Paul Ortiz, Ph.D.

Professor of History

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

2023 Awardee

Paul Ortiz is a historian whose work challenges us to rethink our assumptions about American history. His research focuses on the intersections of race, class and social movements.

Ortiz’s most recent book, “An African American and Latinx History of the United States,” has been praised for its engaging writing style and its ability to challenge readers’ assumptions about American history. The book offers a new perspective on the past by centering the experiences of people of color, and has been hailed as a groundbreaking work of scholarship.

“Paul Ortiz is one of the most innovative and exciting historians working today,” said UF history department Chair Jon Sensbach.

Ortiz’s research has also had a significant impact on public discourse. He has been featured in numerous media outlets, including NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. In these interviews, Ortiz has discussed the importance of understanding the history of racism and social movements in America, and how this history can inform our current political moment.

In addition to his research and writing, Ortiz is also a dedicated teacher and mentor. He is known for his engaging teaching style and his ability to connect with students from diverse backgrounds. Ortiz has received numerous awards for his teaching, including the University of Florida’s Teacher of the Year award.

“Paul Ortiz is a historian who is not content to simply tell us what we already know. He is a historian who challenges us to think differently about the past, and to consider the ways in which our understanding of history shapes our present and future,” Sensbach said.

Ortiz is also director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, which shares and preserves oral history and oral history traditions through student research and engagement. Under his leadership, the program has received several national academic awards and has been awarded more than $2 million in grants to sponsor their activities. Recent projects include a collaboration with the National Park Service titled “Interviewing Descendants of the Underground Railroad,” and “Reanimating African American Oral Histories of the Gulf South,” helping the National Endowment for the Humanities develop a web interface and curriculum modules for K-12 educators.