University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Melanie Yazzie

Melanie Yazzie

Assistant Professor

Gender & Sexuality Studies
INTN 2035
(951) 827-6427

Research Areas

Indigenous feminist and queer studies, American Indian history, Diné studies, social and political theory, political ecology, social movements


Ph.D., American Studies, University of New Mexico

M.A., American Studies, Yale University

B.A., Political Science, Grinnell College


Melanie K. Yazzie (Bilagáana/Diné) holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She specializes in violence, biopolitics, water, Navajo/American Indian history; (neo)liberalism; settler colonialism; Indigenous feminisms; Native American studies; social movements; urban Native experience; political ecology; queer Indigenous studies; Marxist theories of history, knowledge, and power; and theories of policing and the state. Her first book, Life in The Age of Extraction: Diné History in A Biopolitical Register, shows how biopolitical calculations of Navajo life that accompanied the introduction of extractive economies in the 1930s have become a full-scale biopolitical epoch defined by violent relations of extraction. However, this biopolitical order has not gone without challenge. Life in The Age of Extraction also shows how Navajo social movements have made history and generated different political and ontological possibilities of life through contesting extractive biopolitics. Dr. Yazzie has held a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, and a Ford Foundation Diversity Predoctoral Fellowship. She has published articles and book reviews in Wicazo Sa ReviewStudies in American Indian LiteratureAmerican Indian QuarterlySocial Text, and American Quarterly. With Nick Estes, she recently guest edited a special issue of Wicazo Sa Review (June 2016) on the legacy of Dakota scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, one of the founders of Native American studies. She is also co-editing a special issue of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society with Cutcha Risling-Baldy on Indigenous water politics (forthcoming January 2018), and is co-authoring a forthcoming book from PM Press on bordertown violence with Nick Estes, David Correia, and Jennifer Nez Denetdale.


With Nicholas Estes. "Guest Editor’s Introduction." Wicazo Sa Review 31.1 (Spring 2016): 9-26.

"Solidarity With Palestine from Diné Bikeyah." American Quarterly 67.4 (December 2015): 1007-1015

"Review of The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination," by Mark Rifkin. Studies in American Indian Literatures, 26.2 (2014): 106-110.

"Narrating Ordinary Power: Hózhójii, Violence and Critical Diné Studies." In Diné Perspectives: Navajo Thought in the Era of Self-Determination, ed. Lloyd Lee, University of Arizona Press, 2014: 83-99.

Field, Les, Alex Lubin, Melanie Yazzie and Jakob Schiller. “The Israel/Palestine Field School: Decoloniality and the Geopolitics of Knowledge.” Social Text 31.4 117 (2013): 79-97.

"Unlimited Limitations: The Navajos’ Winters Rights and the Politics of Water in the 2012 Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Settlement." Wicazo Sa Review 28.1 (2013): 26-37.

"Review of X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent," by Scott Richard Lyons. American Indian Quarterly 35.4 (2011): 619-621.


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies

Tel: (951) 827-4843
Fax: (951) 827-6386


Last Modified: 12/3/17