Department of History Faculty & Staff

Department Chair

Charles Closmann

Dr. Charles ClosmannAssociate Professor of History


Phone: (904) 620-1864

Office: Building 9, Room 2502
Research Emphasis: European History - Modern Germany, Environmental, and Urban Environments


Charles Closmann specializes in the histories of Germany, Europe, and the Environment.  In particular, Dr. Closmann explores issues like the rise and fall of modern dictatorships, and connections between political movements like National Socialism and campaigns to protect the environment.  He also considers the way that big cities have used (and abused) natural resources like water, land, and air since the time of the Industrial Revolution. 


In addition to teaching surveys on the History of Germany and Nazi Germany, Dr. Closmann teaches World History and a yearly class on Environmental History.   In 2010, he was awarded grants from Academic Affairs and from UNF’s Environmental Center to develop an oral history based course entitled, “Voices from the Stream:  An Environmental History of the St. Johns River.”  In addition to learning about oral history, seminar participants interviewed over twenty environmentalists, journalists, fishermen, artists, and other members of the community who have been involved with the history of this ecologically-fragile river.  These oral histories are being archived in the UNF Library as part of a special collection on the St. Johns River.  Since then, students have continued to interview people who have played a key role in the history of Florida, including civil rights activist Stetson Kennedy and noted author Bill Belleville.  For the first time, Dr. Closmann is also teaching a course on the Environmental History of the American South.  Students participate in two field trips, one to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and another to the Buckman Sewage Treatment Plant in Jacksonville.  Past field trips have included visits to the Kingsley Plantation, the Fort Caroline National Memorial, and a guided boat trip down the St. Johns River. 


Among other publications, Dr. Closmann is the editor of War and the Environment: Military Destruction in the Modern Age, by Texas A&M Press.  He has also published, “Legalizing a Volksgemeinschaft:  Nazi Germany’s Imperial Nature Protection Law of 1935, in Brüggemeier, Cioc, and Zeller, editors, How Green Were the Nazis?  Nature, Environment and Nation in the Third Reich, by Ohio University Press; “Chaos and Contamination:  Water Pollution and Economic Upheaval in Hamburg, 1919-1923,” in the Journal of Urban History, and other articles and reviews in various publications.   He is currently writing a book on the environmental history of water in Hamburg, Germany.  Other projects include research on visual interpretations of urban water regimes and environmental protest by rural and suburban activists in 1970s Germany. 




Full-Time Faculty

Denise I. Bossy

Associate Professor of History


Office: Building 9, Room 2504
Research Emphasis: Early American History - Cross Cultural Encounters, Slavery, American Indians



On sabbatical until August 2017.
Dr. Denise I. Bossy specializes in cross-cultural relations between Indians, Europeans, and Africans in the early South. She offers upper-division courses on the history of early America, Florida, American Indians, and seminars on Southeastern Indians, gender and race, family and community, comparative slaveries, and U.S. Readings I. She has published a number of articles including: “The Yamasees, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and Spiritual Diplomacy: Reinterpreting Prince George’s Voyage to England, 1713-5,” Early American Studies (Spring, 2014 – winner of the John Murrin Prize), and “Godin & Co.: Charleston Merchants and the Indian Trade, 1674-1715,” The South Carolina Historical Magazine 114 (April, 2013 – winner of the Malcolm C. Clark Award). Her current research focuses on the Yamasee Indians of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. She is the editor of a forthcoming anthology of essays on the Yamasees (the proceedings of a conference she co-organized with Chester B. DePratter: And she is writing a monograph tentatively titled “A History of the Yamasee Indians: Ethnogenesis, Strategic Diaspora, and Resurgence.” This work is being supported through a UNF sabbatical and a yearlong fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Bossy received her PhD (2007), M.Phil (2002) and M.A. (1999) in American History from Yale University, and her A.B in History from Princeton (1995). She joined the faculty at U.N.F. in 2007 after teaching at Trinity College in Hartford, C.T., for two years. She has held fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Historical Association, American Philosophical Society, Mellon Foundation, John Carter Brown library, and three institutes at Yale University. Her research regularly takes her to archives across the South and Great Britain. 




