Jared Farmer

Jared Farmer

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History

U.S. history, environmental history, landscape studies


College Hall 306B


Jared Farmer studies the histories of built and unbuilt environments from the hyperlocal to the planetary. His temporal expertise is the long nineteenth century; his regional expertise is the North American West.

At Penn, Prof. Farmer is affiliated with the History and Sociology of Science Graduate Group; the Religious Studies Graduate Group; the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities; and the Initiative in the History of the Built Environment at the Weitzman School of Design.

He has received fellowships and grants from institutions such as the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 2014, the Dallas Institute presented him the Hiett Prize in the Humanities; in 2017, the Carnegie Corporation of New York named him an Andrew Carnegie Fellow; and in 2018, the American Academy in Berlin awarded him a Berlin Prize. Farmer has been profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Pennsylvania Gazette.

His peer-reviewed essays include Executive Domain: Military Reservations in the Wartime West, in World War II and the West It Wrought (Stanford, 2020); Taking Liberties with Historic Trees, in the Journal of American History (March 2019); and Technofossil, in Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (Chicago, 2018). He has also written guest essays for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and Smithsonian.

Farmer’s book On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape (Harvard University Press, 2008) won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians. His latest book, Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees (Basic Books, 2022), won the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society.

His long-term book projects are “God View: How Seeing Earth Changed Humanity” (a meditation on aerial technologies of seeing); “Vicarious Works” (a metahistory of family); and “The Everlasting Stone Age” (a cultural history of rocks).

Currently, he is leading a collaborative digital history project, “Petrosylvania,” that will result in a website: “Americas First Petrochemical Corridor.” In October 2023, he will deliver the 28th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture: “Music & the Unspoken Truth.”

Office Hours
By appointment; I am on reseach leave in academic year 2023–24.

Ph.D. Stanford University

M.A. University of Montana

B.A. Utah State University

Courses Taught

American Monuments


The Making of Modern America

The Craft of Writing

CV (file)