Hugh LaFollette, Ph.D., and the International Encyclopedia of Ethics

Public invited to participate in professor’s unusual literary project

Have you ever wondered what goes into writing and publishing a book? Have you ever wanted to write and publish your own book? Now is your chance. The public is invited to participate in an exciting literary project by USF St. Petersburg Philosophy Professor Hugh LaFollette, Ph.D.

LaFollette, the USFSP Marie and Leslie E. Cole Chair in Ethics, is seeking public input as he writes his next book, tentatively titled, The Ethics of Gun Control. He will explain the project during an organizational meeting at The Dali Museum Theater on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.

Beginning in January, LaFollette will meet monthly with interested members of the public to discuss the main points of each chapter, soliciting feedback from the audience. He likens it to the peer-review process of a scholarly work, but done in public with the intention of writing for a broad audience. At the end of each session he will offer advice to participants on their own non-fiction writing projects. After the initial meeting at The Dali Museum, future sessions will be held at USFSP. All of the sessions are free and open to the public.

LaFollette has been thinking and writing about gun control for years. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy last year, he published an op-ed column in the Tampa Bay Times laying out the complexities of gun control and suggesting liability insurance as an alternative. The column was adapted from a paper he published in the journal Ethics in 2000.

“Given how complex and emotional the topic of gun control is, I am looking forward to lively discussions as we work our way through each chapter,” LaFollette. “Everyone should feel free to pose questions and raise objections in a respectful and civil fashion.”

Frank Biafora, dean of the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences, praised LaFollette for his willingness to open himself to public scrutiny. “Any serious writing project is daunting, but to ask the public to participate suggests a level of openness that is rare and praiseworthy,” he said.


Ray Arsenault shares in another Emmy nomination

An episode of WEDU-TV’s Florida This Week that included USF St. Petersburg History Professor Ray Arsenault, Ph.D., has been nominated for a Suncoast Emmy Award.

The June 28 episode was the first and only time Arsenault, the USFSP John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History, has appeared on the weekly program, which features a roundtable discussion of top news stories and is moderated by journalist Rob Lorei.

Joining Arsenault in the nominated episode were former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, state Sen. Tom Lee and Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam Smith. The topics included the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, immigration reform and Medicaid expansion in Florida.

The Suncoast Emmy Awards honor excellence in TV programming in Florida, Puerto Rico and parts of Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia. The June 28 Florida This Week episode is one of three nominees for Best Interview/Discussion Program. The winners will be announced Nov. 23 in Ft. Lauderdale.

This is not the first time Arsenault has been involved in Emmy-nominated work. A documentary film based on his award-winning book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice won three national Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.

Arsenault said he is honored to have played a part in the Emmy nomination for Florida This Week. “I have long been an admirer of the show and of Rob Lorei’s thoughtful approach to public affairs,’’ said Arsenault, co-founder of the Florida Studies Program. “I hope the viewers got as much out of it as I did.”

Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D., interim regional chancellor for academic affairs, said the nomination reflects Arsenault’s depth of knowledge and the clarity of his ideas. “Dr. Arsenault has always believed in the importance of sharing his insights with the broader public,” Fueyo said. “This is another demonstration of his many strengths as an educator, historian and writer.”

 Watch the episode.









The aftermath of racial violence in Rosewood, January 1923.

Lecture to probe complexities of Rosewood Massacre

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant was a Ph.D. student in anthropology at the University of Florida in 2008 when he began studying the history of Rosewood, a tiny, mostly black community near Cedar Key that was destroyed by racial violence in 1923.

“I realized there had not been an academic study of Rosewood in years,” he said. “I was shocked.” He would spend the next three years immersed in research that eventually led to a half-dozen studies published in scholarly journals and an interactive website called the Rosewood Heritage Project. The site includes a virtual reality reconstruction of the community as it was the year before it was destroyed.

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant, Ph.D.

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant, Ph.D.

Gonzalez-Tennant, now an anthropology professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey and director of its Geographic Information System (GIS) Program, will discuss his findings during a special presentation at USF St. Petersburg at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7 in the University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S. See campus map and directions.

The presentation, “Violence, Memory and New Heritage: Social Justice in Rosewood, Florida,” is free and open to the public and presented by the USFSP Anthropology Club, the Honors Program and the Florida Studies Program.

“We are proud that Dr. Gonzalez-Tenant is returning to Florida for this important and thought-provoking presentation,” said Frank Biafora, Ph.D., Dean of the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences. “His background in Anthropology and GIS is a perfect example of the tremendous power of interdisciplinary training and research that we seek to cultivate here at USF St. Petersburg.”

Eight people died in what has come to be known as the Rosewood Massacre. While Rosewood has been the subject of a popular book and Hollywood movie, little is known of its early development and racial landscape, Gonzalez-Tennant says.

Gonzalez-Tennant combines documentary evidence, archaeology, GIS mapping and oral history, along with new media, to better understand the evolution of Rosewood and the roots of the violence that destroyed it.

Rosewood turns out to be a much more complex place than first assumed, Gonzalez-Tennant says. It had a core of white-owned property owners surrounded by black-owned property owners and ranged over a wide area, he says.

