Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky

Shannon Elizabeth Bell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
University of Kentucky

Mailing address: 1515 Patterson Office Tower
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506


Ph.D., Sociology, University of Oregon (2010)

(Dissertation: Fighting King Coal: The Barriers to Grassroots Environmental Justice Movement Participation in Central Appalachia)

Graduate Certificate, Women's and Gender Studies, University of Oregon (2010)

M.S., Sociology, University of Oregon (2007)

M.A., Community Change and Conservation, Future Generations University  (2005)


M.S.W., Community Organizing & Social Administration, West Virginia University (2004)

B.S., Biology; B.A., Religion, Washington & Lee University (2000)

summa cum laude, University Scholar, Honors

Research and Teaching Interests
  • Environmental Sociology/Environmental Justice
  • Social Movements
  • Gender
  • Feminist Theory and Methods
  • Social Inequalities
  • Public Sociology
  • Photovoice


I am an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Kentucky and am also affiliated faculty in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program, the Gender & Women's Studies Department, and the Appalachian Studies Program. My research falls at the intersection of environmental sociology, gender, and social movements. My primary focus has been understanding the ways in which environmentally-destructive industries acquire, maintain, and exercise their power and discovering strategies for increasing the political participation of local citizens who are most affected by environmental injustices. Feminist insights about the gendered nature of power, social practices, structures, and identities inform my theoretical and methodological approaches. My first book, Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice, was published with University of Illinois Press in November 2013. My second book, Fighting King Coal: The Barriers to Grassroots Environmental Justice Movement Participation in Central Appalachia will be published in the Urban & Industrial Environments Series at MIT Press in Spring 2016.