Associate Professor, Comparative Arts & Letters
James Swensen is an associate professor of art history and the history of photography at Brigham Young University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in 2009. His research interests include documentary photography, American photography in the 1930s and 1970s, and the art and photography of Utah and the American West. He is the author of Picturing Migrants: The Grapes of Wrath and New Deal Documentary Photography (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015), and In a Rugged Land: Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and the Three Mormon Towns Collaboration, 1953-1954 (University of Utah Press, 2018). He is the recipient of the 2016-2019 Butler Young Scholar Award from the Charles Redd Center for Western American Studies, and the LeRoy Axland Best Utah History Article Award in 2018. In 2019 his book, In a Rugged Land, received the Best Book in Utah History Book Award from the Utah State Historical Society, the Joan Paterson Kerr Book Award for best illustrated book on the history of the American West from the Western History Association, and an honorable mention for the best book of the year award from the Mormon History Association. In a Rugged Land also received the Evans Biography Award in 2020.
BA, Brigham Young University, 1998
MA, Brigham Young University, 2000
PhD, University of Arizona, 2009