DEPARTMENT: History Dept
POSITION: Department Chair and 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 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
Book Editor & Introduction The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main (1847) by Ned Buntline. Harrisonburg, VA: Emu Editions, (forthcoming 2019).
Book Editor & Introduction The Volunteer; or, The Maid of Monterey (1847) by Ned Buntline. Harrisonburg, VA: Emu Editions, (forthcoming 2019).
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.
Article “Heroic Ambition: The Early Life of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane.” American Philosophical Society Library Bulletin, Fall, 2001, n.s. 1:2. 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.
Article “A Sentinel for the Saints: Thomas Leiper Kane and the Mormon Migration.” Nauvoo Journal, Spring, 1998, 10:1 17-27.
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