Alan J Bliss


History • College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Modern United States, cities and suburbs, urban and regional planning, transportation and political economy, modern Florida, oral history, and maritime history. Chronological focus on the interwar years (1918 - 1941), World War II, and the Cold War.


Ph.D. Dissertation title:  "Making a Sunbelt Place:  Tampa, Florida, 1923-1964."

University of Florida



M.A. History.  Master's Paper:  "Citizen Planners:  Tampa, Florida's World War II Committee for Economic Development."

University of Florida



B.A. History summa cum laude

University of Florida




Sante Fe Community College



Alan Bliss is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, with roots in Tampa, Florida. Before returning to higher education, he was a Florida real estate broker, appraiser, and property manager. He has also worked as a commercial mariner, and is an experienced offshore sailor.


Leland Hawes Prize in Florida History, Tampa Bay History Center / Florida Studies Center at the University of South Florida, 2005

Patrick Riordan Memorial Research Fellowship, Florida Studies Center at the University of South Florida, 2004

William E. Parrish Graduate Scholarship, awarded by Phi Alpha Theta, 2000

University of Florida Grinter Graduate Fellowship, 1999 - 2002


American Historical Association

Florida Historical Society

Social Science History Association

Society for American City and Regional Planning History

The Historical Society

Urban History Association


Publications & Presentations


“Cleveland, 1941-1952”
“Houston, 1952-1989”
“Houston, 1989-2011”
~ all in Richardson Dilworth, ed., Cities in American Political History (Washington: CQ Press, 2011).

“Oral History Research,” in Robert Amdur and Elizabeth Bankert, Institutional Review Board Management and Function (Sudbury, MA.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2002). Revised Second Edition, 2006.

“Titanic and the Sinking of Eastland,” Professional Mariner: Journal of the Maritime Industry (50) August/September, 2000, p. 22.


2012: Florida Historical Society, Tampa:
“Tampa’s Postwar Seaport Ambitions: The Origins of the Tampa Port Authority” (research presentation).

"Automobility in Florida, 1900-1940" (panel moderator and discussant).

2011: Florida Historical Society, Jacksonville:
“River City Roundtable: Jacksonville in Urban History” (plenary session).

2010: Social Science History Association, Chicago:
“Fannie and Freddie: The Mortgage Revolution and the American Dream” (research presentation).
“Freedom and Property: The Perennial Tension in American City Planning” (research presentation).

2010: Florida Historical Society, St. Augustine:
“An Interstate Runs Through It: Tampa’s Ybor City and the Sunbelt Phenomenon” (research presentation).

2009: Florida Historical Society, Pensacola:
“The Remains of the Bubble: What Florida’s Land Boom of the 1920s Teaches About the Boom of the 21st Century” (research presentation, panel organizer).

2007: Social Science History Association, Chicago:
“Author Meets the Critics: Jeffrey Hornstein, A Nation of Realtors: A Cultural History of the Twentieth-Century American Middle Class” (organizer, moderator, and discussant).
“How to Write and Publish a Journal Article: A Workshop with the Editors of Urban History, Social Science History, and the Journal of Urban History” (moderator).
“Rethinking Policy and Development in the Global City” (moderator, discussant).

2006: Urban History Association, Phoenix:
“The Politics of Postwar Freeways and Public Housing” (panel chair).

2005: Social Science History Association, Portland:
“A Planner for the American Sunbelt” (research presentation)
“The Ethnographic Study of Urban Spaces: Development, Imagery, Recreation, and Regulation” (panel chair / discussant).

2005: Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH), Eleventh National Conference on Planning History, Coral Gables:
“The Culture and Rhetoric of Sunbelt Planning” (research presentation).

2004: Social Science History Association, Chicago:
“Public Works and Private Planners: George W. Simons, Consultant to the New South” (research presentation).

2004: Florida Historical Society, Cocoa Beach:
“Florida’s Interstate Highway System” (research presentation).

2003: Social Science History Association, Baltimore:
“Political Economy in Southern Port Cities” (research presentation).

2003: Southern Industrialization Project Conference, Nashville:
“The Committee for Economic Development” (research presentation).

2002: Gulf South History and Humanities Conference, Galveston, Texas:
“On the Waterfront: Politics and Economics in Gulf Ports of the 1940s” (research presentation).

2001: Hofstra University, Redefining Suburban Studies Conference, Hempstead, N.Y.:
“Ramp Neighborhoods: Interstate Expressways in the Post-Industrial Metropolis” (research presentation).

2000: University of Central Florida History Conference:
“Postwar Planning in Tampa, Florida, 1943-1945” (research presentation).

1999: Phi Alpha Theta Statewide Conference at the University of Florida:
“An Expressway Runs Through It: The Interstate Highway and Tampa, Florida” (research presentation – best paper prize).

BlissContact Information

(904) 620-2886