STEVEN M. SCHNELL
Professor of Geography
Welcome to the website of Steven M. Schnell, Professor of Geography at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.
I am a Professor of Geography at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where I teach courses in cultural geography, the power of place, globalization, the geography of the US and Canada, the geography of Sub-Saharan Africa, the geography of Pennsylvania, and Geography Senior Seminar. I obtained all my degrees from the University of Kansas. My current research interests focus on the creation of local economies in an age of globalization, with an emphasis on sustainable, local agriculture. I am also undertaking a new study of the role and depiction of place and place identity in graphic novels and comics.
My research may at first glance appear eclectic – my publications include papers about Swedes, Kiowas, microbreweries, flooded Midwestern towns, and sustainable agriculture, among others. However, there is a common thread that runs through most of my work – understanding how people become psychologically rooted in place, the ways that they derive their identity from place, and how people intentionally maintain or establish their place’s distinctiveness. In the face of increasingly homogenized popular, global, and corporate culture, many people want to move away from what geographer Ed Relph has called “placelessness” – where places become more and more alike – and are willing to take action to make it happen. The term for this return to the local is “neolocalism.” I have long been interested in the ways that people attempt to make their places distinctive, and how their identities become intertwined with the places they live. My current research examines the strategies used by communities to create more viable local economies in the face of increasing globalization. I am also editor of the Journal of Cultural Geography.
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Department of Geography, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown PA, 19530