Dr. Steven Petersheim

The Toccoa Falls Waterfall
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Dr. Steven Petersheim
Associate Professor of English; Honors Program Director spetersheim@tfc.edu


  • Ph.D. in English, Baylor University
  • M.Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • B.S. in Elementary/Middle Education and English, Frostburg State University


  • Summer Institute for College and University Teachers, National Endowment for the Humanities. The Native American West: A Case Study of the Columbia Plateau, Walla Walla, WA, June 17-July 1, 2018.
  • Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. American Studies/Literature, Belarusian State University, Minsk, Belarus, August-December 2017.
  • Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. Office of the Chancellor, Indiana University East, April 2016.
  • High-Impact Practices Course Development Grant, IU LEADS Program, Indiana University East, 2014-2015.
  • Progress Award for New Faculty. Office of the Chancellor, Indiana University East, April 2014.
  • Robert G. Collmer Prize for Poetry. The Poetry in the Arts, Inc. Baylor University. Judge: Peter Fallon, Spring 2010.
  • Freshman Composition
  • American Literature
  • World Literature
  • Shakespeare
  • Contemporary Literature
  • History & Structure of the English Language
  • Science Fiction and other Selected Topics
Publications & Research Interests

Research Interests:

  • Literature and Theology
  • Film and Literature
  • Environmental Literature
  • Ethnic American and World Literature
  • Creative Nonfiction and Poetry
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Spirituality and Writing

Scholarly Work and Publications (selected):


  • Rethinking Nathaniel Hawthorne and Nature: Pastoral Experiments and Environmentality. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.
  • Writing the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: The Ecological Awareness of Early Scribes of Nature, co-edited with Madison P. Jones IV. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015.

Book Chapters & Refereed Articles:

  • “Hawthorne and Natural Landscapes.” Nathaniel Hawthorne in Context, edited by Monika Elbert, Cambridge UP, 2018, pp. 376-385. Invited chapter.
  • “The Scarlet Letter as Utopian/Dystopian Fiction.” Critical Insights: The Scarlet Letter, edited by Brian Yothers. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2018, pp. 187-198. Invited chapter.
  • “Jane Schoolcraft’s Literary Contributions: Transcribing Ojibwe Folklore as Short Stories.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews, vol. 29, no. 1, 2016, pp. 21-25.
  • “‘As I Am A Man’: Ferdinand as Renaissance Man in Training.” Explorations in Renaissance Culture, vol. 38, no. 1-2, 2012, pp. 77-94.

Creative Writing:

  • “The Windburned People,” “Numb Love: A Sonnet,” “Mnemosyne.” Indiana Voice Journal, May/June 2018. Poems.
  • “I Began to Believe…” Ruminate Magazine, Issue 44: Small. Fall 2017. Nonfiction (Lyric Essay).
  • “After Thoreau,” “The Birth of a Fawn,” “Raindrop.” Wilderness House Literary Review, vol. 10, no. 4, January 2016. Poems.

Professional Presentations/Readings:

  • Memoir Excerpt and Poetry. Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, Shawnee, Oklahoma, 29 September 2018.
  • “A Theopoetic Reading of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA. May 25, 2017.
  • “The ‘Old Disordered Mennonite’ as Threshold Guardian in Blood Meridian: An Alternative to Violence in McCarthy’s Violent Text.” Conference on Christianity & Literature, Western Region. San Diego, CA. May 13, 2017.
  • “Hawthorne and Ecocriticism: Celebrating the ‘Great, Round, Solid Self’ of Earth.” South Atlantic MLA Conference. Atlanta, GA. November 7, 2014.
  • “Reading as Experience in the Young Republic: A Woman, A Youth, A Slave.” Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture. Waco, TX. October 27, 2011.
  • “No Longer ‘Pawning His Honest Laughter’: Dante’s Restorative Work of Comedy.” Southwest Conference on Christianity & Literature. Houston, TX. October 2, 2009.
Professional Associations
  • Conference on Christianity & Literature
  • AWP: Association of Writers & Writing Programs
  • MELUS: Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne Society
  • National Council of Teachers of English
Hobbies & Fun Facts

When I’m away from the classroom, I enjoy:

  • Spending time with my family
  • Reading and writing
  • Running, hiking, camping

People might be interested to know:

  • I grew up Amish, the middle child of a family of thirteen children.
  • I took my family (including all four kids) to Belarus for a semester (Fall 2017), and together we traipsed through the halls of castles over a thousand years old.
Favorite Verse/Quote

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand on me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain.” – Psalm 139:4-6

“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” – William Butler Yeats

Frodo: “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


I love the energy of the Christian liberal arts classroom, where I can continue to learn along with students who are (or who can be persuaded to be!) enthusiastic about spiritual formation as well as building their intellectual prowess and learning to attend to the words and stories by which we understand and articulate our lives.