Alison J. Bruey


Associate Professor of History and Graduate Program Director


Phone:  (904) 620-5084

Office: Building 9, Room 2514
Research Emphasis: Modern Latin America, Social and Political Movements, Cold War, Urban History
Alison J. Bruey specializes in modern Latin American history and offers Latin American history and research methods courses to students from a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. She has led study abroad courses to Guatemala and Peru and has received the University of North Florida’s award for outstanding undergraduate teaching. She is co-author of Tortura en Poblaciones del Gran Santiago (1973-1990) (Santiago: Corporación José Domingo Cañas, 2005) and the author of scholarly articles on neoliberalism and repression; public housing and popular protest; and Cold War solidarity movements. Her oral history work appears in The Chile Reader (Duke University Press, 2014), and she is presently writing on neoliberalism in Chile for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Her current book project, Bread, Justice, and Liberty: Neoliberalism, Human Rights, and Grassroots Organizing in Pinochet’s Chile explores the connections between human rights, neoliberalism, and the rise of anti-regime organization and protest in popular-sector Santiago. Her research interests include human rights and democracy; oral history and historical memory; the political cultures of economic systems; and urban environment and social movements. She serves on the board of directors of the Urban History Association and on the council of the Historia Reciente y Memoria section of the Latin American Studies Association.
Bruey earned her PhD (2007), MPhil, and MA in History from Yale University, an MA (1999) in Latin American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BA (1996) in Latin American Studies and Spanish language and literature from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her work has been recognized through grants and fellowships from the Foreign Language and Area Studies program, Yale University and the Mellon Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, and the University of North Florida.


 David T. Courtwright Dr. David Courtwright

Professor of History


Office: Building 9, Room 2423
Research Emphasis: American History - US Social and Legal, Medicine


David T. Courtwright, a graduate of the University of Kansas and Rice University, offers upper-division courses in world history (medicine and disease), comparative history (patterns of violence), and American history, notably "The U.S. since World War I" and "The 1960s and Vietnam." His current graduate offerings include readings in U.S. history since 1865 and a research seminar, "The Long 1960s."

Courtwright has published influential books on drug use and drug policy, both in American and world history; the social problems of frontier environments on the land and in the air; and the culture war that roiled American politics during and after the 1960s. Whether about drugs, violence, aerospace, or cultural politics, his research is concerned with power, policy, and social structure. His ambition is to identify what drives (or sometimes retards) fundamental changes in modern social and political history. He is currently working on another project in this vein, a book about pleasure and capitalism in the modern world.

Courtwright’s teaching and research have been recognized by the John A. Delaney Presidential Professorship, the UNF Distinguished Professor Award, five teaching awards, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence Media Award, and fellowships from the American Historical Association, NASA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. 


Gregory Domber


Office: Building 9, Room 2519

Research Emphasis: American History - US Foreign Relations, 20th Century, Cold War International


Dr. Gregory F. Domber (B.A. Lafayette College, 1997; Ph.D. The George Washington University, 2008) teaches Craft of the Historian and courses on American foreign policy, the international history of the Cold War, and post-World War II domestic American social and political history. His scholarship focuses on American democracy promotion at the end of the Cold War, and has been published in the Journal of Cold War Studies, The Polish Review, and numerous edited volumes. He has also been awarded nationally competitive fellowships (by the Polish-American Fulbright Commission and International Research and Exchanges, among others). The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) awarded him the 2009 Betty M. Unterberger prize for best dissertation. He has lived in Warsaw, Poland, and Washington, D.C., where he worked with various scholarly and advocacy organizations.


 Dr. Shannon Eaves


Shannon C. Eaves

Assistant Professor of History 


Office:  Building 9, Room 2516               


Shannon C. Eaves specializes in nineteenth-century African American history with an emphasis on slavery, race, and gender. At UNF, she teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, African American History, and the Old and New American South. Her current research project explores the sexual exploitation of enslaved women as a means to better understand the influences of race, gender, and power on everyday interactions between slaveholding and enslaved men and women during the antebellum period.

Eaves received her Ph.D. (2015) and M.A. (2010) in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.A. in Teaching (2005) from the University of South Carolina, and B.A. (2003) in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been awarded fellowships and research grants from the Virginia Historical Society, Library Company of Philadelphia, Center for the Study of the American South, and UNC Graduate School.



