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The Amish and the Media

Overview

This collection is the first scholarly treatment of the relationship between the Amish and the media in contemporary American life. The essays not only focus on the Amish as subjects in mainstream media—news, movies, TV—but also view them as producers and consumers of media themselves.

Of all the religious groups in contemporary America, few demonstrate as many reservations toward the media as do the Old Order Amish. Yet these attention-wary citizens have become a media ...

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Overview

This collection is the first scholarly treatment of the relationship between the Amish and the media in contemporary American life. The essays not only focus on the Amish as subjects in mainstream media—news, movies, TV—but also view them as producers and consumers of media themselves.

Of all the religious groups in contemporary America, few demonstrate as many reservations toward the media as do the Old Order Amish. Yet these attention-wary citizens have become a media phenomenon, featured in films, novels, magazines, newspapers, and television—from Witness, Amish in the City, and Devil's Playground to the intense news coverage of the 2006 Nickel Mines School shooting. But the Old Order Amish are more than media subjects. Despite their separatist tendencies, they use their own media networks to sustain Amish culture. Chapters in the collection examine the influence of Amish-produced newspapers and books, along with the role of informal spokespeople in Old Order communities.

With essays from experts in the fields of film and media studies, poetry, American studies, anthropology, and history, this groundbreaking study shows how the relationship between the Amish and the media provides valuable insights into the perception of minority religion in North American culture.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Church History

This is a finely crafted edited volume that should be easily adapted in undergraduate as well as graduate-level courses. The authors write with a knowledge and sensitivity to the topic that is refreshing and that scholars and students should appreciate.

Mennonite Quarterly Review - Willaim D. Romanowski

What I appreciate most is the extent to which this book is able to explain Amish life... while also showing how their technological hesitancy complicates the multifaceted process of media mediation. The Amish and the Media should be of great interest to scholars and generally educated readers drawn to North American religion and the media.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Diane Zimmerman Umble is a professor of communication at Millersville University, author of Holding the Line: The Telephone in Old Order Mennonite and Amish Life, and coeditor of Strangers at Home: Amish and Mennonite Women in History, both published by Johns Hopkins. David Weaver-Zercher is an associate professor of American religious history at Messiah College and author of The Amish in the American Imagination, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Amish and the Culture of Mediation   Diane Zimmerman Umble   David L. Weaver-Zercher     3
The Old Order Amish as Media Images     19
Witnessing the Amish: Plain People on Fancy Film   Crystal Downing     25
Reel Amish: The Amish in Documentaries   Dirk Eitzen     43
"Why We Fear the Amish": Whiter-than-White Figures in Contemporary American Poetry   Julia Spicher Kasdorf     67
Pursuing Paradise: Nonfiction Narratives of Life with the Amish   David L. Weaver-Zercher     91
Heritage versus History: Amish Tourism in Two Ohio Towns   Susan Biesecker     111
Hollywood Rumspringa: Amish in the City   Dirk Eitzen     133
The Old Order Amish as Media Producers and Consumers     155
Amish Informants: Mediating Humility and Publicity   Donald B. Kraybill     161
Inscribing Community: The Budget and Die Botschaft in Amish Life   Steven M. Nolt     181
Publish or Perish: Amish Publishing and Old Order Identity   Karen Johnson-Weiner     201
"Wicked Truth": The Amish, the Media, and Telling the Truth   Diane Zimmerman Umble     221
Conclusion: The Amish, the Media, and the Nickel Mines School Shooting   Diane Zimmerman Umble   David L. Weaver-Zercher     243
Acknowledgments     259
List of Contributors     261
Index     265
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