Between the 1920s and the 1940s, 10,000 traditionalist Mennonites emigrated from western Canada to isolated rural sections of Northern Mexico and the Paraguayan Chaco; over the course of the twentieth century, they became increasingly scattered through secondary migrations to East Paraguay, British Honduras, Bolivia, and elsewhere in Latin America. Despite this dispersion, these Canadian-descendant Mennonites, who now number around 250,000, developed a rich transnational culture over the years, resisting allegiance to any one nation and cultivating a strong sense of common peoplehood based on a history of migration, nonviolence, and distinct language and dress.
Village among Nations recuperates a missing chapter of Canadian history: the story of these Mennonites who emigrated from Canada for cultural reasons, but then in later generations “returned” in large numbers for economic and social security. Royden Loewen analyzes a wide variety of texts, by men and women – letters, memoirs, reflections on family debates on land settlement, exchanges with curious outsiders, and deliberations on issues of citizenship. They relate the untold experience of this uniquely transnational, ethno-religious community.
About the author
Royden Loewen is a senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg. His books include Horse-and-Buggy Genius: Listening to Mennonites Contest the Modern World and Village Among Nations: "Canadian" Mennonites in a Transnational World, 1916–2006.
‘Royden Loewen’s monograph is a fantastic, insightful, and nuanced study… The book is an important contribution to migration history and is a must read for anybody interested in adding transnational perspectives to Canadian history.’
Canadian Historical Review vol 97:01:2016
‘Village among Nations is a patiently pieced together patchwork of memoirs, letters, newspapers, diaries, and the research of graduate students; what emerges from the many pieces is a coherent and compelling whole, the most comprehensive portrait of the Low German world to date.’
The Mennonite Quarterly Review; January 2015
‘Loewen has created a sources that transcends the academy and is accessible for a broad audience….The book’s most significant contribution is that it creates a scholarly map identifying the terrain for future studies. As such, this is a path breaking work.’
Journal of Mennonite Studies, vol 32:2014
Other titles by Royden Loewen
A Global History of Place and Sustainability
Listening to Mennonites Contest the Modern World
Young, Well-Educated, and Adaptable
Chilean Exiles in Ontario and Quebec, 1973-2010
Immigrants in Prairie Cities
Ethnic Diversity in Twentieth-Century Canada
Diaspora in the Countryside
Two Mennonite Communities and Mid-Twentieth Century Rural Disjuncture
Revisiting the Mennonite Migrants of the 1870s
From the Inside Out
The Rural Worlds of Mennonite Diarists
Family, Church, and Market
A Mennonite Community in the Old and the New Worlds, 1850-1930