"Deep mining ended decades ago in Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Valley. The barons who made their fortunes have moved on. Low wages and high unemployment haunt the area, and the people left behind wonder whether to stay or seek their fortunes elsewhere. Once dominated by the boom-and-busts of coal mining, the valley's shared history touches communities as far-flung as the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf Coast shorelines, and the mountains of West Virginia. Bill Conlogue explores how two overlapping coal country landscapes--Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Marywood University--have coped with the devastating aftermath of mining. Examining the far-reaching environmental effects of mining, including heavy deforestation, geological disruption, and mine fires, this beautifully written book asks bigger questions about what it means to influence a landscape to this extent--and then to live in it. In prose rivaling that of Annie Dillard and John McPhee, Conlogue describes a fascinating paradox: because of coal mining, the city and college have suffered, but the United States has grown stronger. Examining higher education through the lens of an unstable region still reeling from its industrial heritage, Undermined in Coal Country defends the study of literature and history as parts of an interdisciplinary web of meaning. Conlogue argues that, if we are serious about solving environmental problems, if we are serious about knowing where we are and what happens there, we need to attend closely to all places--that is, to attend to the world in a cold, dark, and disorienting universe. Unearthing new ways of thinking about place, pedagogy, and the environment, this meditative text reveals that place is inherently unstable"--
"Unearthing new ways of thinking about place, pedagogy, and the environment, "On the Measures" argues that place is unstable. To study dimensions of place, the book explores two working landscapes: 1) Scranton, Pennsylvania, an undermined, former coal-mining city, and 2) Marywood University, a Scranton institution that confronts the aftermath of mining. Scranton and Marywood have endured the narrative of extraction that the Anthracite Region once celebrated. Recounting removal of parts of this place to feed other places, the story defines loss here as gain there: the city and college have suffered but the United States has grown stronger. The tale ends badly, however, because the narrative arcs toward exhaustion; the storyline offers little about renewal. Growing up with this narrative, Scrantonians have been fleeing the city for decades; the dominant trend among young people has long been to learn here to move elsewhere. Too few environmental humanists have sufficiently examined the primary place where many work: the university. When they do, they often do not link the university to its local, regional, and national environmental contexts. In exploring where Conlogue teaches, he shows how bound up places of learning are with unsettling sites of resource extraction. Defending the study of literature and history, "On the Measures" shows university students that the disciplines they study are parts of an interdisciplinary web of meaning that includes the contexts of the places where they learn"--
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