Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed by Shannon Elizabeth Bell

Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed

byShannon Elizabeth Bell

Paperback | October 30, 2013

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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--many 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, the 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.

30% of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to organizations fighting for environmental justice in Central Appalachia.

About The Author

Shannon Elizabeth Bell is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky.

Details & Specs

Title:Our Roots Run Deep as IronweedFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:October 30, 2013Publisher:University of Illinois PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0252079469

ISBN - 13:9780252079467

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  "Compelling accounts of polluted wells, washed out homesteads, run away coal trucks, and coal dust settling down on the town with each woman facing their own ecological nightmare and then coming to fight back, many endangering their own lives and community relations to do so."--Mobilization   "Through the use of powerful oral histories as well as her own clear, concise writing, Bell accomplishes her goal of ‘ensur[ing] that women's place in the history of this environmental justice movement is not forgotten.’ This book will appeal not only to scholars but also to anyone interested in Appalachian women's activism, the Appalachian region itself, or environmental activism in general."--West Virginia History