Denice Fett

Assistant Professor of History

Office: Building 9, Room 2508


Denice Fett earned her PhD in early modern European history at the Ohio State University in 2010. She specializes in Early Modern European history, with a focus on information networks, intelligence and communications in Reformation diplomacy. Her current research project, titled Lying Abroad: Information and Communication in Reformation Europe is a thematic, transnational study of the diplomatic practices of West European states and the information and intelligence networks that supported them. She teaches courses on Renaissance and Reformation Europe, Tudor-Stuart England, and military history, among others.


Philip Kaplan

Dr. Philip Kaplan

Associate Professor of History


Phone: (904) 620-1863

Office: Building 9, Room 2510

Research Emphasis: European History - Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Near East


Philip Kaplan is a scholar of ancient Greece and the Mediterranean world. His work has explored Greeks’ geographical views of the lands around them, and Greece’s place among the societies of the Eastern Mediterranean. He has published articles on the history of geographical thought, on Greek travellers, explorers and mercenaries, and on the contacts and exchanges between Greeks and their neighbors in Egypt, Israel, Syria and Anatolia. Kaplan received a BA from Cornell University, an M.Phil. in Classical Archaeology from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked on archaeological projects in Israel and Greece, and has traveled extensively in the Mediterranean. He teaches World History and upper level courses on Greece, Rome, and the Near East.



Chau KellyDr. Chau Kelly

Assistant Professor of History


Office:  Building 9, Room 2512


Research Emphasis: African History, History of Imperialism – Urbanization, Environment, and History of Medicine


Chau J. Kelly spent her most formative years living in Southeast Asia, where she was born. She started her undergraduate studies as a Biochemistry Pre-Med student, but learned after a couple of years that she was better suited for History. Her shift to History, however, did not end her desire to learn about medicine, but provided her with a new angle to engage with a passionate interest in disease, malnutrition, and science. Her personal experiences with and academic interest in tropical medicine led her to study the History of Africa with a particular emphasis on colonial development, disease environments, and public health. She offers courses in Africa History, from its prehistory and antiquity to contemporary history; she also teaches courses on Modern India, European Imperialism, and the History of Medicine. Dr. Kelly’s teaching and research examine the intersection of social interpretations of health, hygiene, and development interventions in colonial settings. These interests have led to articles and conference presentations about Islamic charitable institutions (the waqf), water commodification, urban development, and nutrition interventions in Tanzania. 





Theophilus C. Prousis Dr. Theo Prousis

Professor of History

Office: Building 9, Room 2421

Research Emphasis: European History - Modern Europe, Russia, Middle East


Theophilus C. Prousis, 2006 Distinguished Professor of History, specializes in Russian, Balkan, and eastern Mediterranean history. He teaches courses on European, Holocaust, Russian, Balkan, and Ottoman history and has published extensively on a variety of topics—Imperial Russia’s contacts with Eastern Orthodox communities in the Ottoman Empire; Britain’s encounters with the Ottoman Levant; and European designs in the Eastern Question. His books, Russian-Ottoman Relations in the Levant: The Dashkov Archive (2002) and Russian Society and the Greek Revolution (1994), rely on Russian archives and manuscripts. His articles have appeared in Slavic Review, The American Scholar, East European Quarterly, Mediterranean Historical Review, Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, Balkanistica, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Chronos, Canadian American Slavic Studies, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, and Archivum Ottomanicum. His most recent studies, based on research in The National Archives, Kew, London, UK, examine British consular and embassy records during a critical period in the history of the Eastern Question: British Consular Reports from the Ottoman Levant in an Age of Upheaval, 1815-1830 (2008); Lord Strangford at the Sublime Porte (1821): The Eastern Crisis, volume 1 (2010); Lord Strangford at the Sublime Porte (1822): The Eastern Crisis, volume 2 (2012); and Lord Strangford at the Sublime Porte (1823): The Eastern Crisis, volume 3 (2014). He is currently working on the fourth and final tome of the Strangford project, a compilation and analysis of Lord Strangford’s unpublished dispatches from the British embassy in Constantinople.


