Faculty

Dr. Benjamin Sawyer

Lecturer

Dr. Benjamin Sawyer
(615) 904-8162
Room 363, Jones Hall (JH)
MTSU Box 23, Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Office Hours

Spring 2018

Monday and Wednesday, 1:15pm-2:45pm or by appointment

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Departments/Programs

Degree Information

  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, MI (2013)
  • M.A., Appalachian State University, NC (2005)
  • B.A., University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC (2002)

Areas of Expertise

History of Economic Systems (Capitalism/Communism)

20th Century Russia and the Soviet Union

Immigration

Biography

Benjamin Sawyer is a historian whose research examines the history of economic systems with a geographic focus on Russia and the United States. He is particularly interested in the ways that capitalism and communism take on social meanings that transcend core economic principles. He is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the ways that Americans in the early to mid 20th century came to invest Soviet space with many of the same values as those attri...

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Benjamin Sawyer is a historian whose research examines the history of economic systems with a geographic focus on Russia and the United States. He is particularly interested in the ways that capitalism and communism take on social meanings that transcend core economic principles. He is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the ways that Americans in the early to mid 20th century came to invest Soviet space with many of the same values as those attributed to the American West.

Dr. Sawyer is committed to public outreach, and has been interviewed by multiple media sources including Forbes and Roll Call. In May 2016, he launched a history podcast called The Road to Now, which he co-hosts with his friend Bob Crawford of the band The Avett Brothers. The Road to Now explores the historical roots of notable events and people in today’s world and is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and all other major podcast providers. You can find out more about the podcast at www.theroadtonow.com.

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Publications

“Manufacturing Germans: Singer Manufacturing Company and American Capitalism in   the Russian Imagination during World War I.” Enterprise & Society, Vol. 17, No. 2 (June 2016) pp 301-323.  

“Shedding the White and Blue: American Migration and Soviet Dreams in the Era of the New Economic Policy.” Ab Imperio (January 2013): 65-84

Works in Progress 

-East of West: The Soviet Union as American Frontier (manuscript currently being revised)  

-Bonded to the Bolsheviks: Pre-Revolutionary Russian Debt in American Markets since 1918.

Presentations

“Institutionalizing the Revolution: Soviet Economics from the Russian Revolution to Stalin,” MTSU Economics Club Speaker Series, April 26, 2017.  

“Going Back to Build a Future: Russian Reemigrants in the Era of the New Economic Policy,” 48th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Washington, DC, November 2016.  

“Sewing Machines, Sowing Doubt: Observations on the Art of Transforming America...

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“Institutionalizing the Revolution: Soviet Economics from the Russian Revolution to Stalin,” MTSU Economics Club Speaker Series, April 26, 2017.  

“Going Back to Build a Future: Russian Reemigrants in the Era of the New Economic Policy,” 48th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Washington, DC, November 2016.  

“Sewing Machines, Sowing Doubt: Observations on the Art of Transforming American Capitalists into German Spies” MTSU Scholars Week Presentation, March 30, 2016.  

“A New Kind of Frontier: International Movement as a Cornerstone of Soviet Policy in the First Decade   of Bolshevik Power,” 46th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Philadelphia, PA, November 2014. (Presented in absentia by Theodore Weeks)  

“Bonded to the Bolsheviks: Tsarist Debt in American Markets after the Bolshevik Revolution,” Spring Conference in World History and Economics, Appalachian State University, April 12, 2014.  

“The Unexpected American: Soviet Migration and the ‘Russian American’ in NEP-era Soviet Society,” 45th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Boston, MA, November 24, 2013.  

“Rule of None: Soviet State Policy and the Rise and Fall of NEP-era Institutions in the 1920s,” Spring Conference in World History and Economics, Appalachian State University, April 20, 2013.  

“American Immigration and the Making of Nep-era Soviet Immigration Policy," The Carolina Seminar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, February 21, 2013.  

“Soviet State Institutions and the Management of Immigration from North America in the NEP-era,” 44th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), New Orleans, LA, November 2012.  

“Soviet State Institutions and the Pursuit of Foreign Technology in the Era of NEP, 1921-1928,” The Great Experiment Conference, Princeton University, February 10-11, 2012.  

“American Agricultural Immigration to the Soviet Union in the 1920s,” (w/ Seth Bernstein), American Center, Moscow, November 23, 2010.  

“An American Company? Singer Manufacturing Company and American Capitalism in the Russian Imagination during World War I” History of Capitalism in the United States Graduate Student Conference, Harvard University, November 6-8, 2008.

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Awards

John T. Bragg Sr. Distinguished Service Award, MTSU Student Government Association, 2016.   

Influential Educator Award, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, MTSU, 2016.  

Distinguished Member, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, 2015 (Awarded annually to three outstanding professors at MTSU as identified by the members of NSCS honors society).

Fulbright Institute of International Education (IIE) Research Grant, 2011-2012.

In the Media

Producer/Host, The Road to Now podcast, May 2016-Present (Reached #12 in iTune History Charts)

Media Appearances/Interviews: Forbes, Roll Call, NBC Today Show, Sirius XM POTUS Politics, RadioFree Nashville, My History Can Beat Up Your Politics, The Other 51..

"Elvis Presley and America," My History Can...

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Mailing Address
Department of History
Middle Tennessee State University
Box 23
1301 E. Main Street 
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Main Office
Peck Hall 223

Department Chair
Kevin Leonard

Undergraduate Program
(615) 904-8164

Graduate Program
(615) 898-5798

All Other Inquiries
(615) 898-2631

 

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Oral History Association

The executive offices of the Oral History Association have opened at MTSU and will be here for the next five years.

The office will be co-directed by Albert Gore Research Center Director Louis Kyriakoudes and History Professor Kristine McCusker.

The Offices are located in Peck Hall, Room 217.

Telephone: 615-898-2544