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Award Recipients

The UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere recognizes the accomplishments of its fellowship and grant recipients, as well as the achievements of UF faculty and students who have received external awards.

Programs in the Public Humanities Grants

In 2013, the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (CHPS) launched its grants for Programs in the Public Humanities. The Public Humanities grant opportunity, supported by the CHPS Rothman Endowment, encourages and enhances collaboration between the University of Florida and individuals, groups, and organizations in the community by offering grants up to $3,000 to support public programs rooted in one or more of the humanities disciplines. By drawing on expertise from UF and community partners as co-applicants, these public humanities projects create new and exciting opportunities for collaboration between the university and multiple community organizations. Furthermore, these projects encourage community building, cultural understanding, and personal reflection on the values and experiences that connect us together as neighbors, colleagues, and community members to create a civil and morally responsible society. Through projects like these, the Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere seeks to promote broad civic engagement with the communities in which we live and teach.


Anastasia Pantazopoulou and Anthony Smith (Graduate students, Classics) and
Ms. Lynn Little and Ms. Nevada Smith (Girls Place)

“Growing Strong: Empowering Girls in the 21st Century”

“Growing Strong: Empowering Girls in the 21st Century through Stories of Classical Female Mythological Figures and Contemporary Women” is addressing a major social challenge of our times, namely female empowerment. The UF and the Community partner seek to create an interactive, thought-provoking space for young girls to reflect on their identity as active community members and the multiple roles they can assume by discussing the stories of inspirational ancient Greco-Roman goddesses/figures alongside contemporary women. At a time when gender equality has not yet been realized, empowering girls to reach their full potential emerges as a crucial need. To actively contribute towards this goal, this program will open a dialogue between the UF Classics Department, which explores the language, literature, and culture of Ancient Mediterranean societies, and Gainesville’s middle-school community by engaging with the diverse participants at Girls Place. Our goal is to inspire girls of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and social status to become brave leaders and independent women. The project fosters an environment where the girls have the chance to connect with narratives about women’s identities and to consider their own roles in society.


John Nemmers (George A. Smathers Libraries, Curator of Architecture Archives and the Panama Canal Museum Collection) and Carmen Grimes-Eccles (Pan Caribbean Sankofa, Inc.)

“Caribbean Voices: Connecting People and Sharing Stories”

The George A. Smathers Libraries in partnership with Pan Caribbean Sankofa, Inc., propose two public humanities programs, to be held in UF and Panama in April 2021, to examine the history and lives of the Caribbean people who lived and worked in the former Panama Canal Zone and in Panama. In 1999 longtime Canal employee Cecil Haynes described the tens of thousands of West Indian laborers who constructed the Canal as VIPs, or Very Invisible People, because their stories were largely unknown and their contributions were unrecognized. Proposed programs will address the importance of identity, community, religion, language, and culture in the face of the Caribbean diaspora and the segregation and racism faced in Panama and the U.S. In addition to raising awareness about the lives and roles of these Caribbean people, the programs are intended to foster dialogue between the academic community and the dispersed Caribbean communities. These public engagement opportunities will provide forums for Caribbean people to share their voices, perspectives, and experiences as a marginalized community and also as people of great intelligence, expertise, professionalism, good character, and high morale in spite of discrimination and racism.


Alejandro Acero Ayuda and Darian Hector (Graduate students, Spanish and Portuguese Studies) and Kamil Levitt (Immigrant Family Liaison of Alachua County Schools)

“E-Telling: Social Patchwork and 21st-Century Literacies”

Young learners´ development of 21st-century literacies can respond to an urgent social concern: the disintegration of the sociocultural fabric due to the exclusion of the elderly. Culture is a continuum that changes over time and space. Therefore, the temporal distance between generations implies a cultural gap. Engaging with complex and multicultural identities coming from different generations allows learners to serve as mediators among generations and cultures. Bringing speakers from different generations together as members of one shared community revitalizes the social fabric while enhancing students’ intercultural and intergenerational competences. This pedagogical project uniquely plugs students into dynamic learning experiences involving elder raconteurs that help present the language through culturally authentic materials such as their testimonies, which serve as a reference for the development of multimodal texts produced with the aid of technology tools. Findings reveal that this intergenerational communication is pivotal to emboldening students to take ownership of their development of cross-cultural skills.


