Diaspora in the Countryside: Two Mennonite Communities and Mid-Twentieth Century Rural Disjuncture

By Royden Loewen

© 2006

From the 1930s to the 1980s, the North American countryside faced a profound cultural transformation in which a once-unified rural society became fragmented and dispersed. Families wishing to remain on the farm were required to accept new levels of automation, while others, unwilling or unable to make the change, migrated to nearby towns or regional cities. The cultural reformulation that resulted saw the emergence of a genuine rural diaspora. The growing cultural and physical separation was especially true for close-knit, ethno-religious communities, Mennonites, in particular. Forced into regional cities, the kaleidoscopic urban culture further fragmented the Mennonites into disparate social entities.

In Diaspora in the Countryside, the phenomena of rural fragmentation is examined by comparing and contrasting two closely-related but distinctive Dutch-Russian Mennonite communities located in different parts of the continent: Kansas and Manitoba, respectively. By systematically comparing these communities, two distinctive responses to the mid-twentieth century 'Great Disjuncture' are made apparent. Royden Loewen also contrasts the cultural changes of these farm families to the cultures their kin adopted in nearby towns and cities. Loewen charts not only the dispersion of two rural communities, but follows their former residents as they reformulate their lives in new settings.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.9in x 8.6in
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  • PUBLISHED OCT 2006

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    ISBN 9780802094186
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Quick Overview

Loewen charts not only the dispersion of two rural communities, but follows their former residents as they reformulate their lives in new settings.

Diaspora in the Countryside: Two Mennonite Communities and Mid-Twentieth Century Rural Disjuncture

By Royden Loewen

© 2006

From the 1930s to the 1980s, the North American countryside faced a profound cultural transformation in which a once-unified rural society became fragmented and dispersed. Families wishing to remain on the farm were required to accept new levels of automation, while others, unwilling or unable to make the change, migrated to nearby towns or regional cities. The cultural reformulation that resulted saw the emergence of a genuine rural diaspora. The growing cultural and physical separation was especially true for close-knit, ethno-religious communities, Mennonites, in particular. Forced into regional cities, the kaleidoscopic urban culture further fragmented the Mennonites into disparate social entities.

In Diaspora in the Countryside, the phenomena of rural fragmentation is examined by comparing and contrasting two closely-related but distinctive Dutch-Russian Mennonite communities located in different parts of the continent: Kansas and Manitoba, respectively. By systematically comparing these communities, two distinctive responses to the mid-twentieth century 'Great Disjuncture' are made apparent. Royden Loewen also contrasts the cultural changes of these farm families to the cultures their kin adopted in nearby towns and cities. Loewen charts not only the dispersion of two rural communities, but follows their former residents as they reformulate their lives in new settings.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 0.9in x 8.6in
  • Reviews

    ‘A very useful book that will be of interest to rural and agricultural historians as well as social and religious historians, both in United states and Canada… Loewen has done a fine job.‘
    Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Histoire sociale, vol41:81:08
  • Author Information

    Royden Loewen is the Chair in Mennonite Studies and  a professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg. He is an award-winning author of a number of books on Mennonites and immigrants in North America.

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