Contested Space: construction of a national memorial on a scarred landscape

Authors: Lisa Emili*, Penn State, William J White, Penn State Altoona
Topics: Cultural Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology, Social Theory
Keywords: water resources, acid mine drainage, actor network theory, public memory
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


On the morning of 9ǀ11, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into an active coal mining site in Pennsylvania at the hands of terrorists; there were no survivors. The hillside became a final resting place for those who died and ultimately, “Sacred Ground”. In 2002, legislation established the Flight 93 National Memorial as a unit of the National Park Service (NPS). The construction of the memorial was complicated by the need to complete reclamation and remediation of legacy coal mine land to mitigate acid mine drainage while not disturbing the Sacred Ground. We examine the dynamics of water resources-related environmental discourse by analyzing the juxtaposition of sacralising and technical language in the NPS Flight 93 National Memorial General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. We use Actor Network Theory (ANT) to explore the complex sociotechnical processes and connections that developed to bring about environmental policy change and ultimately, the construction of the memorial.

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