Please visit our Previous Public Humanities Grants Recipients

Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowship Recipients

(Photo Credit: Timothy Sofranko)

In 2010, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, with the support of the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities, began a program to award summer fellowships to faculty in the humanities disciplines. The objective of these fellowships is to allow recipients to make significant progress on existing creative/research projects during the summer months. The most recent recipients are below:


Bonnie Ernst (Assistant Professor, Sociology & Criminology)

“‘We Were All Feminists’: Punishment, Resistance, and Women’s Rights in the Age of Mass Incarceration”

“We Were All Feminists” challenges and reframes dominant narratives on mass incarceration by exploring the experiences of women and protest movements in the history of mass imprisonment. Drawing on material from Michigan archives, oral histories, and legal documents, this project examines how ideas of gender equality influenced prison activism in the twentieth century. Facing long sentences, overcrowded prisons, and no rehabilitation programming, women used impact litigation, a strategy that civil rights lawyers refined in the 1960s, to argue for gender equality in prison conditions. In 1977, female prisoners filed a class action lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Corrections in yet another attempt to achieve access to the courts, education, vocational training, and humane prison conditions. Glover v. Johnson, 478 F. Supp. 1075 (E.D. Mich. 1979), marked the first time incarcerated women launched a class action lawsuit arguing for gender equality in an American court. Mass incarceration impacted women in extraordinary ways. Ernst explores how female prisoners in Michigan protested and campaigned to reform the carceral state. The prisoners’ rights movement for women was one of the tributaries to the river of resistance to mass incarceration that has shaped American public life.


Fiona McLaughlin (Professor, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)

“In Pursuit of Trans-Saharan Literacies: Vernacular Writing in Senegalese Qur’anic Schools”

Dominant regimes of literacy in the Sahara, the Sahel, and the Maghreb are in Arabic and French, yet parallel vernacular literacies in African languages are used by many communities in this vast area. Two such writing systems whose use spans the geographic area of the Trans-Sahara, are ajami, or the writing of African languages in the Arabic script, and tifinagh, an ancient Libyco-Berber script used to write Tamazight or Berber languages. Tracing the transmission and spread of these writing traditions through pathways of Islamization, Islamic education in Qur’anic schools, and pastoralist traditions, sheds doubt on the construction of the Sahara as a barrier between north and sub-Saharan Africa, and supports the framing of a trans-Saharan region of shared historical, religious, and linguistic influences.


Victor Del Hierro (Assistant Professor, English)

“Decolonizing Cartography: Creating a Participatory Mapping Interface of the Mexico/US Border”

Borderland regions, like the area encompassing Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, USA, undergo continual geo-political transformation due to initial Spanish colonization and the creation of settler-colonial nation states. Existing maps of border spaces created by colonial powers over-emphasize these regions through their borders, even as border inhabitants move through sanctioned borders in their own ways. Seeking to map the borderland experience through the perspective of borderland residents, this project has two main foci: 1) using rhetorical cartography to study how the Juarez-El Paso border region is represented in existing maps; and 2) examining how current border residents conceptualize and map the borderland. Through an analysis of the cartographic construction of existing maps representing the Juarez/El Paso borderland, Del Hierro examines how power is embedded in the political border and how that power imposes a problematic spatial meaning on the Indigenous and migrating bodies of this borderland. Through the participatory design of new maps with borderland residents, he offers a critical understanding of current-strategic border-violence. The Rothman fellowship will allows for the collection of data at the Juarez-El Paso region for a chapter of a book dedicated to this topic as well as an article presenting the findings.


Lauren Pearlman (Assistant Professor, History)

“The Security State: The Rise of Private Security Industries in Post-World War II America”

In February 2020, Michelle Alexander, the renowned author of The New Jim Crow, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that the injustice of immigration detention is not an aberration and called for scholars to connect the dots between mass incarceration and mass deportation. This project keeps a sustained focus on the private security apparatus—brought together in this instance by private prisons and private detention facilities—to examine broader debates about security and surveillance in the U.S. Through an exploration of the birth of private security firms, prisons, immigration detention centers, military contracts, and security training companies, “The Security State” seeks to complicate the lines between foreign and domestic, peace and war, and civilian and military. Ultimately it will explore the connections amongst the Americas, which have witnessed various forms of paramilitarism, as well as with European corporations that have profited off of empire building. Doing so will deepen our understanding of the links between police terror, criminalization, mass incarceration, and deportation in the United States.


