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Magoc earns national recognition in public history

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mercyhurst University History Department Chair Chris Magoc, Ph.D., has been honored for outstanding achievement in public history by the National Council on Public History.

The council will celebrate its award recipients across a variety of public history formats at its annual meeting in Nashville next month. Magoc earned the distinction of “honorable mention” for the Wesley Johnson Award, named in honor of the founding editor of The Public Historian for the most outstanding article appearing in the journal during the previous volume year. 

Magoc’s article, “Reflections on the Public Interpretation of Regional Environmental History in Western Pennsylvania,” examines four sites of environmental history: Erie (fishing/pollution of the lake), Forest County (logging/industrial history), Oil City/Titusville (oil industry), and Donora, south of Pittsburgh (site of the worst air pollution disaster in U.S. history in 1948).  

Magoc’s article critically assesses how, or whether, each community tells their environmental history — through museums, historic markers, and more.

According to the abstract, “The essay argues that the history of industrial development and its deleterious environmental impacts demands a regional vision that not only frames these stories within the ideological and economic context of the past, but also challenges residents and visitors to consider this history in light of the related environmental concerns of our own time.”