This class was developed for a program that is no longer part of the curriculum at Lafayette College.
The Lehigh Valley was once home to one of the largest steel manufacturers on the planet. For nearly 140 years, Bethlehem Steel employed tens of thousands of men and women in the Lehigh Valley while providing the steel for the nation’s railroads, battleships, and skyscrapers. By the 1970s, however, the United States steel industry was in steep decline, and in 1995, Bethlehem Steel ceased production in the Lehigh Valley, leaving behind a massive brownfield site that was considered undevelopable for more than a decade. What happened?
Last year, I began teaching a sophomore-level interdisciplinary seminar titled Steel, Steel making, and the Lehigh Valley. My students and I explore the rise and fall of the United States steel industry, with particular emphasis on Bethlehem Steel and steel manufacturing here in the Lehigh Valley. We examine the science of steel making and analyze its historical, sociological, and economic importance through a combination of lecture, class discussion, field research, and guided practice in writing for a variety of audiences and for differing purposes.
Please see my students’ work at their website, Steel and the Lehigh Valley.