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Shaunna Scott


Ph.D., University of California, 1988


Dr. Scott is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Kentucky. She and Kathryn Engle, PhD, are currently co-editing a volume documenting the quest for a just post-coal transition in Appalachia. She is a co-winner of the 2015 Weatherford Award for outstanding non-fiction book about Appalachia. She is a past editor of the Journal of Appalachian Studies, a past President of the Appalachian Studies Association and a past Director of Appalachian Studies at UK. Her interests center upon environmental sociology, social inequality, community and economic develoment, and the post-coal transition in Appalachia. Dr. Scott's work appears in Rural Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Qualitative Sociology, Journal of Appalachian Studies, Appalachian Journal, and Action Research. Dr. Scott is an affiliate of the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center, Center for Poverty Research, Social Theory Committee, and Gender Women Studies.

Dr. Scott's ethnographic and interview research takes a feminist and critical theoretical approach to understanding community and economic development and planning, identity construction and community dynamics. She is particularly interested in understanding and promoting democratic practices and social and environmental justice projects in conflictual, stratified, rural contexts. Her work focuses primarily upon Central Appalachia, although she has done research in Northern Ireland and New Zealand.

NPR Interview

Mountain Talk



Selected Publications:

Chad Berry, Phil Obermiller and Shaunna L. Scott, eds. (2015). Studying Appalachian Studies: Making the Path by Walking. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Shaunna L. Scott (1995) Two Sides to Everything: The Cultural Construction of Class Consciousness in Harlan County, Kentucky. Series on Public and Oral History. Michael Fritsch, editor. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Scott, Shaunna L., Stephanie M. McSpirit, J. Jared Friense, and Kathryn Engle. 2020. How about Some Collaboration: Micro-level Barriers to Democratic, Evidence-Based Decision-Making. Journal of Appalachian Studies. Special Issue on Social Justice. Edited by Jennifer Weis. 26(2): 209-226.

Scott, Shaunna L. and Stephanie M. McSpirit and Jason Foley. (2017) Promoting Outdoor Recreation and Adventure Tourism on the Russell Fork River: An Academic-Community Partnership Report. Journal of Appalachian Studies 23(2):170-180.

Scott, Shaunna L. (2017). My Mothers, My (Grand)Daughters and Me: A Feminist Reflection on the Trajectory of an Appalachian Family in Troubled Times.” Appalachian Journal 44(1-2):54-78.

Shaunna L Scott, Philip M. Westgate, and Stephanie M. McSpirit. (2016) “Long-Term Impacts of a Coal Waste Disaster: Comparison of Surveys of Impacted and Control Counties.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 22(2): 261-74.

Scott, Shaunna L., Stephanie McSpirit, Patrick Breheny, and Britteny M. Howell. (2012) “The Long-Term Effects of a Coal Waste Disaster on Social Trust in Appalachian Kentucky.” Organization and Environment 25(4): 401-418.

Scott, Shaunna L., Stephanie McSpirit and Sharon Hardesty. (2012) “Risky Business: Coal Waste Emergency Planning in West Virginia and Kentucky” Journal of Appalachian Studies. 18 (1 & 2): 149-77.

Scott, Shaunna L. (2012) “Mountain Citizens Speak: Public Trust in Water and Government After a Coal Waste Disaster.” Kentucky Journal of Anthropology and Sociology  2(2): 114-132.

Stephanie McSpirit, David Brown, Shaunna L. Scott, and Jessica Pulliam. (2010) “Major Impacts and Challenges Facing Kentucky’s Streams and Wetlands: A Summary of Agency, Other Expert and Stakeholder Views.” Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science

Shaunna L. Scott. (2009) “Discovering What the People Knew: The 1979 Appalachian Land Ownership Study.” Action Research 7(2): 185-205.

Shaunna L. Scott. (2008) “Revisiting the Appalachian Land Ownership Study: An Oral Historical Account.” Appalachian Journal 35 (3): 236-252.

Stephanie McSpirit, Shaunna L. Scott, Duane Gill, Sharon Hardesty and Dewayne Sims. (2007) “Public Risk Perceptions after an Appalachian Coal Waste Disaster: A Survey Assessment.” Southern Rural Sociology 22 (2): 83-110.

