History does not have to be the domain of the old. Hear three young historians engaged in cutting-edge research present their findings beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, at Elizabethtown College as part of Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society’s What Young Historians are Thinking symposium. The presentations will vary in scope from race relations within Mennonite Central Committee to the experience of Mennonite soldiers in the twentieth century.
What Young Historians are Thinking will be held in Hoover 110 at Elizabethtown College, 1 Alpha Dr, Elizabethtown, Pa. A reception will follow. This event is free and open to the public.
Paula Holtzinger, a 2018 Messiah college graduate, will present “Tracing the Trajectory of Racial Engagement within Mennonite Central Committee, 1985-2005.” She examines Mennonite Central Committee’s approach to engaging race and how the organization’s racial consciousness has transformed in response to an increasingly diverse constituency. Her essay asserts that Mennonite Central Committee’s posture has changed from initial avoidance and resistance towards active anti-racism efforts.
Jenae Longenecker, a 2018 graduate of Goshen College, will share “Objection Overruled? Reformulating the Mennonite Witness Regarding Law.” At the start of the twentieth century, many North American Mennonite conferences were committed to separatism and sanctioned members who “went to law.” By the 1990s, Mennonites entered into legal professions at a rate comparable to that of the general population. Longenecker argues that as Mennonites engaged the field of law throughout the twentieth century, they did so in creative, intentional ways that have served the church well as a creative reformulation of a distinctly Anabaptist Mennonite witness.
Kyle Stocksdale, also a 2018 Goshen College graduate, will explore the stories of six men raised in the Mennonite Church in northern Indiana/southern Michigan who were drafted, served in the military, and returned home to their religious communities in “Anabaptists in the Military: Stories of Conscripted Men from Indiana-Michigan Conference.” These stories of personal, community, and institutional conflict reveal a historical pattern of disconnect between official church positions and lived experience.
What Young Historians are Thinking is a collaboration of Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, and the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College.