Place Studies Program

Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment

Group of people meeting in Mahanoy City

Place isn't always a static location. Sometimes it refers to the fluid and changing interactions between the human and non-human that together create place-based meaning and identity.

The Place Studies Program embraces this broader definition of "place," providing opportunities to actively engage with the social, political, historical and cultural dimensions of nature-society relationships and sustainability.

Our Mission

Working in collaboration with faculty, students and staff from across the humanities, social sciences and management, the program develops teaching, research and outreach projects.

These projects examine how we imagine, sustain, understand and engage with place — in all its definitions.

Such opportunities allow faculty and students to actively engage with the social, political, historical and cultural dimensions of nature-society relationships and sustainability.

We support faculty and student research on sustainability, environmental history and human-environment interaction with the goal of expanding research and peer-reviewed scholarship.

Students experience this through active, hands-on learning opportunities to engage in research as both individuals and as members of research teams during the academic year and summers.

Place Studies Program Projects

The Place Studies program has supported a variety of research, teaching and community-engagement projects since its foundation, all with the goal of deepening our understanding of communities, environmental issues and sustainability. These are a few of our many projects and research questions:

  • Sustainable Places: How do communities pursue and integrate economic, social, environmental and cultural sustainability?
  • Place Meaning: How, why and to what effect are place and landscape imbued with meaning and identity?
  • Changing Energy Landscapes:How do shifting energy practices impact individuals, communities and the environment?
  • Coal Region Field Station: An interdisciplinary and community initiative that connects students, faculty and staff to anthracite coal communities through projects that foster community revitalization, explore coal region histories and heritage, and imagine future possibilities.

Place Studies Program Collaborations

  • Stories of the Susquehanna Valley: A long-term collaborative research and teaching project that uses multimedia scholarship, including a book series, a digital atlas and a documentary series, to investigate the Susquehanna ecoregion as a confluence of cultures and ecologies.
  • Ready, Set, Fit: Ready, Set, Fit is a student-coded app that creates themed walking paths for fitness and education. This long-term cross-college collaboration brings together student programmers, student content developers, student mappers, and community connections to create dynamic and unique walking app user experiences.

Contact Us

For more information, contact:
Shaunna Barnhart, Place Studies Program director

Contact Details

Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment


Administrative Offices

Olin Science Building, 4th Floor

BCSE Field Station

835 Fraternity Road