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Virginia Tech Professor Shannon Bell ’00 to Give Public Lecture at W&L Bell will discuss her second book, “Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia.”

Shannon Bell ’00

Washington and Lee University presents a public lecture with Shannon Bell ’00, W&L alumna and associate professor of sociology at Virginia Tech, on May 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327.

Bell will discuss her second book, “Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia,” which was published by MIT Press in 2016. The book has won the Association of American Publishers PROSE Award and a gold medal from the Nautilus Book Awards.

In her book, Bell uses the coal-mining region of Central Appalachia as a case study. Bell investigates the region through in-depth interviews, participant observation, content analysis, geospatial viewshed analysis and an eight-month “Photovoice” project, which she uses as an innovative means of studying – in real time – the social dynamics affecting activist involvement in the region.

Bell’s research spans multiple sub-disciplines, including environmental sociology, social movements, gender, and rural sociology. Her research is broadly focused on issues of environmental justice and injustice, with a particular interest in the ways that environmentally destructive industries manipulate and mobilize gendered, classed and racialized identities to maintain power in the face of increasing public awareness of the risks associated with their practices.

At Virginia Tech, Bell is also an affiliated faculty member in women’s and gender studies, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience. Before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech in 2017, she was associate professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Kentucky.

Bell is the 2017 recipient of the Rural Sociological Society’s Excellence in Research Award, and she has also received the Environmental Sociology Practice & Outreach Award, the Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology & Humanism, and the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award.

Bell’s talk is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability.