Immersion Distinguished Scholar Workshop: Methods in Social Science

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Peter S. Alagona, UC-Santa Barbara;
Shannon Elizabeth Bell, Virginia Tech;
Paige West, Columbia University;
Simone Pulver (Facilitator), UC Santa Barbara
Time of Event: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 09:00 to Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 17:00

National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401

Immersion Distinguished Scholar Workshop: Methods in Social Science.

Peter S. Alagona, UC-Santa Barbara

Peter Alagona is an associate professor of history, geography, and environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before coming to UCSB, Pete received his PhD in history from UCLA and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard and Stanford. An environmental historian, historian of science, and nature-culture geographer, his work explores what happens when humans share space and resources (their habitats) with other species: how we interact with non-human creatures, how we make sense of these interactions, why we fight so much about them, what we can learn from them, and how we might use these lessons to foster a more just and sustainable society

Shannon Elizabeth Bell, Virginia Tech

Shannon Elizabeth Bell is Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech and is also an affiliated faculty member in Women’s and Gender Studies, the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and the Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience. Before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech in 2017, she was Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Bell’s research is broadly focused on environmental justice and injustice and spans a number of sub-disciplines, including environmental sociology, social movements, gender, and rural sociology. She has used a variety of research methods in her work, including interviews, participant observation, content analysis, surveys, geospatial viewshed analysis, and the participatory action research method of Photovoice. Dr. Bell is author of two award-winning books, both of which draw on her ethnographic research in the coal-mining region of Central Appalachia. Her first book, Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice, was published by University of Illinois Press in 2013 and received the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award, a silver medal from the Nautilus Book Awards, and was Runner-Up at the Green Book Festival. Her second book, Fighting King Coal: The Challenges to Micromobilization in Central Appalachia, was published by MIT Press in 2016 and is winner of the Association of American Publishers PROSE Award and a gold medal from the Nautilus Book Awards. Professor Bell is the 2017 recipient of the Rural Sociological Society’s Excellence in Research Award, and she has also received the Environmental Sociology Practice & Outreach Award, the Robert Boguslaw Award for Technology & Humanism, and the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award. 

Paige West, Columbia University

Paige West is The Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University where she holds an endowed chair. Her broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. She is the author of three books and the editor of five more. Dr. West is the founder of the journal Environment and Society, the chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia University, a fellow (and past chair) of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania, and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association. In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder, and a board member, of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guineans. Dr. West is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in Papua New Guinea dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge. 

Simone Pulver (Facilitator), UC Santa Barbara

The Immersion Program centers around a series of collaborative workshops led by Immersion Distinguished Scholars. These workshops are designed to immerse participants in theories and methods foundational to understanding current environmental challenges and their underlying socio-environmental systems. 

This is a closed workshop designed for SESYNC Postdoctoral Fellows.

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.

Event type: 
Immersion Workshop
Event Attendance: 
Private Working Group
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