Ethnic and Religious Minorities

Who are the Amish? Who are the Mennonites? Both are small Christian churches located in 31 U.S. states, the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island as well as Argentina and Bolivia (link to More so than the Mennonites, the Amish have struggled to retain their traditional way of life against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society, an increasingly digital world as well as curious Americans and tourists from all over the world. The depiction of the Amish in popular culture tends to both romanticize them and ignore their diversity. North American Studies at Leuphana (Link to the Pure Data Base using the keyword Amish) focuses on the complexity of growing up, remaining, and leaving the diverse group of the Amish.

In addition to these religious minorities, we also focus – in research and teaching – on groups whose experiences have historically been pushed to the periphery of our cultural awareness: African Americans, Jewish Americans, Mexican Americans, and especially the Native peoples of North America. Making significant contributions to contemporary North American culture are a number of First Nations and Native American scholars and authors whose activities – both literary and political – have their roots in the storytelling tradition of their respective tribes and thus differ greatly from western thought in both its perception of reality and its assumption about literary creations. In all seminars, a special focus is placed on cultural identity and the impact of mainstream culture on these groups as well as their representation in literature and film.