Portrait of Scranton, Portrait of a Nation

Scranton looms large in the imagination of the United States. We’ve shown up in popular culture, from Home Alone to The Office.

From its roots as an important U.S. city at the turn of the last century, Scranton is dotted with artistic and architectural gems, from Raymond Hood’s Scranton Cultural Center to Covenant Presbyterian Church’s glass windows, made by the renowned artist Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The city’s nickname, “The Electric City,” refers to its being the first American city to have an electric streetcar, and points to the city’s current revitalization and economic development.

Notable people hail from Scranton, including:

  • the poet M.S. Merwin
  • urbanist Jane Jacobs
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jason Miller
  • U.S. President Joe Biden

What is it that makes Scranton a cultural touchstone? How is Scranton portrayed, and what is the authentic portrait of Scranton today? How do Scrantonians picture ourselves? What is our place in the story of the United States?  

Some key ideas to be explored in this theme include memory, place, identity, narrative, and human geography.

Events & Activities

Oct. 19, 2021 - Scranton in the Popular Imagination
Keynote Lecture with author Jay Parini with respondent panel and audience Q&A

Oct. 23, 2021 - Jane Jacobs Walk Downtown Scranton's Lackawanna Avenue - a Living CIty
Jane Jacobs Inspired Downtown Walking Tour

Dec. 6, 2021 - Scranton & the Nation: Who Are We and Who Do We Aspire to Be?  
Roundtable Discussion with resource speakers 

"I am Scranton" Social Media Campaign