphery suffered similar patterns of marginalization as those faced in America’s inner cities.
Telling how coal from Indian lands became the fuel of modernity in the Southwest, Power Lines explores the dramatic effects that this energy system has had on the people and environment of the region.
Andrew Needham is an Associate Professor of History at New York University. He specializes in recent United States history, with teaching and research emphases in environmental, American Indian, and urban and suburban history as well as the history of the American West.
Karl Jacoby is a professor in the Department of History and in the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. He is a specialist in environmental, borderlands, and Native American history. His books include Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves and the Hidden History of American Conservation and Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History.
Here are just some of the great reviews the book is seeing so far:
“One of America’s iconic dancers and choreographers gives us an insight into his inspirations and processes, in a series of vivid vignettes of being, thinking, and doing, which is to say, of living. A fascinating text.”—Salman Rushdie
“Bill T. Jones has always been on the forefront of powerful hybrid art forms, whether it’s politics and dance or Broadway and edgy. In Story/Time, he spins John Cage. A master of timing, Jones applies Cage’s rigor to his own work, adding his own style and warmth. Story/Time’s choreographed language is a beautiful new realm.”—Laurie Anderson
“A miraculous time spent in the company of Bill T. Jones, as he questions, conjectures, and responds to the words, thoughts, and works of John Cage. It is a gift to the world of ideas, and to us all.”—Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program
And don’t forget to check out the trailer for Story/Time, here:
Bill T. Jones is the author of:
|Story/Time: The Life of An Idea by Bill T. Jones
Hardcover | September 2014 | $24.95 / £16.95 | ISBN: 9780691162706
104 pp. | 10 x 7 1/2 | eBook | ISBN: 9781400851881 | Reviews Table of Contents Preface[PDF]