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Alumni profile

 

Name: Chris Monaco

Studied: History PhD

Chris has published three books, including Moses Levy of Florida - Jewish Utopian and Antebellum Reformer, which won the Florida Historical Society Presidential Medal of Distinction.

Chris Monaco

What made you choose Brookes as a place to study?

Brookes was one of the few universities in the UK that offered a PhD by Publication in my field. The reputation of the History Department was also a top consideration.

What is your best memory of your time at Oxford Brookes?

Dinner conversations with my supervisor Mary Chamberlain at her home and with her husband Stein. And of course the opportunity of living in the ancient city of Oxford was a one of a kind experience.

After graduating from Brookes what were the next steps for your career?

I became a Research Associate in the History Department at Brookes and after returning to the US I eventually was appointed as a Courtesy Professor of History at the University of Florida.

What was your inspiration to move into your current profession?

History is actually my second career. I first spent 15 years in New York City as a writer, producer, director for various television networks. After a diagnosis of terminal multiple sclerosis and multiple hospital stays, my wife and I returned to our home in Florida. My health eventually became better and, though restricted to a wheelchair, I learned to be adept at historical research. I wrote peer reviewed articles and books which really felt like a new opportunity at life.

What success stories/achievements have you had in your role?

My first book, Moses Levy of Florida: Jewish Utopian and Antebellum Reformer, earned the Presidential Award of Distinction from the Florida Historical Society. My recent book, The Second Seminole War and the Limits of American Aggression, Johns Hopkins University Press, is recognized as the definitive work on this conflict.

What is the best advice someone has given you?

A neurologist once recommended that I look to physicist Stephen Hawking as an example. No matter what happens to one's body you still have your mind.

What advice would you give to others?

Joseph Campbell said to "follow your bliss." I would recommend this also, with the caveat to be willing to change courses if fate dictates.