Please also visit our Previous Faculty Fellows.

Tedder Family Doctoral Fellowship and Rothman Doctoral Fellowship Recipients

(Photo Credit: Timothy Sofranko)

In 2012, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, with the support of the Tedder Family Endowed Research Award in the Humanities, began a program to award summer fellowships to doctoral candidates working on humanities topics who have passed their qualifying exams by the application deadline. This fellowship may be used to cover research expenses, including travel, related to their dissertation project. Work on projects with interdisciplinary appeal is particularly encouraged. Additional awards may be granted with funds from the Rothman endowment. The most recent recipients are below:

2020-2021 Tedder Doctoral Fellows


David Meltsner (Ph.D. Candidate, History)

“New York City and the Making of the School-To- Prison Pipeline”

Using New York City’s public schools as a case study, I trace the emergence of the school-to-prison pipeline to the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the city Board of Education decentralized and accelerated integration programs. During this time, school demographic and governance changes converged with sensationalized fears of crime, student unrest, and the city’s burgeoning fiscal crisis to erect a formidable school-to-prison pipeline that increasingly forced Black and Latino students, who made up the majority of the city’s public school pupils in the 1970s, into the clutches of a carceral state. I argue that the school-to-prison pipeline did not merely emerge with zero-tolerance discipline polices. Rather, a diverse set of actors, including parent associations, teachers, school architects, and law enforcement officers working in conjunction with city Board of Education officials and school principals, contributed to the emergence of this menacing phenomenon.


Rachal Burton (Ph.D. Candidate, English)

“Slavery, War, and Genocide in the Work of Toni Morrison”

My dissertation project will discuss slavery, war, and genocide as major themes present in the work of the late Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Primarily, I argue that Morrison employs symbolism in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘Beloved’ (1987) and narrative form in the more recent book ‘A Mercy’ (2008), both of which are neo-slave narratives, to illustrate that her Black main characters are positioned by what sociologist Orlando Patterson refers to as “natal alienation” or “social death.” I then examine how war exists not only as a trope in many of Morrison’s novels, but more specifically in her second book ‘Sula’ (1973), which features Black World War I and II veterans Shadrack and Plum, respectively, and her 21st-century work ‘Home’ (2012) about a Black Korean War veteran named Frank Money. Lastly, I argue that overall, Morrison’s fiction powerfully conveys anti-Blackness as a form of racial genocide. Concerning methodology, I employ, in addition to theories put forth by Patterson, the work of critical race theorists Frank B. Wilderson, III and Jared Sexton, as well as literary critic Saidiya Hartman among others. Altogether, I hope that my dissertation project will contribute to Morrison’s extraordinary legacy and, in short, do her work justice.

2020-2021 Rothman Doctoral Fellows


Laura Colkitt (Ph.D. Candidate, Art History)

“In Between Relations: Liliana Porter’s Art”

My dissertation, “In Between Relations: Liliana Porter’s Art,” aims to track a constellation of concerns that inform the contemporary art practice of Liliana Porter (b. 1941). Porter was born in Buenos Aires, studied in Mexico City, and since 1964 has primarily worked in New York. Rather than proposing a linear model of development, I hope to marry formal considerations (photography, display, public art) to broader themes in the artist’s work, including the relation between politics and consumerism; gender and labor; and city and community. I argue that through Porter’s use of divergent mediums, relations coalesce, not only between the objects themselves, but also amongst viewers and within exterior spaces. These relations—the interactions, antagonisms, and juxtapositions—between objects, viewers, and physical spaces— form a lens for understanding the intricacies inherent in Porter’s work. Beyond art history, my project incorporates interdisciplinary scholarship across the humanities, including women’s studies, politics, Latin American studies, and the history of exhibitions.


Alison Raper (Ph.D. Candidate, Art History)

“Francesco di Vannuccio’s Croce Dipinta and the Iconography of Mary Magdalene in Late-Trecento Siena”

Francesco di Vannuccio’s 1370 monumental painted cross stands as a singular example of how mendicant orders used the imagery of Mary Magdalene in fourteenth-century churches to inspire devotion and penitence. Uncovering the work’s early history will open a case study on representations of Mary Magdalene and the role of female saints, particularly as intercessors and exemplars of behavior. Since the late 1950s, the cross has belonged to the permanent exhibition of a museum affiliated with an American university with a strong evangelical Protestant mission. My dissertation also investigates how the function of this painted cross changed over seven centuries as it moved from one religious context to another. This dissertation seeks to answer four questions: where was the cross originally located, how did it fit into the context of post-Black Death Siena, how did it reflect the role of female intercessory saints during the late Middle Ages, and how its spiritual function has evolved.


