Marissa Bell


Marissa Bell is a human-environment geographer and postdoctoral associate of community-engaged research in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. She combines approaches of environmental justice, energy geography, and science and technology studies, using qualitative empirical methods, to examine how place informs how communities engage in environmental research, policy and decision-making, and how decision-making practices can better respect and serve communities. In particular, she is interested in how local geographies and power relations inform and problematize fairness, justice and equity in the way diverse communities and their knowledges are treated in conditions of scientific and technological controversy and uncertainty. One area of prior and ongoing work examines how these relations play out in the context of nuclear waste, where she’s examined how local context shapes procedural justice; the epistemic tensions of inclusion/exclusion of diverse knowledges in nuclear contexts; the political economies and spatial fixes of nuclear waste management; and parameters of participation in nuclear waste siting. In other work, current inter-disciplinary collaborations explore the ways in which local context shapes how university extension systems engage communities and diverse knowledges in the realms of environmental research and decision-making and how academia can better support community-engaged research, particularly through extension systems. She received her PhD in Geography from the University at Buffalo in 2021 (advisor: Trina Hamilton), during which time she also conducted a pre-doctoral research fellowship in the International Institute of Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University. Prior to graduate school in the US, she received her BA in Geography at King’s College London, where she focused on geopolitics and risk.

Recent publications

Bell, MZ. (2021) Spatialising Procedural Justice: Fairness and Local Knowledge Mobilisation in Nuclear Waste Siting. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 26:1, 165-180.

Bell, MZ. (Under Review) Epistemic Tensions of Nuclear Waste Siting in a Nuclear Landscape.

Bell, MZ & Macfarlane, A. (In Prep) “Fixing” the Nuclear Waste Problem: The New Political Economy of Spent Fuel Management.

Sonnis-Bell, MZ, Bell, D. and Ryan, M. (2018) Strangers, Aliens, Foreigners: The Politics of Othering from Migrants to Corporations. Brill Rodopi, Leiden.

Bell, DE and Bell MZ. (2017) Port Hope Burning: Cameco, the Uranium Medical Research Centre, and a Local Populace Caught In-Between. In: L. MacDowell (ed.) Nuclear Portraits: Communities, the Environment, and Public Policy. University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada