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Mark Metzler Sawin

DEPARTMENT: History Dept

POSITION: Department Chair and Professor

DEPARTMENT: Honors Program

POSITION: Director

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | RLN 316

PHONE: (540) 432-4468

EMAIL: mark.sawin@emu.edu

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 and he returned to teach courses there again in 2017 and 2019. His scholarship focuses largely on the religious, literary, and popular culture of antebellum America (1850s); his 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. Mark is currently editing a collection of novels by the notorious antebellum pop-fiction author and political rabble-rouser, Ned Buntline.
Mark is married to Erika Metzler Sawin, a nursing professor at James Madison University. They have two children. 


BA, Goshen College
MA, University of Texas at Austin
PHD, University of Texas at Austin

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