Amish media studies; mediated technology; information communication technology
Within the United States popular and academic imaginaries, Amish/Mennonite identities tend to get flattened into a monolithic, anti-modern stereotype simultaneously fearful of information communication technology and yet titillated by their utility. This pan-Amish construction relies on reducing interpersonal and intercultural complexities regarding media into bite-size binaries easily understood by English outsiders, which is critical when distilling information about myriad Amish norms and sects even if it means choosing breadth over depth. As a result, academic literature on the Amish mediascape tends to focus on binaries of traditionalism and modernity from a variety of disciplines, and research has not kept up with the rapidity with which newer information communication technologies are adopted by Amish/Mennonite communities. This research note discusses the budding field and literature of Amish media studies, presents a case study of a public Old Order Amish media-focused event to complicate traditional/modern binaries, and provides suggestions for future scholarship in this area. [Abstract by author]
Sincere thanks goes to Matthew McAllister, Hilary Malatino, Patrick Parsons, and Matthew Jordan for reviewing early drafts. I thank the reviewers and Cory Anderson for helpful critiques, and Cory Anderson especially for accommodating an unexpected sickness. Esther Stoltzfus, Elam Zook, Torah Bontrager, Mary Yoder, James Schwartz, and Shira Schwartz have been crucial sources of support for my scholarship. Finally, many thanks to Ira Brown and Troy Freeman Armstrong for providing comradeship, kindness, and encouragement.
Stoltzfus-Brown, Lars. 2020. "Mapping Myriad Positionalities in Amish Media Studies." Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies 8(1):65-74.