The Centralia Mine Fire: Social Conflict and the Death of a Pennsylvania Community

Morgan Auditorium, Penn State Schuylkill

When a coal mine fire was discovered in the community of Centralia, Pennsylvania, in 1962, there were more than 1,000 residents. Today, there are 10. Well before the buildings were razed and most residents were relocated, the social community had been destroyed by rancorous social conflict.

Join us for this insightful presentation on why this happened and how studying Centralia led to the discovery of a new type of disaster which, if left unchecked, results in social and individual trauma greater than that found with hurricanes and tornadoes.

Stephen Couch is a professor of sociology at Penn State Schuylkill. He researches disasters and popular culture, and the sociology of fear’s relationship to our divisive political culture. He is co-author of "The Real Disaster Is Above Ground: A Mine Fire and Social Conflict."

This talk is part of the Penn State Schuylkill 85th Anniversary Speaker Series. All events take place in Morgan Auditorium and are free and open to the general public.