College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series

The University of West Florida College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities presents the Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series showcasing scholars of outstanding prominence who promote the value and role of the Liberal Arts in building and sustaining contemporary culture.

April 16 - “La Florida: The Coastal Borderland of the New World"

Through time, Pensacola has been a landscape defined by shifting borders. It is one of the oldest, key tactical positions in North America. The strategic history of Pensacola dates from the initial settlement attempt by Luna in 1559 through the various Spanish, British, French and American periods of occupation. The use of Florida's geography for critical military campaigns spans several wars, including the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Panelists will underscore the impact on indigenous populations displaced through these European settlements and border wars. Florida's geography was also critical for European trade, agriculture and exploitation of natural resources, and harboring of fugitive slaves. In many ways, it was a wild and contested borderland.

This interdisciplinary panel featuring two UWF faculty experts and two guest speakers will examine the important roles of Northwest Florida in determining the geographic border of the New World. Panelists will address the fascinating history behind defining Florida as a discrete territory. And they will conclude by highlighting the contemporary relevance of border disputes in Florida. At a very local level, territorial disputes continue to shape the coastal landscape - this time focusing on the fight between waterfront property owners and the general public over beach access.


  • Tuesday, April 16
    Museum of Commerce, 201 Zaragoza St, Pensacola, FL
    5:30 p.m. - Reception 
  • 6-7 p.m. - Panel Presentation

The reception and panel lecture are free and open to the public. RSVPs are not required, but seating is limited to a first come, first serve basis.

Information or questions: 

Founders Week 

This event is being held in partnership with UWF Founders Week. 


Panel Presenters

Dr. William Lees, Executive Director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network

Dr. William Lees has served as the executive director of FPAN since 2005. Lees is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and a member of the Florida Archaeological Council, current president of the Society of Historical Archaeology, a member of the Florida Historical Commission, and sits on the Florida National Register Review Board. He has previously served as president of the Plains Anthropological Society, the Society of Professional Archaeologists, and the Register of Professional Archaeologists. Throughout his career he has focused on public archaeology and historical archaeology in the Great Plains and Southeastern US, with specialization in the Antebellum Period and the Civil War.

Dr. Gene Smith, Professor of History, Texas Studies at Texas Christian University

Dr. Gene Smith is a professor of history and the director for Texas Studies at Texas Christian University. His area of studies focuses on Early American, Maritime and American Naval history. 

Dr. Erin Stone, Assistant Professor of Latin American History

Dr. Erin Stone, UWF assistant professor of Latin American history and director of Early American Studies Master’s Program, teaches Latin American and Indigenous history. She has also contributed scholarly essays to Ethnohistory and the Encyclopedia of Latin America. In addition to her academic writing, she has given presentations at national and international conferences. 

Dr. John Worth, Professor of Anthropology

Dr. John Worth, associate professor of anthropology, teaches historical archaeology, historical research methods, Southeastern Indians, and field and laboratory methods in archaeology.

One of the foremost experts on Spanish colonial history, he is the principal site investigator for the archaeological site of the Tristán de Luna settlement – the oldest established multi-year European settlement in the United States – that was discovered in a developed neighborhood in Pensacola in 2015.

K. Yoland, Artist-in-Residence

K. Yoland is a transdisciplinary artist examining the nature of identity, power and borders in our society. Incorporating video, text, installation, photography and live performance, the body or its impact is ever-present. Currently, her work considers territorial contestation, with a focus on contemporary contestation of Florida's boundaries, which speaks to current legal battles over public beach access.

Installment Sponsors and Partners

This event is presented and sponsored by the UWF College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities and UWF Equity & Diversity. It is also funded in part, by the John C. Pace Symposium Series.

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2018-2019 Lectures


  • September 21, 2018
  • “Stone’s Throw: On Borders, Boundaries, and the Beyond
  • October 11, 2018
  • "Cultural Commodities:The Transformation of African Spiritual Objects"
  • January 31, 2019
  • "Art as Grit: The Siege of Leningrad in Poetry and Music"
  • April 16, 2019
  • "Defining and Defending the Borders of la Florida​"