David R. Swartz, Ph.D. – Asbury University
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Associate Professor of History

Department: Social Science and History

Office: Morrison Hall 308

Phone extension: (859) 858-3511, Ext. 2118

Email address: david.swartz@asbury.edu

David began teaching at Asbury in 2010 after earning a Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame. Areas of expertise and teaching interest include American religious history, Anabaptist and Mennonite history, twentieth-century American culture, global religion, Civil War memory, and issues of war and peace.

His first book, Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism (2012, 2014), was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. This first comprehensive history of the evangelical left, charts the rise, decline, and political legacy of a movement that stood for antiwar, civil rights, and anticonsumer principles, even as it stressed doctrinal and sexual fidelity. Moral Minority earned positive reviews from the New York Times, Journal of American History, Christian Century, Huffington Post, and Books & Culture.

His second book, Facing West: American Evangelicals in an Age of World Christianity (2020) was published by Oxford University Press. While we typically imagine Christian faith traveling from West to East and from North to South, Facing West shows that the line of influence also runs the other way. Grounded in interviews and archival research in Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Uganda, Guatemala, and the United States, this history shows how missionaries and global evangelicals have shaped the American church from abroad.

For more of David’s writing, visit the Anxious Bench blog or his website at www.davidrswartz.com.

Courses offered

  • The United States before 1877
  • The United States after 1877
  • Western Civilizations I
  • Western Civilizations II
  • The United States in the 1960s
  • The Study of History: Historical Methods and Historiography
  • Non-Western Cultures
  • War in the American Memory
  • American Religious History


Selected book chapters and journal articles

  • “Global Reflex: International Evangelicals, Human Rights, and the New Shape of American Social Engagement,” 221-41, in Brian Steensland and Philip Goff, eds., The New Evangelical Social Engagement (Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • “A Third Way: The Politics of Spiritual Community in Evangelicalism,” Communal Societies 30, No. 1 (Spring 2010).

Selected presentations

  • “The Forgotten Founder: Toward a Global History of World Vision,” Wheaton College (October 10, 2019)
  • “Rescue Sells: Narrating Human Trafficking to Evangelical Populists,” invited talk at Henry Symposium on Religion and Public Life, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich. (April 26, 2019)

  • “Red-Light Rescue: The American Evangelical Campaign against Trafficking in Southeast Asia,” Obama Center, University of Mainz, Germany (October 13, 2018)

  • “’Go to the Peasant People’: World Vision, Jimmy Yen, and Transnational Exchange,” conference on “Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity,” Princeton Theological Seminary (January 19, 2018)

  • “Global Encounters: The Evangelical Left and the Limits of Ecumenism,” invited workshop on “Ecumenical Protestantism and Post-Protestant Secularism” at the University of California, Berkeley, Cal. (October 13, 2017)
  • “Miracle in Almolonga: Supernaturalism and the Re-Enchantment of the West,” Organization of American Historians, New Orleans, La. (April 9, 2017)
  • “Trends in the Evangelical Antitrafficking Movement in Thailand,” United Nations Development Programme, Bangkok, Thailand (February 27, 2017)
  • “Evangelical Mission and the Path of Civil Rights Nonviolence from Gandhi to King,” Organization of American Historians, Providence, Rhode Island (April 7, 2016)
  • “Jimmy Yen, World Vision, and Evangelical Transnationalism,” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Newport Beach, California (October 23, 2015)
  • “Sat Tal Ashram and the Transnational Civil Rights Movement,” Communal Studies Association, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky (October 2, 2015)
  • “Christ of the American Road: E. Stanley Jones, India, and Civil Rights,” Roosevelt Study Center, Middelburg, Netherlands (July 13, 2015)
  • “E. Stanley Jones and the Power of Cross-Cultural Exchange,” Kangnam University, Seoul, South Korea (May 16, 2014)
  • “Cold War and Caste: E. Stanley Jones and the American Civil Rights Movement,” Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies, University of Southampton, United Kingdom (April 24, 2014)
  • “E. Stanley Jones, Civil Rights, and the Global Reflex,” Organization of American Historians, Atlanta, Georgia (April 10, 2014)
  • “Anabaptists, Evangelicals, and the Search for a Third Way in Postwar America,” Schrag Lectures, Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania (March 6, 2014)
  • “The Evangelical Left: Oxymoron or Opportunity?” David L. Franz Annual Lecture, Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts (October 3, 2013)
  • Willson-Gross Lectures, Union College, Barbourville, Kentucky (April 10-11, 2013)
  • “Global Reflex: International Evangelicals, Human Rights, and the New Shape of American Social Engagement,” Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (May 18, 2012)
  • “What the History of the Evangelical Left Can Tell Us about the Future of Social Conservatism,” Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, Cal. (May 20, 2011)
  • “The Evangelical Left and the Move from Personal to Corporate Responsibility,” Colloquium on “New Perspectives on American Evangelicalism in the 1960s: Revisiting the “Backlash,” Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom (April 16-19, 2011)
  • “The Third Way: The Politics of Spiritual Community in the Evangelical Left,” Communal Studies Association National Conference, Aurora, Oregon (October 2009)
  • “The Chicago Declaration, the Evangelical Left, and the Limits of Evangelical Politics,” American Studies Association National Conference, Religion Caucus, Albuquerque, New Mexico (October 2008)

Selected awards

  • Project Launch Grant, Global Religion Research Initiative, funded by Templeton Religion Trust and administered by the University of Notre Dame, “Red-Light Rescue: Transnationalism and the Evangelical Campaign against Trafficking in Southeast Asia,” 2018 ($9,800 award)
  • Jack Shand Research Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, “Evangelical Transnationalism and the Campaign for Human Rights in Chiang Mai, Thailand,” 2016 ($4,000 award)
  • Frances White Ewbank Excellence in Teaching Award, Asbury University, 2015
  • Runner-up for the Frank and Elizabeth Brewer Prize, American Society of Church History, 2012
  • Donald Durnbaugh Starting Scholar Award, Communal Studies Association, 2009
  • John Highbarger Memorial Dissertation Award, University of Notre Dame, 2008-9

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