Emily Theobald (Ph.D. Candidate, Music)

“National and Transnational Politics in Post-1945 Polish Music”

In my dissertation, “National and Transnational Politics in Post-1945 Polish Music,” I examine the role of music in diplomacy, both national and international, and in both state-sponsored and localized contexts. My process is twofold: I analyze the musical materials and language of Krzysztof Penderecki, Poland’s most celebrated postwar composer, as a representation of and response to Poland’s 20th-century history (Part I). Turning to the international stage, I consider the music of Penderecki and his colleagues at the Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES) as a tool for conducting international diplomacy with the United States through artistic relationships during the Cold War (Part II). This music reached as far as Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania during the 1960s-1980s. My work complements and expands upon scholarship that examines the use of state-sponsored arts programs in Cold War politics, as it considers previously- unknown music of individuals who undertook diplomatic work, both nationally and internationally, altering our understanding of music and culture behind the Iron Curtain.



Lauren Walter (Ph.D. Candidate, Art History)

“Entre Nous: The Art of Female Friendship in Late Eighteenth-Century France”

In late eighteenth-century France, female friendship was a pervasive aspect of everyday life. Not only did women stroll arm-inarm, professing their love to one another, l’amitié féminine abounded as a subject in art and writing. Despite positive and plentiful depictions, many male and female writers argued that true friendship was impossible for women or deemed it dangerous and threatening. Nevertheless, eighteenth-century French women challenged the status quo by creating and sustaining strong female friendships through which they could express their intelligence and creativity. In this dissertation I examine visual representations of amity among women, arguing that female friendship provided women with a community through which they could exercise their agency. Women celebrated and commemorated their friendships through artistic expression, commissioning works of art, writing letters, and creating emblems of their friendship themselves such as embroidery, nosegays, and paintings. I assert that it was this empowering aspect of female friendship, and the agency it gave women, that lay at the heart of the anxiety surrounding female friendships.


Please also visit our Previous Doctoral Fellows.

National Humanities Center Faculty Summer Residency

Beginning in 2018, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, with the support of the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has supported a one-month faculty residency at the National Humanities Center (NHC) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  This year’s recipient is below:



Trysh Travis, Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research

“‘Lee was a Gentleman’: Understanding Women’s Polite Racism  in the Confederate Monument Controversy” 

In the wake of the Charlottesville riot in 2017, the Dallas (Texas) Parks service removed a statue of Robert E. Lee from the city park bearing his name near the center of town. To anti-racist activists, removing such monuments is a straightforward and long overdue rejoinder to systemic racism. Recent opinion polling shows that for many liberal white people who see themselves as pro-diversity and/or not racist, it can be considerably more complex. “‘Lee Was a Gentleman’” mixes personal narrative and cultural history with insights from contemporary feminism to explore the roots of this complexity, using the Lee statue in Dallas as a case study of a broader phenomenon. Travis explores the origins and development of the Park from the statue’s dedication in 1936 through the present, situating it within the racialized urban history of central Dallas. Her family has lived near the Park for several generations, and she winds the stories of her widowed great-grandmother and her daughters, as well as her divorced mother and herself, through this history in order to examine the ways that the race and class ideals emblematized by the statue (deliberately and otherwise) influenced our understandings of gender. The resulting essay does not claim to resolve the question of what do with Confederate monuments, but it does respond to the American Historical Association’s 2017 call for discussing “historical context in any consideration of removing or re-contextualizing” them.

Please also visit our Previous National Humanities Center Faculty Summer Residency Recipients

National Humanities Center Doctoral Institutes and Residencies

Beginning in 2019, The Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere — with the support of the Director Barbara Mennel’s Waldo W. Neikirk Professorship — supports Ph.D. students in UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for intensive one-week themed residencies and institutes at the National Humanities Center that focus on practical teaching, research, and professionalization skills.