“This was a community where African-Americans had full access to every economic aspect, every type of job, where African-Americans owned homes and businesses,’’ Gonzalez-Tennant says. “That racial landscape is at the heart of my scholarship.”

On New Year’s Day 1923, a white woman in nearby Sumner claimed a black man from Rosewood attacked her, prompting a white mob to lynch an innocent man and then days later to burn down all the homes of black residents.

Reconstructing Rosewood in a virtual environment helps create a better understanding of the violence, Gonzalez-Tennant says. “The historical Rosewood would have stretched over two miles, making the violence more frightening when you realize how deliberate it had to be,’’ he says.

Students (left to right) Rob Cuba, Laura Wiggins and Krista Austin with Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Heather Judkins, Ph.D., with the rare Asperoteuthis squid.

Biology professor and students examine and document rare squid

Christmas came early for Heather Judkins, Ph.D.

Two large species of squid, so rare they are destined for the Florida Museum of Natural History, made their way by cruise ship from the Caribbean Sea off Grand Cayman to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg last week to be examined by Judkins, assistant professor of biological sciences at USFSP.

The squid were not only rare but huge, measuring more than six feet in length each. The squid – an Asperoteuthis and a Megalocranchia – dwell thousands of feet below the surface. Adult specimens are so rare only a few have been examined by scientists. The specimens scientists usually examine are under a foot long.

“We don’t get them as big as this or in as good a condition,’’ Judkins said as one of the squid lay on a lab table at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “It’s like Christmas!”

Both were found floating on the surface by fishermen. The Megalocranchia was found in July and the Asperoteuthis four years ago.They were frozen by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and shipped to Judkins in a chest freezer aboard the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship to Port Canaveral. Judkins then drove them in the freezer to USFSP.

Little is known about the biology of these deep-sea species of squid, including how they reproduce and their role in deep-sea food webs Judkins said. “This adds pieces to the puzzle,’’ she said of the specimens.

Judkins specializes in cephalopod research. She has published five articles in scientific journals, presented at scientific conferences and teaches a course in marine invertebrates, including squid. She was drawn to squid partly because of the mystery that surrounds them, she said.

“We don’t know much about the deep-sea squid,” she said. “I think it’s important to know the diversity differences for ecosystem and fisheries management.We need to know what we are looking at.”

The Asperoteuthis was so rare that the specimen Judkins examined was the first found in the Caribbean. The Megalocranchia is so gelatinous, and had gotten twisted in transit, that she could not determine if it was male or female.

Frank Biafora, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the fact that these rare specimens were entrusted in Dr. Judkins’ care underscores her standing in the scientific community. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Judkins at USF St. Petersburg,’’ Biafora said. “As our newest full time biology member, Dr. Judkins’ exciting and recognized research enhances our emerging reputation as an important resource for applied marine research and marine biology training.’’

Measuring the Megalocranchia.

Measuring the Megalocranchia.

Judkins weighed, dissected, measured and documented the squid in minute detail with the help of three students in her marine invertebrate class — Krista Austin, Rob Cuba and Laura Wiggins.

Now that the squid have been examined, both specimens will be added to the squid collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

The examinations took nearly four hours. Water dripped off the examination table and the room filled with the pungent odor of dead squid. None of that dampened Judkins’ excitement. “I really was like a kid in a candy store,’’ she said.

African journalists from the 2010 Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists pose along the USFSP Waterfront.

Visiting African journalists to participate in public forum

USF St. Petersburg and the U.S. State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists will sponsor a public forum on African-American and African journalism on Friday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. at the University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, will feature a panel discussion involving distinguished African-American journalists from the Tampa Bay area and representatives from a visiting delegation of noted African journalists.

The panelists will discuss their experiences and challenges practicing journalism in their respective settings. The forum is free and open to the public.

The Tampa Bay journalists participating in the panel discussion will be Dalia Colon, WUSF multi-media reporter/producer; Eric Deggans, National Public Radio TV critic; Boyzell Hosey, Tampa Bay Times Director of Photography/Multi-media; Ivan Penn, Tampa Bay Times business writer; and Erica Riggins, Bay News 9 morning anchor.

The panel discussion is part of a program hosted by the USF St. Petersburg Department of Journalism and Media Studies for 12 African journalists Oct. 31 to Nov. 6. The Edward R. Murrow program brings emerging journalism leaders from around the world to study journalistic practices in the the United States in a public-private partnership involving the Department of State, the Aspen Institute and several prominent schools of journalism throughout the nation.

After initial sessions in Washington, DC, the participants attend academic seminars and field activities with faculty and students at various schools of journalism.

“The opportunity to host these distinguished journalists from Africa is evidence of the international impact of our program in journalism and media studies,’’ said Vivian Fueyo, interim Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Deni Elliott, Eleanor Poyner Jamison Chair in Media Ethics and Press Policy and chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said the opportunity to exchange ideas is what makes the Murrow Program so exciting. “We can learn a great deal from each other about how journalism is evolving globally in the digital age,’’ she said.