Poster of the history of felon disenfranchisement in FloridaProfessor Pippa Holloway from Middle Tennessee State University will give a talk in this year’s Milbauer Lecture series on the history of felon disenfranchisement in Florida on Thursday, 22 February 2018  at 6 pm in the Bob Graham Center, on UF campus. Professor Holloway is the author of Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2013).  The restoration of voting rights for felons will be on the ballot in Florida this November, so this discussion promises to be both timely and important.

UF’s Center for African Studies is devoting its 17th Carter Conference to creating a critical public forum about new methods and politics in curation and text-image studies. Emphasizing juxtapositions, sequences, montage, friction, and postcolonial politics, it will problematize archival, field, and curatorial techniques in the global humanities. We aim to interrogate art, fables, lexicons, dreams, and disorder in everyday, artistic, research, and curatorial practices.  The History Department is a proud sponsor of this event, which ranges from February 8-10, 2018 in the Reitz Union.
The conference celebrates the 2017 arrival of an extraordinary vernacular archive: one Congolese street artist’s personal collection of his comic art produced in Lingala, and generously acquired from Papa Mfumu’ete, who produced comic zines for over 20 years in the megacity of Kinshasa; and the collection intertwines religious, popular, aesthetic, and political dimensions. The conference will enable a collaborative curatorial process as the very first solo exhibitionS of this eccentric artist, including one at the Harn Museum of Art, are conceptualized.
While over 15 scholars, curators, & artists from four continents will grapple with sequential art, creative writing, and vernacular archives from the Global South, the contemporary moment will be present: We live in a new era when African immigration is massive, global, and hotly contested in many quarters and milieus, and not only in America or Europe. Africans are on the move, with many not fugitives in flight. Challenging racialized friction and xenophobia as they migrate into and inhabit new worlds, some intervene and engage through art. We invite Gainesville’s publics to join in thinking about such text-image engagements and the contemporary.
This event is open to the public. For the full program and more information, please visit: Center for African Studeies

We can’t advise you on your taxes, but if you’re planning on applying for the University Scholars Program, the History Honors Program, or any of the other awards and fellowships through the History Department, here are your 2018 deadlines.
FEB 1          University Scholars applications due to the Department of History (submit to
FEB 23        Applications for departmental travel and research awards due [see website for instructions]
MAR 16       History Honors Program applications due (submit to

The History Department is pleased to announce a public talk by Dr. Jonathan Ray entitled “Merchants, Mystics, and Secret Jews: Sephardic Identities in the Age of Discovery,” in the lecture series sponsored by the Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish Studies.  Dr. Ray will speak on Monday, 5 February 2018 at 5 pm in the Judaica Suite in the Smathers Library on the campus of the University of Florida.
The history of the Sephardic Diaspora is inextricably linked to the European Age of Discovery. The global networks created by Spanish and Portuguese Jews and Conversos became a hallmark of the early modern period, forming a bridge between the Old World and the New–and between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  Dr. Ray will explore three key facts of Sephardic identity during this fascinating, yet oft-overlooked chapter in Jewish history.
Jonathan Ray is the Samuel Eig Professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University, where he specializes in medieval and early modern Jewish history, focusing on the Sephardic world.  His publications include The Sephardic Frontier: The Reconquista and the Jewish Community in Medieval Iberia (2006), The Jew in Medieval Iberia (2012), and After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry (2013).

Cover photo of Dr. Heather varma's This City Belongs to YouDr. Heather Vrana, a recent addition to UF’s History Department, has published her first book with the University of California Press entitled, This City Belongs to You: A History of Student Activism in Guatemala, 1944-1996.  This book analyzes the role of students from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala’s turbulent history in the half-century following World War II.  One reviewer wrote, “Vrana provides a new window on the making of contemporary Guatemala and goes far beyond a narrowly focused study of student politics,.This is an important and intelligent book.”  Dr. Vrana recently joined UF’s History Department and hard at work on her next book project, which deals with the history of disability in Latin America.

A picture of Richmond F. BrownThe History Department is proud to announce the Richmond F. Brown Graduate Fund.
Dr. Brown, the Center for Latin American Studies’ former Associate Director for Academic Programs and an affiliate faculty of the History Department, died peacefully on September 20, 2016. As a way of honoring his memory, the UF Center for Latin American Studies has established the Richmond F. Brown Graduate Student Fund. The fund will support master’s degree students in the Center for Latin American Studies – with a preference for students pursuing internships. Please consider giving at: Richmond F. Brown Graduate Fund

