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Title: 'De jeleada, de vekjeada' : transnationalism, history, and the schooling of Low German Mennonites of Canada and Mexico
Author: Sneath, Robyn
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 0780
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This study is a multi-sited historical ethnography about the schooling of Low German Mennonites (LGM) in Canada and Mexico, two nations with sizeable LGM populations and that have significant transnational connections. Using fieldwork conducted in sSouthern Manitoba and nNorthern Mexico-interviews, participant observation in schools, and archival analysis, -I explore the variety of schooling options pursued by this ethno-religious minority group. Framed as a history of the present, I draw on the past to illuminate the present state of Mennonite schooling in both Mexico and Canada. As transnational citizens, whose loyalty lies with the diaspora of fellow Low German speaking Mennonites, this community has repeatedly resisted state incursions into their schools, choosing migration over assimilation-conflict with the government over schools served as the impetus for their migration to Canada from Russia in the 1870s and out of Canada in the 1920s, with nearly 8,000 Mennonites leaving for Latin America.  For Low German Mennonites, schooling has historically served as the primary locus through which their language, faith, and worldview-known cumulatively as the Oole Ordnung-have been preserved.  However, schooling is simultaneously the site through which linguistic, theological, and technological reforms have been initiated into the community, introduced largely through transnational influences-, creating a situation where schools serve concurrently to sustain and threaten the Oole Ordnung.  Framed as a dialectic, I explore this tension throughout the thesis, arguing that each variant of LGM schooling represents a unique synthesis of these competing factors, from the rudimentary one-room schools with six years of school to sophisticated university preparatory programs.  In each iteration of LGM schooling, the Oole Ordnung is contested and reimagined, and yet is perceived by the community as immutable.  I argue that schools, because of their central place in the community, are key social institutions through which to examine the religious, cultural, and linguistic discourses extant within the community.  This thesis expands the field of Mennonite Studies, highlighting the position of the schools as a site worthy of further study, and makes a unique contribution to debates surrounding minority and transnational education.
Supervisor: Gearon, Liam ; Mills, David ; Stambach, Amy Sponsor: Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation ; DF Plett Historical Research Foundation ; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: religious education ; schooling ; Mennonites ; transnationalism ; education ; history of education