Winter 2020 – National Humanities Center PhD Student – How to Create Meaningful Online Learning Communities

Brianna Anderson (Ph.D. Candidate, English)
Brianna Anderson’s dissertation analyzes how children’s and young adult comics seek to educate readers about large-scale environmental crisis, with an emphasis on the ways that imagetext representation and environmental tropes can facilitate and impede children’s eco-activism. She is particularly interested in exploring how the humanities can help shape environmentally justice-oriented approaches to climate change. During this residency, she is excited to learn about new strategies for fostering dialogue and community, both within the classroom and, more broadly, between scholars and the general public.

Timothy Blanton (Ph.D. Candidate, History)
Teaching is about relationships as much as it as about content. But online teaching, whether asynchronously or synchronously, makes forming and nurturing teacher-student relationships even more challenging. At the National Humanities Center Winter Virtual Residency, Tim Blanton is excited to collaborate with colleagues to learn and develop teaching techniques to preserve the relational benefits of face-to-face teaching in a virtual environment while also taking advantage of online flexibility.

Min Ji Kang (Ph.D. Candidate, English)
Min Ji Kang’s dissertation brings together cultural archives on women who were enslaved in the antebellum South and Korean “comfort women,” who were enslaved by the Japanese military during WWII. Her project connects past and present strategies of solidarity and activism as she explores how contemporary slave narratives and museum technology allow for interaction between viewers and artifacts, encouraging the viewer to become active participants in remembering and resisting slavery in the present day. She considers the NHC Winter Residency to be a great opportunity to enhance her research and teaching, as she will learn tools for collaborative learning and building interactive websites focused on communicating cultural issues such as slavery for the classroom and beyond.

Cristovão Nwachukwu (Ph.D. Candidate, English)
Cristovão Nwachukwu’s research interests include Postcolonial Studies, Decolonial Studies, and Migration Studies with an emphasis on African literatures. By utilizing this interdisciplinary approach to examine African novels, he studies the strategies that Black African writers employ to represent the differences and similarities among Black populations across the diaspora. The NHC virtual residency will offer the opportunity to apply his research skills to develop class materials, activities, and lessons that accommodate different learning styles and make the classroom, whether virtual of physical, a more inclusive environment.

Winter 2020 – National Humanities Center Regional Instiute for Graduate Students – Podcasting the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public

Laken Brooks (Ph.D. Candidate, English)
Laken Brooks researches accessible digital design and Appalachian culture. She is grateful to study podcasting so that she can weave those interests together. She argues that traditional Appalachian arts like pottery, folk music, and potlucks are valuable forms of communication. However, these Appalachian technologies have long been overlooked by people outside of the region. Fortunately, podcasts can help highlight these Appalachian voices, metaphorical and literal, by allowing narrators to share their accents and their oral histories through new digital technologies.

Please also visit our Previous National Humanities Center Graduate Student Summer Residency Recipients



Library Enhancement Program in the Humanities

Beginning in 2009, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere has used funds from the Rothman Endowment to sponsor a grant competition among University of Florida faculty to expand the existing University of Florida library collections in areas in and related to the humanities that are currently underserved. Resources may include print, digital, or audio-visual media that enhance scholarly research and teaching in the humanities as well as affiliated disciplines. Requests that address the needs of broader constituencies of the University beyond the immediate applicants are judged especially favorably. The most recent recipients are below:


Collection Enhancement in Indigenous Studies

Prof. Richard Wright (Religion), Prof. Richard Conley (Political Science), Dr. Ginessa Mahar (Anthropology Librarian, Smathers Libraries), Rachel Hartnett (Ph.D. Candidate, English)

This Library Enhancement Grant program will enhance the collection in Indigenous Studies, particularly in the areas of (1) Indigenous Literature, Films, Music and the Creative Arts; (2) Indigenous Peoples and Contemporary Issues (Education, Politics and Policies, Law, Women and Gender Studies); and (3) Research (Decolonizing Research and Pedagogy, Indigeneity Theory, and Methods). Enhancement in these three areas will not only support the interests and research of faculty and the graduate students and undergraduate students who work within the American Indian and Indigenous Studies program, but will also provide new resources for the breadth of interdisciplinary fields that intersect within the humanities and social sciences.

