Scot A. French

Associate Professor, Department of History

Scot Scot French (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2000) is a digital public historian who specializes in the interpretation of cultural landscapes and “sites of memory” associated with African American, Southern, and African diasporic history. He is the author of The Rebellious Slave: Nat Turner in American Memory (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) and co-author, with Craig Barton and Peter Flora, of Booker T. Washington Elementary School and Segregated Education in Virginia (National Park Service, 2007). Over the past ten years, he has conducted extensive research on African American community life and collaborated with local residents to document the destructive impact of urban renewal. His film, “That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town,” won Audience Favorite, Best Short Documentary, at the 2010 Virginia Film Festival.


From 1997-2006, French served as Assistant/Associate/Interim Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at U.Va. More recently, from 2006-2010, French directed the Virginia Center for Digital History (VCDH), a U.Va.-based research and development lab. There, he worked with Bill Ferster to develop VisualEyes  (, a web-based authoring tool that makes it easy to create interactive online exhibits.  In August 2011 he joined the University of Central Florida as Associate Professor of Digital Public History and Core Faculty member in the Texts & Technology Ph.D. Program. Students in his graduate-level Public History courses explore the impact of new tools and new methodologies, including social media for public programming.


French has been a featured speaker for EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, with talks on “Emergent Course Design: Building Social Networks Through the Digital Classroom” and “Authentic Learning in History and Social Sciences: How ‘Real’ Can We Make the Classroom Experience?” His current research project — “Visual Historiography,” which employs text-mining and network analysis on academic journals — has been accepted for presentation at the international Digital Humanities 2013 conference.