Meet Michael Bell

Michael BellMichael Bell — scholar, author, composer — is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At Madison, he serves as Director of the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, and is a member of the faculty of the Agroecology Program, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Religious Studies Program.

Mike is the author or editor of ten books, three of which have won national awards. His most recent book, City of the Good: Nature, Religion, and the Ancient Search for What Is Right, was published in February of 2018 by Princeton University Press.

Mike is also a prolific composer of grassroots and classical music, as well as environmental and progressive song.  He performs regularly on mandolin and banjo with the award-winning “class-grass” band Graminy, and on guitar as a singer-songwriter.

Recent Book Releases

An Invitation to Environmental Sociology  

(Sage, 2016, 5th Edition)

More Books

Current Projects

Mike is currently conducting participatory fieldwork among the amaQwathi people of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The LAND (Livelihoods, Agroecology, and Nutrition for Development) Project is the product of a partnership between CIAS, Indwe Trust, Kidlinks World, and the farmers themselves.

Mike’s main current book projects are The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology, in two volumes, edited by Katharine Legun, Julie Keller, Michael M. Bell, and Michael S. Carolan, and a book on the sociology of community.

His current musical projects include a new outpouring of political songs and a fourth class-grass album with his band Graminy. He is also completing a large-scale choral work and several suites for classical piano.

Samples of Mike’s Compositions

Latest News

402, 2018

City of the Good is now published!

February 4th, 2018|0 Comments

My new book, City of the Good: Nature, Religion, and the Ancient Search for What Is Right, has just been released by Princeton University Press! This one took me 7 years, but I learned so [...]

2211, 2016

Graminy wins a second Classical Album of the Year Award!

November 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

The Madison Area Music Association has awarded my band Graminy its second Classical Album of the Year Award, for our 2015 release, Dance of the Plants. We won our first for our 2013 release, Germinations: A Bluegrass [...]

2911, 2015

Hey, now the new album IS done! Goes on sale Dec. 5, 2015

November 29th, 2015|0 Comments

  Well, Graminy's finally gone and done it!  We finished our third album, Dance of the Plants. It's a collection of Graminy tunes more on the grassy side of class-grass.  We're really pleased with how it [...]

2110, 2015

Graminy’s new album is almost done too!

October 21st, 2015|0 Comments

My band Graminy's new album, Dance of the Plants, is now being mastered, and it sounds great!  Look for it in time for Christmas.