Plain People Conference

Anabaptist Roots in North American Landscapes: The Plain People Today

July 2-4, 2015 at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Germany

In recent years, American and Cultural Studies scholars – not only in North America but also in Germany – have begun reassessing the national narrative on religion to reflect the diverse realities of North America. While some smaller religious minorities firmly embedded in American culture have been included, the religious faiths originating from Anabaptist traditions in German-speaking countries have largely been ignored. Given the unending array of documentaries, romance and detective novels, reality TV programs, blogs and life narratives about the “Plain People” as well as the ever-expanding tourism industry to Amish and Mennonite Country, a closer look at these separatists is warranted. Moreover, the growing concern about changing cultural, political, and religious landscapes in North America as well as the downside of globalization and technology have increased the nostalgia for the simple rural life of yesteryear.

The conference proceedings, "The Plain People: Contemporary Perspectives and Future Prospects," were published with the American Studies Journal, Number 63 (2017).

An Evening with Ira Wagler - Growing Up Amish

[As one of the guest speakers at the Plain People Conference, Ira Wagler gave a heartfelt talk as well as read excerpts from his memoir about coming of age and his first love, Sarah Miller. It's caught on video and available for you on youtube.

Further Information


Conference Organizers: Maryann Henck, Maria Moss and Sabrina Völz
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