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Mark Metzler Sawin

DEPARTMENT: History Dept

POSITION: Department Chair, Professor

DEPARTMENT: Honors Program

POSITION: 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. 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)

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