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Visiting Scholars and Julian Pleasants Award

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program partners with sponsoring institutions to promote emerging oral history research, and supports scholarly with the Robert Zieger Scholarship Fund and bi-yearly Julian Pleasants Travel Award.

Dr. Julian C. Chambliss, Julian Pleasants Fellow, 2017

Dr. Julian Chamblis is a professor of History at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and is primarily known as a scholar of the real and imagined city and on comics. He serves as coordinator of the Africa and African-American Studies Program at Rollins. He is the Coordinator of the Media, Arts, and Culture Special Interest Section for the Florida Conference of Historians. His work is in critical making; notable projects include Project Mosaic: Zora Neale HurstonAdvocate Recovered, and Oscar Mack.

Dr. Chambliss’s teaching interests focus on urban development and popular culture in the United States. In particular, he’s concerned how perceptions of urban space shape individual and communal interactions. His published work has examined these issues through community activism linked to city plans and through the imagery in comics and other popular culture mediums.

Jeffrey Pufahl, Visiting Scholar, 2017

Jeffrey Pufahl,with a professional background in film and theatre directing and producing,  holds an MFA in Theater Performance (University of Cincinnati) and an MFA in Theater Directing (University of Victoria). His work at the University of Florida is focused on creating inter-campus and inter-community partnerships to develop theatre-based programming that addresses social issues and community health. A member of the UF Imagining America cohort, Jeffrey specializes in creating site-specific theater and documentary film.  His research focuses on innovatively applying theatre and video to health, social, and educational content in order to engage audience more effectively.

Recent projects include his award winning production of Ashley’s Consent, a multi-media, site-specific applied theatre experience educating on sexual assault and consent, and Telling: Gainesville, an original verbatim theatre project connecting the oral histories of Gainesville Veterans with community for the purpose of facilitating dialogue and understanding. He has also developed several applied theatre workshops for teens; topics include stress and coping mechanisms. Jeffrey is also developing a unique theatre program for adolescents and young adults with mental health conditions in collaboration with Chicago’s Second City. ​Currently, he is building on an existing partnership between SPOHP and the Center for Women’s Studies, to help students translate their collected research and interviews from the January 2017 Inauguration and Women’s March on Washington DC into an original theater/multi-media presentation.

Dr. Fíliz Sonmez , Visiting Scholar in Residence, 2016-17

Dr. Fíliz Sonmez received her B. Arch. Degree from the Department of Architecture at Erciyes University in 2000 and her M. Arch. degree from the Department of Architecture at METU in 2006; she completed her Ph.D. in Architectural History at Yıldız Technical University in 2012, Istanbul, Turkey. She studied at the University of Florida, USA, School of Architecture as a visiting scholar in 2010. Her areas of interests are domestic architecture, interior design, architectural and oral history and theory of modern architecture. She was a visiting scholar for her postdoctoral studies at La Sapienza University, Rome in 2013. While there, she researched architect Luigi Moretti’s 1950 Casa “Il Girasole” within the concept of interior design and domestic space. As a visiting scholar at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida between 2016-2017 she conducted research in the Duck Pond District for a historical preservation project. Filiz is also in the process of applying for another visiting position with us in the future.

Ford Foundation Visiting Scholar Dr. Perla Guerrero

The 2014 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Perla M. Guerrero, assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Guerrero is the first core faculty member of the university’s U.S. Latina/o Studies Program. The fellowship allows Guerrero to dedicate herself fully to her upcoming book, tentatively titled “Nuevo South: Latinas/os, Asians, and the Remaking of Place.” Over the 2014-2015 academic year, she is working with Dr. Paul Ortiz.

Dr. Guerrero received her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California in 2010. Her research and teaching interests lie comparative race and ethnicity, immigration, space and place, labor, and 20th century U.S. history. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her work is informed by historical methods and human geography as they pertain to Latina/o Studies, American Studies, and the U.S. South. In 2013, Dr. Guerrero was a Latino Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellow as well as Goldman Sachs Junior Fellow at the National Museum of American History. Guerrero considers her Ford Foundation achievement “indicative of the need to understand what’s going on in the South— the legacies of Southern histories. Issues around race are not unique to the South, but the history of the South plays a role in these discourses.”

For more information, see the full University of Maryland press release, “Perla M. Guerrero Wins Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.”

Julian Pleasants Travel Award

On a bi-yearly basis, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program grants a researcher with the Julian Pleasants Travel Award, designed to promote cutting edge oral history research at the University of Florida and recognize innovative scholarship. The award was created in honor of Dr. Julian Pleasants, Director Emeritus of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and longtime Professor of History at the University of Florida.

The award includes a stipend of $1,000. Competition is open to graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars at UF and throughout the United States.

Application: Interested applicants for the 2017 cycle should contact Dr. Paul Ortiz for more information.

