The Department of History mourns the loss of Dr. Alan Petigny, friend, colleague, and former student. He died unexpectedly of natural causes at his home at the end of September. He had been a member of the history faculty at UF since 2000.
The son of West Indian immigrants, Dr. Petigny grew up in Tampa. He graduated with honors from the University of South Florida in 1992, subsequently earned awards as a reporter for public radio, and worked as a policy analyst for the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.
In the early 1990s, Dr. Petigny entered graduate school in history at UF. He transferred to Brown University, where he earned an MA in 1995 and the PhD in 2003. In 2009, Cambridge University Press published his influential first book, The Permissive Society: America, 1941-1965. Historian Stephen Whitfield praised Dr. Petigny’s scholarship: “With freshness of perspective, deftness of design, and ingenuity of research, he proposes to find in the 1950s the seeds of the democratic change associated with the 1960s—and thus makes both decades more intriguing.”
In 2010, the university granted Dr. Petigny tenure and promoted him to associate professor. He taught popular classes on American social and intellectual history, the 1950s, and the Sixties.
The date of a departmental memorial for Dr. Petigny will be announced.
*Editor’s note: The original post incorrectly gave 1970 as the year of Dr. Petigny’s birth.