For decades, the field of Mennonite literature has been dominated by the question of Mennonite identity. After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America offers a cohesive platform for an interdisciplinary reappraisal of Mennonite literature and literary criticism, as well as a reflection of current conversations in the field about Mennonite literary discourse and cultural identity.
After Identity features twelve interdisciplinary essays from scholars who see Mennonite writing transitioning beyond a tradition concerned primarily with defining itself and its cultural milieu. Contributors explore the histories and contexts—as well as the gaps—that have informed and diverted the perennial focus on identity in Mennonite literature, even as that identity is reread, reframed, and expanded. Individually, each chapter engages the question of identity in some distinct way; collectively, they show something of the range in tone, methodology, and perspective that characterizes the broader field of Mennonite literary criticism.
Together, the essays in this volume interrogate what is at stake in this ongoing preoccupation with identity and explore the potential for a move towards a truly post-identity literature. As such, After Identity participates in a much larger reconsideration of cultural identity currently under way in contemporary literary studies, a discussion with implications for the study of ethnic literatures more generally.
“The world of Mennonite writing in North America is a lively and fascinating one that pushes into new territory even while it seeks to attend to its own histories, traditions, and communities—this collection of essays is a reliable guide to understanding that state of affairs.”