Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pedaling the Sacrifice Zone: Teaching, Writing, and Living Above the Marcellus Shale

Since 2007, more than 4,000 natural gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania into the Marcellus Shale. Before the dust settles, as many as 100,000 wells may be drilled on 20,000 well pads. Jimmy Guignard chronicles his story as an English professor grappling with the meaning of place and the teaching of rhetoric while living on seven acres above the Marcellus Shale.

Part memoir, part rhetorical analysis, part cultural critique, the work examines the author's internal struggle as the disinterested academic in him clashes with the emotionally wound-up father and citizen. As the narrative progresses, often from the vantage point of an experienced cyclist pedaling through Tioga and surrounding counties, he tells of the profound changes he experienced in the way he viewed the rural place he and his wife chose to settle as it becomes transformed into an industrial sacrifice zone.

Encountering increased truck traffic on the roads, crossing pipeline construction on the trails, and pedaling past a growing number of flaring gas wells, the author's rides began to shape his academic work in ways he found surprising and sobering. Over time, juggling his roles as college professor and reluctant activist revealed how the rhetoric of industry, politicians, and locals combined to challenge his understanding of teaching and call to question his belief in the power of language.

Jimmy Guignard is associate professor at Mansfield University, Pennsylvania, where he teaches rhetoric and mountain biking. He blogs at pipelineroad7.wordpress.com

From My Shelf Books & Gifts will be hosting the author October 24 2015 from Noon to 3PM.

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