Brian C. Black, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor, History and Environmental Studies
Consultant, Arts and Humanities
Elm Building, 102

Dr. Brian C. Black’s research emphasis is on the landscape and environmental history of North America, particularly in relation to the application and use of technology. His first book used the Pennsylvania oil boom of the 1860s as a case study of rapid industrialization in the post-bellum U. S. The cultural history of petroleum use in the 20th century and what it reveals about American environmental ethics and preferences. He has examined America's dramatic shift in industrial intensity during the Civil War era as well as the impact of modernism and land-use planning on the modern environmental movement. Dr. Black received his doctorate in American Studies from the University of Kansas in 1996. As one of the faculty who spearheaded the creation of an Environmental Studies major at Penn State Altoona, he currently serves as the head of the Arts and Humanities Division.