Minority Report: Mennonite Identities in Imperial Russia and Soviet Ukraine Reconsidered, 1789-1945

Minority Report: Mennonite Identities in Imperial Russia and Soviet Ukraine Reconsidered, 1789-1945

by Leonard G. Friesen (Editor)


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487501945
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 02/08/2018
Series: Tsarist and Soviet Mennonite Studies Series
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Leonard 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


What People are Saying About This

Mark Jantzen

"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."

Dr.Sergei I. Zhuk

"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."

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