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Shelly Annette Biesel

UGA Arch

A cultural-ecological anthropologist by training, Shelly examines how historic, intersectional inequalities shape social and ecological experiences of environmental change in rural communities. She has worked with coal-mining communities in rural Appalachia, and with Afro-descendent traditional communities in Northeast Brazil. In 2020, Shelly received a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship to study gendered and racialized experiences of industrial development in coastal Pernambuco, where she collaborated with the Centro das Mulheres do Cabo, activist Elaine Cristina Salgado Mendonça, and Christine Dabat at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

In addition to being a member of the Humans and Environmental Change Lab in Anthropology, Shelly earned her certificate in Women and Gender Studies at UGA's Institute for Women's Studies. Shelly was also affiliated with the Latin American and Caribbean Institute (LACSI), where she was a founding student member of UGA's Brazil Natural Resource Governance Initiative


Selected Recent Publications

Biesel, Shelly Annette. 2021. “When Disinformation Makes Sense: Contextualizing the War on Coal in Appalachian Kentucky” Economic Anthropology 8(1)7-21. DOI:

Jennifer L. Rice, Amy Trauger, Coleman Allums, Rachelle Berry, Shelly Biesel, Briana Bivens, Sara Black, Christina Crespo, Aspen Kemmerlin, Chelsea Wesnofske & The Athena Co-Learning Collective. 2021.  “Rehumanizing the graduate seminar by embracing ambiguity: The Athena Co-Learning Collective.” Gender, Place & Culture, 28:4, 564-575, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2020.1727861.

Biesel, Shelly A. & Nelson, Donald R. 2019. A Importância da Ética para a Gestão da Água (The Importance of Ethics for Water Management). In Gestão Adaptativa do Risco Climático de Seca. (Adaptive Management from Climatic Risk of Drought). Fortaleza: Federal University of Ceará Press.


Public Scholarship

2022  Biesel, Shelly A.  “Muda da Maré (Change of the Tides): Environmental Change, Ecological Grief, and the Fishers and Marisqueiras of Pernambuco."  Engagement: A Blog Published by the Anthropology and Environment Society.
Biesel, Shelly A. 2020. "Radical Media Challenges Rural Stereotypes." Anthropology News. 
Biesel, Shelly A. 2015. "New Federal Budget Bill No 'Win' for Kentucky." The Courier Journal.

Of note:

2021 Finalist, Rappaport Prize, Anthropology and Environment Society

2020 Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellow, Department of Education

2019 Graduate School Dean's Award for Arts and Humanities

2019 Willson Center Graduate Research Award 

2018 LACSI Summer Research Award 

2017 FLAS Summer Fellowship, Department of Education

2016 FLAS Summer Fellowship, Department of Education

2016 Rhoda Halperin Memorial Award, Society for Economic Anthropology


Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

M.A. Anthropology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

B.A. Anthropology and Studio Art, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Articles Featuring Shelly Annette Biesel

"When disinformation makes sense: Contextualizing the war on coal in Appalachian Kentucky" by PhD candidate, Shelly Biesel, is now available for early view in Economic Anthropology. This manuscript utilizes "qualitative interviews,…

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