Mark Souther is a historian based in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University, where he teaches courses on the 20th-century U.S., New South, urban and suburban history, and public history. A native of Gainesville in the kudzu-covered red hills of Georgia’s Piedmont, Mark earned his Ph.D. in History in 2002 from Tulane University in New Orleans, M.A. in History in 1996 from the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, and B.A. in History in 1994 from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Mark has published three books, including New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City (Louisiana State University Press, 2006, paper 2013), American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, co-edited with Nicholas Dagen Bloom (Center for American Places, 2012), and Believing in Cleveland: Managing Decline in “The Best Location in the Nation” (Temple University Press, 2017). His current book project is titled Sandhill Cities: Metropolitan Ambitions on Georgia’s Fall Line and is under advance contract with LSU Press. He has also published a number of articles and essays in the Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of Planning History, Georgia Historical Quarterly, and other journals and edited volumes.
In public history and digital humanities, Mark directs Cleveland Historical, a web and app project that curates Greater Cleveland through location-based stories and tours, Curatescape, a web and mobile framework that enables others to create projects similar to Cleveland Historical, and Cleveland Voices, a large and ongoing oral history project that reflects multiple community partnerships. He has directed three National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) digital humanities grants, including Curating Kisumu: Adapting Mobile Humanities Interpretation in East Africa (2014-15) and Curating East Africa: A Platform and Process for Location-based Storytelling in the Developing World (2017-18) with Meshack Owino (which resulted in a Curatescape prototype for WordPress and MaCleKi, a map-based digital exhibit that shares collaboratively curated histories of places in Kisumu, the third-largest city in Kenya. A third NEH grant supported the development of PlacePress, a WordPress plugin for place-based storytelling, experimental projects developed by partners in Detroit and New Castle, PA, and Green Book Cleveland, which combines Victor H. Green’s famous travel guides, published between 1936 and 1966, with new research that expands our understanding of Black entertainment, leisure, and recreation in Northeast Ohio.
At CSU, Mark teaches the second half of the U.S. survey course and upper-division courses including Introduction to Public History and U.S. Urban History, as well as graduate seminars on the New South, U.S. Suburban History, and U.S. Urban Environmental History. He also serves as internship coordinator for the Department of History and has mentored nearly 90 interns over the past two decades. In the area of professional service beyond the university, he serves on the board of directors of the Society for American City and Regional Planning, whose conference he was instrumental in bringing to Cleveland in 2017, and is in his fourth three-year term on the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission. He regularly serves as a peer reviewer of proposals to the National Endowment of the Humanities and other grant makers, book and article manuscripts for academic presses and journals, and tenure and promotion cases. Mark has also appeared frequently in media outlets in recent years, including the The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Plain Dealer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, NBC News, USA Today, ESPN, Politico, National Public Radio (All Things Considered), WBUR Boston, WWNO New Orleans, and WCPN Cleveland.
In addition to his work as a historian, Mark is an active trumpet player who currently plays in the Civic & Collegiate Wind Ensemble at Cuyahoga Community College Western Campus. He collects old postcards, View-Master stereoscopic reels, maps, and other ephemera, and LPs. He lives in the planned “garden city” neighborhood of Forest Hill near Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights with his wife, daughter, and two cats.