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Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities

The Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities celebrates environmental leadership and expression. It honors those who solve the planet’s environmental problems using the tools of the humanities, such as creative expression, scholarly research, popular art forms and advocacy. 

2019 Recipient

The University of Utah honors writer and historian Rebecca Solnit with Award in Environmental Humanities

Rebecca Solnit

Photo Credit : Trent Davis Bailey

The University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Graduate Program awarded writer, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit with the Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities, Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Salt Lake City Main Library. You can watch a recording of the evening event here

Known for her books about feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, she’s also a contributor to The Guardian and other news publications. She’s written 20 books including The Mother of All Questions, Hope in the Dark, Men Explain Things to Me, The Faraway Nearby, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Wanderlust: A History of Walking and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism and the Lannan Literary Award).

“The students in the Environmental Humanities Program admire Solnit’s work and efforts in these urgent political times,” said Jeff McCarthy, director of the Environmental Humanities program. “The award celebrates work that engages environmental issues from the perspective of the humanities, has a broad impact and speaks to diverse communities. Solnit’s work embodies these values.”

The $10,000 award is an annual celebration of environmental leadership and expression and honor those who solve the planet’s environmental problems using the tools of the humanities such as creative expression, scholarly research, popular art forms and advocacy.

“The award is the first of its kind and it foregrounds the power of cultural responses to environmental crises,” said McCarthy. “This work is especially important right now. Our graduate program trains the next generation of environmental leaders to be activists, artists and academics.”

The Environmental Humanities Graduate Program, housed in the College of Humanities, aims to produce an interdisciplinary, intellectual and creative space in which students are prepared to reflect on what it means to be human, encouraged to be creative and collaborative and to think about new forms of environmental leadership and stewardship.

“Our students come from around the world to study in the American West with committed faculty, impressive field stations and full-fellowships. They leave with jobs in non-profits, careers in the arts and positions in excellent doctoral programs and professional schools,” said McCarthy.

2018 Recipient

Environmental Humanities Graduate Program Will Award Indian Novelist Amitav Ghosh
with the Inaugural Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities

The University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities graduate program will award Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh with the inaugural Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities on Monday, March 26 at 7:00pm at the Salt Lake City Main Library.

“We are thrilled to bring an environmental thinker of Amitav Ghosh’s status to campus,” said Jeff McCarthy, director of the Environmental Humanities program. “His writing imagines new tools for collaborative living in a new climate.”

 The $10,000 award will be an annual celebration of environmental leadership and expression and honor those who solve the planet’s environmental problems using the tools of the humanities such as creative expression, scholarly research, popular art forms and advocacy.

“The award is the world’s first prize in the field of environmental humanities. It celebrates and validates the recipients while putting their goals in the spotlight. It also puts the U on a national stage, and further distinguishes our environmental humanities graduate program,” added McCarthy.

Recipients of the award will travel to Salt Lake City for a public reception, give a lecture about the role of the environmental humanities and engage with students, faculty and the community. Ghosh will visit the U campus in March 2018.

Ghosh has written ten novels and several books of non-fiction including 2016’s “The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable.” Ghosh’s work has been translated into twenty languages and published in myriad outlets including The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times. His writing focuses on environmental consciousness in the most difficult circumstances of a multi-cultural, globalized and interdependent world.

Since 2006, the environmental humanities graduate program housed in the College of Humanities has been training the next generation of leaders to become academics, activists and artists for the causes they care most about.

“Our students come from around the world to study in the American west with committed faculty, impressive field stations and full-fellowships. They leave with jobs in non-profits, careers in the arts and positions in excellent doctoral programs and professional schools,” concluded McCarthy.

Last Updated: 8/8/19