Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed

Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed : Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice

4.45 (24 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 157.48 x 266.7 x 22.86mm | 453.59g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252037952
  • 9780252037955

Review quote

"A groundbreaking collection of life stories from women in the struggle against mountaintop removal. These extraordinary stories are luminous with the courage and moral passion of these women as they struggle to protect their communities, families, land, and cultural heritage."--Betsy Taylor, coauthor of Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place, and Global Justice "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 "These stories reveal not only the profoundly devastating environmental, health, and social impacts experienced by Appalachians living in the 'sacrifice zone,' but also the identity transformation experienced by women who find a sense of purpose and agency in their activism. . . . a complex, detailed rendering of the human costs of US dependence on cheap energy. Recommended."--Choice "Remarkable and unique. . . . Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed makes enduring methodological and theoretical advances in the field and will be read and cited widely by scholars with interests in gender studies, environmental and environmental justice studies, community studies, social-change movements, and rural sociology."--Social Forces "By making grassroots women central, Bell has created a powerful model for scholarly writing that can engage undergraduates, faculty, and general readers. Our Roots Run Deep sees civic engagement as critical and shows that campuses and academics have much to learn from those who sometimes are merely studies or assisted."--Environmental History "Bell's volume is unique in that it allows each activist to tell her own story in her own words. This approach is especially valuable when it comes to explaining why women in these mountain communities are much more likely than men are to join the environmental justice movement."--The Journal of Southern Historyshow more

About Shannon Elizabeth Bell

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

Rating details

24 ratings
4.45 out of 5 stars
5 54% (13)
4 38% (9)
3 8% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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