N. Harry Rothschild

Professor of History

Office: Building 9, Room 2520

Research Emphasis: Asian History - China, East Asia

Dr. Rothschild’s teaching career spans nearly a quarter of a century, beginning as a K-12 substitute in the hills of western Maine after he graduated from Harvard University in 1992 with a B.A. in East Asian Language and Civilizations and cleverly decided to write a novel on bronzecasting and kingship in Shang China in his parents’ basement. In the mid-90s, he taught History and Political Geography at Hebron Academy. Currently, he is a professor of Asian History here at the University of North Florida, where he has worked since receiving a Ph.D. in Chinese History from Brown University in 2003. His courses include, but are not limited to: Women and Gender in East Asia, Asian Art and Culture, Introduction to Asia, Traditional China, Modern China, Contemporary, China, Japanese Civilization, and a pair of seminars: “Tang China, The Empire is Open to All” and “Women and Gender in China, yesterday and Today.”
Nearly five years of living and working in the People’s Republic of China have enriched both Dr. Rothschild’s teaching and his research. From 1988 to 1990, he lived, studied Mandarin, and worked in Beijing. On a Fulbright grant in 2000–01, he researched at Peking University’s Institute for Research of Middle Antiquity, examining largely untapped epigraphic sources like the Qian-Tang Museum of Funerary Plaques outside Luoyang and combing archival sources at the National Library. In 2012-13, he spent a sabbatical year at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.
The focus of Dr. Rothschild’s dissertation and ongoing research is Wu Zhao (624-705), better known as Wu Zetian or Empress Wu. His most recent book Emperor Wu Zhao and her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers (Columbia University Press, 2015; see link) examines the female emperor’s sustained effort to deploy language, symbol, and ideology to harness the cultural resonance, maternal force, divine energy, and historical weight of a broad-base of female exemplars and divinities—Buddhist devis, Confucian exemplars, Daoist immortals, and mythic goddesses—to establish cultural, religious, and political legitimacy. Tapping into powerful subterranean reservoirs of female power, Wu Zhao built a pantheon of female divinities carefully calibrated to meet her needs at court. This pageant of goddesses and eminent women was promoted in scripted rhetoric, reinforced through poetry, celebrated in theatrical productions, and inscribed on steles.

This work follows his first book, a biography of the female ruler titled Wu Zhao, China’s Only Female Emperor (Longman World Biography Series, 2008).

In addition, he has published an array of more than a dozen essays analyzing various facets of Wu Zhao’s sovereignty—her connection to apocalyptic Buddhism, her utilization of avian symbolism, her deft manipulation of language in choosing reign names, and the significance of her rapport with non-Chinese subjects—in Italian, Korean, Chinese and American journals. Recent essays have also examined other epiphenomena in early Tang history: one examines contested narratives of the environmental and political consequences of a locust infestation in 715-6 and another looks at escalating rhetoric opposing performances of a Sogdian dramas in the early eighth century after Wu Zhao’s ouster and death.


David Sheffler

Dr. David ShefflerAssociate Professor of History


Phone: (904) 620-1856

Office: Building 9, Room 2506

Research Emphasis: Medieval history


Dr. David Sheffler (Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D.; Western Washington University M. A.; University of Washington, B.A.) teaches courses in Medieval and in World History. His research interests include late medieval universities and pre-university education.  In addition to several scholarly articles, he has published a book, Schools and Schooling in Late Medieval Germany: Regensburg, 1250-1550, which appeared in 2008 as part of the Brill Series, Education and Society in the Middles Ages and Renaissance. He is currently working on a scholarly biography of the Augustinian Hermit, theology professor, and anti-Hussite preacher, Berthold Puchhauser.



Daniel Watkins

Assistant Professor of HistoryDaniel Watkins picture


Phone:  (904) 620-5269

Office:  Building 9, Room 2513

Research Emphasis:  Early Modern and Modern Europe


Daniel Watkins specializes in the history of early modern and modern Europe, particularly eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France. He earned his B.A. and M.A. (2005, 2008) from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University (2014). His doctoral research focused on the Society of Jesus and their role in shaping new enlightened discourses and institutions throughout Catholic Europe. He is currently reworking his dissertation into a book manuscript on the topic of the Jesuits and enlightened conservatism during the long eighteenth century. Dr. Watkins’s scholarly interests also include intellectual and cultural history more broadly and the histories of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities throughout the globe.

Dr. Watkins joined the faculty at U.N.F. in 2014. He teaches courses on the histories of early modern and modern Europe, religious and intellectual history, and historical methods. A native of south Florida, he loves the beach, good seafood, and predictable afternoon thunderstorms.