Shaunna L. Scott, Stephanie McSpirit, Sharon Hardesty and Robert Welch. (2005) “Post Disaster Interviews with Martin County Citizens: ‘Gray Clouds’ of Blame and Distrust.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 11 (1&2): 7-29.

Stephanie McSpirit, Shaunna L. Scott, Sharon Hardesty and Robert Welch. (2005) “EPA Actions in Post-Disaster Martin County, Kentucky: An Analysis of Bureaucratic Slippage and Agency Recreancy.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 11 (1&2): 30-58.

Shaunna L. Scott, Walter Bower, Tammy Werner and Patricia Whitlow. (2004) “Gender Inequities in the College Classroom:  Findings and Strategies from the Literature on Teaching and Learning.” Kentucky Journal of Excellence in College Teaching and Learning.

Shaunna L. Scott. (2002) “From Sociology of Appalachia to Sociology in Appalachia: Transforming SOC 534 into a Field Research Class.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 8 (1): 144-65.

Shaunna L. Scott. (2001) “Civics Lessons from Another Place: A Case Study of the Northern Ireland Women’s Festivals.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 7 (2): 187-226.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1996) “’Dead Work’: The Construction and Reconstruction of the Harlan Miners Memorial.” Qualitative Sociology 19 (3): 365-94.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1996) “Drudges, Helpers and Team Players: Oral Historical Accounts of Farm Work in Appalachian Kentucky.” Rural Sociology 61 (2): 209-26.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1996) “Gender Among Appalachian Kentucky Farm Families: The Kentucky Farm Family Oral History Project and Beyond.” Journal of Appalachian Studies 8 (3): 103-14.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1995) “Teaching for Democracy: Reflections on Teaching Appalachian Studies.” Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association 7: 131-39.

Dwight Billings and Shaunna L. Scott. (1994) “Religion and Political Legitimation. Annual Review of Sociology. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Review, Inc. 20: 173-234.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1994) “’They Don’t Have to Live by the Old Traditions’: Saintly Men, Sinner Women and an Appalachian Pentecostal Revival.” American Ethnologist 21 (2): 227-44.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1993) “’Gone Away from God’: Class, Gender and Community in Religious Discourse during a Pentecostal Revival.” Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association 5: 100-09.

Shaunna L. Scott. (1983) “Grannies, Mothers and Midwives: An Examination of Traditional Southern Lay Midwifery.” Central Issues in Anthropology 4 (2): 17-29.

Shaunna L. Scott and Stephanie McSpirit. 2014. “Engaging with Coalfield Communities in Appalachia: Reflections on Recovery and Development in Contexts of Low Social Trust.” Practicing Anthropology. Special Issue:  Appalachia and the Commons. Summer 2014.

Lina Calandra, Jude Fernando, Stephanie McSpirit, Jeremy Paden, and Shaunna L. Scott. (2018) “Rebuilding Mountain Communities after Disaster.” Global Mountain Regions. Ann Kingsolver and Sasi Balasundram, eds. University Press of Kentucky.

(Authors alphabetized)

Stephanie McSpirit and Shaunna L. Scott. (2014) “The Martin County Coal Waste Spill and Beyond: Citizen Efforts at Protecting Kentucky’s Vital and Vulnerable Water Resources”  Shaped by Water: Kentucky’s Watersheds, Landscapes, and People. Brian D. Lee, Alice Jones, Dan Carey ad John Burch, eds. University Press of Kentucky.

Shaunna L. Scott. (2012) “What Difference Did it Make?: The Appalachian Land Ownership Study Twenty-Five Years Later.” Academics and Activists: Confronting Ecological and Community Crisis in Appalachia. Stephanie McSpirit, Lynne Faltraco and Conner Bailey, eds. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

Shaunna L. Scott. (2002) “The Silent Construction of Class, Religion and Conflict Through Organizational Procedures and Civic Practices: A Case Study of the Northern Ireland Women’s Festival Day Project.” Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change. Patrick Coy, editor. Oxford: JAI Press/Elsevier Science.  24: 383-317.

Current Projects

Shaunna L. Scott and Kathryn Engle, eds. In progress. The Quest for a Just Transition: Reports from the Field. University Press of Kentucky.