Welcome! I’m David Busch. I’m a historian by training, with that teaching interests center on writing studies, community-based research, and digital inquiry.

My research explores the relationship between politics, higher education, and transnational social protest. A central analytical lens of my scholarship examines “civic epistemology” or how publics (i.e. institutions, organizations, movements) define and promote democracy through the production of knowledge and the use of different modalities of education. Multiple questions guide my research, including:  What is democracy? What is the relationship between education and democracy? How do modern social movements learn and teach democracy, especially global movements that seek to forge connections across national borders? How do universities and related educational institutions contribute to and inhibit transnational civic solidarities among citizens?

My research projects include: a book manuscript that critically examines the relationship between student protest and rise of the “new civics” in American higher education in the 1960s and 1970s; a second project that explores the transnational links among student activists in India, South Africa, and the United States in the twentieth century; and a digital mapping project that analyzes the social, political, and economic geography of student protest in the 1960s. I am also developing a new digital project that uses network analysis to trace the shifting discourse communities of Mohandas Gandhi. My research has been generously supported by the A.W. Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) at Carnegie Mellon University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship at Case Western Reserve University.  

Inspired both by my topical research interests and digital methods of inquiry, my teaching links civic engagement to digital humanities. Our digital and civic inquiries contribute to an ongoing project called “The Cleveland Democracy Project.” 

If you are interested in collaborating on research, teaching, or digital projects, please contact me.