Alumnus recognized with southern history dissertation award


A university alumnus was awarded for his contribution in the field of history.

On Sept. 10, Owen Hyman was awarded the 2019 C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize.

The award recognizes the best dissertation in southern history. Hyman also received a $3,000 stipend from the Southern Historical Association.

The award is named after Historian C. Vann Woodward.

Hyman expressed his happiness for receiving the award.

“This award is meaningful to me because it affirms the outstanding education and mentorship received at both of my alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana University and Mississippi State University,” commented Hyman.

Hyman was inspired by his thesis advisor during his master’s degree, Dr. Samuel Hyde, professor of history.

“Hyde is the foremost authority on the political culture of violence in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes and on the working class in the Piney Woods region of the Gulf South,” said Hyman. “He gave me my first history-related job at the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at SLU, where I began the research that led to both my master’s thesis and my dissertation. “

Hyman also studied at Mississippi State University and noted Dr. James Giesen motivated him during his time at the university.

“Dr. James C. Giesen, my dissertation advisor at Mississippi State University, is a leading scholar of Southern Environmental History and is shaping the field through his editorship of the ‘Environmental History and the American South’ book series,” explained Hyman. “He is also an outstanding educator who has won every teaching award that Mississippi State University offers. My research interests, my methodology, and my teaching all draw from their expert guidance.”

Hyman also received help from other institutions.

“It is very rewarding to know that their support paid off in this way,” shared Hyman. “The Forest History Society and the Southern Labor Archives both provided fellowships to help me complete my research, while the Black Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara offered me a dissertation fellowship that gave me time and an incredibly supportive environment to complete it.”

Hyman received the award for his dissertation in the novel “The Cut and the Color Line: An Environmental History of Jim Crow in the Deep South Forests.”

After hearing that he received the award, Hyman was thrilled to tell Giesen and Hyde about his accomplishments.

“As soon as I saw the email from Stephen Berry, I texted Jim Giesen,” stated Hyman. “He called me immediately and we wound up talking all the way up to the time I had to leave for class. I was so excited. I thought my lecture was going to be terrible, but once I start teaching I tend to put everything else out of my mind. Once class was over I emailed Sam Hyde to let him know as well.”