University of South Florida St. Petersburg



Julie Buckner Armstrong picture for 2024

Julie Buckner Armstrong is a professor of English who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature. 

USF English professor to co-edit Florida anthology as part of Duckwall Professorship

By Sarah Sell, University Communications and Marketing

A USF St. Petersburg professor known for her expertise in the civil rights movement and southern literature has been named the Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies for the 2024-2026 academic years.

Julie Buckner Armstrong is a professor of English who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature. She is the author and editor of multiple books including, most recently, "Learning from Birmingham: A Journey into History and Home,” which examines the iconic civil rights movement in the city where she was born.

As part of the Duckwall Professorship, Armstrong will begin focusing on her next book, an anthology of literary works from Florida.

The two-year endowment is given to a tenured faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at USF St. Petersburg. It provides access to approximately $12,500 per year in funding to support research activities, travel expenses and events centered on studying Florida history.

"I’m very excited,” Armstrong said. “The Duckwall is great because it rotates among faculty members with different expertise. It allows our Florida Studies students to hone in on a specific topic or do research that makes a major contribution to scholarship and be exposed to a range of faculty members."

USF's Florida Studies Program brings together faculty from History, Geography, Political Science, English, Anthropology and other disciplines to create an integrated, in-depth exploration of the state's changing identity.

Armstrong's plans for the professorship include researching literature's impact on the Sunshine State and editing a Florida-themed anthology. The collection will consist of literary pieces from the past 500 years and will be co-edited by Thomas Hallock, an English professor, former Duckwall Professor and Armstrong’s spouse.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of texts, fiction, poetry and drama. I think the biggest problem I'll face with the anthology is narrowing down the choices," Armstrong said. "Tom is doing volume one, a project he started working on a few years back, and I'm going to oversee the other part, which is from the mid-19th century to the present."

Duckwall Professors also teach a graduate-level course and provide programming on campus each academic year that deals substantively with Florida. Armstrong will teach a course on Florida literature in Spring 2025 and hopes to bring major writers and speakers to campus over the next two years.

The Duckwall Professorship was launched in 1997 and is supported by generous donations from the Duckwall Foundation. Frank E. Duckwall, a physicist turned successful businessman who ran an optics company in Tampa, decided to create a foundation dedicated to making the Tampa Bay region a better place. When he passed in 1993, he gave most of his estate to the Duckwall Foundation. The funding has helped support numerous programs and scholarships and innovative research on Florida history and studies over the years.

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