Dr. Mark Sturges
Mark Sturges joined the English department in 2014 after completing his PhD at the Pennsylvania State University. He grew up in western New York, attended the University of Pittsburgh as an undergraduate, and taught middle school (in Massachusetts) and high school (in Vermont) before returning to Pennsylvania for graduate school. He lives in Canton with his wife Rachel, and they are the proud, sometimes flustered, parents of two young boys, Tobias and Nathaniel.
Mark studies early American literature with a focus on nature writing and environmental history. He has published articles about such topics as Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, the poetry of sheep farming, the cultural history of maple sugaring, and tuberculosis health-seekers in the Adirondacks.
Overall, Mark is fascinated by the ways in which literary expression both shapes and reveals cultural attitudes about the natural world, and thus he puts environmental issues at the forefront of his critical and pedagogical practices. He teaches a variety of courses in American literature and environmental literature—his favorites include Adirondack literature, Cape Cod literature, and a creative writing course in the Adirondack Semester—and he often takes students outdoors to “ground-truth” the intellectual content of his classes.
Mark has served on the Faculty Development Committee and the Sustainability Program Advisory Committee, and most recently, he has chaired the Library and Gallery Committee.
PhD, English Literature, 2013
MA, English Literature, 2008
BA, English and Philosophy, 2003
Presentations, Exhibitions, Performances and Published Work:
- "Consumption in the Adirondacks: Print Culture and the Curative Climate." New York History, vol. 100, no. 1, 2019, pp. 109-35.
- “‘Bleed on, blest tree!’: Maple Sugar Georgics in the Early American Republic.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 16, no. 2, 2018, pp. 353-80.
- “Aesthetic Extracts: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Maple Culture.” ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture, vol. 63, no. 3, 2017, pp. 431-78.
- “Founding Farmers: Jefferson, Washington, and the Rhetoric of Agricultural Reform.” Early American Literature, vol. 50, no. 3, 2015, pp. 681-709.
- “A Deep Map of the South: Natural History, Cultural History, and William Bartram’s Travels.” South Atlantic Review, vol. 79, no. 1, 2015, pp. 43-67.
- “Legends of the Susquehanna: Frontier Narratives and the Folkloric Sense of Place.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol 82, no. 4, 2015, pp. 489-515.
- “Fleecing Connecticut: David Humphreys and the Poetics of Sheep Farming.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 87, no. 3, 2014, pp. 464-89.
- “Text and Trail: Ecocriticism, Textual Criticism, and William Bartram’s Travels.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-20.
- “Enclosing the Commons: Thomas Jefferson, Agrarian Independence, and Early American Land Policy, 1774-1789.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 119, no. 1, 2011, pp. 42-74.
Regularly Taught Courses:
- American Literature I (survey from colonial era to U.S. Civil War)
- Methods of Critical Analysis
- American Romanticism, 1830-1860
- American Literature and the Environment
- Reading the Land: Pastoral & Georgic Literature
- Creative Expressions of Nature (ADK Semester)
- Adirondack Literature
- Cape Cod Literature