This March the Waccamaw Library will host the first two presentations as part of a new "Talking History" series, which will feature faculty members from the Coastal Carolina University Department of History. On Friday, March 24 at 10 a.m., Dr. Kevin Kokomoor will discuss the crucial role of Spanish exploration in the settlement of South Carolina in his talk, “South Carolina, or La Florida?: The Southeast’s Spanish Beginnings.” The following week, on Friday, March 31 at 10 a.m., Dr. John J. Navin will provide additional perspective on South Carolina’s settlement in his presentation, “The Grim Years: Settling South Carolina, 1670-1720.” This segment will explore pressing difficulties colonists faced in their daily lives during the colony’s first decades.
The Talking History Series is sponsored by the Friends of the Waccamaw Library, and all programs are free and open to the public. The series will resume in the Fall with additional presentations by CCU History faculty.
A Florida native, Kokomoor earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University and has taught at CCU since 2012. His recent publications deal primarily with the colonial and early American Southeast. His presentation for the Talking History series is based on research for his upcoming book, "La Florida: Catholics, Conquistadores, and Other American Origin Stories" (Pineapple Press, forthcoming 2023), which will provide a popular look at the earliest years and legacies of Spanish colonialism in the American Southeast, known for hundreds of years as “La Florida.” His first book, "Of One Mind and Of One Government: The Rise and Fall of the Creek Nation in the Early Republic" (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), represents a political history of the Creek people of modern-day Georgia, Alabama and Florida. His current book project explores Native-settler violence in the Southeast. Kokomoor enjoys fishing, the beach and golf here in the Lowcountry.
Originally from Boston, Navin joined the CCU Department of History in 1999 after teaching at Pfeiffer University and Brandeis University, where he earned his doctorate in 1997. He specializes in early American history and his publications focus on race, warfare, gender and the impact of colonizing ventures on groups and individuals. His talk is drawn from his recent book, "The Grim Years: Settling South Carolina, 1670-1720" (University of South Carolina Press, 2019), which captures the continual turmoil endured by colonial South Carolinians. Using primary sources, the book describes challenges colonists faced, setbacks they experienced and effects of policies and practices initiated by elites and proprietors. Navin has appeared on SC Public Radio to discuss "The Grim Years" on Walter Edgar’s "Journal." Before completing his doctorate, he managed the communications departments for several Massachusetts firms and he holds two U.S. patents for four-way chess.