Fembot’s February Books Aren’t Dead (BAD) interview couldn’t come at a more important time, especially in light of last month’s Elk River chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia.
In this BAD interview Sue Dockstader (MS, University of Oregon) talks with Shannon Bell (assistant professor, University of Kentucky), author of Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013).
Both the podcast and the transcript for this interview (as well as BAD’s past interviews) will be available for download in the near future. BAD is Fembot’s series of monthly interviews with feminist authors of recent books on media, science, and technology.
About Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice (Description from the back cover):
“Motivated by a deeply rooted sense of place and community, Appalachian women have long fought against the damaging effects of industrialization. In this collection of interviews, sociologist Shannon Elizabeth Bell presents the voices of twelve Central Appalachian women, environmental justice activists fighting against mountaintop removal mining and its devastating effects on public health, regional ecology, and community well-being.
“Each woman narrates her own personal story of injustice and tells how that experience led her to activism. The interviews–a number of them illustrated by the women’s “photostories”–describe obstacles, losses, and tragedies. But they also tell of new communities and personal transformations catalyzed through activism. Bell supplements each narrative with careful notes that aid the reader while amplifying the power and flow of the activists’ stories. Bell’s analysis outlines the relationship between Appalachian women’s activism and the gendered responsibilities they feel within their families and communities. Ultimately, Bell argues that these women draw upon a broader “protector identity” that both encompasses and extends the identity of motherhood that has often been associated with grassroots women’s activism. As protectors, these women challenge dominant Appalachian gender expectations and guard not only their families, but also their homeplaces, their communities, their heritage, and the endangered mountains that surround them.”
About the Author:
Shannon Elizabeth Bell is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky and is also affiliated faculty in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program, the Gender & Women’s Studies Department, and the Appalachian Studies Program. 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 and maintain their power and discovering strategies for increasing the political participation of communities most affected by environmental injustices. Bell’s 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. She is the 2013 recipient of the Practice and Outreach Award and the Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology and Humanism, both from the Environment & Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. She is also the recipient of the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award (2013), the Best Article Award from the Rural Sociological Society (2011), Honorable Mention for the Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award from the Environment & Technology Section of the American Sociological Association (2011), and her dissertation received Honorable Mention for the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest International Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences for dissertations completed between 2010-2012.
About the Interviewer:
Sue Dockstader has a master of science in environmental studies from the University of Oregon. Her thesis, “Engendering The Metabolic Rift: A Feminist Political Ecology of Agrofuels,” blended metabolic rift theory and gender theory to examine the impacts of plant-based petroleum replacement fuels in the Global South.