Faculty Profile


Susan VanZanten

Professor of English; Co-chair of the Department of Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics

Email: vanzan@spu.edu
Phone: 206-378-5412
Office: Marston 236

Education: BA, Westmont College, 1978; MA, Emory University, 1981; PhD, Emory University, 1982. At SPU since 1993.
Specialties: African literature, American literature, literary criticism

Susan VanZanten taught English at Covenant College, Baylor University, and Calvin College, before coming to SPU. Her graduate training was in 19th century American literature, but she has also done extensive research and writing in South African literature, faculty development, and Christian higher education. Dr. VanZanten has published seven books and numerous articles both in peer-reviewed journals and for general readers. Her academic memoir, Reading a Different Story: A Christian Scholar’s Journey From America to Africa, was published in 2014 by Baker Press.

Selected Publications

  • “‘Bridges Often Go’: Emily Dickinson’s Bridge Poems,” The New England Quarterly 85 (2012): 526-40.
  • Joining the Mission: A Guide for (Mainly) New Faculty. Eerdmans, 2011.
  • Mending a Tattered Faith: Devotions with Dickinson. Cascade, 2010.
  • “Imagining Globalization as a Christian Literary Critic.” The Gospel and Globalization: Exploring the Religious Roots of a Globalized World. Regent College P, 2009. 
  • Truth and Reconciliation: The Confessional Mode in South African Literature. Heinemann, 2002.
  • Postcolonial Literature and the Biblical Call to Justice. UP of Mississippi, 1994.

Personal Links

Susan VanZanten’s website