Humanities and the Sunshine State

Florida Water Stories

Humanities PictureFloridians have an extensive relationship with water. From the food we eat, to our favorite pastimes, to the industries that flourish here, to our changing and diverse population, Florida’s most significant issues are tied to water. Through an introduction to how various humanities disciplines study water, Humanities and the Sunshine State will explore contemporary political topics such as tourism, food justice, aquifer sustainability, industrial growth, and race relations.

Through practicing methods of humanities research — archival study, oral history, digital curation, archaeological excavation, ethical critique, and textual interpretation — students will learn what the humanities do, and how the lessons they generate build an informed citizenry.  Through engaging and hands on activities, participants will explore how water has shaped the past and present of Florida, and how our interactions with water today will shape the future of our state.

Planned activities include:

  • Visits to special collections where students will handle historical documents
  • Fieldtrips to Florida springs, Cedar Key, the Rawlings house, and Rosewood
  • Hands-on demonstrations of digital archiving and recording oral traditions
  • Tours of the UF campus and near-by North Florida cultural landscapes
  • UF Admissions Q&A panel with Pre-Law, Pre-Med and Humanities
  • Social activities on the UF campus

(For more detail see the General Schedule)

Participants will interact with expert faculty, staff, and graduate students from the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and local cultural organizations to explore how theoretical ideas and methods from the humanities disciplines (history, classics, archaeology, religion, literature, women’s studies, philosophy, and more) shape our practical experiences of Florida’s waters, and vice versa.

Humanities and the Sunshine State is a one-week residential academic program for high school students entering junior or senior year.  Organized by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere in collaboration with the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training at the University of Florida, this program will provide selected high school students with a meaningful college experience that capitalizes upon the unique history and environment of North Central Florida.  Social and leadership development activities provide a well-rounded and fun experience for participants.

Motivated students interested in learning beyond their traditional high school classroom are encouraged to apply. All high school academic concentrations and career interests are welcome.


Interested in applying to Humanities and the Sunshine State?  Visit our 2017 Program Applications Page!



2015 Program Slideshow

2015 Program Photo Album

2015 Program Newspaper Article

Visit the 2015 Program link for more information and pictures.


What students are saying about Humanities and the Sunshine State:

“This is one of the best educational experiences of my life. I loved the university, the people I’ve met here, as well as the information I received. If I could do it again I would!”

“This was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I learned more in this seminar about my effects on society and Florida in general than in all my education combined. Thank you for everything. I will recommend this to all my underclassmen friends!”

“The seminar opened my eyes to multiple things in Florida that I’ve never seen before or experienced.”

“The Rosewood incident and the philosophy lessons really stuck with me because they made me think deeply about our society and myself.”

 “The seminar changed how I think about college. Most likely I will still apply to UF but exposure to the humanities showed me a route that I had not experienced in school.”

 “Oral history activity really taught me a lot because I was able to analyze my speaking skills (which is something that I never thought of doing before).”

How students define “humanities” after attending the 2015 program:

  • Humanities is the study of people, places, events, etc… as a way to teach us about culture and human civilization.
  • The humanities is an umbrella term for many different fields of study that involve humans.
  • Humanities is using the knowledge of the past + present to make the future a better place.
  • Humanities is not only the study of human life and culture but also understanding the effect that humans may cause upon the environment and areas these people may live in.
  • Humanities is a term that categorizes fields involved in history, environmental issues, scientific research, and personal stories.


Support for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional funding from the Rothman Endowment of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida.