|Prospective Students Our Students Visitors Faculty & Staff Alumni & Parents USF System|
|College of Arts and Sciences | Program Directory|
College of Arts & Sciences
Maintained by A. Fairbanks
Florida Studies Program Faculty
Christopher F. Meindl, Program Director
“The Florida Studies Program is special in that it provides an opportunity for students to develop expertise in a wide variety of fields. Depending on their individual plans of study and related academic experiences, graduates are well prepared for careers in environmental management, teaching, museums and other non-profit cultural institutions, or doctoral study in law, history, geography, literature and writing.”
Chris is most interested in the range of Florida’s natural resources (especially water), past, present and future. In early 2012, he brought together more than a half dozen prominent Florida writers and former Governor Bob Martinez to discuss the use of the humanities in building support for appropriate public policy regarding Florida's water resources. In 2010, he helped lead an effort to update Nelson M. Blake’s classic Land into Water, Water into Land: a History of Water Management in Florida (University Press of Florida). In 2011, he wrote “Water, Water, Everywhere? Toward a Critical Water Geography of the South” in the Southeastern Geographer. He also contributed an essay on Florida’s wetlands in Paradise Lost? An Environmental History of Florida, a 2005 volume edited by colleague Raymond Arsenault and Jack Davis. In 2000, he wrote about “Past perceptions of the Great American Wetland: Florida’s Everglades during the Early 20th century” in Environmental History.
Born and raised in Florida during the 1960s and 1970s, Meindl took notice that the tranquil life he enjoyed growing up in Melbourne Beach was becoming less affordable as Florida filled with people. By the time he completed graduate school, Meindl was not sure if he wanted to do what he could to help save what was left of the state—or leave while he still had his sanity. (His students are grateful that he chose the former and amused by its consequences!). Originally trained as a historical geographer, Meindl has embraced Florida's many different natural environments (particularly wetlands); is interested in all species of natural resources management (especially water resources); preaches the gospel of sustainability at frequent intervals; and wants folks to confront in meaningful ways the costs of endless population growth. His Florida road trips are legendary among students lucky enough to participate in them.
When not reading or writing about Florida issues—or working with students on Florida projects—Chris enjoys time with his family. Specifically, he loves to visit Flagler County with his wife Kathleen, watch baseball with his oldest son Barry, walk in parks and other wooded areas with his middle son Max, and laugh at America's Funniest Videos for hours on end with his youngest son Ryan.
Click here for Dr. Meindl's faculty page.
Gary Mormino, Professor Emeritus
Gary Mormino, is prolific writer, author of a wide range of academic and popular books. Immigrants on the Hill (University of Illinois press, 1986) won the Howard Marraro Prize as the outstanding book in Italian history. The Immigrant World of Ybor City (University of Illinois Press, 1987) received the Theodore Saloutos Prize for the outstanding book in ethnic-immigration history. In addition, two of his articles have received prizes for the best writing in Florida history. He has written for the St. Petersburg Times, Orlando Sentinel, and Miami Herald. He currently writes a bi-weekly column on state and local history for the Tampa Tribune.
Almost two decades ago, Mormino began to research a social history of modern Florida. Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida was published in the spring of 2005 by the University Press of Florida. Readers have called it a seminal study in state history. Michael Gannon, Distinguished History Professor at the University of Florida, writes that Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams “will be the book by which all future studies of modern Florida will be measured.” In 2006, the Florida Historical Society awarded the book the Charlton Tebeau Prize.
Dr. Mormino received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and has taught at USF since 1977.In 2003 the Florida Humanities Council named him its first Humanist of the Year.
Click here for Dr. Mormino's faculty page.
Ray Arsenault, Senior Scholar
Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where he has taught since 1980. A specialist in the political, social, and environmental history of the American South, he has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, and at the Universite d’Angers, in France, where he was a Fulbright Lecturer in 1984-85. From 1980 to 1987, he was the co-director of the Fulbright Commission’s Summer Institute on American Studies at the University of Minnesota; he has served as a consultant for numerous museums and public institutions, including the National Park Service, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Rosa Parks Museum, and the United States Information Agency; and he has lectured on American history and culture in a number of countries, including France, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, Turkey, and Jordan.
Arsenault was educated at Princeton University (B.A. 1969) and Brandeis University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1981. He is the author of two prize-winning books–The Wild Ass of the Ozarks: Jeff Davis and the Social Bases of Southern Politics (1984, pbk 1988) and St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream, 1888-1950 (1988, pbk. 1998), and of “The End of the Long Hot Summer: The Air Conditioner and Southern Culture,” Journal of Southern History (1984), which won the Southern Historical Association’s Green-Ramsdell Prize. An edited volume, Crucible of Liberty: 200 Years of the Bill of Rights, was published during the 1991 Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. His recent publications include Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Oxford University Press, 2006), Paradise Lost? (2005) an anthology (co-edited with Jack Davis) on the environmental history of Florida,The Changing South of Gene Patterson: Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960-1968 (2002), co-edited with Roy Peter Clark, and “The Public Storm: Hurricanes and the State in Twentieth-Century America,” in Wendy Gamber, et al. eds., American Public Life and the Historical Imagination (2003).
He is currently working on Landmarks of American Sports, co-edited with Randall Miller. Since 1996 he and USF history colleague Gary Mormino have served as the co-editors of the University Press of Florida’s highly acclaimed “Florida History and Culture” book series. An active member of the Florida affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union since the early 1980s, he served two terms as state president (1998-2000) and received the Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award in 2003.
