News

It is with profound sadness that the FSU history department shares the news that our dear friend and colleague James P. Jones has died. For those of you who didn’t have the great good fortune to know Jim, he was a faculty member in the FSU History Department for 57 years, and retired in 2014 aged 82. Jim was by far the most popular and celebrated teacher the department has ever known—he enthralled, literally, generations of students with his encyclopedic knowledge of his subject matter, his searing wit, and his liberal use of the f-bomb. Jim used to laugh that students would approach him to say that he’d taught their parents, to which Jim would reply, “and how’s your grandmother/grandfather, whom I also taught.”    In retirement, Jim continued to hold forth to rooms of adoring youngsters, but those youngsters were only a little younger than he. He taught classes on American politics, Watergate, the Civil War, and other subjects for the Osher Life-Long Learning Institute and those classes were so popular the OLLI staff had to find larger venues. He was doing this up until the Covid crisis hit.   

Dr. Meghan Martinez completed her bachelor’s degree at Florida State University. Originally an English major, she had planned to become an English teacher. In one of her English classes, she read the works of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. At the same time, she was also taking AMH2097 taught by Dr. Pamela Robbins. “Taking that class really opened my eyes to the reality of American history and the reality of racism in American history,” Dr. Martinez explained. “That semester completely changed my outlook and viewpoint on what I wanted to study and wanted to do.” Dr. Martinez continued her graduate studies at FSU, completing her masters and doctorate degree in African American history, with her work focusing on the history of racial violence and inequality in the US and its legacies. 

Originally from Oklahoma, I have moved around the American South for my education and career. I earned my BA in history at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in 2005 and my MA from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) in 2007 before starting the doctoral program at FSU. I wrote my dissertation, "The Revolution from Within:  White Abolitionists and the Revolution in Saint-Domingue," under the direction of Dr. Rafe Blaufarb. Since graduation, I have taught at Gordon State College (GSC) and Francis Marion University (FMU).

Upon graduation from the Historic Administration and Public History program at FSU (2018), I began working at the State Archives of Florida. I worked for a little over a year as an archivist in collections management before moving to the Museum of Florida History (MFH) team. My first job in the museum field was with the Knott House Museum, an off-site historic house managed by the Division of Historic Resources which shares an education team with MFH. I had worked there earlier, during the first part of my graduate studies, before leaving to focus on thesis completion and assistantship duties. I continued to volunteer regularly at both museum sites.

In my new role as a full-time museum educator, I also became co-coordinator of the Florida History Day (FHD) contest, an affiliate of National History Day. I had been a judge for FHD in years past, as well as a competitor in middle school. I loved having the opportunity to plan and execute such a large event for what usually amounts to over a thousand students, parents, and teachers converging on Tallahassee in May for a one-day contest and awards ceremony.

In mid-June I began a career as part of the Bureau of Health Care Practitioner Regulation in the State of Florida’s Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance. I had defended my PhD a few months earlier. My choice to seek a position with a government agency happened for many reasons, only one of which was the practical reality that the State of Florida was still hiring in the present context of economic uncertainty. I see government employment as consistent with my long-standing commitment to help work toward bettering the public good. I have pursued that trajectory since completing my BA, by working for social justice-oriented non-profits as well as teaching for the History Department while a graduate student.

Emma Davis, a history major and presidential scholar at Florida State University, led a team of undergraduates to curate the exhibition: “Women at War: At Home and In Service,” under the direction of G. Kurt Piehler, Director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience.  Ms. Davis and Professor Piehler co-authored the introductory essay for the exhibit. 

Emma Davis (ED) explained why and how she fell in love with history.

1) Why did you choose History as one of your majors?

One of many ways in which FSU students have responded to the civil unrest occurring in the US was to start a Change.org petition to require students to satisfy a race and ethnicity credit upon graduation. Among the classes mentioned in the petition was one that a lot of students specifically advocated for: AMH 2097 Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in the United States. For many years, Dr. Pamela Robbins was the main teacher of this course. In this interview, Dr. Pamela Robbins discusses the history of AMH 2097 and her experiences teaching it.

My name is Lauren Thompson and I am an Assistant Professor of History at McKendree University, a small liberal arts college located 20 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.  My book, entitled Friendly Enemies: Soldier Fraternization during the American Civil War, was published this summer by the University of Nebraska Press. I also published a chapter in a collection entitled A Forgotten Front: Florida during the Civil War Era (Tuscaloosa: Alabama University Press, 2018), a journal article in Civil War History, and a handful of book reviews in various journals.  Recently, I received McKendree University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award.  With Dr. Maxine Jones as my Major Professor and the assistance of my dissertation committee members, I graduated with my PhD from FSU in May 2015

Professor Andrew Frank sat down this spring with Jeff Henley (FSU History alumnus, MA 2020) for an interview.  Professor Frank is the Allen Morris Professor of History at Florida State University focusing on the Florida Seminoles and the Native South.  He has been at FSU for thirteen years, however his focus on the Seminole Tribe began during his time at Florida Atlantic University just prior to coming to Tallahassee. 

Way back in April, Florida State University alumna Grace Hoffman (BA 2015) reached out to the History Department asking if we had any lectures or podcasts by faculty on our website that she could watch. Unfortunately, we did not. Grace's question, however, prompted us to begin assembling a 'Faculty Multimedia Shelf.' Now you can watch and listen to our faculty. Grace Hoffman, a graduate from the FSU History Department, is in her final year of her PhD in history from Trinity College Dublin, where she previously earned her M.Phil degree. Her current research focuses on Ireland's 1641 Rebellion. Grace is using depositions, an unparalleled source in early modern Europe. These depositions contain over 8,000 eyewitness and hearsay accounts of the 1641 Irish rebellion. She explores the insults, name-calling, and verbal abuse recorded to uncover on-the-ground motivations and social interactions.