Karl E. Martin, Ph.D.

Professor of American Literature

A graduate of the department of Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages, Dr. Karl Martin returned to PLNU as a faculty member in 1998. He teaches all eras of American literature and has long taught African American literature as well as the literatures of other under-represented traditions in American literature. He has research interests in various aspects of American culture such as American religion, music, film, and popular culture as well as American literature. He has published book chapters on the fiction of Flannery O'Connor as well as the graphic novels Watchmen and Marvel's Civil War series. He has also published scholarship on the films Magnolia and 28 Days Later.

A native of San Jose, he is happy to call San Diego home even as he continues to root for the San Francisco Giants. He and his wife, Brenda, a faculty member in the Department of Music, live in the Clairemont neighborhood and are active members of San Diego First Church of the Nazarene.


  • Ph.D., American Studies, University of Minnesota
  • M.A., American Studies, University of Minnesota
  • B.A., Literature, Point Loma College

Courses Taught

  • American Writers I – LIT 2056
  • American Writers II – LIT 2057
  • American Literature to 1900 – LIT 4000
  • American Literature Since 1900 – LIT 4020
  • Literature and Culture – LIT 2000
  • Diverse Voices in American Literature – LIT 3052
  • College Composition: Writing & Research – WRI 1010

Professional and Community Involvement

  • American Studies Association
  • Conference on Christianity and Literature

Awards and Honors

  • Wesleyan Center Scholar, 2013
  • Wesleyan Center Fellow, 2002
  • Wesleyan Center Scholar, 1999
  • Excellent Professor of the Year, Northwest Nazarene University, 1998
  • Faculty Award Lecturer, Northwest Nazarene University, 1998

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • The Films of Fritz Lang, Sabbatical, Spring 2019
  • “Competing Authorities in the Nation State of Marvel” Marvel Comics’ Civil War and the Age of Terror
  • “The Failure of a Pseudo-Christian Community in a Nation-State in Crisis: 28 Days Later,” Journal of Religion & Film
  • “The Love of Nationalism, Internationalism, and Sacred Space in Watchmen” Sexual Ideology in the Works of Alan Moore: Critical Essays on the Graphic Novels
  • “Inflicting and Suffering Violence in the Kingdom of Heaven: The Violent Bear It Away” Dark Faith: New Essays on Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away
  • “The Plagues of Egypt in the Promised Land: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia.” Reel Histories: Studies in American Film
  • The Evangelical Church and American Popular Culture
  • “Shutting Down the Open Road: Reading O’Connor through Her Influence on Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.” Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O'Connor Among the Philosophers and Theologians, October 2011
  • “Images of the Automobile in the Writings of Flannery O’Connor and Bruce Springsteen.” Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium, September 2005
  • “American History According to American Evangelicals.” American Studies Association, November 2001
  • The Ethical Implications of Flannery O'Connor's "Prophetic Imagination" PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1991