Professor of Sociology, Virginia Tech

Shannon Elizabeth Bell, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology
Virginia Tech

Mailing address:  
510 McBryde Hall
225 Stanger St. 
Blacksburg, VA 24061


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


Shannon Elizabeth Bell is Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech. Her research falls at the intersection of environmental sociology, gender, and social movements, with a particular focus on understanding the ways in which environmentally-destructive industries acquire, maintain, and exercise their power and discovering strategies for increasing the political participation of communities most affected by environmental injustices. She is author of two award-winning books: Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia (MIT Press, 2016) and Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2013). Professor Bell is the 2017 recipient of the Excellence in Research Award from the Rural Sociological Society and has also received the Environmental Sociology Practice & Outreach Award, the Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology and Humanism, the Rural Sociology Best Paper Award, and the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award.

  • Association for Humanist Society Book Award
  • Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal Winner
  • Green Book Festival Runner-up
  • Association of American Publishers PROSE Award Winner
  • Nautilus Book Awards Gold Medal Winner