Strangers at Home: Amish and Mennonite Women in History

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JHU Press, Jan 15, 2002 - Religion - 398 pages
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This collection of original essays focuses on the rich, historically diverse, and often misunderstood experiences of Amish, Mennonite, and other women of Anabaptist traditions across 400 years. Equal parts sociology, religious history, and gender studies, the book explores the changing roles and issues surrounding Anabaptist women in communities ranging from sixteenth-century Europe to contemporary North America. Gathered under the overarching theme of the insider/outsider distinction, the essays discuss, among other topics:

?How womanhood was defined in early Anabaptist societies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and how women served as central figures by convening meetings across class boundaries or becoming religious leaders ?How nineteenth-century Amish tightened the connections among the individual, the family, the household, and the community by linking them into a shared framework with the father figure at the helm ?The changing work world and domestic life of Mennonite women in the three decades following World War II ?The recent ascendency of antimodernism and plain dress among the Amish ?The special difficulties faced by scholars who try to apply a historical or sociological method to the very same cultural subgroups from which they derive The essays in this collection follow a fascinating journey through time and place to give voice to women who are often characterized as the "quiet in the land." Their voices and their experiences demonstrate the power of religion to shape identity and social practice.

-- Donald B. Kraybill, Messiah College
 

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Contents

Insights and Blind Spots Writing History from Inside and Outside
21
Who are You? The Identity of the Outsider Within
39
To Remind Us of Who We Are Multiple Meanings of Conservative Womens Dress
53
River Brethren Breadmaking Ritual
78
The Chosen Women The Amish and the New Deal
102
Meeting around the Distaff Anabaptist Women in Augsburg
121
Weak Families in the Green Hell of Paraguay
136
The Parents Shall Not Go Unpunished Preservationist Patriarchy and Community
160
Speaking up and Taking Risks Anabaptist Family and Household Roles in Sixteenthcentury Tirol
237
Household Coffee Klatsch and Office The Evolving Worlds of MidTwentiethCentury Mennonite Women
259
Voices Within and Voices Without Quaker Womens Autobiography
284
We Werent Always Plain Poetry by Women of Mennonite Backgrounds
312
She May be Amissh Now but She Wont Be Amish Long Anabaptist Women and Antimodernism
339
Works Cited
365
Contributors
387
Index
391

Mennonite Missionary Martha Moser Voth in the Hopi Pueblos 18931910
182
Schism Where Womens Outside Work and Insider Dress Collided
208

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Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 13 - Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).
Page 13 - Sherry B. Ortner and Harriet Whitehead, "Introduction: Accounting for Sexual Meanings," in Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality, ed. Sherry B. Ortner and Harriet Whitehead (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp.

References to this book

About the author (2002)

Kimberly D. Schmidt is an assistant professor of history and director of the Washington Community Scholars Center of Eastern Mennonite University. Diane Zimmerman Umble is chair and an associate professor of communications at Millersville University. Steven D. Reschly is an associate professor of history at Truman State University.