VAST 265

Steel, Steelmaking and the Lehigh Valley

Instructor: J. Christian Tatu

Office:  319A Pardee

Office Phone:  330 5233


Course Description:  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?

This course will explore the rise and fall of the United States steel industry, with particular emphasis on Bethlehem Steel and steelmaking in the Lehigh Valley. Students will 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. In addition, the class will have a service-learning component involving students with the Steel Workers' Archives, National Museum of Industrial History, ArtsQuest, and/or the South Bethlehem Historical Society.