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Néstor L. Silva

Néstor L. Silva

Néstor L. Silva

Department of Anthropology

Néstor is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. His research in North Dakota’s Bakken region examines how and why the people who engage in joint hydrocarbon production and agriculture—farmers and landowners, corporate executives and workers, scientists and government officials—practice environmental politics. He has conducted similar research on the environment and hydrocarbon industry in Latin America, and is co-author of Oil, Revolution, and Indigenous Citizenship in Ecuadorian Amazonia (Palgrave Macmillan 2017).

Dissertation: Petro-farm: The Cultural Politics of Oil and Wheat in the Bakken

My dissertation looks at spaces where hydrocarbon extraction and agriculture exist side-by-side. In North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield, caring for soil, land, and water are requirements of an agricultural industry as old as the United States. I describe environmental politics in conservative North Dakota as a process that emerged from social and ecological practices integral to regional colonization. That framing suggests why popular and academic approaches to oil and the environment remain so polemical across America.