Cover picture of GULF by Jack.E.DavisThe History Department is proud to recognize that Dr. Jack Davis has won the 2017 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction for his book, The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.  Here is their original review in its entirety:
A sweeping environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that duly considers the ravages of nature and man.
In light of the 2010 devastation of the BP oil spill, environmental historian Davis (History and Sustainability Studies/Univ. of Florida; An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century, 2009, etc.) presents an engaging, truly relevant new study of the Gulf as a powerful agent in the American story, one that has become “lost in the pages of American history.” Once the habitat of the highly developed, self-sustaining Calusa indigenous people, the rich estuary of the Gulf is the 10th largest body of water in the world, and it forms the sheltered basin that creates the warm, powerful Gulf Stream, which allowed the first explorers, such as Ponce de León, to make their ways back to the Old World. Davis meanders through the early history of this fascinating sea, which became a kind of graveyard to many early marooned explorers due to shipwrecks and run-ins with natives. Yet the conquistadors took little note of the abundant marine life inhabiting the waters and, unaccountably, starved. A more familiar economy was established at the delta of the muddy, sediment-rich Mississippi River, discovered by the French. The author focuses on the 19th century as the era when the Gulf finally asserted its place in the great move toward Manifest Destiny; it would “significantly enlarge the water communication of national commerce and shift the boundary of the country from vulnerable land to protective sea.” The Gulf states would also become a mecca of tourism and fishing and, with the discovery of oil, enter a dire period of the “commercialization of national endowments.” The story of this magnificent body of water and its wildlife grows tragic at this point—e.g., the “killing juggernaut” of Gulf wading birds to obtain fashionable feathers. Still, it remains an improbable, valiant survival tale in the face of the BP oil spill and ongoing climate change.
An elegant narrative braced by a fierce, sobering environmental conviction.
You can find the press page, which includes more blurbs and information, for The Gulf by following this link.

The History Department is pleased to announce it’s first Pozzetta Lecture of the 2017-18 academic year. On Wednesday, 18 October 2017 at 3 p.m., Dr. Todd Leedy of UF’s Center for African Studies will present, “But Did They Really Race? The Early History of Black Competitive Cycling in Johannesburg.” This talk will occur in the History Department’s Conference Room (005 Keene-Flint) and it is free and open to the public.
The talk is a preliminary portion of Dr. Leedy’s larger project on the history of bicycle racing amongst urban black South Africans through the 1960s. Despite the fact that bicycles became ubiquitous across the colonial landscape fairly early in the 20th century, they have not featured very prominently in either economic or social histories of the period. Cycling as leisure or sport remains completely neglected. At present, there exists no published academic literature focused on the history of black bicycle racing in South Africa, or for that matter, on the continent more broadly. In South Africa individuals and communities created vibrant social spaces around this sport during decades of intensifying segregation and apartheid. Of course, racing was not “hidden” from the hundreds of participants and the many thousands of spectators who cheered them. But due to the divisions in South African society, the early township scene remains virtually unknown today.
We hope to see you there!

The Southern Labor Studies Association is currently accepting submissions for the Robert H. Zieger Prize for Southern Labor Studies. SLSA awards the Zieger Prize at the biennial Southern Labor Studies Conference for the best unpublished essay in southern labor studies written by a graduate student or early career scholar, journalist, or activist. The Zieger Prize includes a $500 award.
The Robert H. Zieger Prize was established in 2013 with the cooperation of the Zieger family and members of SLSA. The prize is named in honor of the late Robert H. Zieger—teacher, scholar, and tireless union activist at the University of Florida. Zieger was a prolific, award-winning writer whose books include For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865 and The CIO, 1935-1955, and three field-defining edited volumes on southern labor history. Zieger served as an officer in the North Central Florida Central Labor Council and an organizer for the United Faculty of Florida. Along with his wife of fifty years, Gay Zieger, an English professor at Santa Fe College, he maintained a strong commitment to social justice his entire life. Many of his former students went on to become labor organizers. SLSA hopes that the spirit of Zieger’s combination of rigorous scholarship and his dedicated commitment to improving the lives of working-class people will live on in this prize.


Graduate students and scholars, activists, and journalists who are no more than five years beyond the author’s highest degree are eligible to apply. Essays must be in English and should be primarily concerned with southern labor and working-class history broadly conceived. Applicants are not required to be members of SLSA at the time of the submission.
To be considered for the 2017 Robert H. Zieger Prize, applicants must submit their essays by October 15, 2016, to the prize committee chairperson:
Prof. Paul Ortiz
Department of History
University of Florida
P.O. Box 117320
Gainesville, FL 32611-7320

A picture of Dr. Michael GannonThis April, the History Department was sad to learn of the passing of our former colleague, Dr. Michael Gannon. In recognition of his long career and his many contributions to the field of Florida history and to the University of Florida, the Department will hold a memorial service at the Baughman Center on the campus of the University of Florida at 5 p.m. on Friday, 25 August 2017.  There will be several speakers who will talk about Dr. Gannon’s work and his impact on both the scholarly community, his students, and the public.  This service is open to the general public and there is parking available near the Administration Building adjacent to the Baughman Center.