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Press Release for Friday, September 11, 2009

UNF History Professor Awarded Prestigious Kislak Fellowship


Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director

Department of Media Relations and Events

(904) 620-2102


Dr. J. Michael Francis, an associate professor of history at the University of North Florida, was awarded the prestigious Jay I. Kislak Fellowship, an international competition, at the Library of Congress. Only one fellowship is awarded annually.


The San Marco resident will spend the 2010-2011 academic year in Washington, D.C., where he will continue his research on the history of early colonial Spanish Florida. The Kislak Fellows Program supports scholarly research that contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the cultures and history of the Americas. It provides an opportunity for a period of up to eight months of concentrated use of materials from the Kislak Collection and other collections of the Library of Congress through full-time residency at the Library.


Francis has taught at UNF since 1997. He is the author of “Invading Colombia: Spanish Accounts of the Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada Expedition of Conquest” and is currently completing his second book titled “Politics, Murder and Martyrdom in Spanish Florida: Don Juan and the Guale Uprising of 1597, which will be published in 2010. His next book project, “The Martyrs of Florida,” is under contract with the University Press of Florida.


In 2007, he received a four-year appointment as research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and has received numerous awards, including a 2009 Cushwa Center Research Grant from the University of Notre Dame and the 2009 Outstanding International Leadership Award from UNF.


Francis is a member of the Conference of Latin American History, H-Latam, American Historical Association and the Latin American Studies Association. He earned his PhD in 1998 from the University of Cambridge, where he specialized in colonial Latin American history.


He serves as book review editor for the journal “Ethnohistory,” series editor for “Fighting Words: Competing Voices from…,” and series associate editor for “Latin American Originals.” He also represents UNF on the University Press of Florida’s advisory board.


The Kislak Collection is a major collection of rare books, manuscripts, historic documents, maps and art of the Americas donated to the Library of Congress by the Jay I. Kislak Foundation, located in Miami Lakes, Fla. The collection contains some of the earliest records of indigenous peoples in North America and superb objects from the discovery, contact and colonial periods, especially for Florida, the Caribbean and Mesoamerica.