J. Michael Francis, Professor and Hough Family Endowed Chair of Florida Studies
Dr. J. Michael Francis is one of the country's leading experts of Spanish Colonial Florida. Dr. Francis is one of the country's leading scholars when it comes to re-examining the Spanish experience in Florida, which is timely given that 2013 is the 500th Anniversary of Ponce de Leon's expedition of 1513.
Dr. Francis obtained his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Alberta and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He was a professor at the University of North Florida, located in Jacksonville, from 1997 until 2012 when he moved his studies to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Dr. Francis teaches Colonial Latin America, Ethnohistory, Spanish Borderlands and Colonial Florida, Pre-Columbian Civilizations, Historiography, and Spanish Paleography.
Dr. Francis is the author of Invading Colombia: Spanish Accounts of Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada’s Expedition of Conquest (2007), Murder and Martyrdom in Spanish Florida: Don Juan and the Guale Uprising of 1597 (2011), and The Martyrs of Florida (2013). He is currently working on Before Jamestown: Europeans, Africans, and Indians in La Florida, 1513-1607. Matanzas: French and Spanish Accounts of a Sixteenth-Century Florida Massacre.
Thomas Hallock, Associate Professor of Literature
“Florida is a laboratory for experiential learning. What you gain from studying Florida may easily be applied elsewhere. Students in the Florida Studies program, in fact, often know enough about the state already. What the FSP provides is a tool for broader understanding, deeper research and communication. These foundational skills will serve the FSP student in whatever career path he or she chooses.”
Hallock majored in Spanish and English at Dickinson College (1987) and received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from New York University (1995). He began his career at Valdosta State University and has taught at the University of Mississippi and at several Tampa Bay area schools. Hallock now teaches early American literature and environmental writing at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Following the dictum "teach where you are," he has adopted regional approaches to his research and teaching. He is currently developing a web-based anthology of Florida literature from 1513 to the Seminole Wars. With help from his nature writing students, Hallock has undertaken a project to recover Salt Creek, an oft overlooked waterway that runs through St. Petersburg and empties into Bayboro Harbor just south of campus.
As the author of an early study on nature writing in the early republic (From the Fallen Tree), co-editor of William Bartram's unpublished writings (William Bartram, The Search for Nature's Design), Hallock's roots lie in eighteenth-century America. He is current President of the Bartram Trail Conference (www.bartramtrail.org) and a co-conspirator of the St. Petersburg City of Writers (www.cityofwriters.org). Hallock is also currently writing a fun book of narrative essays that journey into the places of early American literature.
Tom is married to Dr. Julie Armstrong, also in the Florida Stuides Program. He likes to travel as much as his family lets him, raise their young son, and enjoy the Florida outdoors. He also tries unsuccessfully to cultivate a native garden.
Click here for Hallock's faculty web page.
Julie Buckner Armstrong, Associate Professor of Literature
"What can you NOT do with an interdisciplinary degree from a cool school like this one?”
Julie Armstrong received her PhD in English and American Literature from New York University in 1997, her MA in English from the University of Memphis in 1986, and her BA in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1984.
Dr. Armstrong teaches American, African American, and women's literature at USFSP. She previously taught at Valdosta State University in Georgia, Drexel University in Pennsylvania, and New York University. Dr. Armstrong is interested in Florida's African American heritage, from literary figures such as Zora Neale Hurston and James Weldon Johnson to historical events such as Rosewood and Fort Mose. She is fascinated by women who come here and remake themselves, especially if they live in marginal places like scrub or swamp. She wonders why Florida is so often the site of the fantastic or imaginary in literature -- Stevens' "palm at the end of the mind" -- when it seems so visceral and real in everyday life.
Dr. Armstrong is author of Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching (University of Georgia Press, 2011), editor of The Civil Rights Reader: From Jim Crow to Reconciliation (University of Georgia Press, 2009), and co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement: Freedom's Bittersweet Song (Routledge, 2002).
Dr. Armstrong likes to camp, kayak, read, and travel. She is married to Dr. Thomas Hallock, also in the Florida Studies Program. The two of them, along with their dog and son, know almost as many back roads in the state as Jeff Klinkenberg.
Seth C. McKee, Associate Professor of Political Science
"With the opportunity to study so many facets of the Sunshine State, a Florida Studies graduate is likely to find their calling."
McKee is an American politics scholar, with expertise that includes American Institutions (Presidency and Congress), Political Behavior (campaigns and elections, political participation, and public opinion), Southern Politics, Political Parties, and Redistricting. He is the current Chair of the Department of History and Politics at USFSP.
McKee received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, preceded by M.S. and B.S. degrees from Oklahoma State University in 1998 and 1996. His doctoral dissertation is titled "This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Dixie: Explaining Partisan Change in Southern U.S. House Elections, 1988-2004."
In 2010, McKee published Republican Ascendancy in Southern U.S. House Elections (Westview Press, 2010) and he currently has an article in press titled “Achieving Validation: Barack Obama and Black Turnout in 2008,” with M. V. Hood III and David Hill, in State Politics & Policy Quarterly.
Recently, McKee has been a frequent commentator on WEDU programs like Florida Matters and coverage of the 2012 elections. (Look for McKee's name peppered throughout our Recent News and Events.)
For additional publications and other information, please visit McKee's webpage.