Scot French is a digital public historian specializing in the study of cultural landscapes and sites of memory associated with 19th- and 20th-century African American and Southern history.
He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia in May 2000. As associate director of UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute (1997-2006), he co-directed the Ford Foundation-funded Center for the Study of Local Knowledge and continued its work as director of the Virginia Center for Digital History (2006-2010). Today, at the University of Central Florida, he is an Associate Professor of History, Director of Public History, and Associate Director of the Center for Humanities and Digital Research. He is a core faculty member in UCF’s Texts and Technology Ph.D. program and a founding member (2014) and two-term chair (2016-19) of the Florida Digital Humanities Consortium.
French is author of The Rebellious Slave: Nat Turner in American Memory (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) and lead author (with Craig Barton and Peter Flora) of Booker T. Washington Elementary School and Segregated Education in Virginia (National Park Service, 2007). He has contributed essays to several edited volumes, including Jeffersonian Legacies, ed. Peter S. Onuf (University of Virginia Press, 1993); Media, Culture, and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle, ed. Brian Ward (University Press of Florida, 2001); Pride Overcomes Prejudice: A History of Charlottesville’s African American School (JSAAHC, 2013); and Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Geography of American Memory, eds. Andrew Lichtenstein and Alex Lichtenstein (West Virginia University Press, 2017).
A film based on his research, “That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town,” won Audience Favorite, Best Short Documentary, at the Virginia Film Festival (2010). That same year, he received the University of Virginia’s Black Community Advocate Award from the Black Student Alliance, Black Leadership Institute, and the U.Va. chapter of the NAACP.
- Scot French, The Rebellious Slave: Nat Turner in American Memory (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004). Honorable Mention, 2005 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, recognizing works of scholarship and literature that “extend our understanding of the root causes of bigotry and the range of options we as humans have in constructing alternative ways to share power.”
- Scot French, Craig Barton, and Peter Florida, Booker T. Washington Elementary School and Segregated Education in Virginia (Washington, D.C.: Department of Interior, 2007).
- Scot A. French, Hannah Brown Ayers, and Lance Warren, That World is Gone: Race & Displacement in a Southern Town (Field Studio, 2010). Winner, Audience Favorite Award for Best Short Documentary, Virginia Film Festival, Nov. 4-7, 2010.
- Scot French,“VisualEyes This: Using Visualization Tools to Engage Students in Historical Research and Digital Humanities R&D,” in Quick Hits Teaching with Digital Humanities, eds. Michael Morrone, Christopher Young, Emma Wilson and Tom Wilson (Indiana University Press, forthcoming May 2020).
- Scot French, “Notes on the Future of Virginia: Visualizing a 40-Year Conversation on Race and Slavery in the Correspondence of Jefferson and Short,” Current Research in Digital History, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2018).
- Scot French, “Social Preservation and Moral Capitalism in the Historic Black Township of Eatonville, Florida: A Case Study of ‘Reverse Gentrification,'” Change Over Time, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Spring 2018): 54-72.
- Scot French, “Cabin Pond,” in Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Geography of American Memory, eds, Andrew Lichtenstein and Alex Lichtenstein (West Virginia University, 2017): 114-117.
- David Staley, Scot French, and Bill Ferster, “Visual Historiography: Visualizing ‘The Literature of a Field,'” Journal of Digital Humanities, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring 2014).
- Scot A. French, “African American Civic Activism and the Making of Jefferson High School, 1865-1926,” in Pride Overcomes Prejudice: A History of Charlottesville’s African American School (Charlottesville, Va.: Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, 2013): 31-72.
- Scot A. French, “The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1831” and “The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1967,” Encyclopedia Virginia (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 2009).
- Scot A. French, “Mau-Mauing the Filmmakers: Should Black Power Take the Rap for Killing ‘Nat Turner,’ the Movie?” in Media, Culture, and the Modern African American Freedom Struggle, ed. Brian Ward (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001): 233-254.
- Scot A. French, “What is Social Memory?” Southern Cultures 2 (Fall 1995): 9-18.
- Scot A. French and Edward L. Ayers, “The Strange Career of Thomas Jefferson: Race and Slavery in American Memory, 1943-1993,” in Peter S. Onuf, ed., Jeffersonian Legacies (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993): 418-45.
- Review of Booker T. Washington in American Memory, by Kenneth M. Hamilton (University of Illinois Press, 2017), American Historical Review, Vol. 123, No. 5 (December 2018): 1697–1698.
- Review of The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt, by Patrick H. Breen (Oxford University Press, 2016). Journal of American History, Vol. 104, No. 1 (June 2017): 185-186.
- Review of The Birth of a Nation, directed by Nate Parker (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2016). The Public Historian, Vol. 39, No. 2 (May 2017): 99-103.
- Review of Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County, by David F. Allmendinger Jr. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). Journal of American History, Vol. 102, No. 2 (Dec. 2015): 555-556.
- Review of Bourbon Street: A History (Louisiana State University Press, 2014), by Richard Campanella. Journal of Southern History, Vol. 81, No. 4 (Nov. 2015): 960-961.
- Review ofSites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination, by Salamishah Tillet. Journal of American History, Vol. 100, No. 1 (Mar. 2013): 301-302.
- Review of The Horrible Gift of Freedom: Atlantic Slavery and the Representation of Emancipation, by Marcus Wood. Journal of American History, Vol.97, No. 4 (Mar. 2011): 1189.
- Review of Defining Moments: African American Commemoration and Political Culture in the South, 1863–1913, by Kathleen Ann Clark. Journal of American History, Vol. 93, No. 3 (Dec. 2006): 879-880.
- Review of Foul Means: The Formation of a Slave Society in Virginia, 1660-1740, by Anthony S. Parent. Journal of Social History, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Winter 2005): 556-558.
Community Service Awards
- 2017 Winter Park Magazine “Most Influential People” Award for work as Public Historian
- 2014 Burke Brown Steppe Chapter, Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society of Virginia, Award for Outstanding Service to the Community
- 2010 Black Community Advocate Award, presented by the University of Virginia’s Black Student Alliance, Black Leadership Institute, and the UVA chapter of the NAACP