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This Year’s $50,000 Hiett Prize Winner Is…

by Adelina Sun 10 Jul 2014 4:09 PM

… an environmental historian. Which is something of a first for the $50,000 award from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.


Jared Farmer Head ShotIn a first, the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is awarding its Hiett Prize to an environmental historian. Created in 2005, the Hiett Prize recognizes those in the humanities who have not yet reached their full potential but who show great promise. This year, Jared Farmer, associate professor of history at Stony Brook University, will receive the $50,000 award.

Farmer is the author of three books: Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country; On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape; and Trees in Paradise: A California History. As an environmental historian, he uses writing and photography to illuminate the hidden histories of landscapes and habitats and has won several fellowships and awards, including the Francis Parkman Prize, given to the best non-fiction history book on an American theme (previous winners include David McCullough and Irving Howe). The Hiett Prize will be presented to Farmer at a 10th anniversary public luncheon on November 12 at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

The full press release follows:


DALLAS, JULY 10, 2014:

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture announced today that Francis Parkman Prize winner Jared Farmer is the 2014 recipient of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors in the humanities. Farmer, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York, is widely considered to be one of the finest young environmental historians writing today. He will receive the award at a 10th anniversary public luncheon on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas.

The $50,000 Hiett Prize was created by the Dallas Institute in 2005 in collaboration with philanthropist Kim Hiett Jordan to recognize a person who has not yet reached his or her full potential, but whose work in the humanities shows extraordinary promise.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Hiett Prize, which means in its lifetime thus far $500,000 has been awarded to young men and women who possess an exceptional commitment to the humanities. Jared Farmer’s accomplishments to date show without doubt that he belongs among these extraordinary first ten Hiett winners,” said J. Larry Allums Ph.D., executive director of the Dallas Institute. “Through his writing and photography, Jared brings to light hidden histories of landscapes and habitats and the ways human beings interact with them. His still-unfolding work in a relatively new field of the humanities is of such a high order that it promises to become a model for others who will follow him. And, in addition, its relevance and accessibility make Jared the ideal recipient of this year’s Hiett Prize. We are absolutely thrilled to pay tribute to his work in this way.”

The purpose of the Hiett Prize is to encourage future leaders in the humanities. It represents the counterpart of lifetime achievement awards by aiming at the discovery of notable talent in the humanities on its way toward full maturity. Farmer, an associate professor of history at Stony Brook University in New York, has won awards for two of his books: On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Harvard University Press, 2008) and his latest book, Trees in Paradise: A California History (W. W. Norton, 2013). His essays and reviews have appeared in publications such as Science, Environmental History, Reviews in American History, High Country News, Western American Literature, and Religion Dispatches. Farmer is currently working on two book projects: Ancient Trees in Modern Times (a history of the long search for the world’s oldest living thing, and a meditation on the future of long-lived trees in the Anthropocene) and The Aerial View (a global study of aerial photography, aerial surveillance, satellite imagery, and remote sensing).

The Hiett Prize selection process occurs over several months each year. Applications from across the U.S. are evaluated during two elimination rounds before a winner is determined during a final round. Hiett judges are selected from among Fellows of the Dallas Institute, a distinguished group of scholars, teachers, writers, and public intellectuals in the humanities, arts, and sciences in both the U.S. and abroad.

Previous winners of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities include: Brad Gregory, Notre Dame University (2005); Hilaire Kallendorf, Texas A&M University (2006); Tiya Alicia Miles, University of Michigan (2007); David Greenberg, Rutgers University (2008); James E. McWilliams, Texas State University (2009); Mark Oppenheimer, freelance teacher and writer (2010), Diana Senechal, Columbia Secondary School in New York City (2011), Elizabeth Samet, professor of English at the United States Military Academy at West Point (2012), and William Deresiewicz, writer and critic (2013).

The Hiett Prize luncheon and presentation by Jared Farmer will take place on Thursday, November 12, 2014, Noon – 1:30 p.m at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Honorary Chair for the event is Sally Hoglund with co-chairs Marie Brehm, Ann Drumm and Ginny Jackson. Individual luncheon tickets start at $175 and table sponsorships start at $1,750. Individual tickets can be purchased online at For more information or to purchase a table, please contact the Dallas Institute at 214.871.2440.