Mark Cullum joined the History Department faculty in fall 2001. A specialist in ancient and early Medieval history, Dr. Cullum teaches courses in the Ancient Near East, Classical Civilizations (Greece and Rome), the Medieval period, and Islamic Cultures. He also serves as a joint appointee with the Honors Program and encourages students who wish to spend a semester at ACU's Oxford program.
Cullum came to the discipline of history through a circuitous route, having already had a successful career as a political cartoonist. His cartooning began in high school, and continued through undergraduate work at David Lipscomb University (1981-83) and beyond. While at ACU (class of 1985) his award-winning cartoons in the Optimist cheered students and faculty alike. Having earned his degree in Mass Communications, Cullum became the editorial cartoonist for the Birmingham News; his work was reprinted in the New York Times, USA Today, Detroit News, Dallas Morning News, and in several textbooks. He also produced a successful comic strip "Walnut Cove" which ran from 1991 to 1999.
Completing his doctorate at Oxford in England in 2005, Cullum brings an international perspective and experience which will benefit all our students. Explaining his shifting from a successful career as a cartoonist to a scholar fascinated by the ancient Greeks, Cullum states:
"The development of Western thought - how and why people in different periods of history come to look at the world in different ways - has been near the center of my interests, from the time I worked on the editorial page at The Birmingham News. As a conservative Christian I often came up against the liberal criticism of any policy that was said to be "trying to turn back the clock." I found that people who offered this criticism tended to assume that it is both impossible and undesirable to think like people used to think. These assumptions needed to be challenged, I felt, but in order to do this, I needed to have some notion of how and why Western thinking had changed."
Cullum's fascination with the evolution from Greek Platonic thought to early Christian theology brings insights useful to ACU's student body in general and history majors in particular. In 1984, the ACU Optimist reflected that when Cullum "has left ACU, his shoes will be hard to fill." They, of course, were referring to his talents as a newspaper cartoonist. He has returned to ACU as a scholar-teacher and as a worthy role model for our students.