DEPARTMENT: History Dept
POSITION: Department Chair, Professor
DEPARTMENT: Honors Program
LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | RLN 316
PHONE: (540) 432-4468
Mark Metzler Sawin grew up in Hesston, a small town in rural Kansas. He earned a B.A., studying Literature and Politial Science at Goshen College (Indiana) and then, after a stint training as a chef and doing free-lance journalism, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. in 2001 Mark joined the history department at Eastern Mennonite University as a U.S. historian, where he currently serves as the chair of the history department and as the director of EMU's Honors program. In the larger academic world Mark serves as a member of the Regional Chapters Committee of the American Studies Association; as a board member of the Eastern American Studies Association; and as the American Studies area chair for the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association. In 2008-09 Mark was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zagreb, Croatia; he has remained connected there, returning to teach courses in 2017 and 2019. His scholarship focuses largely on the religious, literary, and popular culture of antebellum America (1850s); his first book Raising Kane addresses Arctic explorer Elisha Kent Kane who in the 1850s authored two “best-selling” books about his travels while masterfully manipulating the popular media to enhance his celebrity status. His most recent book is an edited version of popular 19th-century author Ned Buntline's Mexican-American War novel, The Volunteer; or, the Maid of Monterey--the first in a series of 19th-century popular fiction that he is editing for his newly founded Emu Editions publishing effort.
Mark is married to Erika Metzler Sawin, a nursing professor at James Madison University. They have two children.
BA, Goshen College (English & Political Science)
MA, University of Texas at Austin (American Studies)
PHD, University of Texas at Austin (American Studies)
Book The Volunteer; or, The Maid of Monterey by Ned Buntline, edited by Mark Metzler Sawin. Harrisonburg, VA: Emu Editions, 2020.
Article "The Lynching and Rebirth of Ned Buntline: Rogue Authorship during the American Literary Renaissance." Text Matters 9, No. 9 (Nov. 2019): 167-184. Available Online.
Book Review "Perry Bush's Peace, Progress, and the Professor: The Mennonite History of C. Henry Smith." Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Lancaster County Historical Society, 2016.
Article “Making Contact!: William Carlos Williams’ American Literary Aesthetic.” Umjetnost Riječi (The Art of Words: A Croatian/English Journal of Literary, Theatre and Film Studies) 58, nos. 3-4 (July-December 2014): 331-354. Available Online.
Mennonites in Encyclopedia of American Studies (Online Edition), Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. Available Online.
Essay “Pickups, The History of a Love Story: A Cultural Study of Pickup Trucks in America” in Howard Zehr, Pickups: A Love Story. GoodBooks, 2013.
Book Raising Kane: Dr. Kane and the Culture of Fame in Antebellum America, Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2008.
Review Article Exploring Other Worlds: Margaret Fox, Elisha Kent Kane, and the Antebellum Culture of Curiosity, by David Chapin; The Reluctant Spiritualist: The Life of Maggie Fox by Nancy Rubin Stuart; and Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism, by Barbara Weisberg. Journal of the Early Republic, (Winter, 2005): 668-74.
Cover Article “U.S. History through American Studies.” American Studies Newsletter (Mid-Atlantic American Studies Association) 17, no. 1 (Fall 2005): 1.
Book Review Desert Patriarchy: Mormon and Mennonite Communities in the Chihuahua Valley by Janet Bennion. BYU Studies 4, no.2 (Fall 2005): 177-180.
Article “Heroic Ambition: The Early Life of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane.” American Philosophical Society Library Bulletin, Fall, 2001, n.s. 1:2. Available Online
Article “A Sentinel for the Saints: Thomas Leiper Kane and the Mormon Migration.” Nauvoo Journal, Spring, 1998, 10:1 17-27. Available Online.
Book Review The Earth is the Lord’s: A Narrative History of the Lancaster Conference by John Landis Ruth. Mennonite Quarterly Review, October, 2002 76:4.
Article “Moving Stubbornly Toward the Kingdom of God: Mennonite Identity in the Twenty-First Century.” Mennonite Quarterly Review, January, 2001 75:1 89-98.
Short Story “Jed Said No.” What Mennonites Are Thinking, 1999. Good Books, 1999.
Thesis Article “Raising Kane: The Making of a Hero, the Marketing of a Celebrity.” Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society, 1997. Online
Article “Mennonites & Amish.” Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. Salem Press, 1997.
Community & Professional Service