Education Programs: Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges

Period of Performance

4/1/2016 - 3/31/2020

Funding Totals

$99,619.00 (approved)
$87,178.10 (awarded)

A Sense of Home: From Cultural Conflict to Coexistence in Florida's Heartland

FAIN: AE-248043-16

South Florida Community College (Avon Park, FL 33825-9399)
Charlotte Pressler (Project Director: August 2015 to March 2021)

A three-year project to bring into the institution’s humanities curricula the study of the cultures of Florida’s Heartland region, from the history of its indigenous peoples and European adventurers to recent influxes from the Caribbean, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.

South Florida State College (SFSC) requests funding to launch a three-year, trans-disciplinary initiative focused on developing and enhancing local scholarship in central Florida’s long history of cultural conflict and fusion. Through A Sense of Home, college faculty and K-12 teachers in the Literature, Humanities, Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology disciplines will have the opportunity to investigate the people and cultures of central Florida – the stories those peoples have shared through their literature, art, artifacts, social patterns, and collective experiences. These stories reflect more than the struggles and challenges faced by historical groups. SFSC is a minority-serving institution, and these stories form the rich cultural background of the very students who attend SFSC today.

Associated Products

"First Forays into Florida" (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: "First Forays into Florida"
Abstract: During 2018-2019, the focus was on “First Forays into Florida,” the free public event associated with the grant, held in University Center Lobby and Auditorium on 21 February, 2019. The theme and subtitle of this well-attended event was “What did they see that wasn’t there?” for Florida has always been a “State of Dreams” for the Europeans who hyped, conquered, exploited, and marveled at it. At the event, Jerald T. Milanich returned to give a talk entitled “Women in Spanish Moss Sarongs and Alligators with Ears: Theodore de Bry’s Famed 1591 Engravings of Florida Indians.” Milanich pursued and solved “a 420-year old mystery involving Sit Walter Raleigh, English investors, a dead French artist, a live English artist, the lost Roanoke colony, two French noblemen (one murdered, the other deceased), and ancient Picts from Britain, all played out across two continents.” Dr. Maurice (“Socky”) O’Sullivan of Rollins College gave a talk titled “Have You Not Hard of Floryda? Early Spanish, French, Portuguese, English, and Latin Accounts of Florida.” Hype and reality intertwined in the early colonial literatures O’Sullivan discussed; which included the first poem printed in English, published the year Shakespeare was born, “Have You Not Hard of Floryda?” Finally, Carol Mahler, seminar participant, archivist and professional storyteller, gave her interpretations of tales from Florida Seminoles and cowhunters. (It has to be said that she was the favorite of the students present.) In the auditorium lobby, posters from faculty and students showcased their research projects; the Avon Park and Sebring Historical Societies brought their displays, and art instructor Karla Respress and her students demonstrated, by means of a video, their contemporary version of Florida indigenous people’s techniques of pottery firing, with examples on display. Students from the SFSC Honors Program assisted with the program and served refreshments before and after.
Author: Jerald T. Milanich, Maurice O'Sullivan, Carol Mahler
Date: 2/21/2019
Location: University Center Auditorium, South Florida State College, Avon Park, FL