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UK sociologist to deliver ‘Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice’ lecture

On April 7, 2014

Marshall University has invited sociologist Shannon Elizabeth Bell to deliver annual Schmidlapp Distinguished Lectureship in Women’s Studies 7 p.m. Thursday at Foundation Hall.

Bell will deliver her lecture, Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice, in the hopes that it will raise the level of consciousness about these issues.

To get a jumpstart on the ideas Bell will present, the Women’s Center is sponsoring a showing of “The Last Mountain,” a film on West Virginia environmental activist Maria Gunnoe. It will be shown at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Drinko Room 402.

“This movie illustrates the greed and short-sightedness of coal executives and politicians and the heavy price paid by West Virginian’s families, communities,” Kimberly White, a mental health specialist at Marshall University, said. “It will prepare people [for the lecture] by informing them.”

Bell’s research intersects environmental sociology, gender, and social movements. She has a particular focus on understanding how environmentally-destructive industries acquire and maintain their power. She hopes to discover strategies for increasing the political participation of communities most affected by environmental injustices.

Her lecture is unique in that it will appeal to many different disciplines as well as those involved in a variety of activist groups.

Her first book is a collection of personal stories dealing with female environmental activism in Central Appalachia. It is entitled “Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice.”

Bell is an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky where she works with several departments including the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program, the Gender and Women’s Studies department, and the Appalachian Studies program.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. The annual Schmidlapp Lectureship is sponsored by the Charlotte M. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank Trustee.

Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at gibson243@marshall.edu.

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