Reading Mennonite Writing
A Study in Minor Transnationalism
- ISBN: 9780271092744
- Published By: Pennsylvania State University Press
- Published: May 2022
Mennonite literature has long been viewed as an expression of community identity. However, scholars in Mennonite literary studies have urged a reconsideration of the field’s past and a reconceptualization of its future. This is exactly what Reading Mennonite Writing does.
Drawing on the transnational turn in literary studies, Robert Zacharias positions Mennonite literature in North America as “a mode of circulation and reading” rather than an expression of a distinct community. He tests this reframing with a series of methodological experiments that open new avenues of critical engagement with the field’s unique configuration of faith-based intercultural difference. These include cross-sectional readings in nonnarrative literary history; archival readings of transatlantic life writing; Canadian rewritings of Mexican film’s deployment of Mennonite theology as fantasy; an examination of the fetishistic structure of ethnicity as a “thing” that has enabled Mennonite identity to function in a post-identity age; and, finally, a tentative reinvestment in ideals of Mennonite community via the surprising routes of queerness and speculative fiction. In so doing, Zacharias reads Mennonite writing in North America as a useful case study in the shifting position of minor literatures in the wake of the transnational turn.
Theoretically sophisticated, this study of minor transnationalism will appeal to specialists in Mennonite literature and to scholars working in the broader field of transnational literary studies.