2015 Pleasants Travel Award: Jody Noll

Jody Noll is a Ph.D. student at Georgia State University in Athens, Georgia. He received his BA in History at the University of South Florida, and his MA in History from Auburn University.

In Summer 2015, the Pleasants Award supported Noll’s work on his doctoral dissertation, where he explored dynamic interplay between public sector unionism, American race relations, and the rise of new conservatism. Noll conducted research in archival collections related to the strike at the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History in the University of Florida’s George A. Smather Libraries. He also conducted oral history interviews with teachers who worked in the state of Florida during the strike.


2013 Pleasants Travel Award: Dr. Regennia Williams

Dr. Regennia Williams is an associate professor of History at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her B.A.s in Liberal Studies and Urban Studies, as well as her M.P.A. in Public Administration, from Cleveland State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Social History and Policy from Case Western Reserve University.

In 2013, Dr. Williams conducted research in the Zora Neale Hurston papers at the University of Florida. This research supported her work on articles for a special Zora Neale Hurston issue of The Journal of Traditions and Beliefs, a scholarly publication she launched in the 2009 – 2010 academic year.  This publication is a follow-up activity for the September 2012 “Watching God and Reading Hurston” International Academic Conference, which commemorated the 75th publication anniversary of Their Eyes Were Watching God in 2012 – 2013.

Dr. Williams plans to develop new curriculum materials based on University of Florida manuscripts related to the life, art, and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston at the University of Florida, including Hurston’s work with Stetson Kennedy on the Florida Writers Project. The new curriculum materials will encourage history students and pre-service and in-service teachers to use maps, books, letters, etc. to explore the African roots of American cultures and contribute to “An Atlas of the Cultural History of the African Diaspora as Documented by Zora Neale Hurston,” a forthcoming online publication that will consider the writer’s work throughout the American South and in Harlem, Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras, and other places in the African Diaspora.

For information on Williams’ previous online publications, please visit her website at Cleveland Memory and the Cleveland Chautauqua Blog. For more information, see the full SPOHP press release, “Dr. Regennia N. Williams is SPOHP’s 2013 Julian Pleasants Travel Award Scholar.”


2012 Pleasants Travel Award: Sarah McNamara

Sarah McNamara is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she studies United States history with a focus on immigration, civil rights, and women and gender.  Sarah received her M.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012, and her B.A. in History from the University of Florida in 2009, where she graduated with honors. Sarah is also a former SPOHP intern.

In 2012, McNamara’s Pleasants Award research focused on Latina women’s history in Florida. As a historian, Sarah is dedicated to connecting research to community in a pursuit for social justice. She currently as a member of the research team at UNC’s Southern Oral History Program.


2010 Pleasants Travel Award: Raymond A. Eberling

Ray Eberling is a PhD candidate at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Eberling received his M.A. in American Studies from the University of Heidelberg in 2006. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and has taught for the American Studies program at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. He also holds B.A.s in education from University of Florida and creative writing from Eckerd College, and an M.S. in systems management from the University of Southern California. Eberling recently appeared in the Florida PBS documentary, Governor Farris Bryant: The Age of the Mind, and has presented topics related to his dissertation twice in recent years at the annual meeting of the Florida Historical Society. He has also volunteered with the SPOHP, conducting oral histories with Vietnam veterans and surviving members of the 1973 “Gainesville 8” conspiracy trial.

Eberling’s research interests examine the intersection of politics, growth, race, the environment, and media in Postwar Florida, using SPOHP’s archives and the university’s special collections to garner research for his dissertation, entitled, “Come on Down! The Selling of the Florida Dream, 1945-1965.”


2008 Pleasants Travel Award: Derrick E. White

Dr. Derrick White is an associate professor of history at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. White earned his Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University and was also a dissertation fellow at the University of California-Santa Barbara Black Studies Department.

In 2008, Dr. White used the SPOHP collection to examine the integration of sports in the Southeastern Conference, and at the University of Florida in particular. His research interests focus on African American and African Studies, the Civil Rights Movement, Colonial and Post Colonial Africa, Early American History, Slavery in the Americas, 20th Century American History, and the Post-Emancipation Caribbean.

Dr. White was also interviewed by the Florida Historical Quarterly about the research he conducted with Julian Pleasants Award. The interview is available for free in a downloadable online podcast, FHQ Volume 88, No. 4 for Spring 2010.

Dr. White is the author of The Challenge  of Blackness:  The Institute of the Black World and Political Acitivism in the 1970s.  He is co-editor of Winning While Losing: Civil Rights, The Conservative Movement and the Presidency from Nixon to Obama and is currently working on Blood, Sweat, and Tears:  The Rise and Fall of Florida A.&M, Black College Football Dynasty, which would be among the first scholarly analyses of Black college football.  He has published articles in the Journal of African American History, the C.L.R. James Journal, the Journal of African American Studies, and the Florida Historical Quarterly.


For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.