Decolonizing the Children’s Literature Archives: Multicultural Picture Books

Brianna Anderson (Ph.D. Candidate, English), Brandon Murakami (Ph.D. Candidate, English), Brittany Kester (Education Librarian, Smathers Libraries)

This Library Enhancement Grant will fund acquisitions that will facilitate the study of race and representation in picture books by expanding the holdings of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature and the Education Library. This award will enhance the collection with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) texts published in America during the multiculturalism movement of the 1980s and 1990s. This resource will support larger efforts to diversify the field of children’s literature.

Francophone Comics: Reimagining Contemporary Culture

Prof. Hélène Blondeau (Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Prof. Rori Bloom (Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Dr. Hélène Huet (European Studies Librarian, Smathers Libraries)

This Library Enhancement Grant will fund the acquisition of materials necessary to expand the George A. Smathers Libraries’ collection of primary and secondary source material and scholarship in the field of graphic culture, comics, and diasporic graphics representing the French and Francophone world. This newly acquired material will address cultural and social lenses, such as gender, race, post-colonial and colonial iconography, climate change, visual and oral representations, cultural identity, linguistics, and translation. The award includes a plan to develop a website that will highlight the UF comics collection from the French and Francophone World and provide information on the history of French and Francophone comics.


Ali Mian, Department of Religion; Megan Daly, Smathers Libraries

“Collection Enhancement in Islamic Studies”

The Library Enhancement Grant achieved collection enhancement in Islamic Studies, particularly in three areas: (1) Islam in South Asia, (2) the history of Muslim theology, mysticism, and legalism, and (3) gender, sexuality, race, and migration in contemporary Islam. Enhancement in these three areas not only supports the interests and research of faculty and the graduate students and undergraduate students who work with them, but also provides new resources for related fields which overlap with the areas of focus. The large Muslim population on campus and in the surrounding community will also be served well by this addition to the library collection.

Rachel Carrico, School of Theatre + Dance;  Sarah Politz, School of Music; Alan Asher, Smathers Libraries

“Multimedia Resources for Dance and Ethnomusicology”

This funding acquired titles, in DVD and book formats, which document music, dance, and culture in Africa and the Atlantic Diaspora. These materials support current and proposed curricular offerings and student research in Dance and Ethnomusicology primarily, but also in Theatre, Musicology, Music Education, African and African American Studies, Latin American Studies, and other programs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. This grant augments courses and directed student research by providing multimedia resources that lie beyond departmental annual acquisitions budgets. Most important are the video resources that are fundamental to pedagogies in these fields. When teaching the performing arts, video resources are essential tools that allow students to witness the performances that they read about and analyze.


Leah Rosenberg, Department of English; Pamela Gilbert, Department of English; Rae X. Yan, Department of English; Jessica Harland Jacobs, Department of History

 “Bridging Caribbean and Victorian Studies: The Morant Bay Rebellion as Boundary Object”

For Jamaica, the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion and its violent suppression were cataclysmic, resulting in over 1,000 deaths, floggings, and property destruction. It ended representative government in the colony. In England, these events resulted in riots and a fierce debate among England’s leading intellectuals about the conduct of Governor Eyre and the nature of race and Empire. Morant Bay is a defining event in Jamaican national historiography and literature and in the study of Victorian England. However, scholars of Caribbean literature rarely address the events in England, and Victorianists rarely address the significance of the event for Jamaica. This grant funded the digitization of primary literary and historical sources on the Rebellion for the Digital Library of the Caribbean ( and the UF Digital Collections ( for a digital collection of primary sources, scholarship, and pedagogical materials. The project is a collaboration among scholars in Victorian and in Caribbean Studies at UF and other institutions to create a dialogue between the two fields by integrating the two halves of this story in courses in the two fields. This funding significantly advanced dLOC’s collection in anglophone Caribbean literature and history and pedagogical materials as well as its function as a platform for scholarly collaboration.

Vasudha Narayanan, Department of Religion; Jonathan Edelmann, Department of Religion; Megan Daly, Smathers Libraries

“Hindu Traditions”

The grant from the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere funded the expansion of the Smathers’ Libraries collection in Hindu Studies. Because Hindu Traditions is one of five major fields of study and expertise in the Religion Department, and because the University of Florida and Gainesville area is home to such a rich, large Hindu community, this update to the Smathers Libraries collection was especially important.


Please also visit our Previous Library Enhancement Program Recipients.

