After Identity: Reflections

Vol. 9, No. 1

Jan Schroeder and Margaret Steffler reflect on After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America (Penn State University Press 2015; University of Manitoba Press, 2016) and Connie Braun probes the ways in which stories of a community and faith are articulated and passed down (or not) to future generations in a memoir essay and poems.

In this issue:

  • 0 read more Introduction to After Identity: Reflections

    Introduction to After Identity: Reflections

    by Ann Hostetler

    In May of 2013, a dozen scholars[1] of Mennonite literature from the United States and Canada gathered in University Park, Pennsylvania for a three-day symposium on After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. The title evokes the paradox of studying literature in an ethnic or cultural context even as it references the series of Mennonite/s Writing conferences held in the US and Canada every few years since 1990. The premise of this gathering was to address a new turn in cultural studies: how to approach literary production by specific cultural groups after the identity-preoccupied discussions of the late …

  • 1 read more Who's a Mennonite?

    Who's a Mennonite?

    by Jan Schroeder

    The late writer David Rakoff once joked about Canadians' tendency to designate Canadian-born celebrities as Canadian. As Montréal-born Rakoff put it, "if you mention a famous Canadian to a Canadian without acknowledging it, there's a vague flicker over their eyes like the shadow of an angel's wing passing." The claim has many functions. It asserts a hidden knowledge of the celebrity's difference (primarily from US American celebrities), one that only other Canadians recognize. What that difference is, no one can precisely say, but the claim reserves the possibility that there just might be something unique about "Canadians" and when we …

  • 0 read more The Noise of Identity: Turning to Attentiveness and the Receptive Ear

    The Noise of Identity: Turning to Attentiveness and the Receptive Ear

    by Margaret Steffler

    Both Magdalene Redekop and Hildi Froese Tiessen refer to the work of Wai Chee Dimock in their contributions to After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. In the case of Redekop, this is to ground her chapter in Dimock's "theory of resonance," which argues that texts "touched" by "readers on different wavelengths" result in "unexpected vibrations in unexpected places" (Dimock, "Resonance" 1061 quoted in Redokop 200). For Tiessen, Dimock is evoked in order to heed warnings against "literary causality" derived from prescribing to "a territorial [or territorialized] jurisdiction" and "analytical domain[s] foreclosed by definition" (Dimock, Through 3 quoted in …

  • 0 read more Crochet


    by Connie T. Braun

    A yarn: a strand of fibre.

    In the winter evenings when the sunlight has faded, my mother crochets an afghan. Occasionally, she'll knit one, and as she knits and purls, the yarn flows as a river through a valley. But usually, she'll crochet. Her hands work the yarn, and row by row a mantle of colour and texture grows. From a grey-blue strand, she crochets a blanket of ocean. Then a rolling field in soft shades of sage, or wheat and rye. Night after night, my mother's hands work the fibre, back and forth, the yarn's migration over an expanse, …

  • 1 read more Three Poems from Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words

    Three Poems from Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words

    by Connie T. Braun

    from a memoir in poems dedicated to the author's mother, and to the memory of her grandmother. Reprinted with permission of the author.

  • 0 read more Reflections on Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words by Connie Braun

    Reflections on Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words by Connie Braun

    by Micah Towery

    Before selling her house and moving into assisted living, my grandmother bequeathed a green and white box of papers to my aunt. My aunt passed it to me. The idea was that, as a writer, I could do something meaningful with it.

    I was a senior in college, and I sifted through the box. There were a few poignant letters, written to my grandmother after my grandfather’s suicide, but mostly the box contained a few poems my grandmother had written and obsessively recopied, some John Birch society publications, and a number of pocket-sized copies of the US Constitution.

    The box …

  • 0 read more Appendix: 2016 Publications

    Appendix: 2016 Publications

    by Ann Hostetler

    Selected Works from Mennonite Writers, 2016 (and thereabouts)

    Roni Baerg,Mit den Wolken Fliegen: Bericht aus einem fernen Leben.Fiction/Memoir. (Zytglogge, 2016)

    Stephen Beachy, Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity. Fiction. (Amazon Create Space, 2017)

    Ervin Beck, MennoFolk3. Nonfiction. (Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing, October 2016)

    David Bergen, Stranger. Fiction. (HarperCollins, 2016-Canada; USA – June 2017)

    Judy Clemens, Tag, You're Dead. Fiction. (Poisoned Pen Press, 2016. Blackstone Audio, 2016)

    Todd Davis, Winterkill. Poetry. (Michigan State UP, 2016)

    Drew Hart,Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. Nonfiction. (Herald

    Press, 2016) …