Minority Report: Mennonite Identities in Imperial Russia and Soviet Ukraine Reconsidered, 1789–1945
The history of the Black Sea littoral, an area of longstanding interest to Russia, provides important insight into Ukraine as a contemporary state. In Minority Report, Leonard G. Friesen and the volume’s contributors boldly reassess Mennonite history in Imperial Russia and the former Soviet Ukraine.
This volume engages scholars from Ukraine, Russia, and North America, and includes translated and accessible contributions by scholars from the Ukrainian-German Institute of Dnipropetrovsk State University. Minority Report is divided into four sections: New Approaches to Mennonite History; Imperial Mennonite Isolationism Revisited; Mennonite Identities in Diaspora; and Mennonite Identities in the Soviet Cauldron. An appendix is included which recounts for the first time the emergence of Mennonite public history in southern Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The volume’s contributors reveal that far from being isolated from the larger society, Mennonites played an integral role in shaping the entire region. Minority Report successfully places Mennonite history within the recent historiographical insights offered by Ukrainian and Russian scholars and significantly enriches our understanding of minority relations in Soviet Ukraine.
- Series: Tsarist and Soviet Mennonite Studies
- World Rights
- Page Count: 352 pages
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.2in x 9.1in
"This work is a reasonably successful reexamination of Mennonite identity in late imperial and early soviet Ukraine...this collection makes significant use of regional and federal archival collections from Ukraine and Russia. All of the authors rightly ascribe significant agency to Mennonites as they engage with their neighbors and state. If Mennonites are sometimes perpetrators, victims, and refugees, they are also much more than these rather reductive categories in a volume that adds much nuance to this history."
Emily B. Bara
The Russian Review
"The collection is a useful contribution to a rich historiography. It should inspire further researchers to explore neglected sources and, no less important, to incorporate the rich burgeoning scholarship in post-Soviet Russia."
Gregory L. Freeze, Brandeis University
"This book is one of the first comprehensive studies on the subject; it unites experts from Canada, United States, Ukraine, and Russia and makes it possible to benefit from previously unresearched or unavailable materials and resources. Thus, this publication is unique in its content and in its contribution to the field of Mennonite studies, and it is a pleasure to read. It occupies a well-deserved place on the list of ‘must-read’ books."
Vitaliy V. Proshak, University of Amsterdam
East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies
"Minority Report is a unique book. It is a result of a collective effort to combine the fresh and innovative research by scholars from post-Soviet space and the West, who were related to Dnipropetrovsk school of German Studies, in fact the first Mennonite research centre in Ukraine. This pathbreaking study tracing a history of Mennonites, the typical representatives of the Radical Christian Reformation, in imperial Russia, Ukraine, and the Soviet Union, will be a precious contribution not only to the literature on a history of religious minorities in Russia and Ukraine, but also to the world history of colonization, religion, and identity formation."
Dr.Sergei I. Zhuk, Department of History, Ball State University
"Deeply researched and broadly conceived, this volume makes the necessary connections between Mennonites and their social, political, and geographic environment. The Mennonite presence in this contested space shaped Russian, Ukrainian, and Soviet history in important ways just as Mennonites’ understanding of themselves and their place in the world was profoundly molded by their many interactions with their neighbours. This volume finally buries antiquated understandings of Mennonite isolation on empty steppes."
Mark Jantzen, Department of History, Bethel College
Author InformationLeonard G. Friesen is a professor in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Table of contents
A Note on Transliteration
Leonard G. Friesen, Introduction 1
Part I Overviews: New Approaches to Mennonite History
1 Svetlana Bobyleva, “The future deprived of support, the past cruelly discredited...” Notes on the History of the Borozenko Settlements
2 John Staples, “Johann Cornies’ Aethetics of Civilization
Part II: Imperial Mennonite Isolationism Revisited
3 Irina Cherkazianova, The Mennonite School in the Russian Empire: Transformation of the Relations between the State and the Mennonite Communities on Matters of Education in the 19th to the Beginning of the 20th Century
4 Oksana Beznosova, Church Life of the Mennonites in the Russian Empire through the Eyes of Tsarist Officials. 1789-1917
5 Nataliya Venger, Mennonite Entrepreneurship as a Subject of Russian Nationalism in the Russian Empire, 1830-1917
Part III: Mennonite Identities in Diaspora
6 John Toews, Mennonite Identities in a New Land: Abraham A. Friesen and the Russian Mennonite Migration of the 1920s
Part IV: Mennonite Identities in the Soviet Cauldron
7 Colin Neufeldt, Collectivizing the Mutter Ansiedlungen: The Organization of Mennonite Kolkhozy in the Khortytsia and Molochansk German National Districts in Ukraine in the late 1920s and early 1930s
8 Alexander Beznosov, In The Grip of Famine: The Germans and Mennonites of Southern Ukraine 1932-1935
9 Viktor K. Klets, Caught between Two Poles: Ukrainian Mennonites during World War Two
Leonard G Friesen, Appendix. Dnipropetrovsk National University, Khortitsa ’99, and the Renaissance of Public (Mennonite) History in Ukraine
List of Contributors
Subjects and Courses