PILOT Virtual Book Manuscript Review Workshops in the Humanities

spring semester 2021

With support from the Jerome A. Yavitz Fund, CHPS has awarded one grant in a pilot program for untenured, tenure-track faculty members to receive feedback on their complete draft book manuscript from one external and one internal specialist in a virtual workshop setting. CHPS will reissue the call for proposals in spring semester 2021.

Prof. Joel Correia (Center for Latin American Studies)

Prof. Joel Correia received the award for his manuscript in progress Disrupting the Patrón: Unsettling Racial Geographies in Pursuit of Indigenous Environmental Justice, which examines the politics of enforcing three Inter-American Court of Human Rights cases on Indigenous territorial claims in Paraguay’s Chaco. This ethnography traces stories of Indigenous activists, settler colonists, and state officials to show how social-spatial relations of power form enduring racial geographies based on Indigenous dispossession. Bridging critiques of settler colonialism with critical environmental justice, the book argues that states use legal liminality to govern dispossession, but Indigenous endurance shows that settler power is not total.

Publication Subvention

The following faculty members and graduate students are among those who have received prestigious recognition and support for their research and publications. A selection of recent awards and accomplishments are listed below:


Ingrid Kleespies (Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
Professor Ingrid Kleespies was awarded a Publication Subvention Grant to support her forthcoming co-edited volume, Goncharov in the Twenty-First Century, to be published by Academic Studies Press in June 2021. This volume offers a close look at the life of Ivan Goncharov (1912-91), a canonical Russian author whose career as a loyal civil servant interplayed with his significant literary output as a creative social critic to play a formative role in the development of Russian literary culture.

Elizabeth Ginway (Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies)

Professor Elizabeth Ginway received a Publication Subvention Grant for her book Cyborgs, Sexuality and the Undead: The Body in Mexican and Brazilian Speculative Fiction with Vanderbilt University Press. The book interprets the literary and cultural representations of the human body as reflected in the speculative fiction of Mexico and Brazil, emphasizing the effects of technology (bodies as cyborgs), the emergence of non-traditional sexualities, and the social implications of a present haunted by an embodied past (bodies as vampires and zombies). The book portrays the effects— and ravages—of modernity in these two nations, addressing its technological, cultural, and social consequences and their implications for the human body.
Maya Stanfield-Mazzi (Associate Professor, Art + Art History)
Professor Maya Stanfield Mazzi was awarded a Publication Subvention Grant to support her forthcoming book, Clothing the New World Church: Liturgical Textiles of Spanish America, 1520–1820, to be published by the University of Notre Dame Press in Spring 2020. This book takes a hemispheric look at the many forms of textile art fashioned for the adornment of churches, priests and church attendants, and statues of saints. By exploring the connections between important fabrics and the work of Amerindian artists, this book sees cloth as key to establishing and maintaining Catholicism in the New World.


Please also visit our Previous Publication Subvention Grant Recipients.

Recipients of External Awards

The following faculty members and graduate students are among those who have received prestigious recognition and support for their research and publications. A selection of recent awards and accomplishments are listed below:

Alexandra Cenatus (Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere)

2020 Florida Humanities Community Award Grant
“Conversations in the Neighborhood: Let’s Talk about Food”

Lauren Burrell Cox (Ph.D. Candidate, English)

2020 Florida Humanities Community Award Grant
“Hipp Six Podcast”


Please also visit our Previous External Award Recipients.

Reading Groups

In 2018, The Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, with the support of the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities, offered an inaugural funding opportunity for reading groups in the humanities. Groups use this as an opportunity for scholarly exchange on a shared topic of interest related to the humanities. Their long-term goals may include exploring the possibilities of a shared research agenda, deepening interdisciplinary knowledge, learning from one another, organizing a symposium, and developing future grant proposals. This program allows participants from across the campus and beyond to explore complex issues at a moment when cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial to address shifting domains of knowledge and a rapidly changing world.


Human – Animal Studies Group

There are my different types of Human-Animal relationships that have developed throughout the world. These relationships range from adversarial (i.e.: cruelty, neglect, free-roaming domesticated animals considered to be pests, zoonotic disease vectors, etc.), to instrumental or cooperative (i.e.: hunting, protection, farming), to mutually-beneficial or affiliative (i.e.: emotional support, companionship). This group will meet to discuss some of the lesser understood Human-Animal relationships including Honeyguide birds–human relationship in Africa (cooperation for task completion), the link between animal abuse and violence against people, and ways people attempt to reduce violence against animals. The goal of this group is to develop interdisciplinary studies to further our understanding between the good and bad relationships that develop between humans and animals.

