DEPARTMENT: History and Political Science
DEPARTMENT: Honors Program
POSITION: Program Director
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. (1997), and Ph.D. (2001) in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. in 2001 Mark joined Eastern Mennonite University as a professor of U.S. history; he currently also serves as the director of EMU's Honors program and president of the Faculty Senate. In the larger academic world Mark has served as a member and chair of the Regional Chapters Committee of the American Studies Association; as president and a board member of the Eastern American Studies Association; and as the American Studies area co-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 (1840–1850s). 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 books are anotated editions of popular 19th-century author Ned Buntline's early novels: the Mexican-American War story, The Volunteer; or, the Maid of Monterey (1847); and the pirate tale, The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main (1847). These are the first in a series of 19th-century popular fiction that he is editing via 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 Black Avenger of the Spanish Main by Ned Buntline (1847). An anotated edition, edited by Mark Metzler Sawin. Harrisonburg, VA: Emu Editions, 2021.
Book The Volunteer; or, The Maid of Monterey by Ned Buntline (1847). An anotated edition, 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.
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.
Mennonites in Encyclopedia of American Studies (Online Edition), Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.
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.
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 “Heroic Ambition: The Early Life of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane.” American Philosophical Society Library Bulletin, Fall, 2001, n.s. 1:2. Available Online
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.
Article “A Sentinel for the Saints: Thomas Leiper Kane and the Mormon Migration.” Nauvoo Journal, Spring, 1998, 10:1 17-27. Available Online.
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