Shelly’s research examines people’s moral understandings of their economic positions, and how they play out in everyday life. She is particularly interested in how workplaces and labor relations are changing in flexible capitalism. Her dissertation examines how people construct moral narratives to make sense of workplace insecurity, through a comparison of the oil and gas and tech industries. Spanning North Dakota, Houston, and Silicon Valley, the project combines in-depth interviews, ethnographic observation, and quantitative analysis.
Shelly is also passionate about teaching and education, working with students both at UC Berkeley and at Williston State College in North Dakota. She has taught courses on theory, culture, insecurity, and pedagogy. Prior to graduate school, she was a middle school science teacher on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She is currently based in Washington, DC, where she is a Research Fellow at the Future of Work Initiative at the Aspen Institute.