From the series Faculty Awards for Excellence 2015

Early Career Achievement

Drew Swanson

Drew Swanson

Drew Swanson

When one sees abandoned fields and erosion gullies it’s uncommon they’d think to write a book about such an environment.

Drew Swanson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of History, saw an opportunity for environmental research and has become more than just another author.

With two books down and a third on its way, Swanson has become one of the few historians “to publish multiple monographs in the field of Southern environmental history,” and has become “a central figure” in the field, said Mark Hersey, director of the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science and the Environment of the South.

Swanson’s doctoral dissertation was recognized in 2011 by the Southern Historical Association and was awarded the C. Vann Woodward Prize, a highly competitive and prestigious award given to the best dissertation in Southern history.

Swanson’s dissertation was published in the Yale University Press prestigious Agrarian Studies Series in 2014. His book is called “A Golden Weed: Tobacco and Environment in the Piedmont South.”

While writing the dissertation in which “Golden Weed” is based, he also researched on the Wormsloe plantation. This project became Swanson’s first book titled, “Remaking Wormsloe Plantation: The Environmental History of a Lowcountry Landscape” published in 2012. The work is said to be the best book on Georgia history produced that year.

In addition, three different journal editors submitted articles published by Swanson, each on a different topic, for the Jack Temple Kirby award, which is given to journal articles on Southern agricultural or environmental history.

His third book is on the environmental history of Appalachia.

While at Wright State, Swanson is just as appreciated and respected as he is in the studies of environmental history. His unusual history courses ring popular with students.

Students at all levels appreciate Swanson’s deep subject knowledge and teaching style. “Swanson is surely one of the university’s most effective and inspiring teachers,” said faculty and staff in the Department of History.

Swanson chairs the department’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and sits on the adhoc Assessment Committee for Reaccreditation. He is a College of Liberal Arts faculty senator and a member of the Natural Areas Committee.

Outside of Wright State, he has served on two Southern Historical Association committees and a book prize committee for the American Society for Environmental History; currently serving a three-year term on the Ohio Academy of History Dissertation Prize Committee and chairs the program committee and an article prize committee for the Agricultural History Society; and is an editor for H-Rural.

Comments are closed.