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Literature professor honored for book on lynching

USF St. Petersburg Associate Professor of Literature Julie Armstrong, Ph.D., has been honored by The Society for the Study of Southern Literature for her book, Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching.

Dr. Armstrong, the Literature Program Coordinator at USFSP, received the Holman Honorable Mention Award for 2012, which was created specifically to honor her book.

The C. Hugh Holman Award is presented annually to the best book of literary criticism or scholarship in southern literature. This year the award went to Jean W. Cash for Larry Brown: A Writer’s Life. But the voting was so close and the judges were so impressed with Dr. Armstrong’s book that they created the Holman Honorable Mention Award to honor it.

“For me, to be so close was huge,” Dr. Armstrong said.

“Julie is at the forefront of her field and her faculty could not be more pleased, especially since the organization created a special award to recognize her achievement,” said Frank Biafora, PhD., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It shows the extraordinary scholarship that’s taking place at USF St. Petersburg.”

Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching tells the largely forgotten but horrific story of Mary Turner’s lynching and studies the responses to it by local residents, activists and writers.

Mrs. Turner was eight months pregnant when she was seized by a mob and taken to a bridge near Valdosta, Ga.. “There a crowd of several hundred watched the mob hang her upside down, shoot her, set her on fire, remove her fetus, and stomp the unborn child into the ground,” Dr. Armstrong writes in the opening of her book.

Mrs. Turner was murdered to prevent her from pressing charges against the people who murdered her husband.

The Tampa Bay Times called  Dr. Armstrong’s writing powerful and compelling. “She writes movingly of being so repelled by some of the research that she found it difficult to go on,” the Times Book Editor Colette Bancroft wrote. “But she did, and she finds satisfaction in having helped bring a dark chapter in our history back into the light.”

Dr. Armstrong will receive her award at the American Literature Association conference in Boston, May 23-26.

Hemant Merchant

New global business professor ranked 10th most prolific scholar in the world

A USF St. Petersburg business professor has been ranked the 10th most prolific international management scholar in the world.

Dr. Hemant Merchant also was ranked the fourth most prolific scholar in the United States in a study published recently in Management International Review.

The rankings are based on publications appearing in the top three core International business journals from 2001 to 2009.

Dr. Merchant joined USF St. Petersburg last fall as a full professor of International Business Strategy.

He has been published in multiple leading business journals and has been awarded nearly $200,000 in grants. Dr. Merchant’s work examines the performance drivers of firms competing in emerging markets as well as service sector firms.

Dr. Merchant said he was honored by the ranking. “I was extremely surprised,’’ he said. “It’s an honor that probably comes once in a lifetime.”

It was particularly gratifying, he said, because his scholarly work was conducted while carrying a full teaching load. “To me, that’s a big deal,’’ Dr. Merchant said. “It shows what you can achieve with persistence.”

Most of the articles that led to his top ranking focused on value creation through international joint ventures. “What my studies in general try to do is understand the drivers of stock prices associated with the announcement of joint ventures,” he said.

Norine Noonan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the ranking underscores the high level of scholarship at USF St. Petersburg. “Dr. Merchant is an important part of our growing focus on globalization, including global business,’’ Dr. Noonan said. “We are thrilled that his scholarly productivity has been recognized by his peers and that he has joined our distinguished College of Business faculty.”