Emeritus Faculty

Dale Clifford   Dr. Dale Clifford 

Associate Professor emerita of History


Research Emphasis: European History - French Revolution, Modern Europe, Military


Dr. Clifford received her B.A. from Vanderbilt University and her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A founding member of the UNF faculty, she has served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the founding Director of the Honors Program, and briefly as Interim Dean. After a career-long research focus on the French Revolution, she has recently embarked on a new project, examining the U.S. troops who stayed on in France after World War I. Her teaching fields include Military History, Modern France, and Craft of the Historian.



Since retiring, Dr. Clifford has remained active in military history and in community activities. She is an officer in Jacksonville’s Women’s Giving Alliance and a member of the Board of the national organization, the Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network. She also continues boating adventures, most recently in Tahiti and Vancouver Island.



James B. Crooks

Professor of History emeritus

E-mail: Jim Crooks


Jim Crooks was a charter faculty member and first chair of the history department appointed in 1972. He taught for 29 years retiring in 2001.

Since retiring, Jim completed his second book on Jacksonville history, Jacksonville, the Consolidation Story: from Civil Rights to the Jaguars (2004); and Creating a University: University of North Florida Faculty and Staff Remember 35 Years (2010).

Jim has  attempted to balance his professional life with community involvement and family. He served on the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission from 2002-2010, appointed by then mayor John Delaney. Non profit board commitments have included the Sanctuary on Eighth Street, 1992-2007, and JASMYN, Inc., 2011-present. Advisory committees have included United Way's Achiever-for-Life, Jacksonville Public Library, Jacksonville Journey, Istanbul Cultural Center, Jacksonville Community Foundation and New Town Success Zone.

Retirement travels with friends and his life's companion, Laura, have taken him to Alaska, Canada; Scandanavia, Russia, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Britain in Europe; Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Chile and Argentina in Latin America and Turkey.

He also naps regularly, exercises almost regularly and enjoys good food and drink.



Elizabeth L. Furdell

Professor of History emeritaDr. Elizabeth Furdell reads her book



Elizabeth Lane Furdell, UNF's 2002 Distinguished Professor, taught British and European history at UNF for 27 years before retiring in 2010. The recipient of six teaching awards, Dr. Furdell published extensively on the early modern era with an emphasis on medicine and print. Her books include The Royal Doctors, Publishing and Medicine in Early Modern England, Fatal Thirst: Diabetes in Britain until Insulin, a biography of James Welwood, and an edited volume, Textual Healing. She authored numerous articles and reviews for scholarly journals, served on the American Fellowships Committee for the American Association of University Women, and chaired many university committees including Promotion and Tenure. Since retirement, Dr. Furdell continues to research and write about the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with recent contributions to volumes on Thomas Middleton and on the Tudors.


Thomas M. Leonard

Professor of History emeritus



Daniel L. SchaferDr. Daniel L. Schafer in Turkey 02

Professor of History emeritus




Dan Schafer was the first history faculty member hired by UNF in 1972. During the next thirty-five years he taught a variety of U.S. history courses, won teaching awards, was the UNF Distinguished Professor in 1996, and chaired the department three times. He still lives in Jacksonville with his wife Joan Moore, but spends summers in Maine.


Since retiring in December 2007, Dan has continued a career-long focus on researching and writing historical nonfiction. Four of his books and five book chapters were published in the years after retirement. Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast Florida, and William Bartram and the Ghost Plantations of British East Florida were both published in 2010. Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and the Atlantic World: Slave Trader, Plantation Owner, Emancipator was published in November 2013; in 2014 it received the  Charlton Tebeau Award and the Stetson Kennedy Award from the Florida Historical Society,  a Florida Book Award, and a Historic Preservation Award from the City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission. In 2014,  Florida British Heritage Trail was published (with Fred Gaske as co-author) by the Florida Association of Museums. ​



Part-Time Faculty


Marcella Barton


Office:  Building 9, Room 2408


 Alan Bliss


Office:  Building 9, Room 2518 


Janice Fluegel


Office:  Building 9, Room 2511


Heidi Manzone


Office:  Building 9, Room 2509


Melissa Matthews


Office:  Building 9, Room 2515


Rob McCarter


Office:  Building 9, Room 2406


Jay Smith


Office:  Building 9, Room 2517


Graduate Teaching Assistants


Frank Fanzese


Office:  Building 9, Room 2417


Anthony Harper


Office:  Building 9, Room  2414 


Danielle Kendrick


Office:  Building 9, Room 2414

Office Staff

Marianne Roberts

Office Manager


Phone (904) 620-2880

Office:  Building 9, Room 2503