May 19, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalogue 
2020-2021 Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ANTH 23108 - Peoples & Cultures: The Amish

Course Credit: 1
PEOPLES AND CULTURES: THE AMISH The Amish are widely regarded as a sacred, even quaint, remnant of a simple, agrarian way of life, yet nothing could be further from the truth. In the past few decades, the Amish have undergone a dramatic economic transformation, moving away from farming and into factory labor, mobile work crews and cottage industries. By some accounts, this mini-industrial revolution has been an “ingenious adaptation to modernity”; others see it as the “beginning of the end” of the Amish way of life. Without question, though, the shift from plows to profits has had broad social and cultural implications This course will explore continuity and change in Amish life through an analysis of key symbols, rituals, and core institutions, including family, religion, education, work, and health care. A major goal will be to give students a critical vocabulary and a set of ethnographic insights against which to judge representations of the Amish in the popular media. We will analyze the popular notion of the Amish as “a separate people” by examining their interaction with the “English” and the complex ties they maintain with the outside world. Special attention will be given to internal variation and conflict within Amish communities and to the dynamic process of adaptation to the outside world. Prerequisite(s): ANTH-11000 or permission of instructor Alternate Years. [C, D, HSS]