Convener: Prof. Adam Stern, Comparative, Diagnostic, and Population Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine

Co-Conveners: Prof. Anna Peterson, Department of Religion
Jennifer W. Applebaum, Sociology and Criminology & Law


Akhil Kshirsager, Geography; Prof. Jason H. Byrd, Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine; Prof. Julie K. Levy, Small Animal Clinic Sciences; Prof. Amber Ross, Philosophy; Prof. Katie Sieving, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation; Prof. Kim Valenta, Anthropology; AnnMarie Clark, Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine; Samantha Baugus, English; Prof. Cynda Crawford, Small Animal Clinical Sciences; Prof. Lawrence Garcia, Small Animal Clinical Sciences; Prof. Jessica Kahler, Sociology and Criminology & Law; Prof. Meredith Montgomery, Small Animal Clinical Sciences; Prof. Sarra Tlili, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Prof. Rachel Touroo, Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine; Carlyn Ellison, Occupational Therapy; James Patrick, Center for Latin American Studies


Black Education Research Collective

The Black Education Research Collective aims to address anti-Black schooling and its broader context through intimate discussion of two current books, both published by black women intellectuals. The first book Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (Morris, 2016) explores how the racialization and criminalization of Black girl youth contributes to the confinement of black girlhood. The second text, Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco (Shange, 2019) draws from an anthropological frame to examine how antiblackness operates in allegedly progressive school contexts. Using these two texts, this reading group seeks to learn, explore and investigate what it means to achieve educational freedom for Black youth, families, communities, and teachers. As we dig deeper into this text, we will meet monthly to discuss how we can move beyond mere educational survival for Black students to imagine a future rooted in abolitionist and activist educational traditions.

Convener: Pro. Christopher Busey, School of Teaching and Learning

Prof. Taryrn Brown, School of Teaching and Learning
Prof. Chonika Coleman-King, School of Teaching and Learning
Prof. Erica D. McCray, School of Special Education
Tianna Dowie-Chin, School of Teaching and Learning
Mario Worlds, School of Teaching and Learning


Cultural Studies in the Arts Working Group

Our topic focuses on interdisciplinary connections in the arts through cultural studies and the critical analysis of creative practices in relation to sociopolitical, historical, and economic contexts. Through this topic, we examine current questions of method and intellectual practice as they relate to interpretive traditions in the humanities. Within this theme, a central goal of the group is to discuss our writing process. We share work in progress and exchange approaches to creative and intellectual production by engaging in peer feedback, reading, and discussion. Each group member brings unique and complementary areas of expertise to the working group, drawing on a diverse range of disciplinary standpoints within the arts and from cultural standpoints in African studies, African American studies, Latin American studies, and American studies. The group offers a model for a collaborative community environment supporting writing, research, and intellectual exchange.

Convener: Prof. Sarah Politz, School of Music

Prof. Rachel Carrico, School of Theatre and Dance
Prof. Laura Dallman, School of Music
Prof. Alvaro Luis Lima, School of Art and Art History
Prof. Colleen Rua, School of Theatre and Dance


“In Praise of Uselessness”

One of the critical challenges currently facing the University and the world at large is the very survival of the Humanities as a distinctive mode of intellectual inquiry. As universities across the country have come under ever greater budgetary pressures, they have increasingly been asked to produce “useful” knowledge, hence the ascendance of the so-called STEM disciplines. The simultaneous decline of the Humanities – in terms of enrollments and majors – seems to confirm the suspicion that these disciplines are “useless” and thus not worth pursuing and supporting. Faced with this situation, many humanists have understandably responded by trying to appear to be “useful,” by “applying” humanistic inquiry to various real-world problems. This is all to the good. Humanists have indeed cultivated a distinctive mode of learning and reasoning that can and should contribute to the greater good. We propose, however, to challenge that rarely examined premise: that knowledge should be instrumental, should lead to practical results. We willingly admit that the Humanities are essentially “useless.” But it is precisely the impractical, non-instrumental nature of humanistic inquiry, we maintain, that makes it so valuable, so important.

Convener: Prof. Robert Kawashima, Religion

Prof. Deborah Amberson, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Prof. Nina Caputo, History
Dr. Nathan Rothschild, Philosophy

Please also visit our Previous External Award Recipients.