Department of History Faculty & Staff

Department Chair

Charles ClosmannDr. Charles Closmann

Associate Professor of History


Phone: (904) 620-1864

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


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


Denise Bossy teaches courses at U.N.F. on the history of early America, Florida and the South, American Indians, gender and race at U.N.F. Her research focuses on relations between Indians, Europeans, and Africans in the colonial South. She is currently completing her first book tentatively entitled Indian Slavery in the Colonial Southeast: Indigenous and Atlantic Systems, 1500-1763. This work examines the collision of Indian and European systems of slavery, the development of a commercial trade in enslaved Indians (many of whom were from Florida), and the lasting political implications of Indian slavery for the region. An essay from this work “Indian Slavery in Southeastern Indian and English Societies, 1670-1730” was recently published in the collection Indian Slavery in ColonialAmerica, edited by Alan Gallay (University of Nebraska Press, 2010). She is also beginning work on a second book project which considers how American Indian children responded to and were impacted by Spanish and British colonization in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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 American Historical Association, American Philosophical Society, Mellon Foundation, the John Carter Brown library, and three institutes at Yale University. Her research regularly takes her to archives across the South and in England. 



Alison J. Bruey

Associate Professor of History


Office: Building 9, Room 2514
Research Emphasis: Modern Latin America - Social and Political Movements, Cold War, Urban History


Alison J. Bruey (B.A. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. Yale University) 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 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 policy and popular protest; and the Left, the Catholic Church, and grassroots solidarity movements.  Her current book project analyzes human rights, neoliberalism, and urban popular-sector protest in late twentieth-century Chile.  Her research interests include political violence and democracy; oral history and historical memory; capitalism and political culture; and social movements.


 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 

Associate Professor of History


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.



Shannon C. Eaves

Assistant Professor of History 


Office:  Building 9, Room 2516



Denice Fett

Assistant Professor of History

Office: Building 9, Room 2508



Philip KaplanDr. 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 Kelly

Assistant Professor of History


Office:  Building 9, Room 2512


Dr. Chau Kelly earned a Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Davis. She enjoyed her time in Davis; it is a town and university famous for agriculture, a vibrant bicycle culture, and environmental awareness. Her interest in public health, disease environments, and food inequalities were firmly rooted in what she observed living in one of the United States’ most diverse agricultural regions. Originally interested in epidemiology, Dr. Kelly found that the humanistic approach to science and medicine was far more gratifying and in some ways more challenging because it required greater perspective through long-term engagement with a community. Along with health and disease, Dr. Kelly has spent considerable time thinking about and studying food: its origins, production practices, and its cultural meaning when consumed. Her work with food is more than theoretical, gardening and experimenting with diverse food ways are also personal hobbies.


 Dr. Kelly’s book manuscript analyzes and critiques colonial era development programs in southeastern Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania) from 1910-1960. Her work provides a close study of how colonial rule affected the communities of Mikindani and Mtwara. By studying a space and its relationship with the outside world, Dr. Kelly’s work exposed the limits of colonial rule and engaged with the region’s cosmopolitan roots as an Indian Ocean port. Making the case for Indian Ocean continuities was made possible by studying aspects of East Africa’s material culture and cosmopolitan connections.

 In addition to her book, Dr. Kelly has an article in the works about Islamic property law and gender in Mikindani, Tanzania. For summer 2012, she anticipates returning to the archives to begin work on her next major project about how the United Nations and other extra-statal organizations respond to food crises. 


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, Distinguished Professor of History (2006) at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, specializes in European, Russian, and Near Eastern history and has published books and articles on a variety of topics—Imperial Russia’s contacts with Eastern Orthodox communities in the Ottoman Empire; British 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 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) and Lord Strangford at the Sublime Porte (1821): The Eastern Crisis, volume I (2010).  He is currently working on the remaining volumes (II to IV) of the Strangford project, a compilation of Lord Strangford’s unpublished dispatches from the British embassy in Constantinople in the early 1820s.


N. Harry Rothschild

Associate Professor of History

Office: Building 9, Room 2520

Research Emphasis: Asian History - China, East Asia


Dr. Rothschild’s teaching career spans two decades, 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 an associate 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.


Three and a half years living and working in the People’s Republic of China has 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.


The focus of Dr. Rothschild’s dissertation and ongoing research is Wu Zhao (624-705), better known as Wu Zetian or Empress Wu. His first book, Wu Zhao, China’s Only Female Emperor (Longman World Biography Series) was published in 2008. He is currently at work on a second book-length project that positions this unique woman sovereign within a rich genealogy of female divinities and dynastic mothers lifted from Chinese lore and myth. In addition, he has published an array of 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.


David ShefflerDr. David Sheffler

Associate Professor of History and Graduate Program Director 


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  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.

James B. Crooks

Professor of History emeritus



Elizabeth L. Furdell

Professor of History emerita



Thomas M. Leonard

Professor of History emeritus



Daniel L. Schafer

Professor of History emeritus




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 2410


Amanda Hall


Office: Building 9, Room 2414


Anthony Harper


Office:  Building 9, Room  2414 


Stephanie Haines


Office:  Building 9, Room 2410

Office Staff

Marianne Roberts

Office Manager


Phone (904) 620-2880

Office:  Building 9, Room 2503

Contact Us


Department of History

Building 9, Room 2501

1 UNF Drive

Jacksonville, FL 32224



(904) 620-2880



(904) 620-1018


Campus Map